Dr. Eben, on the other hand, had grown old fast. His work had not been to him as complete and healthful occupation as Hetty's had been to her. He had lived more within himself; and he had never ceased to sorrow. His sorrow, being for one dead, was without hope; save that intangible hope to which our faith so pathetically clings, of the remote and undefined possibilities of eternity. Hetty's sorrow was full of hope, being persuaded that all was well with those whom she did not see.
Dr. Eben loved no one warmly or with absorption. Hetty loved every suffering one to whom she ministered. Dr. Eben had never ceased living too much in the past. Hetty had learned to live almost wholly in the present. Hetty had suffered, had suffered intensely; but all that she had suffered was as nothing in comparison with the sufferings of her husband. Moreover, Hetty had kept through all these years her superb health. Dr. Eben had had severe illnesses, which had told heavily upon his strength. From all these things it had come to pass, that now he looked older and more worn than Hetty. She looked vigorous; he looked feeble; she was still comely, he had lost all the fineness of color and outline, which had made him at forty so handsome a man. He had been growing restless, too, and discontented.
Raby was away at college; old Caesar and Nan had both died, and their places were filled by new white servants, who, though they served Dr. Eben well, did not love him. Deacon Little had died also, and Jim and Sally had been obliged to go back to the old homestead to live, to take care of Mrs. Little, who was now a helpless paralytic.
"Gunn's," as it was still called, and always would be, was no longer the brisk and cheerful place which it had once been. The farm was slowly falling off, from its master's lack of interest in details; and the old stone house had come to wear a certain look of desolation. The pines met and interlaced their boughs over the whole length of the road from the gate to the front-door; and, in a dark day, it was like an underground passage-way, cold and damp. If Hetty could have been transported to the spot, how would her heart have ached! How would she have seen, in terrible handwriting, the record of her mistaken act; the blight which her one wrong step had cast, not only upon hearts and lives, but even upon the visible face of nature. But Hetty did not dream of this. Whenever she permitted her fancy to dwell upon imaginings of her old home, she saw it bright with sunshine, merry with the voices of little children: and her husband handsome still, and young, walking by the side of a beautiful woman, mother of his children.
At last Dr. Eben took a sudden resolution; the result, partly, of his restless discontent; partly of his consciousness that he was in danger of breaking down and becoming a chronic invalid. He offered "Gunn's" for sale, and announced that he was going abroad for some years. Spite of the dismay with which this news was received throughout the whole county, everybody's second thought was: "Poor fellow! I'm glad of it. It's the best thing he can do."
Hetty's cousin, Josiah Gunn, the man that she had so many years ago predicted would ultimately have the estate, bought it in, outbidding the most determined bidders (for "Gunn's" was much coveted); and paying finally a sum even larger than the farm was really worth. Dr. Eben was now a rich man, and free. The world lay before him. When all was done, he felt a strange unwillingness to leave Welbury. The travel, the change, which had looked so desirable and attractive, now looked formidable; and he lingered week after week, unable to tear himself away from home. One day he rode over to Springton, to bid Rachel Barlow good-by. Rachel was now twenty-eight years old, and a very beautiful woman. Many men had sought to marry her, but Dr. Eben's prediction had been realized. Rachel would not marry. Her health was perfectly established, and she had been for years at the head of the Springton Academy. Doctor Eben rarely saw her; but when he did her manner had the same child-like docility and affectionate gratitude that had characterized it when she was seventeen. She had never ceased to feel that she owed her life, and more than her life, to him: how much more she felt, Dr. Eben had never dreamed until this day. When he told her that he was going to Europe, she turned pale, but said earnestly:
"Oh, I am very glad! you have needed the change so much. How long will you stay?"
"I don't know, Rachel," he replied sadly. "Perhaps all the rest of my life. I have done my best to live here; but I can't. It's no use: I can't bear it. I have sold the place."
Rachel's lips parted, but she did not speak; her face flushed scarlet, then turned white; and, without a moment's warning or possibility of staying the tears, she buried her face in her hands, and wept convulsively. In the same instant, a magnetic sense of all that this grief meant thrilled through Doctor Eben's every nerve. No such thought had ever crossed his mind before. Rachel had never been to him any thing but the "child" he had first called her. Very reverently seeking now to shield her womanhood from any after pain of fear, lest she might have betrayed her secret, he said:
"Why, my child! you must not feel so badly about it. I ought not to have spoken so. Of course, you must know that my life has been a very lonely one, and always must be. But I should not give up and go away, simply for that. I am not well, and I am quite sure that I need several years of a milder climate. I dare say I shall be home-sick, and come back after all."
Rachel lifted her eyes and looked steadily in his. Her tears stopped. The old clairvoyant gaze, which he had not seen on her face for many years, returned.
"No. You will never come back," she said slowly. Then, as one speaking in a dream, she said still more slowly, and uttering each word with difficulty and emphasis:
"I—do—not—believe—your—wife—is—dead." Much shocked, and thinking that these words were merely the utterance of an hysterical excitement, Dr. Eben replied:
"Not to me, dear child; she never will be: but you must not let yourself be excited in this way. You will be ill. I must be your doctor again and prescribe for you."
Rachel continued to watch him, with the same bright and unflinching gaze. He turned from her, and, bringing her a glass of water in which he had put a few drops from a vial, said in his old tone:
"Drink this, Rachel."
She obeyed in silence; her eyes drooped; the tension of her whole figure relaxed; and, with a long sigh, she exclaimed:
"Oh, forgive me!"
"There is nothing to forgive, my child," said the doctor, much moved, and, longing to throw his arms around her as she sat there, so gentle, appealing, beautiful, loving. "Why can I not love her?" "What else is there better in life for me to do?" he thought, but his heart refused. Hetty, the lost dead Hetty, stood as much between him and all other women to-day, as she had stood ten years before.
"I must go now, Rachel," he said. "Good-by."
She put her cold hand in his. As he took it, by a curious freak of his brain, there flashed into his mind the memory of the day when, by the side of this fragile white little hand lying in his, Hetty, laughingly, had placed her own, broad and firm and brown. The thought of that hand of Hetty's, and her laugh at that moment, were too much for him, and he dropped Rachel's hand abruptly, and moved toward the door. She gave a low cry: he turned back; she took a step towards him.
"I shall never see you again," she said, taking his hand in hers. "I owe my life to you," and she carried his hand to her lips, and kissed it again and again. "God bless you, child! Good-by! good-by!" he said. Rachel did not speak, and he left her standing there, gazing after him with a look on her face which haunted him as long as he lived.
Why Doctor Eben should have resolved to sail for England in a Canadian steamer, and why, having reached Canada, he should have resolved to postpone his voyage, and make a trial of the famous springs of St. Mary's, are mysteries hid in that book of Fate whose leaves no mortal may turn. We prate in our shallow wisdom about causes, but the most that we can trace is a short line of incidental occasions. A pamphlet which Doctor Eben found in the office of a hotel was apparently the reason of his going to St. Mary's; all the reason so far as he knew, or as any man might know. But that man is to be pitied who lives his life out under the impression that it is within his own guidance. Only one remove from the life of the leaf which the winds toss where they list would be such a life as that.
It was with no very keen interest that Doctor Eben arrived in St. Mary's. He had some faint hope that the waters might do him good: but he found the sandy stretches and long lines of straight firs in Canada very monotonous; and he was already beginning to be oppressed by the sense of homelessness. His quiet and domestic life had unfitted him for being a wanderer, and he was already looking forward to the greater excitements of European travel; hoping that they would prove more diverting and entertaining than he had thus far found travel in America.
He entered St. Mary's as Hetty had done, just at sunset. It was a warm night in June; and, after his tea at the little inn, Dr. Eben sauntered out listlessly. The sound of merry voices in the Square repelled him; unlike Hetty, he shrank from strange faces: turning in the direction where it seemed stillest, he walked slowly towards the woods. He looked curiously at the little red chapel, and at Father Antoine's cottage, now literally imbedded in flowers. Then he paused before Hetty's tiny house. A familiar fragrance arrested him; leaning on the paling he looked over into the garden, started, and said, under his breath: "How strange! How strange!" There were long straight beds of lavender and balm, growing together, as they used to grow in the old garden at "Gunn's." Both the balm and the lavender were in full blossom; and the two scents mingled and separated and mingled in the warm air, like the notes of two instruments unlike, yet in harmony. The strong lemon odor of the balm, was persistently present like the mastering chords of the violoncello, and the fine and subtle fragrances from the myriad cells of the pale lavender floated above and below, now distant, now melting and disappearing, like a delicate melody. Dr. Eben was borne away from the present, out of himself. He thrust his hand through the palings, and gathered a crushed handful of the lavender blossoms: eagerly he inhaled their perfume. Drawers and chests at "Gunn's" had been thick strewn with lavender for half a century. All Hetty's clothes—Hetty herself—had been full of the exquisite fragrance. The sound of quick pattering steps roused him from his reverie. A bare-footed boy was driving a flock of goats past. The child stopped and gazed intently at the stranger.
"Child, who lives in this little house?" said Dr. Eben, cautiously hiding his stolen handful of lavender.
"Tantibba," replied the boy.
"What!" exclaimed the doctor. "I don't understand you. What is the name?"
"Tantibba! Tantibba!" the child shouted, looking back over his shoulder, as he raced on to overtake his goats. "Bo Tantibba." "Some old French name I suppose," thought Dr. Eben: "but, it is very odd about the herbs; the two growing together, so exactly as Hetty used to have them;" and he walked reluctantly away, carrying the bruised lavender blossoms in his hand, and breathing in their delicious fragrance. As he drew near the inn, he observed on the other side of the way a woman hurrying in the opposite direction. She had a sturdy thick-set figure, and her step, although rapid, was not the step of a young person. She wore on her head only a close white cap; and her gray gown was straight and scant: on her arm she carried a basket of scarlet plaited straw, which made a fine bit of color against the gray and white of her costume. It was just growing dusk, and the doctor could not distinguish her features. At that moment, a lad came running from the inn, and darted across the road, calling aloud, "Tantibba! Tantibba!" The woman turned her head, at the name, and waited till the lad came to her. Dr. Eben stood still, watching them. "So that is Tantibba?" he thought, "what can the name be?" Presently the lad came back with a bunch of long drooping balm-stalks in his hand.
"Who was that you spoke to then?" asked the doctor.
"Tantibba!" replied the lad, hurrying on. Dr. Eben caught him by the shoulder. "Look here!" he exclaimed, "just tell me that name again. This is the fourth time I've heard it to-night. Is it the woman's first name or what?" The lad was a stupid English lad, who had but recently come to service in St. Mary's, and had never even thought to wonder what the name "Tantibba," meant. He stared vacantly for a moment, and then said:
"Indeed, sir, and I don't know. She's never called any thing else that I've heard."
"Who is she? what does she do?" asked the doctor.
"Oh, sir! she's a great nurse, from foreign parts: she has a power of healing-herbs in her garden, and she goes each day to the English House to heal the sick. There's nobody like her. If she do but lay her hand on one, they do say it is a cure."
"She is French, I suppose," said the doctor; thinking to himself, "Some adventuress, doubtless."
"Ay, sir, I think so," answered the lad; "but I must not stay to speak any more, for the mistress waits for this balm to make tea for the cook Jean, who is like to have a fever;" and the lad disappeared under the low archway of the basement.
Dr. Eben walked back and forth in front of the inn, still crushing in his fingers the lavender flowers and inhaling their fragrance. Idly he watched "Tantibba's" figure till it disappeared in the distance.
"This is just the sort of place for a tricky old French woman to make a fortune in," he said to himself: "these people are simple enough to believe any thing;" and Dr. Eben went to his room, and tossed the lavender blossoms down on his pillow.
When he waked in the morning, his first thoughts were bewildered: nothing in nature is so powerful in association as a perfume. A sound, a sight, is feeble in comparison; the senses are ever alert, and the mind is accustomed always to act promptly on their evidence. But a subtle perfume, which has been associated with a person, a place, a scene, can ever afterward arrest us; can take us unawares, and hold us spell-bound, while both memory and knowledge are drugged by its charm.
Dr. Eben did not open his eyes. In an ecstasy of half consciousness he murmured, "Hetty." As he stirred, his hand came in contact with the withered flowers. Touch was more potent than smell. He roused, lifted his head, saw the little blossoms now faded and gray lying near his cheek; and saying, "Oh, I remember," sank back again into a few moments' drowsy reverie.
The morning was clear and cool, one window of the doctor's room looked east; the splendor of the sunrise shone in and illuminated the whole place. While he was dressing, he found himself persistently thinking of the strange name, "Tantibba." "It is odd how that name haunts me," he thought. "I wish I could see it written: I haven't the least idea how it is spelled. I wonder if she is an impostor. Her garden didn't look like it." Presently he sauntered out: the morning stir was just beginning in the village. The child to whom he had spoken at "Tantibba's" gate, the night before, came up, driving the same flock of goats. The little fellow, as he passed, pulled the ragged tassel of his cap in token of recognition of the stranger who had accosted him. Without any definite purpose, Dr. Eben followed slowly on, watching a pair of young kids, who fell behind the flock, frolicking and half-fighting in antics so grotesque that they looked more like gigantic grasshoppers than like goats. Before he knew how far he had walked, he suddenly perceived that he was very near "Tantibba's" house.
"I'll walk on and steal another handful of the lavender," he thought; "and if the old woman's up, perhaps I'll get a sight of her. I'd like to see what sort of a face answers to that outlandish name."
As the doctor leaned over the paling, and looked again at Hetty's garden, he saw something which had escaped his notice before, and at which he started again, and muttered—this time aloud, and with an expression almost of terror,—"Good Heavens, if there isn't a chrysanthemum bed too, exactly like ours! what does this mean?" Hetty had little thought when she was laying out her garden, as nearly as possible like the garden she had left behind her, that she was writing a record which any eye but her own would note.
"I believe I'll go in and see this old French woman," he thought: "it is such a strange thing that she should have just the same flowers Hetty had. I don't believe she's an adventuress, after all."
Dr. Eben had his hand on the latch of the gate. At that instant, the cottage door opened, and "Tantibba," in her white cap and gray gown, and with her scarlet basket on her arm, appeared on the threshold. Dr. Eben lifted his hat courteously, and advanced.
"I was just about to take the liberty of knocking at your door, madame," he said, "to ask if you would give me a few of your lavender blossoms."
As he began to speak, "Tantibba's" basket fell from her hand. As he advanced towards her, her eyes grew large with terror, and all color left her cheeks.
"Why do I terrify her so?" thought Dr. Eben, quickening his steps, and hastening to reassure her, by saying still more gently:
"Pray forgive me for intruding. I"—the words died on his lips: he stood like one stricken by paralysis; his hands falling helplessly by his side, and his eyes fixed in almost ghastly dread on this gray-haired woman, from whose white lips came, in Hetty's voice, the cry:
"Eben! oh! Eben!"
Hetty was the first to recover herself. Seeing with terror how rigid and pale her husband's face had become; how motionless, like one turned to stone, he stood—she hastened down the steps, and, taking him by the hand, said, in a trembling whisper:
"Oh, come into the house, Eben."
Mechanically he followed her; she still leading him by the hand, like a child. Like a child, or rather like a blind man, he sat down in the chair which she placed for him. His eyes did not move from her face; but they looked almost like sightless eyes. Hetty stood before him, with her hands clasped tight. Neither spoke. At last Dr. Eben said feebly:
"Are you Hetty?"
"Yes, Eben," answered Hetty, with a tearless sob. He did not speak again: still with a strange unseeing look, his eyes roved over her face, her figure. Then he reached out one hand and touched her gown; curiously, he lifted the soft gray serge, and fingered it; then he said again:
"Are you Hetty?"
"Oh, Eben! dear Eben! indeed I am," broke forth Hetty. "Do forgive me. Can't you?"
"Forgive you?" repeated Dr. Eben, helplessly. "What for?"
"Oh, my God! he thinks we are both dead: what shall I do to rouse him?" thought Hetty, all the nurse in her coming to the rescue of the woman and wife.
"For going away and leaving you, Eben," she said in a clear resolute voice. "I wasn't drowned. I came away."
Dr. Eben smiled; a smile which terrified Hetty more than his look or voice or words had done.
"Eben! Eben!" she cried, putting both her hands on his shoulders, and bringing her face close to his. "Don't look like that. I tell you I wasn't drowned. I am alive: feel me! feel me! I am Hetty;" and she knelt before him, and laid her arms across his knees. The touch, the grasp, the warmth of her strong flesh, penetrated his inmost consciousness, and brought back the tottering senses. His eyes lost their terrifying and ghastly expression, and took on one searching and half-stern.
"You were not drowned!" he said. "You have not been dead all these years! You went away! You are not Hetty!" and he pushed her arms rudely from his knees. Then, in the next second, he had clasped her fiercely in his arms, crying aloud:
"You are Hetty! I feel you! I know you! Oh Hetty, Hetty, wife, what does this all mean? Who took you away from me?" And tears, blessed saving tears, filled Dr. Eben's eyes.
Now began the retribution of Hetty's mistake. In this moment, with her husband's arms around her, his eyes fixed on hers, the whole cloud of misapprehension under which she had acted was revealed to her as by a beam of divine light from heaven. Smitten to the heart by a sudden and overwhelming remorse, Hetty was speechless. She could only look pleadingly into his face, and murmur:
"Oh, Eben! Eben!"
He repeated his questions, growing calmer with each word, and with each moment's increasing realization of Hetty's presence.
"Who took you away?"
"Nobody," answered Hetty. "I came alone."
"Did you not love me, Hetty?" said Dr. Eben in sad tones, struck by a new fear.
This question unsealed Hetty's lips.
"Love you!" she exclaimed in a piercing voice. "Love you! oh, Eben!" and then she poured out, without reserves or disguises, the whole story of her convictions, her decision, and her flight. Her husband did not interrupt her by word or gesture. As she proceeded with her narrative, he slowly withdrew his eyes from her face, and fixed them on the floor. It was harder for her to speak when he thus looked away from her. Timidly she said:
"Do not turn your eyes away from me, Eben. It makes me afraid. I cannot tell you the rest, if you look so."
With an evident effort, he raised his eyes again, and again met her earnest gaze. But it was only for a few seconds. Again his eyes drooped, evaded hers, and rested on the floor. Again Hetty paused; and said still more pleadingly:
"Please look at me, Eben. Indeed I can't talk to you if you do not."
Like one stung suddenly by some insupportable pain, he wrenched her hands from his knees, sprang to his feet, and walked swiftly back and forth. She remained kneeling by the chair, looking up at him with a most piteous face.
"Hetty," he exclaimed, "you must be patient with me. Try and imagine what it is to have believed for ten years that you were dead; to have mourned you as dead; to have spent ten whole years of weary, comfortless days; and then to find suddenly that you have been all this time living,—voluntarily hiding yourself from me; needlessly torturing me! Why, Hetty! Hetty! you must have been mad. You must be mad now, I think, to kneel there and tell me all these details so calmly, and in such a matter-of-fact way. Do you realize what a monstrous thing you have been doing?" And Dr. Eben's eyes blazed with a passionate indignation, as he stopped short in his excited walk and looked down upon Hetty. Then, in the next second, touched by the look on her uplifted face, so noble, so pure, so benevolent, he forgot all his resentment, all his perplexity, all his pain; and, stooping over her, he lifted her from her knees, and, folding her close to his bosom, exclaimed:
"Oh, my Hetty, my own; forgive me. I am the one that is mad. How can I think of any thing except the joy of having found you again? No wonder I thought at first we were both dead. Oh, my precious wife, is it really you? Are you sure we are alive?" And he kissed her again and again,—hair, brow, eyes, lips,—with a solemn rapture.
A great silence fell upon them: there seemed no more to say. Suddenly, Dr. Eben exclaimed:
"Rachel said she did not believe you were dead."
At mention of Rachel's name, a spasm crossed Hetty's face. In the excitement of her mingled terror and joy, she had not yet thought of Rachel.
"Where is Rachel?" she gasped, her very heart standing still as she asked the question.
"At home," answered the doctor; and his countenance clouded at the memory of his last interview with her. Hetty's fears misinterpreted the reply and the sudden cloud on his face.
"Is she—did you—where is her home?" she stammered.
A great light broke in on Dr. Eben's mind.
"Good God!" he cried. "Hetty, it is not possible that you thought I loved Rachel?"
"No," said Hetty. "I only thought you could love her, if it were right; and if I were dead it would be."
A look of horror deepened on the doctor's face. The idea thus suggested to his mind was terrible.
"And supposing I had loved her, thinking you were dead, what then? Do you know what you would have done?" he said sternly.
"I think you would have been very happy," replied Hetty, simply. "I have always thought of you as being probably very happy."
Dr. Eben groaned aloud.
"Oh, Hetty! Hetty! How could God have let you think such thoughts? Hetty!" he exclaimed suddenly, with the manner of one who has taken a new resolve: "Hetty, listen. We must not talk about this terrible past. It is impossible for me to be just to you. If any other woman had done what you have done, I should say she must be mad, or else wicked."
"I think I was mad," interrupted Hetty. "It seems so to me now. But, indeed, Eben, oh, indeed, I thought at the time it was right."
"I know you did, my darling," replied the doctor. "I believe it fully; but for all that I cannot be just to you, when I think of it. We must put it away from us for ever. We are old now, and have perhaps only a few years to live together."
Here Hetty interrupted him with a sudden cry of dismay:
"Oh! oh! I forgot every thing but you. I ought to have been at Dr. Macgowan's an hour ago. Indeed, Eben, I must go this minute. Do not try to hinder me. There is a patient there who is so ill. I fear he will not live through the day. Oh, how selfish of me to have forgotten him for a single moment! But how can I leave you! How can I leave you!"
As she spoke, she moved hastily about the room, making her preparations to go. Her husband did not attempt to delay her. A strange feeling was creeping over him, that, by Hetty's removal of herself from him, by her new life, her new name, new duties, she had really ceased to be his. He felt weak and helpless: the shock had been too great, and he was not strong. When Hetty was ready, he said:
"Shall I walk with you, Hetty?"
She hesitated. She feared to be seen talking in an excited way with this stranger: she dreaded to lose her husband out of her sight.
"Oh, Eben!" she exclaimed, "I do not know what to do. I cannot bear to let you go from me for a moment. How shall I get through this day! I will not go to Dr. Macgowan's any more. I will get Sister Catharine from the convent to come and take my place at once. Yes, come with me. We will walk together, but we must not talk, Eben."
"No," said her husband.
He understood and shared her feeling. In silence they took their way through the outskirts of the town. Constantly they stole furtive looks at each other; Hetty noting with sorrow the lines which grief and ill-health had made in the doctor's face; he thinking to himself:
"Surely it is a miracle that age and white hair should make a woman more beautiful."
But it was not the age, the white hair: it was the transfiguration of years of self-sacrifice and ministering to others.
"Hetty," said Dr. Eben, as they drew near Dr. Macgowan's gate, "what is this name by which the village people call you? I heard it on everybody's lips, but I could not make it out."
Hetty colored. "It is French for Aunt Hibba," she replied. "They speak it as if it were one word, 'Tantibba.'"
"But there was more to it," said her husband. "'Bo Tantibba,' they called you."
"Oh, that means merely 'Good Aunt Hibba,'" she said confusedly. "You see some of them think I have been good to them; that's all: but usually they call me only 'Tantibba.'"
"Why did you call yourself 'Hibba'?" he said.
"I don't know," replied Hetty. "It came into my head."
"Don't they know your last name?" asked her husband, earnestly.
"Oh!" said Hetty, "I changed that too."
Dr. Eben stopped short: his face grew stern.
"Hetty," he said, "do you mean to tell me that you have put my very name away from you all these years?"
Tears came to Hetty's eyes.
"Why, Eben," she replied, "what else could I do? It would have been absurd to keep my name. Any day it might have been recognized. Don't you see?"
"Yes, I see," answered Dr. Eben, bitterly. "You are no longer mine, even by name."
Hetty's tears fell. She was dumb before all resentful words, all passionate outbreaks, from her husband now. All she could say was:
"Oh, Eben! Eben!" Sometimes she added piteously: "I never meant to do wrong; at least, no wrong to you. I thought if there were wrong, it would be only to myself, and on my own head."
When they parted, Dr. Eben said:
"At what hour are you free, Hetty?"
"At six," she replied. "Will you wait for me at the house? Do not come here."
"Very well," he answered; and, making a formal salutation as to a stranger, he turned away.
With a heavy heart, in midst of all her joy, Hetty went about her duties: vague fears oppressed her. What would Eben do now? What had he meant when he said: "You are no longer mine, even in name"?
Now that Hetty perceived that she had been wrong in leaving him; that, instead of providing, as she had hoped she should, for his greater happiness, she had only plunged him into inconsolable grief,—her one desire was to atone for it; to return to him; to be to him, if possible, more than she had ever been. But great timidity and apprehension filled her breast. He seemed to be angry with her. Would he forgive her? Would he take her home? Had she forfeited her right to go home? Hour after hour, as the weary day went on, she tortured herself with these thoughts. Wistfully her patients watched her face. It was impossible for her to conceal her preoccupation and anxiety. At last the slow sun sank behind the fir-trees, and brought her hour of release. Seeking Dr. Macgowan, she told him that she would send Sister Catharine on the next day "to take my place for the present, perhaps altogether," said Hetty.
"Good heavens! Mrs. Smailli!" exclaimed the doctor. "What is the matter? Are you ill? You shall have a rest; but we can't give you up."
"No, I am not ill," replied Hetty, "but circumstances have occurred which make it impossible for me to say what my plans will be now."
"What is it? Bless my soul, what shall we do?" said Dr. Macgowan, looking very much vexed. "Really, Mrs. Smailli, you can't give up your post in this way."
The doctor forgot himself in his dismay.
"I would not leave it, if there were no one to fill it," replied Hetty, gently; "but Sister Catharine is a better nurse than I am. She will more than fill my place."
"Pshaw! Mrs. Smailli," ejaculated the doctor. "She can't hold a candle to you. Is it any thing about the salary which is taking you away? I will raise it: you shall fix your own price."
Flushing red with shame, Hetty said hotly:
"I have never worked for the money, Dr. Macgowan; only for enough for my living. Money has nothing to do with it. Good-morning."
"That's just what comes of depending on women," growled Dr. Macgowan. "They're all alike; no stability to 'em! What under heaven can it be? She's surely too old to have got any idea of marrying into her head. I'll go and see Father Antoine, and see if he can't influence her."
But when Dr. Macgowan, a few days later, reached Father Antoine's cottage, he was met by news which slew on the instant all his hopes of ever seeing Mrs. Hibba Smailli in his House again as a nurse. Hetty and her husband had spent the previous evening with Father Antoine, and had laid their case fully before him. Hetty had given him permission to tell all the facts to Dr. Macgowan, under the strictest pledges of secrecy.
"'Pon my word! 'pon my word!" said the doctor, "the most extraordinary thing I ever heard of! Who'd have thought that calm, clearheaded woman would ever have committed such a folly? It's a case of monomania; a real monomania, Father Antoine; never can be sure of such a brain's that; may take another, any day; clear case of monomania; most uncomfortable! uncomfortable! so embarrassing! don't you know? eh? What's going to be done now? How does the man take it? Is he a gentleman? Hang me, if I wouldn't let a woman stay where she was, that had served me such a trick!"
Father Antoine laughed a low pleasant laugh.
"And that would be by how much you had loved her, is it not?" he said. "He is a physician also, the good Aunt's husband, and he understands. He will take her with him; and, if he did not, she would die; for, now that it is plain to her, how grievously she hath caused him to sorrow, her love is like a fever till she can make amends for all."
"Amends!" growled Dr. Macgowan, "that's just like a woman too. Amends! I'd like to know what amends there can be for such a scandal, such a disgrace: 'pon my word she must have been mad; that's the only way of accounting for it."
"It is not that there will be scandal," replied Father Antoine. "I am to marry them in the chapel, and there is no one in all the wide world, except to you and to me, that it will be known that they have been husband and wife before."
"Eh! What! Married again!" exclaimed Dr. Macgowan. "Well, that's like a woman too. Why, what damned nonsense! If she was ever his wife, she's his wife now, isn't she? I shouldn't think you'd lend yourself, Father Antoine, to any such transaction as that."
"Gently, gently!" replied Father Antoine: "rail not so at womankind. It is she who wishes to go with him at once; and who says as thou, that she is still his wife: but it is he who will not. He says that she hath for ten years borne a name other than his; that in her own country she hath been ten years mourned for as dead; that he hath by process of law, on account of her death, inherited and sold all the estate that she did own."
"Rich, was she rich!" interrupted Dr. Macgowan. "Well, 'pon my word, it's the most extraordinary thing I ever did hear of: never could have happened in England, sir, never!"
"I know not if it were a large estate," continued Father Antoine, "it would be no difference: if it had been millions she would have left it and come away. She was full of renunciation. Ah! but she must be beloved of the Virgin."
"So you are really going to marry them over again, are you?" broke in the impatient doctor.
"I have said that I would," replied Father Antoine, "and it is great joy to me: neither should it seem strange to you. Your church doth not recognize the sacrament of baptism, when it has been performed by unconsecrated hands of dissenters: you do rebaptize all converts from those sects. So our church does not recognize the sacrament of marriage, when performed by any one outside of its own priesthood. I shall with true gladness of heart administer the holy sacrament of marriage to these two so strangely separated, and so strangely brought together. They have borne ten years of penance for whatever of sin had gone before: the church will bless them now."
"Hem," said Dr. Macgowan, gruffly, unable to controvert the logic of Father Antoine's position in regard to the sacraments; "that is all right from your point of view: but what do they make of it; I don't suppose they admit that their first marriage was invalid, do they?"
Dr. Macgowan was in the worst of humors. He was about to lose a nurse who had been to him for ten years, like his right hand; and he was utterly discomfited and confused in all his confirmed impressions of her character, by these startling revelations of her history. He would not have been a Briton if these untoward combinations of events had not made him surly.
"Nay, nay!" said Father Antoine, placably. "Not so. It is only the husband; and he has but one thing to say: that she who was his wife died to him, to her country, to her friends, to the law. There is even in her village a beautiful and high monument of marble which sets forth all the recountal of her death. She would go back to that country with him, and confess to every man the thing she had done. She prayed him that he would take her. But he will not. He says it would be shame; and the name of his wife that died shall never be shamed. It is a narrow strait for a man who loves a woman. I cannot say that it is clear to me what my own will would be in such a case. I am much moved by each when I hear them talk of it. Ah, but she has the grand honesty! Thou shouldst have heard her cry out when he said that to confess all would be a shame.
"'Nay, nay!' cried she, 'to conceal is a shame.'
"' Ay!' replied her husband, 'but thou hast thought it no shame to conceal thyself for these ten years, and to lie about thy name.' He speaketh with a great anger to her at times, spite of his love.
"'Ah,' she answered him, in a voice which nigh set me to weeping: 'Ah, my husband, I did think it shame: but I bore it, for sake of my love to thee; and now that I know I was wrong, all the more do I long to confess all, both that and this, and to stand forgiven or unforgiven, as I may, clear in the eyes of all who ever knew me.'
"But he will not, and I have counselled her to pray him no more. For he has already endured heavy things at her hands; and, if this one thing be to her a grievous burden, all the more doth it show her love, if she accept it and bear it to the end."
"Well, well," said Dr. Macgowan, somewhat wearied with Father Antoine's sentiments and emotions, "I have lost the best nurse I ever had, or shall have. I'll say that much for her; but I can't help feeling that there was something wrong in her brain somewhere, which might have cropped out again any day. Most extraordinary! most extraordinary!" And Dr. Macgowan walked away with a certain lofty, indifferent air, which English people so well understand, of washing one's hands of matters generally.
There had, indeed, been a sore struggle between Hetty and her husband on this matter of their being remarried by Father Antoine. When Dr. Eben first said to her: "And now, what are we to do, Hetty?" she looked at him in an agony of terror and gasped:
"Why, Eben, there is only one thing for us to do; don't we belong to each other? don't you love me? don't you mean to take me home with you?"
"Would you go home with me, Hetty?" he asked emphatically; "go back to Welbury? let every man, woman, and child in the county, nay, in the State, know that all my grief for you had been worse than needless, that I had been a deserted husband for ten years, and that you had been living under an assumed name all that time? Would you do this?"
Hetty's face paled. "What else is there to do?" she said.
"Could you bear to have your name, your father's name, my name, all dragged into notoriety, all tarnished by being linked with this monstrous tale of a woman who fled—for no reason whatever—from her home, friends, husband, and hid herself, and was found only by an accident?"
"Oh, Eben! spare me," moaned Hetty.
"I can't spare you now, Hetty," he answered. "You must look the thing in the face. I have been looking it in the face ever since the first hour in which I found you. What are we to do?"
"I will stay on here if you think it best," said Hetty. "If you will be happier so. Nobody need ever know that I am alive."
Doctor Eben threw his arms around her. "Leave you here! Why, Hetty, will you never understand that I love you?" he exclaimed; "love you, love you, would no more leave you than I would kill myself?"
"But what is there, then, that we can do?" asked Hetty.
"Be married again here, as if we had never been married! You under your new name," replied Doctor Eben rapidly.
Hetty's face expressed absolute horror. "We—you and I—married again! Why Eben, it would be a mockery," she exclaimed.
"Not so much a mockery," her husband retorted, "as every thing that I have done, and every thing that you have done for ten whole years."
"Oh, Eben! I don't think it would be right," cried Hetty. "It would be a lie."
"A lie!" ejaculated her husband, scornfully. Poor Hetty! The bitter harvest of her wrong deed was garnered for her, poured upon her head at every turn, by the pitilessness of events. Inexorable seasons, surer than any other seed-time and harvest, are those uncalendared seasons in which souls sow and reap with meek patience.
"I know I have lived, acted, told a lie, Eben. Don't taunt me with it. How can you, if you really believe all I have told you of the reasons which led me to it?"
"My Hetty," said Dr. Eben, "I don't taunt you with it. I do believe all you have told me. I do know that you did it for love of me, monstrous though it sounds to say so. But when you refuse now to do the only thing which seems to me possible to be done to repair the mistake, and say your reason for not doing it is that it would be a lie, how can I help pointing back to the long ten years' lie you have lived, acted, told? If your love for me bore you up through that lie, it can bear you up through this."
"Shall we never go home, Eben?" asked Hetty sadly.
"To Welbury? to New England? never!" replied her husband with a terrible emphasis. "Never will I take you there to draw down upon our heads all the intolerable shame, and gossiping talk which would follow. I tell you, Hetty, you are dead! I am shielding your name, the name of my dead wife! You don't seem to comprehend in the least that you have been dead for ten years. You talk as if it would be nothing more to explain your reappearance than if you had been away somewhere for a visit longer than you intended."
The longer they discussed the subject, the more vehement Dr. Eben grew, and the feebler grew Hetty's opposition. She could not gainsay his arguments. She had nothing to oppose to them, except her wifely instinct that the old bond and ceremony were by implication desecrated in assuming a second: "But what right have I to fall back on that old bond," thought poor Hetty, wringing her hands as the burden of her long, sad ten years' mistake weighed upon her.
Not until Hetty had yielded this point was there any real joy between her and her husband. As soon as it was yielded, his happiness began to grow and increase, like a plant in spring-time.
"Now you are mine again! Now we will be happy! Life and the world are before us!" he exclaimed.
"But where shall we live, Eben?" asked the practical Hetty.
"Live! live!" he cried, like a boy; "live anywhere, so that we live together!"
"There is always plenty to do, everywhere," said Hetty, reflectively: "we should not have to be idle."
Dr. Eben looked at her with mingled admiration and anger.
"Hetty!" he exclaimed, "I wish you'd leave off 'doing,' for a while. All our misery came of that. At any rate, don't ever try to 'do' any thing for me again as long as you live! I'll look out for my own happiness, the rest of the time, if you please."
His healing had begun when he could make an affectionate jest, like this; but healing would come far slower to Hetty than to him. Complete healing could perhaps never come. Remorse could never wholly be banished from her heart.
When it had once been settled that the marriage should take place, there seemed no reason for deferring it; no reason, except that Father Antoine's carnations were for some cause or other, not yet in full bloom, and both he and Marie were much discontented at their tardiness. However, the weather grew suddenly hot, with sharp showers in the afternoons, and both the carnations and the Ayrshire roses flowered out by scores every morning, until even Marie was satisfied there would be enough. There was no tint of Ayrshire rose which could not be found in Father Antoine's garden,—white, pink, deep red, purple: the bushes grew like trees, and made almost a thicket, along the western boundary of the garden. Early on the morning of Hetty's wedding, Marie carried heaped basketfuls of these roses, into the chapel, and covered the altar with them. Pierre Michaud, now a fine stalwart fellow of twenty-one, just married to that little sister of Jean Cochot, about whom he had once told so big a lie, had begged for the privilege of adorning the rest of the chapel. For two days, he and Jean, his brother-in-law, had worked in the forests, cutting down young trees of fir, balsam, and dogwood. The balsams were full of small cones of a brilliant purple color; and the dogwoods were waving with showy white flowers. Pierre set each tree in a box of moist earth, so that it looked as thriving and fresh as it had done in the forest; first, a fir, and then a dogwood, all the way from the door to the altar, reached the gay and fragrant wall. Great masses of Linnea vines, in full bloom, hung on the walls, and big vases of Father Antoine's carnations stood in the niches, with the wax saints. The delicate odor of the roses, the Linnea blossoms, and carnations, blended with the spicy scent of the firs, and made a fragrance as strong as if it had been distilled from centuries of summer. The villagers had been told by Father Antoine, that this stranger who was to marry their good "Tantibba," was one who had known and loved her for twenty years, and who had been seeking her vainly all these years that she had lived in St. Mary's. The tale struck a warm chord in the breasts of the affectionate and enthusiastic people. The whole village was in great joy, both for love of "Tantibba," and for the love of romance, so natural to the French heart. Every one who had a flower in blossom picked it, or brought the plant to place in the chapel. Every man, woman, and child in the town, dressed as for a fete, was in the chapel, and praying for "Tantibba," long before the hour for the ceremony. When Eben and Hetty entered the door, the fragrance, the waving flowers, the murmuring crowd, unnerved Hetty. She had not been prepared for this.
"Oh, Eben!" she whispered, and, halting for a moment, clung tighter to his arm. He turned a look of affectionate pride upon her, and, pressing her hand, led her on. Father Antoine's face glowed with loving satisfaction as he pronounced the words so solemn to him, so significant to them. As for Marie, she could hardly keep quiet on her knees: her silver necklace fairly rattled on her shoulders with her excitement.
"Ah, but she looks like an angel! may the saints keep her," she muttered; "but what will comfort M'sieur Antoine for the loss of her, when she is gone?"
After the ceremony was over, all the people walked with the bride and bridegroom to the inn, where the diligence was waiting in which they were to begin their journey; the same old vehicle in which Hetty had come ten years before alone to St. Mary's, and Doctor Eben had come a few weeks ago alone to St. Mary's, "not knowing the things which should befall him there."
It was an incongruous old vehicle for a wedding journey; and the flowers at the ancient horses' heads, and the knots of green at the cracked windows, would have made one laugh who had no interest in the meaning of the decorations. But it was the only four-wheeled vehicle in St. Mary's, and to these simple villagers' way of thinking, there was nothing unbecoming in Tantibba's going away in it with her husband.
"Farewell to thee! Farewell to thee! The saints keep thee, Bo Tantibba and thy husband! and thy husband!" rose from scores of voices as the diligence moved slowly away.
Dr. Macgowan, who had somewhat reluctantly persuaded himself to be present at the wedding, and had walked stiffly in the merry procession from the chapel to the inn, stood on the inn steps, and raised his hat in a dignified manner for a second. Father Antoine stood bareheaded by his side, waving a large white handkerchief, and trying to think only of Hetty's happiness, not at all of his own and the village's loss. As the shouts of the people continued to ring on the air, Dr. Macgowan turned slowly to Father Antoine.
"Most extraordinary scene!" he said, "'pon my word, most extraordinary scene; never could happen in England, sir, never." "Which is perfectly true; worse luck for England," Father Antoine might have replied; but did not. A few of the younger men and maidens ran for a short distance by the side of the diligence, and threw flowers into the windows.
"Thou wilt return! thou wilt return!" they cried. "Say thou wilt return!"
"Yes, God willing, I will return," answered Hetty, bending to the right and to the left, taking loving farewell looks of them all. "We will surely return." And as the last face disappeared from sight, and the last merry voice died away, she turned to her husband, and, laying her hand in his, said, "Why not, Eben? Will not that be our best home, our best happiness, to come back and live and die among these simple people?"
"Yes," answered Dr. Eben, "it will. Tantibba, we will come back."
* * * * *
And now is told all that I have to tell of the Strange History of Eben and Hetty Williams. If there be any who find the history incredible, I have for such a few words more.
First: I myself have seen, in the old graveyard at Welbury, the "beautiful and high monument of marble," of which Father Antoine spoke to Dr. Macgowan. It bears the following inscription:
"Sacred to the Memory of HENRIETTA GUNN, Beloved Wife of Dr. Ebenezer Williams, Who was drowned in Welbury Lake."
The dates, which I have my own reasons for not giving, come below; and also a verse of the Bible, which I will not quote.
Second: I myself was in Welbury when there was brought to the town by some traveller a copy of a Canadian newspaper, in which, among the marriages, appeared this one:
"In the parish of St. Mary's, Canada, W., by Rev. Antoine Ladeau, Mrs. Hibba Smailli to Dr. Ebenezer Williams."
The condition of Welbury, when this piece of news was fairly in circulation in the town, could be compared to nothing but the buzz of a bee hive at swarming time. A letter which was received by the Littles, a few days later, from Dr. Williams himself, did not at first allay the buzzing. He wrote, simply: "You will be much surprised at the slip which I enclose" (it was the newspaper announcement of his marriage). "You can hardly be more surprised than I am myself; but the lady is one whom I knew and loved a great many years ago. We are going abroad, and shall probably remain there for some years. When I shall see Welbury again is very uncertain."
Thirdly: Since neither of these facts proves my "Strange History" true, I add one more.
I know Hetty Williams.
* * * * *
Messrs. Roberts Brothers' Publications.
RAMONA: A Story.
By HELEN JACKSON (H. H.).
The Atlantic Monthly says of the author that she is "a Murillo in literature," and that the story "is one of the most artistic creations of American literature." Says a lady: "To me it is the most distinctive piece of work we have had in this country since 'Uncle Tom's Cabin,' and its exquisite finish of style is beyond that classic." "The book is truly an American novel," says the Boston Advertiser. "Ramona is one of the most charming creations of modern fiction," says Charles D. Warner. "The romance of the story is irresistibly fascinating," says The Independent.
"The best novel written by a woman since George Eliot died, as it seems to me, is Mrs. Jackson's 'Ramona.' What action is there! What motion! How entrainant it is! It carries us along as if mounted on a swift horse's back, from beginning to end, and it is only when we return for a second reading that we can appreciate the fine handling of the characters, and especially the Spanish mother, drawn with a stroke as keen and firm as that which portrayed George Eliot's 'Dorothea.'"—T. W. Higginson.
Unsolicited tribute of a stranger, a lady in Wisconsin:—
"I beg leave to thank you with an intense heartiness for your public espousal of the cause of the Indian. In your 'Century of Dishonor' you showed to the country its own disgrace. In 'Ramona' you have dealt most tenderly with the Indians as men and women. You have shown that their stoicism is not indifference, that their squalor is not always of their own choosing. You have shown the tender grandeur of their love, the endurance of their constancy. While, by 'Ramona,' you have made your name immortal, you have done something which is far greater. You are but one: they are many. You have helped those who cannot help themselves. As a novel, 'Ramona' must stand beside 'Romola,' both as regards literary excellence and the portrayal of life's deepest, most vital, most solemn interests. I think nothing in literature since Goldsmith's 'Vicar of Wakefield' equals your description of the flight of Ramona and Alessandro. Such delicate pathos and tender joy, such pure conception of life's realities, and such loftiness of self-abnegating love! How much richer and happier the world is with 'Ramona' in it!"
* * * * *
A KEY TO "RAMONA."
A Century of Dishonor.
A Sketch of the United States Government's Dealings with some of the Indian Tribes.
By Helen Jackson (H. H.)
AUTHOR OF "RAMONA," "VERSES," "BITS OF TRAVEL," ETC.
"The report made by Mrs. Jackson and Mr. Kinney is grave, concise, and deeply interesting. It is added to the appendix of this new edition of her book. In this California journey, Mrs. Jackson found the materials for 'Ramona,' the Indian novel, which was the last important work of her life, and in which nearly all the incidents are taken from life. In the report of the Mission Indians will be found the story of the Temecula removal and the tragedy of Alessandro's death as they appear in 'Ramona.'"—Boston Daily Advertiser.
"A number of striking cases of breach of faith, heartless banishment from homes confirmed to the Indians by solemn treaties, and wars wantonly provoked in order to make an excuse for dispossessing them of their lands, are grouped together, making a panorama of outrage and oppression which will arouse the humanitarian instincts of the nation to the point of demanding that justice shall be done toward our savage wards.... 'H. H.' succeeds in holding up to the public eye a series of startling pictures of Indian wrongs, drawn from a century of American history."—New York Tribune.
* * * * *
Mrs. Jackson's Letter of Gratitude to the President.
The following letter from Mrs. Jackson to the President was written by her four days before her death, Aug. 12, 1885:—
To GROVER CLEVELAND, President of the United States:
Dear Sir,—From my death-bed I send you a message of heartfelt thanks for what you have already done for the Indians. I ask you to read my "Century of Dishonor." I am dying happier for the belief I have that it is your hand that is destined to strike the first steady blow toward lifting this burden of infamy from our country, and righting the wrongs of the Indian race.
With respect and gratitude,
* * * * *
A POSTHUMOUS STORY.
By HELEN JACKSON (H. H.).
"The story is complete in spite of the fact that a few chapters remained still to be written when the writer succumbed to disease. Begun and mainly completed at Los Angeles last year, the manuscript had been put by to be completed when returning health should have made continuous labor possible. But health never returned; the disease steadily deepened its hold, and a few days before her death, foreseeing that the end was near, Mrs. Jackson sent the manuscript to her publisher, with a brief note, enclosing a short outline of the chapters which remained unwritten.... The real lesson of the book lies in Zeph's unconquerable affection for his worthless wife, and in the beautiful illustration of the divine trait of forgiveness which he constantly manifested toward her. As a portraiture of a character moulded and guided by this sentiment, 'Zeph' will take its place with the best of Mrs. Jackson's work; a beautiful plea for love and charity and long-suffering, patience and forgiveness, coming from one whose hand now rests from this and all kindred labors."—New York Christian Union.
"Although the beautiful and pathetic story of Zeph' was never quite completed, the dying author indicated what remained to be told in the few unwritten chapters, and it comes to us, therefore, not as a curious fragment, but as an all but finished work. There is something most tender and sad in the supreme artistic conscientiousness of one who could give such an illustration of fidelity and so emphasize the nobility of labor from her death-bed. These things that bring back the gracious spirit from whose loss the heart of the reading world is still smarting, would lend pathos and interest to 'Zeph' even if they did not exist in the story itself. The creation of 'Zeph' is a fitting close to a life of splendid literary activity, and it will be enjoyed by those who believe in the novel as, first of all, a work of art, which can be made in proper hands a tremendous force for truth and justice, and real instead of formal righteousness."—New York Commercial Advertiser.
"As people grow older they see more and more clearly that love—the love between man and woman—is the great power that shapes character, and makes life a blessing, a burden, or a curse. More and more deeply did Mrs. Jackson feel the omnipotence of perfect, patient love, the only power that is sure of final victory, and to show this did she tell the story of Zeph. Before the story was finished, Mrs. Jackson became too ill to work any more; but the life of Zeph was very near her heart; she wanted to make it known, to impress the lesson, that through knowledge of a great forgiving human love even the saddest and most sinful creature may come to a faith in a great forgiving divine love, in a God as good as she has known a man to be, and so in her last hours Mrs. Jackson made a brief outline of the plot for the end of the story. As her latest work, this has a special and pathetic interest."—Boston Daily Advertiser.
* * * * *
BY H. H.
"The volume is one which will make H. H. dear to all the lovers of true poetry. Its companionship will be a delight, its nobility of thought and of purpose an inspiration.... This new edition comprises not only the former little book with the same modest title, but as many more new poems.... The best critics have already assigned to H. H. her high place in our catalogue of authors. She is, without doubt, the most highly intellectual of our female poets.... The new poems, while not inferior to the others in point of literary art, have in them more of fervor and of feeling; more of that lyric sweetness which catches the attention and makes the song sing itself over and over afterwards in the remembering brain.... Some of the new poems seem among the noblest H. H. has ever written. They touch the high-water mark of her intellectual power, and are full, besides, of passionate and tender feeling. Among these is the 'Funeral March.'"—N. Y. Tribune.
"A delightful book is the elegant little volume of 'Verses,' by H. H.,—instinct with the quality of the finest Christian womanhood.... Some wives and mothers, growing sedate with losses and cares, will read many of these 'Verses' with a feeling of admiration that is full of tenderness."—Advance.
"The poems of this lady have taken a place in public estimation perhaps higher than that of any living American living poetess.... They are the thoughts of a delicate and refined sensibility, which views life through the pure, still atmosphere of religious fervor, and unites all thought by the tender talisman of love."—Inter-Ocean.
"Since the days of poor 'L. E. L.,' no woman has sailed into fame under a flag inscribed with her initials only, until the days of 'H. H.' Here, however, the parallelism ceases; for the fresh, strong beauty which pervades these 'Verses' has nothing in common with the rather languid sweetness of the earlier writer. Unless I am much mistaken, this enlarged volume, double the size of that originally issued, will place its author not merely above all American poetesses and all living English poetesses, but above all women who have ever written poetry in the English language, except Mrs. Browning alone. 'H. H.' has not yet proved herself equal to Mrs. Browning in range of imagination; but in strength and depth the American writer is quite the equal of the English, and in compactness and symmetry altogether her superior."—T. W. H. in the Index.