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Title: Daisy Thornton
Author: Holmes, Mrs. Mary J.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Daisy Thornton" ***

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                        BY MRS. MARY J. HOLMES,

                               AUTHOR OF
      _Tempest and Sunshine.—’Lena Rivers.—Darkness and Daylight._
      _—Marian Grey.—English Orphans.—Hugh Worthington.—Millbank._
            _—Ethelyn’s Mistake.—Edna Browning, Etc., Etc._

      "Those whom God has joined together let no man put asunder."

                               NEW YORK:
                          Copyright, 1878, by
                  _G. W. Carleton & Co., Publishers_.

                          LONDON: S. LOW & CO.

                               MDCCCLXXX.

                           _Samuel Stodder_,
                             _Stereotyper_,
                         _90 Ann Street, N.Y._


                                 _Trow_
                       _Printing and Bookbinding_
                               _Company._

                                  ————



CONTENTS


    CHAPTER I.—EXTRACTS FROM MISS FRANCES THORNTON’S JOURNAL.
    CHAPTER II.—EXTRACTS FROM GUY’S JOURNAL.
    CHAPTER III.—EXTRACTS FROM DAISY’S JOURNAL.
    CHAPTER IV.—AUTHOR’S STORY.
    CHAPTER V.—THE DIVORCE.
    CHAPTER VI.—EXTRACTS FROM DIARIES.
    CHAPTER VII.—FIVE YEARS LATER.
    CHAPTER VIII.—DAISY’S LETTER.
    CHAPTER IX.—DAISY, TOM, AND THAT OTHER ONE.
    CHAPTER X.—MISS MCDONALD.
    CHAPTER XI.—AT SARATOGA.
    CHAPTER XII.—IN THE SICK ROOM.
    CHAPTER XIII.—DAISY’S JOURNAL.

                                  ————

                             DAISY THORNTON



CHAPTER I.—EXTRACTS FROM MISS FRANCES THORNTON’S JOURNAL.


                                                Elmwood, June 15th, 18—.

I have been working among my flowers all the morning, digging, weeding
and transplanting, and then stopping a little to rest. My roses are
perfect beauties this year, while my white lilies are the wonder of the
town, and yet my heart was not with them to-day, and it was nothing to
me that those fine people from the Towers came into the grounds while I
was at work, "just to see and admire," they said, adding that there was
no place in Cuylerville like Elmwood. I know that, and Guy and I have
been so happy here, and I loved him so much, and never dreamed what was
in store for me until it came suddenly like a heavy blow.

Why should he wish to marry, when he has lived to be thirty years old
without a care of any kind, and has money enough to allow him to indulge
his taste for books, and pictures, and travel, and is respected by
everybody, and looked up to as the first man in town, and petted and
cared for by me as few brothers have ever been petted and cared for? and
if he must marry, why need he take a child of sixteen, whom he has only
known since Christmas, and whose sole recommendation, so far as I can
learn, is her pretty face?

Daisy McDonald is her name, and she lives in Indianapolis, where her
father is a poor lawyer, and as I have heard, a scheming, unprincipled
man. Guy met her last winter in Chicago, and fell in love at once, and
made two or three journeys West on "important business," he said, and
then, some time in May, told me he was going to bring me a sister, the
sweetest little creature, with beautiful blue eyes and wonderful hair. I
was sure to love her, he said, and when I suggested that she was very
young, he replied that her youth was in her favor, as we could more
easily mould her to the Thornton pattern.

Little he knows about girls; but then he was perfectly infatuated and
blind to everything but Daisy’s eyes, and hair, and voice, which is so
sweet and winning that it will speak for her at once. Then she is so
dainty and refined, he said, and he asked me to see to the furnishing of
the rooms on the west side of the house, the two which communicate with
his own private library, where he spends a great deal of time with his
books and writing. The room adjoining this was to be Daisy’s boudoir or
parlor, where she could sit when he was occupied and she wished to be
near him. This was to be fitted up in blue, as she had expressed a wish
to that effect, and he said no expense must be spared to make it as
pretty and attractive as possible. So the walls were frescoed and
tinted, and I spent two entire days in New York hunting for a carpet of
the desirable shade, which should be right both in texture and design.

Guy was exceedingly particular, and developed a wonderful proclivity to
find fault with everything I admired. Nothing was quite the thing for
Daisy, until at last a manufacturer offered to get a carpet up which was
sure to suit, and so that question was happily settled for the time
being. Then came the furniture, and unlimited orders were given to the
upholsterer to do his best, and matters were progressing finely when
order number two came from the little lady, who was sorry to seem so
fickle, but her mamma, whose taste was perfect, had decided against
_all_ blue, and would Guy please furnish the room with drab trimmed with
blue?

"It must be a very delicate shade of drab," she wrote, and lest he
should get too intense an idea, she would call it a _tint_ of a _shade_
of drab, or, better yet, a _hint_ of a tint of a shade of drab would
describe exactly what she meant, and be so entirely unique, and lovely,
and _recherche_.

Guy never swears, and seldom uses slang of any kind, but this was a
little too much, and with a most rueful expression of countenance he
asked me "what in thunder I supposed a hint of a tint of a shade of drab
could be?"

I could not enlighten him, and we finally concluded to leave it to the
upholsterer, to whom Guy telegraphed in hot haste, bidding him hunt New
York over for the desired shade. Where he found it I never knew; but
find it he did, or something approximating to it,—a faded, washed-out
color, which seemed a cross between wood-ashes and pale skim milk. A
sample was sent up for Guy’s approval, and then the work commenced
again, when order number three came in one of those dainty little
billets which used to make Guy’s face radiant with happiness. Daisy had
changed her mind again and gone back to the blue, which she always
preferred as most becoming to her complexion.

Guy did not say a single word, but he took the next train for New York,
and staid there till the furniture was done and packed for Cuylerville.
As I did not know where he was stopping, I could not forward him two
letters which came during his absence, and which bore the Indianapolis
post-mark. I suspect he had a design in keeping his address from me,
and, whether Daisy changed her mind again or not, I never knew.

The furniture reached Elmwood the day but one before Guy started for his
bride, and Julia Hamilton, who was then at the Towers, helped me arrange
the room, which is a perfect little gem, and cannot fail to please, I am
sure. I wonder Guy never fancied Julia Hamilton. Oh, if he only had done
so, I should not have as many misgivings as I now have, nor dread the
future so much. Julia is sensible and twenty years old, and lives in
Boston, and comes of a good family, and is every way suitable,—but when
did a man ever choose the woman whom his sister thought suitable for
him? And Guy is like other men, and this is his wedding day; and after a
trip to Montreal, and Quebec, and Boston, and New York, and Saratoga,
they are coming home, and I am to give a grand reception, and then
subside, I suppose, into the position of the "old maid sister who will
be dreadfully in the way."

                                  ————

                                                    September 15th, 18—.

Just three months since I opened my journal, and, on glancing over what
I wrote on Guy’s wedding day, I find that in one respect at least I was
unjust to the little creature who is now my sister, and calls me Miss
Frances. Not by a word or look has she shown the least inclination to
assume the position of mistress of the house, nor does she seem to think
me at all in the way; but that she considers me quite an antediluvian I
am certain, for, in speaking of something which happened in 1820, she
asked if I remembered it! And I only three years older than Guy! But
then she once called him a dear old grandfatherly man, and thought it a
good joke that on their wedding tour she was mistaken for his daughter.
She looks so young,—not sixteen even; but with those childish blue eyes,
and that innocent, pleading kind of expression, she never can be old.
She is very beautiful, and I can understand in part Guy’s infatuation,
though at times he hardly knows what to do with his pretty plaything.

It was the middle of August when they came from Saratoga, sorely against
her wishes, as I heard from the Porters, who were at the same hotel, and
who have told me what a sensation she created, and how much attention
she received. Everybody flattered her, and one evening, when there was
to be a hop at Congress Hall, she received twenty bouquets from as many
different admirers, each of whom asked her hand for the first dance. And
even Guy tried some of the square dances,—with poor success, I imagine,
for Lucy Porter laughed when she told me of it, and the mistakes he
made; and I do not wonder, for my grave, scholarly Guy must be as much
out of place in a ball-room as his little, airy, doll of a wife is in
her place when there. I can understand just how she enjoyed it all, and
how she hated to come to Elmwood, for she did not then know the kind of
home she was coming to.

It was glorious weather for August, and a rain of the previous day had
washed all the flowers and shrubs, and freshened up the grass on the
lawn, which was just like a piece of velvet, while everything around the
house seemed to laugh in the warm afternoon sunshine as the carriage
came up to the door. Eight trunks, two hat-boxes, and a guitar-case had
come in the morning, and were waiting the arrival of their owner, whose
face looked eagerly out at the house and its surroundings, and it seemed
to me did not light up as much as it should have done under the
circumstances.

"Why, Guy, I always thought the house was brick," I heard her say, as
the carriage door was opened by the coachman.

"No, darling,—wood. Ah, there’s Fan," was Guy’s reply, and the next
moment I had her in my arms.

Yes, literally in my arms. She is such a wee little thing, and her face
is so sweet, and her eyes so childish and wistful and her voice so
musical and flute-like that before I knew what I was doing I lifted her
from her feet and hugged her hard, and said I meant to love her, first
for Guy’s sake, and then for her own. Was it my fancy, I wonder, or did
she really shrink back a little and put up her hands to arrange the
bows, and streamers, and curls floating away from her like the flags on
a vessel on some gala day.

She was very tired, Guy said, and ought to lie down before dinner. Would
I show her to her room with Zillah, her maid? Then for the first time I
noticed a dark-haired girl who had alighted from the carriage and stood
holding Daisy’s traveling-bag and wraps.

"Her waiting-maid, whom we found in Boston," Guy explained, when we were
alone. "She is so young and helpless, and wanted one so badly, that I
concluded to humor her for a time, especially as I had not the most
remote idea how to pin on those wonderful fixings which she wears. It is
astonishing how many things it takes to make up the _tout ensemble_ of a
fashionable woman," Guy said, and I thought he glanced with an unusual
amount of curiosity and interest at my plain cambric wrapper and smooth
hair.

Indeed he has taken it upon himself to criticise me somewhat; thinks I
am too slim, as he expresses it, and that my head might be improved if
it had a more snarly appearance. Daisy, of course, stands for his model,
and her hair does not look as if it had been combed in a month, and yet
Zillah spends hours over it. She,—that is, Daisy,—was pleased with her
boudoir, and gave vent to sundry exclamations of delight when she
entered it, skipped around like the child she is, and said she was so
glad it was blue instead of that indescribable drab, and that room is
almost the only thing she has expressed an opinion about since she has
been here. She does not talk much except to Zillah, and then in French,
which I do not understand. If I were to write just what I think I should
say that she had expected a great deal more grandeur than she finds. At
all events, she takes the things which I think very nice and even
elegant as a matter of course, and if we were to set up a style of
living equal to that of the queen’s household, I do believe she would
act as if she had been accustomed to it all her life, or, at least, that
it was what she had a right to expect. I know she imagines Guy a great
deal richer than he is; and that reminds me of something which troubles
me.

Guy has given his name to Dick Trevylian for one hundred thousand
dollars. To be sure it is only for three months, and Dick is worth three
times that amount, and is an old friend and every way reliable and
honest. And still I did not want Guy to sign. I wonder why it is that
women always jump at a conclusion without any apparent reason. Of
course, I could not explain it, but when Guy told me what he was going
to do, I felt in an instant as if he would have it all to pay, and told
him so, but he only laughed at me and called me nervous and fidgety, and
said a friend was good for nothing if he could not lend a helping hand
occasionally. Perhaps that is true, but I was uneasy and shall be glad
when the time is up and the paper canceled.

Our expenses since Daisy came are double what they were before, and if
we were to lose one hundred thousand dollars now we should be badly off.
Daisy is a luxury Guy has to pay for, but he pays willingly and seems to
grow more and more infatuated every day. "She is such a sweet-tempered,
affectionate little puss," he says; and I admit to myself that she is
sweet-tempered, and that nothing ruffles her, but about the affectionate
part I am not so certain. Guy would pet her and caress her all the time
if she would let him, but she won’t.

"O, please don’t touch me. It is too warm, and you muss my dress," I
have heard her say more than once when he came in and tried to put his
arm about her or take her in his lap.

Indeed, her dress seems to be uppermost in her mind, and I have known
her to try on half a dozen different ones before she could decide in
which she looked the best. No matter what Guy is doing, or how deeply he
is absorbed in his studies, she makes him stop and inspect her from all
points, and give his opinion, and Guy submits in a way perfectly
wonderful to me who never dared to disturb him when shut up with his
books.

Another thing, too, he submits to which astonishes me more than anything
else. It used to annoy him terribly to wait for anything or anybody.
_He_ was always ready, and expected others to be, but Daisy is just the
reverse. Such dawdling habits I never saw in any person. With Zillah to
help her dress she is never ready for breakfast, never ready for dinner,
never ready for church, never ready for anything, and that, in a
household accustomed to order and regularity, does put things back so,
and make so much trouble.

"Don’t wait breakfast for me, please," she says, when she has been
called for the third or fourth time, and if she can get us to sit down
without her she seems to think it all right, and that she can be as long
as she likes.

I wonder that it never occurs to her that to keep the breakfast table
round, as we must, makes the girls cross and upsets the kitchen
generally. I hinted as much to her once when the table stood till ten
o’clock, and she only opened her great blue eyes wonderingly, and said
mamma had spoiled her she guessed, for it did not use to matter at home
when she was ready, but she would try and do better. She bade Zillah
call her at _five_ the next morning, and Zillah called her, and then she
was a half hour late. Guy doesn’t like that, and he looked daggers on
the night of the reception, when the guests began to arrive before she
was dressed! And she commenced her toilet too, at three o’clock! But she
was wondrously beautiful in her bridal robes, and took all hearts by
storm. She is perfectly at home in society, and knows just what to do
and say so long as the conversation keeps in the fashionable round of
chit-chat, but when it drifts into deeper channels she is silent at
once, or only answers in monosyllables. I believe she is a good French
scholar, and she plays and sings tolerably well, and reads the novels as
they come out, but of books and literature, in general, she is wholly
ignorant, and if Guy thought to find in her any sympathy with his
favorite studies and authors he is terribly mistaken.

And yet, as I write all this, my conscience gives me sundry pricks as if
I were wronging her, for in spite of her faults I like her ever so much,
and like to watch her flitting through the house and grounds like the
little fairy she is, and I hope the marriage may turn out well, and that
she will improve with age, and make Guy very happy.



CHAPTER II.—EXTRACTS FROM GUY’S JOURNAL.


                                                    September 20th, 18—.

Three months married. Three months with Daisy all to myself, and yet not
exactly to myself either, for of her own accord she does not often come
where I am, unless it is just as I have shut myself up in my room,
thinking to have a quiet hour with my books. Then she generally appears,
and wants me to ride with her, or play croquet or see which dress is
most becoming, and I always submit and obey her as if I were the child
instead of herself.

She _is_ young, and I almost wonder her parents allowed her to marry.
Fan hints that they were mercenary, but if they were they concealed the
fact wonderfully well, and made me think it a great sacrifice on their
part to give me Daisy. And so it was; such a lovely little darling, and
so beautiful. What a sensation she created at Saratoga! and still I was
glad to get away, for I did not fancy some things which were done there.
I did not like so many young men around her, nor her dancing those
abominable round dances which she seemed to enjoy so much. "Square
dances were poky," she said, even after I tried them with her for the
sake of keeping her out of that vile John Britton’s arms. I have an
impression that I made a spectacle of myself, hopping about like a
magpie, but Daisy said, "I did beautifully," though she cried because I
put my foot on her lace flounce and tore it, and I noticed that after
that she always had some good reason why I should not dance again. "It
was too hard work for me; I was too big and clumsy," she said, "and
would tire easily. Cousin Tom was big and he never danced."

By the way, I have some little curiosity with regard to that Cousin Tom
who wanted Daisy so badly, and who, because she refused him, went off to
South America. I trust he will stay there. Not that I am or could be
jealous of Daisy, but it is better for cousins like Tom to keep away.

Daisy is very happy here, though she is not quite as enthusiastic over
the place as I supposed she would be, knowing how she lived at home. The
McDonalds are intensely respectable, so she says; but her father’s
practice cannot bring him over two thousand a year, and the small brown
house they live in, with only a grass-plot in the rear and at the side,
is not to be compared with Elmwood, which is a fine old place, every one
admits. It has come out gradually that she thought the house was brick
and had a tower and billiard-room, and that we kept a great many
servants, and had a fish-pond on the premises, and velvet carpets on
every floor. I would not let Fan know this for the world, as I want her
to like Daisy thoroughly.

And she does like her, though this little pink and white pet of mine is
a new revelation to her, and puzzles her amazingly. She would have been
glad if I had married Julia Hamilton, of Boston; but those Boston girls
are too strong-minded and positive to suit me. Julia is nice, it is
true, and pretty, and highly educated, and Fan says she has brains and
would make a splendid wife. As Fan had never seen Daisy she did not, of
course, mean to hint that she had not brains, but I suspect even now she
would be better pleased if Julia were here, but I should not. Julia is
self-reliant; Daisy is not. Julia has opinions of her own and asserts
them, too; Daisy does not. Julia can sew and run a machine; Daisy
cannot. Julia gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night; Daisy
does neither. Nobody ever waits for Julia; everybody waits for Daisy.
Julia reads scientific works and dotes on metaphysics; Daisy does not
know the meaning of the word. In short, Julia is a strong, high-toned,
energetic, independent woman, while Daisy is—a little innocent,
confiding girl, whom I would rather have without brains than all the
Boston women like Julia with brains!

And yet I sometimes wish she did care for books, and was more interested
in what interests me. I have tried reading aloud to her an hour every
evening, but she generally goes to sleep or steals up behind me to look
over my shoulder and see how near I am to the end of the chapter, and
when I reach it she says: "Excuse me, but I have just thought of
something I must tell Zillah about the dress I want to wear to-morrow.
I’ll be back in a moment;" and off she goes and our reading is ended for
that time, for I notice she never returns. The dress is of more
importance than the book, and I find her at ten or eleven trying to
decide whether black or white or blue is most becoming to her. Poor
Daisy! I fear she had no proper training at home. Indeed, she told me
the other day that from her earliest recollection she had been taught
that the main object of her life was to marry young and to marry money.
Of course she did not mean anything, but I would rather she had not said
it, even though I know she refused a millionaire for me who can hardly
be called rich as riches are rated these days. If Dick Trevylian should
fail to meet his payment I should be very poor, and then what would
become of Daisy, to whom the luxuries which money buys are so necessary?

[Here followed several other entries in the journal, consisting mostly
of rhapsodies on Daisy, and then came the following:]

                                  ————

                                                     December 15th, 18—.

Dick _has_ failed to meet his payments, and that too after having
borrowed of me twenty thousand more! Is he a villain, and did he know
all the time that I was ruining myself? I cannot think so when I
remember the look on his face as he told me about it and swore to me
solemnly that up to the very last he fully expected relief from England,
where he thought he had a fortune.

"If I live I will pay you sometime," he said; but that does not help me
now. I am a ruined man. Elmwood must be sold, and I must work like a dog
to earn my daily bread. For myself I would not mind it much, and Fan,
who, woman-like, saw it in the distance and warned me of it, behaves
nobly; but it falls hard on Daisy.

Poor Daisy! She never said a word when I told her the exact truth, but
she went to bed and cried for one whole day. I am so glad I settled ten
thousand dollars on her when we were married. No one can touch that, and
I told her so; but she did not say a word or seem to know what I meant.
Talking of anything serious, or expressing her opinion, was never in her
line, and she has not of her own accord spoken with me on the subject,
and when I try to talk with her about our future she shudders and cries,
and says, "Please don’t! I can’t bear it! I want to go home to mother!"

And so it is settled that while we are arranging matters she is to visit
her mother and perhaps not return till spring, when I hope to be in a
better condition financially than I am at present.

One thing Daisy said, which hurt me cruelly, and that was: "If I must be
a poor man’s wife I might as well have married Cousin Tom, who wanted me
so badly!" To do her justice, however, she added immediately: "But I
like you the best."

I am glad she said that. It will be something to remember when she is
gone, or rather when I return without her, as I am going to Indianapolis
with her, and then back to the dreary business of seeing what I have
left and what I can do. I have an offer for the house, and shall sell it
at once; but where my home will be next, I do not know, neither would I
care so much if it were not for Daisy,—poor little Daisy!—who thought
she had married a rich man. The only tears I have shed over my lost
fortune were for her. Oh, Daisy, Daisy!



CHAPTER III.—EXTRACTS FROM DAISY’S JOURNAL.


                                           Elmwood, September 20th, 18—.

Daisy McDonald Thornton’s journal,—presented by my husband, Mr. Guy
Thornton, who wishes me to write something in it every day; and who,
when I asked him what I should write, said: "Your thoughts, and
opinions, and experiences. It will be pleasant for you sometime to look
back upon your early married life and see what progress you have made
since then, and will help you to recall incidents you would otherwise
forget. A journal fixes things in your mind, and I know you will enjoy
it, especially as no one is to see it, and you can talk to it freely as
to a friend."

That is what Guy said, and I wrote it right down to copy into the book
as a kind of preface or introduction. I am not much pleased with having
to keep a journal, and maybe I shall coax Zillah to keep it for me. I
don’t care to _fix_ things in my mind. I don’t like things _fixed_,
anyway. I’d rather they would lie round loose, as they surely would, if
I had not Zillah to pick them up. She is a treasure, and it is almost
worth being married to have a waiting-maid,—and that reminds me that I
may as well begin back at the time when I was not married, and did not
want to be either, if we had not been so poor, and obliged to make so
many shifts to keep up appearances and seem richer than we were.

My maiden name was Margaret McDonald, and I am seventeen next New Year’s
Day. My father is of Scotch descent, and a lawyer; and mother was a
Barnard, from New Orleans, and has some very good blood in her veins. I
am an only child, and very handsome,—so everybody says; and I should
know it if they did not say it, for can’t I see myself in the glass? And
still I really do not care so much for my good looks except as they
serve to attain the end for which father says I was born.

Almost the first thing I can remember is of his telling me that I must
marry young and marry rich, and I promised him I would, provided I could
stay at home with mother just the same after I was married. Another
thing I remember, which made a lasting impression, and that is the
beating father gave me for asking before some grand people staying at
our house, "Why we did not always have beefsteak and hot muffins for
breakfast, instead of baked potatoes and bread and butter?"

I must learn to keep my mouth shut, he said, and not tell all I knew;
and I profited by the lesson, and that is one reason, I suppose, why I
so rarely say what I think or express an opinion either favorable or
otherwise.

I do not believe I am deceitful, though all my life I have seen my
parents try to seem what they are not; that is, try to seem like rich
people, when sometimes father’s practice brought him only a few hundreds
a year, and there was mother and myself and Tom to support. Tom is my
cousin,—Tom McDonald—who lived with us and fell in love with me, though
I never tried to make him. But I liked him ever so much, even if he did
use to tease me horridly, and put horn-bugs in my shoes, and worms on my
neck, and jack-o’lanterns in my room, and tip me off his sled into the
snow; for with all his teasing, he had a great, kind, unselfish heart,
and I shall never forget that look on his face when I told him I could
not be his wife. I did not like him as he liked me, and I did not want
to be married any way. I could not bear the thought of being tied up to
some man, and if I did marry it must be to somebody who was rich. That
was in Chicago, and the night before Tom started for South America,
where he was going to make his fortune, and he wanted me to promise to
wait for him, and said no one would ever love me as well as he did.

I could not promise, because, even if he had all the gold mines in Peru,
I did not care to spend my days with him,—to see him morning, noon and
night, and all the time. It is a good deal to ask of a woman, and I told
him so, and he cried so hard,—not loud, but in a pitiful kind of way,
which hurt me cruelly. I hear that sobbing sometimes now in my sleep,
and it’s like the moan of the wind round that house on the prairie where
Tom’s mother died. Poor Tom! I gave him a lock of my hair and let him
kiss me twice, and then he went away, and after that old Judge Burton
offered himself and his million to me; but I could not endure his bald
head a week, I should hate him awfully and I told him no; and when
father seemed sorry and said I missed it, I told him I would not sell
myself for gold alone,—I’d run away first and go after Tom, who was
young and just bearable. Then Guy Thornton came, and—and—well, he took
me by storm, and I liked him better than any one I had ever seen, though
I would rather have him for my friend,—my beau, whom I could order
around and get rid of when I pleased, but I married him. Everybody said
he was rich, and father was satisfied and gave his consent, and bought
me a most elaborate trousseau. I wondered then where the money came
from. Now, I know that _Tom_ sent it. He has been very successful with
his mine, and in a letter to father sent me a check for fifteen hundred
dollars. Father would not tell me that, but mother did, and I felt
worse, I think, than when I heard the sobbing. Poor Tom! I never wear
one of the dresses now without thinking who paid for it and wrote in his
letter, "I am working like an ox for Daisy." Poor Tom!

                                  ————

                                                       October 1st, 18—.

I rather like writing in my journal after all, for here I can say what I
think, and I guess I shall not let Zillah make the entries. Where did I
leave off? Oh, about poor Tom.

I have had a letter from him. He had just heard of my marriage, and only
said, "God bless you, my darling little Daisy, and may you be very
happy."

I burned the letter up and cried myself into a headache. I wish people
would not love me so much. I do not deserve it, for I know I am not what
they think me to be. There’s Guy, my husband, more to be pitied than
Tom, because, you see, he has got me; and privately, between you and me,
old journal, I am not worth the getting, and I know it perhaps better
than any one else. I do not think I am really mean or bad, but there
certainly is in my make-up something different from other women. I like
Guy and believe him to be the best man in the world, and I would rather
he kissed me than Tom, but do not want any body to kiss me, especially a
man, and Guy is so affectionate, and his great hands are so hot, and
muss my fluted dresses so terribly.

I guess I don’t like to be married anyway. If one only could have the
house, and the money, and the nice things without the husband! That’s
wicked, of course, when Guy is so kind and loves me so much. I wish he
didn’t, but I would not for the world let him know how I feel. I did
tell him that I was not the wife he ought to have, but he would not
believe me, and father was anxious, and so I married him, meaning to do
the best I could. It was splendid at Saratoga, only Guy danced so
ridiculously and would not let me waltz with those young men. As if I
cared a straw for them or any body besides Guy and Tom!

It is very pleasant here at Elmwood, but the house is not as grand as I
supposed, and there are not as many servants, and the family carriage is
awful pokey. Guy is to give me a pretty little phaeton on my birthday.

I like Miss Frances very much, only she is such a raging housekeeper,
and keeps me all the while on the alert. I don’t believe in these raging
housekeepers who act as if they wanted to make the bed before you are
up, and eat breakfast before it is ready. I don’t like to get up in the
morning any way, and I don’t like to hurry, and I am always behind, and
keeping somebody waiting, and that disturbs the people here very much.
Miss Frances seems really cross sometimes, and even Guy looks sober and
disturbed when he has waited for me half an hour or more. I guess I must
try and do better, for both Guy and Miss Frances are as kind as they can
be, but then I am not one bit like them, and have never been accustomed
to anything like order and regularity. At home things came round any
time, and I came with them, and that suited me better than being
married, only now I have a kind of settled feeling, and am Mrs. Guy
Thornton, and Guy is good looking, and highly esteemed, and very
learned, and I can see that the young ladies in the neighborhood envy me
for being his wife. I wonder who is that Julia Hamilton, Miss Frances
talks about so much, and why Guy did not marry her instead of me. She is
very learned, and gets up in the morning and flies round and is always
ready, and reads scientific articles in the _Westminster Review_, and
teaches in Sunday-school, and thinks it wicked to waltz, and likes to
discuss all the mixed-up horrid questions of the day,—religion and
politics and science and everything. I asked Guy once why he did not
marry her instead of a little goose like me, and he said he liked the
little goose the best, and then kissed me, and crumpled my white dress
all up. Poor Guy! I wish I did love him as well as he does me, but it’s
not in me to love any body very much.

                                  ————

                                                     December 20th, 18—.

A horrible thing has happened, and I have married a poor man after all!
Guy signed for somebody and had to pay, and Elmwood must be sold, and we
are to move into a stuffy little house, without Zillah, and with but one
girl, and I shall have to take care of my own room as I did at home, and
make my own bed and pick up my things and shall never be ready for
dinner. It is too dreadful to think about, and I was sick for a week
after Guy told me of it. I might as well have married Tom, only I like
Guy the best. He looks so sorry and sad that I sometimes forget myself
to pity him. I am going home to mother for a long, long time,—all winter
may be,—and I shall enjoy it so much. Guy says I have ten thousand
dollars of my own, and the interest on that will buy my dresses, I
guess, and get something for Miss Frances, too. She is a noble woman,
and tries to bear up so bravely. She says they will keep the furniture
of my blue room for me, if I want it; and I do, and I mean to have Guy
send it to Indianapolis, if he will. Oh, mother, I am so glad I am
coming back, where I can do exactly as I like,—eat my breakfast on the
washstand if I choose, and sit up all night long. I almost wish,—no, I
don’t, either. I like Guy ever so much. It’s being tied up that I don’t
like.



CHAPTER IV.—AUTHOR’S STORY.


Guy Thornton was not a fool, and Daisy was not a fool, though they have
thus far appeared to great disadvantage. Beth had made a mistake; Guy in
marrying a child whose mind was unformed; and Daisy in marrying at all,
when her whole nature was in revolt against matrimony. But the mistake
was made, and Guy had failed and Daisy was going home, and the New
Year’s morning when she was to have received Guy’s gift of the phaeton
and ponies, found her at the little cottage in Indianapolis, where she
at once resumed all the old indolent habits of her girlhood, and was
happier than she had been since leaving home as a bride.

On Mr. McDonald, the news of his son-in-law’s failure fell like a
thunderbolt and affected him more than it did Daisy. Shrewd, ambitious
and scheming, he had for years planned for his daughter a moneyed
marriage, and now she was returned upon his hands for an indefinite
time, with her naturally luxurious tastes intensified by recent
indulgence, and her husband a ruined man. It was not a pleasant picture
to contemplate, and Mr. McDonald’s face was cloudy and thoughtful for
many days, until a letter from Tom turned his thoughts into a new
channel and sent him with fresh avidity to certain points of law with
which he had of late years been familiar. If there was one part of his
profession in which he excelled more than another it was in the divorce
cases which had made Indiana so notorious. Squire McDonald, as he was
called, was well known to that class of people who, utterly ignoring
God’s command, seek to free themselves from the bonds which once were so
pleasant to wear, and as he sat alone in his office with Tom’s letter in
his hand, and read how rapidly that young man was getting rich, there
came into his mind a plan, the very thought of which would have made Guy
Thornton shudder with horror and disgust.

Daisy had not been altogether satisfied with her brief married life, and
it would be very easy to make her more dissatisfied, especially as the
home to which she would return must necessarily be very different from
Elmwood. Tom was destined to be a millionaire. There was no doubt of
that, and he could be moulded and managed as Mr. McDonald had never been
able to mould or manage Guy. But everything pertaining to Tom must be
kept carefully out of sight, for the man knew his daughter would never
lend herself to such a diabolical scheme as that which he was revolving,
and which he at once put in progress, managing so adroitly that before
Daisy was at all aware of what she was doing, she found herself the
heroine of a divorce suit, founded really upon nothing but a general
dissatisfaction with married life, and a wish to be free from it.
Something there was about incompatibility of temperament and
uncongeniality and all that kind of thing which wicked men and women
parade before the world when weary of the tie which God has said shall
not be torn asunder.

It is not our intention to follow the suit through any of its details,
and we shall only say that it progressed rapidly, while poor
unsuspicious Guy was working hard to retrieve in some way his lost
fortune, and to fit up a pleasant home for the childish wife who was
drifting away from him. He had missed her so much at first, even while
he felt it a relief to have her gone when his business matters needed
all his time and thought. It was some comfort to write to her, but not
much to receive her letters, for Daisy did not excel in epistolary
composition, and after a few weeks her letters were short and far apart,
and, as Guy thought, constrained and studied in their tone, and when,
after she had been absent from him for three months or more his longing
to see her was so great that he decided upon a visit of a few days to
the West, and apprized her of his intention, asking if she would be glad
to see him, he received in reply a telegram from Mr. McDonald telling
him to defer his journey as Daisy was visiting some friends and would be
absent for an indefinite length of time. There was but one more letter
from her, and that was dated at Vincennes, and merely said that she was
well, and Guy must not feel anxious about her or take the trouble to
come to see her, as she knew how valuable his time must be, and would
far rather he should devote himself to his business than bother about
her. The letter was signed, "Hastily, Daisy," and Guy read it over many
times with a pang in his heart he could not define.

But he had no suspicion of the terrible blow in store for him, and went
on planning for her comfort just the same; and when at last Elmwood was
sold and he could no longer stay there, he hired a more expensive house
than he could afford, because he thought Daisy would like it better, and
then, with his sister Frances, set himself to the pleasant task of
fitting it up for Daisy. There was a blue room with a bay window just as
there had been in Elmwood, only it was not so pretentious and large. But
it was very pleasant, and had a door opening out upon what Guy meant
should be a flower garden in the summer, and though he missed his little
wife sadly, and longed so much at times for a sight of her beautiful
face and the sound of her sweet voice, he put all thought of himself
aside and said he would not bring her back until the May flowers were in
blossom and the young grass bright and green by the blue room door.

"She will have a better impression of her new home then," he said to his
sister, "and I want her to be happy here and not feel the change too
keenly."

Julia Hamilton chanced to be in town staying at the Towers, and as she
was very intimate with Miss Thornton the two were a great deal together,
and it thus came about that Julia was often at the brown cottage and
helped to settle the blue room for Daisy.

"If it were only you who was to occupy it," Frances said to her one
morning when they had been reading together for an hour or more in the
room they both thought so pretty. "I like Daisy, but somehow she seems
so far from me. Why, there’s not a sentiment in common between us."

Then, as if sorry for having said so much, she spoke of Daisy’s
marvelous beauty and winning ways, and hoped Julia would know and love
her ere long, and possibly do her good.

It so happened that Guy was sometimes present at these readings and
enjoyed them so much that there insensibly crept into his heart a wish
that Daisy was more like the Boston girl whom he had mentally termed
strong-minded and stiff.

"And in time, perhaps, she maybe," he thought. "I mean to have Julia
here a great deal next summer, and with two such women for companions as
Julia and Fan, Daisy cannot help but improve."

And so at last when the house was settled and the early spring flowers
were in bloom Guy started westward for his wife. He had not seen her now
for months, and it was more than two weeks since he had heard from her,
and his heart beat high with joyful anticipation as he thought just how
she would look when she came to him, shyly and coyly, as she always did,
with that droop in her eye-lids and that pink flush in her cheeks. He
would chide her a little at first, he said, for having been so poor a
correspondent, especially of late, and after that he would love her so
much, and shield her so tenderly from every want or care that she should
never feel the difference in his fortune.

Poor Guy,—he little dreamed what was in store for him just inside the
door where he stood ringing one morning in May, and which, when at last
it was opened, shut in a very different man from the one who who went
through it three hours later, benumbed and half-crazed with bewilderment
and surprise.



CHAPTER V.—THE DIVORCE.


He had expected to meet Daisy in the hall, but she was not in sight, and
her mother, who appeared in response to the card he sent up, seemed
confused and unnatural to such a degree that Guy asked in some alarm if
anything had happened, and where Daisy was.

Nothing had happened,—that is,—well, nothing was the matter with Daisy,
Mrs. McDonald said, only she was nervous and not feeling quite well that
morning, and thought she better not come down. They were not expecting
him so soon, she continued, and she regretted exceedingly that her
husband was not there, but she had sent for him, and hoped he would come
immediately. Had Mr. Thornton been to breakfast?

He had been to breakfast, and he did not understand at all what she
meant; if Daisy could not come to him, he must go to her, he said, and
he started for the door, when Mrs. McDonald sprang forward, and laying
her hand on his arm, held him back, saying:

"Wait, Mr. Thornton: wait till husband comes—to tell you——"

"Tell me what!" Guy demanded, feeling sure now that something had
befallen Daisy.

"Tell you—that—that,—Daisy is,—that he has,—that,—oh, believe me, it was
not my wish at all, and I don’t know now why it was done," Mrs. McDonald
said, still trying to detain Guy and keep him in the room.

But her efforts were vain, for shaking off her grasp, Guy opened the
hall door, and with a cry of joy caught Daisy herself in his arms.

In a state of fearful excitement and very curious to know what was
passing between her mother and Guy, she had stolen down stairs to
listen, and had reached the door just as Guy opened it so suddenly.

"Daisy, darling, I feared you were sick," he cried, nearly smothering
her with his caresses.

But Daisy writhed herself away from him, and putting up her hands to
keep him off, cried out:

"Oh, Guy, Guy, you can’t,—you mustn’t. You must never kiss me again or
love me any more, because I am,—I am not,——Oh, Guy, I wish you had never
seen me; I am so sorry, too. I did like you. I,—I,—Guy,—Guy,—I am not
your wife any more I Father has got a divorce!"

She whispered the last words, and then, affrighted at the expression of
Guy’s face, fled half way up the stairs, where she stood looking down
upon him, while, with a face as white as ashes, he, too, stood gazing at
her and trying to frame the words which should ask her what she meant.
He did not believe her literally; the idea was too preposterous, but he
felt that some thing horrible had come between him and Daisy,—that in
some way she was as much lost to him as if he had found her coffined for
the grave, and the suddenness of the blow took from him for a moment his
powers of speech, and he still stood looking at her when the street door
opened, and a new actor appeared upon the scene in the person of Mr.
McDonald, who had hastened home in obedience to the message from his
wife.

It was a principle of Mr. McDonald never to lose his presence of mind or
his temper, or the smooth, low tone of voice he had cultivated years ago
and practiced with so good effect.

And now, though he understood the state of matters at once and knew that
Guy had heard the worst, he did not seem ruffled in the slightest
degree, and his voice was just as kind and sweet as ever as he bade Guy
good-morning, and advanced to take his hand. But Guy would not take it.
He had always disliked and distrusted Mr. McDonald, and he felt
intuitively that whatever harm had befallen him had come through the
oily-tongued man who stood smilingly before him. With a gesture of
disgust he turned away from the offered hand, and in a voice husky with
suppressed excitement, asked:

"What does all this mean, that when, after a separation of months, I
come for my wife, I am told that she is not my wife,—that there has been
a—a divorce?"

Guy had brought himself to name the horrid thing, and the very sound of
the word served to make it more real and clear to his mind, and there
were great drops of sweat, upon his forehead and about his mouth as he
asked what it meant.

"Oh, Guy, don’t feel so badly. Tell him, father, I did not do it," Daisy
cried, as she stood leaning over the stair-rail looking down at the
wretched man.

"Daisy, go to your room. You should not have seen him at all," Mr.
McDonald said, with more sternness of manner than was usual for him.

Then, turning to Guy, he continued:

"Come in here, Mr. Thornton, where we can be alone while I explain to
you what seems so mysterious now."

They went together into the little parlor, and for half an hour or more
the sound of their voices was distinctly heard as Mr. McDonald tried to
explain what there really was no explanation or excuse for. Daisy was
not contented at Elmwood, and though she complained of nothing she was
not happy as a married woman, and was glad to be free again. That was
all, and Guy understood at last that Daisy was his no longer; that the
law which was a disgrace to the State in which it existed had divorced
him from his wife without his knowledge or consent, and for no other
reason than incompatibility of temperament, and a desire on Daisy’s part
to be free from the marriage tie. Not a word had been said of Guy’s
altered fortunes, but he felt that his comparative poverty was really
the cause of this great wrong, and for a few moments resentment and
indignation prevailed over every other feeling; then, when he remembered
the little blue-eyed, innocent-faced girl whom he had loved so much and
thought so good and true, he laid his head upon the sofa-arm and groaned
bitterly, while the man who had ruined him sat coolly by, citing to him
many similar cases where divorces had been procured without the
knowledge of the absent party. It was a common,—a very common thing, he
said, and reflected no disgrace where there was no criminal charge.
Daisy was too young and childish anyway, and ought not to have been
married for several years, and it was really quite as much a favor to
Guy as a wrong. He was free again,—free to marry if he liked,—he had
taken care to see to that, so——

"Stop!" Guy thundered out, rousing himself from his crouching attitude
upon the sofa. "There is a point beyond which you shall not go. Be
satisfied with taking Daisy from me, and do not insult me with talk of a
second marriage. Had I found Daisy dead it would have hurt me less than
this fearful wrong you have done. I say _you_, for I charge it all to
_you_. Daisy could have had no part in it, and I ask to see her and hear
from her own lips that she accepts the position in which you and your
diabolical laws have placed her before I am willing to give her up. Call
her, will you?"

"No, Mr. Thornton," Mr. McDonald replied. "To see Daisy would be
useless, and only excite you more than you are excited now. You cannot
see her."

"Yes he will, father. If Guy wants to see me, he shall."

It was Daisy herself who spoke, and who a second time had been acting
the part of listener. Going up to Guy she knelt down beside him, and
laying her arms across his lap, said to him.

"What is it, Guy what is it you wish to say to me?"

The sight of her before him in all her girlish beauty, with that soft,
sweet expression on the face raised so timidly to his, unmanned Guy
entirely, and clasping her in his arms he wept passionately for a
moment, while he tried to say:

"Oh, Daisy, my darling, tell me it is a horrid dream,—tell me you are
still my wife, and go with me to the home I have tried to make so
pleasant for your sake. It is not like Elmwood, but I will sometime have
one handsomer even than that, and I’ll work so hard for you. Oh, Daisy,
tell me you are sorry for the part you had in this fearful business, if
indeed you had a part, and I’ll take you back so gladly. Will you,
Daisy; will you be my wife once more? I shall never ask you again. This
is your last chance with me. Reflect before you throw it away."

Guy’s mood was changing a little, because of something he saw in Daisy’s
face,—a drawing back from him when he spoke of marriage.

"Daisy must not go back with you; I shall not suffer that," Mr. McDonald
said, while Daisy, still keeping her arms around Guy’s neck, where she
had put them when he drew her to him, replied:

"Oh, Guy! I can’t go with you; but I shall like you always, and I’m
sorry for you. I never wanted to be married; but if I must, I’d better
have married _Tom_, or that old Chicago man; they would not have felt so
badly, and I’d rather hurt them than you."

The utter childishness of the remark roused Guy, and, with a gesture of
impatience, he put her from him, and rising to his feet, said angrily:

"This, then, is your decision, and I accept it; but, Daisy, if you have
in you a spark of true womanhood, you will some time be sorry for this
day’s work; while _you_!" and he turned fiercely upon Mr.
McDonald,—"words cannot express the contempt I feel for you; and know,
too, that I understand you fully, and am certain that were I the rich
man I was when you gave your daughter to me, you would not have taken
her away. But I will waste no more words upon you. You are a _villain_!
and Daisy is"——His white lips quivered a little as he hesitated a
moment, and then added: "Daisy _was_ my wife."

Then, without another word, he left the house, and never turned to see
the white, frightened face which looked after him so wistfully until a
turn in the street hid him from view.



CHAPTER VI.—EXTRACTS FROM DIARIES.


                     _Extract 1st.—Mr. McDonald’s._

                                                                 May ——.

Well, that matter is over, and I can’t say I am sorry, for the
expression in that Thornton’s eye I do not care to meet a second time.
There was mischief in it, and it made one think of six-shooters and cold
lead. I never quite indorsed the man,—first, because he was not as rich
as I would like Daisy’s husband to be; and second, because even had he
been a millionaire it would have done _me_ no good. That he did not
marry Daisy’s family, he made me fully understand; and for any good his
money did me, I was as poor after the marriage as before. Then he must
needs lose all he had in that foolish way; and when I found that Daisy
was not exceedingly in love with married life, it was natural that, as
her father, I should take advantage of the laws of the State in which I
live, especially as _Tom_ is growing rich so fast. On the whole, I have
done a good thing. Daisy is free, with ten thousand dollars which
Thornton settled on her; for, of course, I shall prevent her giving that
back as she is determined to do, saying it is not hers, and she will not
keep it. It is hers and she shall keep it, and Tom will be a millionaire
if that gold mine proves as great a success as it seems likely to do;
and I can manage Tom, only I am sorry for Thornton who evidently was in
love with Daisy; and, as I said before, I’ve done a nice thing after
all.

                                  ————

                 _Extract 2nd.—Miss Thornton’s Diary._

                                                         June 30th, 18—.

To-day, for the first time, we have hopes that my brother will live;
but, oh! how near he has been to the gates of death since that night
when he came back to us from the West, with a fearful look on his face,
and a cruel wound in his heart. I say us, for Julia Hamilton has been
with me all through the dreadful days and nights when I watched to see
Guy’s life go out and know I was left alone. She was with me when I was
getting ready for Daisy, and waiting for Guy to bring her home,—not to
Elmwood,—that dear old place is sold, and strangers walk the rooms I
love so well,—but here to the brown cottage on the hill, which, if I had
never had Elmwood, would seem so pleasant to me.

And it is pleasant here, especially in Daisy’s room, which we shall
never use, for the door is shut and bolted, and it seems each time I
pass it as if a dead body were lying hidden there. Had Guy died I would
have laid him there and sent for that false creature to come and see her
work. I promised her so much, but not from any love, for my heart was
full of bitterness that night when I turned her from the door out into
the rain. I shall never tell Guy that, lest he should soften toward her,
and I would not have her here again for all the world contains. And yet
I did like her, and was looking forward to her return with a good deal
of pleasure. Julia had spoken many a kind word for her, had pleaded her
extreme youth as an excuse for her faults, and had led me to hope for
better things when time had matured her somewhat and she had become
accustomed to our new mode of life.

And so I waited for her and Guy, and wondered I did not hear from them,
and felt so glad and happy when I received the telegram, "Shall be home
to-night." It was a bright day in May, but the evening set in cool, with
a feeling of rain in the air, and I had a fire kindled in the parlor and
in Daisy’s room, for I remembered how she used to crouch on the rug
before the grate and watch the blaze floating up the chimney with all
the eagerness of a child. Then, although it hurt me sorely, I went to
Simpson, who bought our carriage, and asked that it might be sent to the
station so that Daisy should not feel the difference at once. And Jerry,
our old coachman, went with it, and waited there just as Julia and I
waited at home, for Julia had promised to stay a few days on purpose to
see Daisy.

The train was late that night, an hour behind time, and the spring rain
was falling outside and the gas was lighted within when I heard the
sound of wheels stopping at the door and went to meet my brother. But
only my brother. There was no Daisy with him. He came in alone, with
such an awful look on his white face as made me cry out with alarm.

"What is it, Guy, and where is Daisy?" I asked, as he staggered against
the bannister, where he leaned heavily.

He did not answer my question, but said, "Take me to my room," in a
voice I would never have known for Guy’s. I took him to his room and
made him lie down, and brought him a glass of wine, and then, when he
was strong enough to tell it, listened to the shameful story, and felt
that henceforth and forever I must and would hate the woman who had
wounded my Guy so cruelly.

And still there is some good in her,—some sense of right and justice, as
was shown by what she did when Guy was at the worst of the terrible
fever which followed his coming home. I watched him constantly. I would
not even let Julia Hamilton share my vigils, and one night when I was
worn out with fatigue and anxiety I fell asleep upon the lounge, where I
threw myself for a moment. How long I slept I never knew, but it must
have been an hour or more, for the last thing I remember was hearing the
whistle of the Western train and the distant sound of thunder as if a
storm were coming, and when I awoke the rain was falling heavily and the
clock was striking twelve, which was an hour after the train was due. It
was very quiet in the room, and darker than usual, for some one had
shaded the lamp from my eyes as well as Guy’s, so that at first I did
not see distinctly, but I had an impression that there was a figure
sitting by Guy near the bed. Julia most likely, I thought, and I called
her by name, feeling my blood curdle in my veins and my heart stand
still with something like fear when a voice I knew so well and never
expected to hear again, answered softly:

"It is not Julia. _It’s I._"

There was no faltering in her voice, no sound of apology. She spoke like
one who had a right to be there, and this it was which so enraged me and
made me lose my self-command. Starting to my feet, I confronted her as
she sat in my chair, by Guy’s bedside, with those queer blue eyes of
hers fixed so questioningly upon me as if she wondered at my
impertinence.

"_Miss McDonald_," I said, laying great stress on the name, "why are you
here, and how did you dare come?"

"I _was_ almost afraid, it was so dark when I left the train, and it
kept thundering so," she replied, mistaking my meaning altogether, "but
there was no conveyance at the station and so I came on alone. I never
knew Guy was sick. Why did you not write and tell me? Is he very bad?"

Her perfect composure and utter ignoring of the past provoked me beyond
endurance, and without stopping to think what I was doing, I seized her
arm, and drawing her into an adjoining room, said, in a suppressed
whisper of rage:

"Very bad,—I should think so. We have feared and still fear he will die,
and it’s all your work, the result of your wickedness, and yet you
presume to come here into his very room,—you who are no wife of his, and
no woman either, to do what you have done."

What more I said I do not remember. I only know Daisy put her hands to
her head in a scared, helpless way, and said:

"I do not quite understand it all, or what you wish me to do."

"Do?" I replied. "I want you to leave this house immediately,—_now_,
before Guy can possibly be harmed by your presence. Go back to the depot
and take the next train home. It is due in an hour. You have time to
reach it."

"But it is so dark, and it rains and thunders so," she said, with a
shudder, as a heavy peal shook the house and the rain beat against the
windows.

I think I must have been crazy with mad excitement, and her answer made
me worse.

"You were not afraid to come here," I said. "You can go from here as
well. Thunder will not hurt such as you."

Even then she did not move, but crouched in a corner of the room
farthest from me, reminding me of my kitten when I try to drive it from
a place where it has been permitted to play. As that will not understand
my _'scats_ and gestures so she did not seem to comprehend my meaning.
But I made her at last, and with a very white face and a strange look in
her great staring blue eyes, she said:

"Fanny," (she always called me Miss Frances before). "Fanny, do you
really mean me to go back in the dark, and the rain and the thunder?
Then I will, but I must tell you first what I came for, and you will
tell Guy. He gave me ten thousand dollars when we first were married;
settled it on me, they called it, and father was one of the trustees,
and kept the paper for me till I was of age. So much I understand, but
not why I can’t give it back to Guy, for father says I can’t. I never
dreamed it was mine after the—the—the divorce."

She spoke the word softly and hesitatingly, while a faint flush showed
on her otherwise white face.

"If I am not Guy’s wife, as they say, then I have no right to his money,
and I told father so, and said I’d give it back, and he said I couldn’t,
and I said I could and would, and I wrote to Guy about it, and told him
I was not so mean, and father kept the letter, and I did not know what I
should do next till I was invited to visit Aunt Merriman in Detroit.
Then I took the paper,—the _settlement_, you know, from the box where
father kept it, and put it in my pocket; here it is; see—" and she drew
out a document and held it toward me while she continued: "I started for
Detroit under the care of a friend who stopped a few miles the other
side, so you see I was free to come here if I liked, and I did so, for I
wanted to see Guy and give him the paper, and tell him I’d never take a
cent of his money. I am sorry he is sick. I did not think he’d care so
much, and I don’t know what to do with the paper unless I tear it up. I
believe I’d better; then surely it will be out of the way."

And before I could speak or think she tore the document in two, and then
across again, and scattered the four pieces on the floor.

"Tell Guy, please," she continued, "what I have done, and that I never
meant to take it, after—after—_that_,—you know,—and that I did not care
for money only as father taught me I must have it, and that I am sorry
he ever saw me, and I never really wanted to be married and can’t be his
wife again till I do."

She spoke as if Guy would take her back of course if she only signified
her wish to come, and this kept me angry, though I was beginning to
soften a little with this unexpected phase of her character, and I might
have suffered her to stay till morning if she had signified a wish to do
so, but she did not.

"I suppose I must go now if I catch the train," she said, moving toward
the door. "Good-bye, Fanny. I am sorry I ever troubled you."

She held her little white ungloved hand toward me and then I came to
myself, and hearing the wind and rain, and remembering the lonely road
to the station, I said to her:

"Stay, Daisy, I cannot let you go alone. Miss Hamilton will watch with
Guy while I go with you."

"And who will come back with you? It will be just as dark and rainy
then," she said; but she made no objection to my plan, and in less than
five minutes Julia, who always slept in her dressing-gown so as to be
ready for any emergency, was sitting by Guy, and I was out in the dark
night with Daisy and our watch-dog Leo, who, at sight of his old
playmate, had leaped upon her and nearly knocked her down in his joy.

"Leo is glad to see me," Daisy said, patting the dumb creature’s head,
and in her voice there was a rebuking tone, which I resented silently.

I was not glad to see her, and I could not act a part, but I wrapped my
waterproof around her and adjusted the hood over her hair, and thought
how beautiful she was, even in that disfiguring garb, and then we went
on our way, the young creature clinging close to me as peal after peal
of thunder rolled over our heads, and gleams of lightning lit up the
inky sky. She did not speak to me, nor I to her, till the red light on
the track was in sight, and we knew the train was coming. Then she asked
timidly: "Do you think Guy will die?"

"Heaven only knows," I said, checking a strong impulse to add: "If he
does, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you killed him."

I am glad now that I did not say it. And I was glad then, when Daisy,
alarmed perhaps by something in the tone of my voice, repeated her
question:

"But do _you_ think he will die? If I thought he would I should wish to
die too. I like him, Miss Frances, better than any one I ever saw; like
him now as well as I ever did, but I do not want to be his wife, nor
anybody’s wife, and that is just the truth. I am sorry he ever saw me
and loved me so well. Tell him that, Fanny."

It was Fanny again, and she grasped my hand nervously, for the train was
upon us.

"Promise me solemnly that if you think he is surely going to die you
will let me know in time to see him once more. Promise,—quick,—and kiss
me as a pledge."

The train had stopped. There was not a moment to lose, and I promised,
and kissed the red lips in the darkness, and felt a remorseful pang when
I saw the little figure go alone into the car which bore her swiftly
away, while I turned my steps homeward with only Leo for my companion.

I had to tell Julia about it, and I gathered up the four scraps of paper
from the floor where Daisy had thrown them, and joining them together
saw they really were the marriage settlement, and kept them for Guy,
should he ever be able to hear about it and know what it meant. There
was a telegram for me, the next evening, dated at Detroit, and bearing
simply the words, "Arrived safely," and that was all I heard of Daisy.
No one in town knew of her having been here but Julia and myself, and it
was better that they should not, for Guy’s life hung on a thread, and
for many days and nights I trembled lest that promise, sealed by a kiss,
would have to be redeemed.

That was three weeks ago, and Guy is better now and knows us all, and
to-day, for the first time, I have a strong hope that I am not to be
left alone, and I thank Heaven for that hope, and feel as if I were at
peace with all the world, even with Daisy herself, from whom I have
heard nothing since that brief telegram.

                                  ————

                                                         August 1st, ——.

The shadow of death has passed from our house, and I can almost say the
shadow of sickness too, for though Guy is still weak as a child and thin
as a ghost, he is decidedly on the gain, and to-day I drove him out for
the third time, and hoped from something he said that he was beginning
to feel some interest in the life so kindly given back to him. Still he
will never be just the same. The blow stunned him too completely for him
to recover quite his old happy manner, and there is a look of age in his
face which pains me to see. He knows Daisy has been here, and why. I had
to tell him all about it, and sooner too than I meant to, for almost his
first coherent question to me after his reason came back was:

"Where is Daisy? I am sure I heard her voice. It could not have been a
dream. Is she here, or has she been here? Tell me the truth, Fanny."

So I told him, and showed him the bits of paper, and held his head on my
bosom, while he cried like a child. How he loves her still, and how glad
he was to know that she was not as mercenary as it would at first seem.
Not that her tearing up that paper will make any difference about the
money. She cannot give it to him, he says, until she is of age, neither
does he wish it at all, and he would not take it from her; but he is
glad to see her disposition in the matter; glad to have me think better
of her than I did, and I am certain that he is expecting to hear from
her every day, and is disappointed that he does not. He did not reproach
me as I thought he would when I told him about turning her out in the
rain; he only said:

"Poor Daisy, did she get very wet? She is so delicate, you know. I hope
it did not make her sick."

Oh, the love a man will feel for a woman, let her be ever so unworthy. I
cannot comprehend it. And why should I? an old maid like me, who never
loved any one but Guy.

                                  ————

                                                        August 30th, ——.

In a roundabout way we have heard that Mr. McDonald is going away with
his wife and daughter. When the facts of the divorce were known, they
brought him into such disgrace with the citizens of Indianapolis, who
were perfectly indignant, and showed that they were in every possible
way, that he thought best to leave for a time till the storm was over,
and so they will go to South America, where there is a cousin Tom, who
is growing rich very fast. I cannot help certain thoughts coming into my
mind, any more than I can help being glad that Daisy is going out of the
country. Guy never mentions her now, and is getting to look and act
quite like himself. If only he _could_ forget her, we might be very
happy again, as Heaven grant we may.



CHAPTER VII.—FIVE YEARS LATER.


"Married, this morning, at St. Paul’s church, by the Rev. Dr. ——,
assisted by the Rector, Guy Thornton, Esq., of Cuylerville, to Miss
Julia Hamilton, of this city."

Such was the notice which appeared in a daily Boston paper one lovely
morning in September five years after the last entry in Miss Thornton’s
journal. Guy had reached the point at last, when he could put Daisy from
his heart and take another in her place. He had never seen her, or heard
directly from her since the night she brought him the marriage
settlement and tore it in pieces, thinking thus to give him the money
beyond a doubt. That this did not change the matter one whit he knew,
for she could not give him the ten thousand settled upon her until she
was of age. She _was_ of age now, and had been for a year or more, and
to say the truth he had expected to hear from her when she was
twenty-one. To himself he had reasoned on this wise: "Her father told
her that the tearing up that paper made no difference, that she was
powerless of herself to act until she was of age, so she will wait
quietly till then before making another effort." And Guy thought how he
would not take a penny from her, but would insist upon her keeping it.
Still he should respect her all the more for her sense of justice and
generosity, he thought, and when her twenty-first birthday came and
passed, and week after week went by, and brought no sign from Daisy,
there was a pang in his heart and a look of disappointment on his face
which did not pass away until October hung her gorgeous colors upon the
hills of Cuylerville, and Julia Hamilton came to the Brown Cottage to
spend a few weeks with his sister.

From an independent, self-reliant, energetic girl of twenty-two, Julia
had ripened into a noble and dignified woman of twenty-seven, with a
repose of manner which seemed to rest and quiet one, and which told
insensibly on Guy, until at last he found himself dreading to have her
go, and wishing to keep her with him always. The visit was lengthened
into a month; and when in November he went with her to Boston, he had
asked her to take Daisy’s place, and be his second wife. Very freely
they talked of the little golden-haired girl, and Julia told him what
she had heard through a mutual acquaintance who had been on the same
vessel with the McDonalds when they returned from South America. Cousin
Tom was with them, a rich man then, and a richer now, for his gold mine
and his railroad had made him almost a millionaire, and it was currently
reported and believed that Mr. McDonald meant him to marry his daughter.
They were abroad now, the McDonalds and Tom, and Daisy, it was said, was
even more beautiful than in her early girlhood, and that to her natural
loveliness was added great cultivation and refinement of manner. She had
had the best of teachers while in South America, and was now continuing
her studies abroad with a view to further improvement. All this Julia
Hamilton told Guy, and then bade him think again before deciding to join
his life with hers.

And Guy did think again, and his thoughts went across the sea after the
beautiful Daisy, and he tried to picture to himself what she must be now
that education and culture had set their seal upon her. But always in
the picture there was a dark background, where cousin Tom stood sentinel
with his bags of gold, and so, with a half unconscious sigh for what
"might have been," Guy dug still deeper the grave where, years before,
he had buried his love for Daisy, and to make the burial sure this time,
so that there should be no future resurrection, he put over the grave a
head-stone, on which was written a new hope and a new love, both of
which centered in Julia Hamilton.

And so they were engaged, and after that there was no wavering on his
part,—no looking back to a past, which seemed like a happy dream, from
which there had been a horrible awaking.

He loved Julia at first quietly and sensibly, and loved her more and
more as the winter and spring went by, and brought the day when he stood
again at the altar, and for the second time took upon him the marriage
vow. It was a very quiet wedding, with only a few friends present, and
Miss Frances was the bridesmaid, in a gown of silver gray; but Julia’s
face was bright with the certainty of a happiness long desired; and if
in Guy’s heart there lingered the odor of other bridal flowers, withered
now and dead, and the memory of other marriage bells than those which
sent their music on the air that September morning, and if a pair of
sunny blue eyes seemed looking into his, he made no sign, and his face
wore an expression of perfect content as he took his second bride for
better or worse, just as he once had taken little Daisy. In Daisy’s case
it had proved all for the worse, but now there was a suitableness in the
union which boded future happiness, and many a hearty wish for good was
sent after the newly-married pair, whose destination was New York.

It was nearly dark when they reached the hotel, and quite dark before
dinner was over. Then Julia suddenly remembered that an old friend of
hers was boarding in the house, and suggested going to her room.

"I’d send my card," she said, blushingly, "only she would not know me by
the new name, so if you do not mind my leaving you a moment, I’ll go and
find her myself."

Guy did not mind, and Julia went out and left him alone. Scarcely was
she gone when he called to mind a letter which had been forwarded to him
from Cuylerville, and which he had found awaiting him on his return
from, the church that morning. Not thinking it of much consequence, he
had thrust it in his pocket and in the excitement forgotten it till now.
He had dressed for dinner and worn his wedding-coat, and he took the
letter out and looked at it a moment, and wondered whom it was from, as
people often wait and wonder, when breaking the seal would settle the
matter so soon. It was post-marked in New York, and, felt heavy in his
hand, and he opened it at last, and found that the outer envelope
inclosed another one, on which his name and address were written in a
handwriting once so familiar to him, and the sight of which made him
start and breathe heavily for a moment as if the air had suddenly grown
thick and burdensome.

It was Daisy’s handwriting, which he had never thought to see again; for
after his engagement with Julia he had burned every vestige of a
correspondence it was sorrow now to remember. One by one, and with a
steady hand, he had dropped Daisy’s letters into the fire and watched
them turning into ashes, and thought how like his love for her they were
when nothing remained of them but the thin gray tissue his breath could
blow away. The four scraps of the marriage settlement which Daisy had
brought him on that night of storm he kept, because they seemed to
embody something good and noble in the girl; but the letters she had
written him were gone past recall, and he had thought himself cut loose
from her forever,—when, lo! there had come to him an awakening to the
bitterness of the past in a letter from the once-loved wife, whose
delicate handwriting made him grow faint and sick for a moment, as he
held the letter in his hand and read:

      "_Guy Thornton, Esq._,
        "Brown Cottage,
    "Politeness of Mr. Wilkes.      Cuylerville, Mass."

Why had she written, and what had she to say to him? he wondered, and
for a moment he felt tempted to tear the letter up and never know what
it contained.

Better, perhaps, had he done so,—better for him, and better for the fond
new wife whose happiness was so perfect, and whose trust in his love was
so strong.

But he did not tear it up. He opened it, and another chapter will tell
us what he read.



CHAPTER VIII.—DAISY’S LETTER.


It was dated at Rouen, France, and it ran as follows:

"_Dear, Dear Guy_:—I am all alone here in Rouen, with no one near me who
speaks English, or knows a thing of Daisy Thornton, as she was, or as
she is now, for I am Daisy Thornton here. I have taken the old name
again and am an English governess in a wealthy French family; and this
is how it came about: I have left Berlin and the party there, and am
earning my own living, for three reasons, two of which concern cousin
Tom, and one of which has to do with you and that miserable settlement
which has troubled me so much. I thought when I brought it back and tore
it up that was the last of it, and felt so happy and relieved. Father
missed it, of course; and I told him the truth and that I could never
touch a penny of your money if I was not your wife. He did not say a
word, and I supposed it was all right, and never dreamed that I was
actually clothed and fed on the interest of that ten thousand dollars.
Father would not tell me, and you did not write. Why didn’t you, Guy? I
expected a letter so long and went to the office so many times and cried
a little to myself, and said Guy has forgotten me.

"After the divorce, which I know now was a most unjust and mean affair,
the people in Indianapolis treated us with so much coldness and neglect
that at last we went to South America,—father, mother and I,—went to
live with Tom. He wanted me for his wife before you did, but I could not
marry Tom. He is very rich now, and we lived with him, and then we all
came to Europe and have traveled everywhere, and I have had teachers in
everything, and people say I am a fine scholar, and praise me much; and,
Guy, I have tried to improve just to please _you_; believe me, Guy, just
to please _you_. Tom was as a brother,—a dear, good big bear of a
brother, whom I loved as such, but nothing more. Even were you dead, I
could not marry Tom after knowing you; and I told him so when in Berlin
he asked me for the sixth time to be his wife. I had to tell him
something hard to make him understand, and when I saw how what I said
hurt him cruelly and made him cry because he was such a great big,
awkward, dear old fellow, I put my arms around his neck and cried with
him, and tried to explain, and that made him ten times worse. Oh, if
people only would not love me so much it would save me a great deal of
sorrow.

"You see, I tell you this because I want you to know exactly what I have
been doing these five years, and that I have never thought of marrying
Tom or anybody. I did not think I could. I felt that if I belonged to
anybody it was you, and I cannot have Tom, and father was very angry and
taunted me with living on Tom’s money, which I did not know before, and
then he accidently let out about the marriage settlement, and that hurt
me worse than the other.

"Oh, Guy, how can I give it up? Surely there must be a way now I am of
age. I was so humiliated about it, and after all that passed between
father and Tom and me, I could not stay in Berlin, and never be sure
whose money was paying for my bread, and when I heard that Madame
Lafarcade, a French lady, who had spent the winter in Berlin, was
wanting an English governess for her children, I went to her, and as the
result, am here at her beautiful country-seat, just out of the city,
earning my own living and feeling so proud to do it; only, Guy, there is
an ache in my heart, a heavy, throbbing pain which will not leave me day
or night, and this is how it came there.

"Mother wrote that you were about to marry Miss Hamilton. Letters from
home brought her the news, which she thinks is true. Oh, Guy, it is not,
it cannot be true. You must not go quite away from me now, just as I am
coming back to you. For, Guy, I am—or rather, I have come, and a great
love, such as I never felt before, fills me full almost to bursting. I
always liked you, Guy; but when we were married I did not know what it
was to love,—to feel my pulses quicken as they do now just at thought of
you. If I had, how happy I could have made you, but I was a silly little
girl, and married life was distasteful to me, and I was willing to be
free, though always, way down in my heart, was something which protested
against it, and if you knew just how I was influenced and led on
insensibly to assent, you would not blame me so much. The word _divorce_
had an ugly sound to me, and I did not like it, and I have always felt
as if bound to you just the same. It would not be right for me to marry
Tom, even if I wanted to, which I do not. I am yours, Guy,—only yours,
and all these years I have studied and improved for your sake, without
any fixed idea, perhaps, as to what I expected or hoped. But when Tom
spoke the last time it came to me suddenly what I was keeping myself
for, and, just as a great body of water, when freed from its prison
walls rolls rapidly down a green meadow, so did a mighty love for you
take possession of me and permeate my whole being, until every nerve
quivered with joy, and when Tom was gone I went away alone and cried
more for my new happiness, I am afraid, than for him, poor fellow. And
yet I pitied him, too, and as I could not stay in Berlin after that I
came away to earn money enough to take me back to you. For I am coming,
or I was before I heard that dreadful news which I cannot believe.

"Is it true, Guy? Write and tell me it is not, and that you love me
still and want me back, or, if it in part is true, and you are engaged
to Julia, show her this letter and ask her to give you up, even if it is
the very day before the wedding,—for you are mine, and, sometimes, when
the children are troublesome, and I am so tired and sorry and homesick,
I have such a longing for a sight of your dear face, and think if I
could only lay my aching head in your lap once more I should never know
pain or weariness again.

"Try me, Guy. I will be so good and loving, and make you so happy, and
your sister, too,—I was a bother to her once. I’ll be a comfort now.
Tell her so, please; tell her to bid me come. Say the word yourself, and
almost before you know it I’ll be there.

"Truly, lovingly, waitingly, your wife,

                                                              "_Daisy_."

"P. S.—To make sure of this letter’s safety I shall send it to New York
by a friend, who will mail it to you.

                                   "Again, lovingly,  _Daisy Thornton_."

                                  ————

This was Daisy’s letter, which Guy read with such a pang in his heart as
he had never known before, even when he was smarting the worst from
wounded love and disappointed hopes. Then he had said to himself, "I can
never suffer again as I am suffering now," and now, alas, he felt how
little he had ever known of that pain which tears the heart and takes
the breath away.

"God help her," he moaned,—his first thought, his first prayer for
Daisy, the girl who called herself his wife, when just across the hall
was the bride of a few hours,—another woman who bore his name and called
him her husband.

With a face as pale as ashes, and hands which shook like palsied hands,
he read again that pathetic cry from her whom he now felt he had never
ceased to love; ay, whom he loved still, and whom, if he could, he would
have taken to his arms so gladly, and loved and cherished as the
priceless thing he had once thought her to be. The first moments of
agony which followed the reading of the letter were Daisy’s wholly, and
in bitterness of soul the man she had cast off and thought to take again
cried out, as he stretched his arms toward an invisible form: "Too late,
darling; too late. But had it come two months, one month, or even one
week ago, I would,—I would, —have gone to you over land and sea, but
now,—another is in your place, another is my wife; Julia,—poor, innocent
Julia. God help me to keep my vow; God help me in my need."

He was praying now; and Julia was the burden of his prayer. And as he
prayed there came into his heart an unutterable tenderness and pity for
her. He had thought he loved her an hour ago; he believed he loved her
now, or if he did not, he would be to her the kindest, most thoughtful
of husbands, and never let her know, by word or sign, of the terrible
pain he should always carry in his heart. "Darling Daisy, poor Julia,"
he called the two women who were both so much to him. To the first his
love, to the other his tender care, for she was worthy of it. She was
noble, and good, and womanly; he said many times and tried to stop the
rapid heart-throbs and quiet himself down to meet her when she came back
to him with her frank, open face and smile, in which there was no shadow
of guile. She was coming now; he heard her voice in the hall speaking to
her friend, and thrusting the fatal letter in his pocket he rose to his
feet, and steadying himself upon the table, stood waiting for her, as,
flushed and eager, she came in.

"Guy, Guy, what is it? Are you sick?" she asked, alarmed at the pallor
of his face and the strange expression of his eyes.

He was glad she had thus construed his agitation, and he answered that
he was faint and a little sick.

"It came on suddenly, while I was sitting here. It will pass off as
suddenly," he said, trying to smile, and holding out his hand, which she
took at once in hers.

"Is it your heart, Guy? Do you think it is your heart?" she continued,
as she rubbed and caressed his cold, clammy hand.

A shadow of pain or remorse flitted across Guy’s face as he replied:

"I think it is my heart, but I assure you there is no danger,—the worst
is over. I am a great deal better."

And he was better with that fair girl beside him, her face glowing with
excitement, and her soft hands pressing his. Perfectly healthy herself,
she must have imparted some life and vigor to him, for he felt his pulse
grow steadier beneath her touch, and the blood flow more regularly
through his veins. If only he could forget that crumpled letter which
lay in his vest pocket, and seemed to burn into his flesh; forget that,
and the young girl watching for an answer and the one word "come," he
might be happy yet, for Julia was one whom any man could love and be
proud to call his wife. And Guy said to himself that he did love her,
though not as he once loved Daisy, or as he could love her again were he
free to do so, and because of that full love withheld, he made a mental
vow that his whole life should be given to Julia’s happiness, so that
she might never know any care or sorrow from which he could shield her.

"And Daisy?" something whispered in his ear.

"I must and will forget her," he sternly answered, and the arm he had
thrown around Julia, who was sitting with him upon the sofa, tightened
its grasp until she winced and moved a little from him.

He was very talkative that evening, and asked his wife many questions
about her friends and the shopping she wished to do, and the places they
were to visit; and Julia, who had hitherto regarded him as a quiet,
silent man, given to few words, wondered at the change, and watched the
bright red spots on his cheeks, and thought how she would manage to have
medical advice for that dreadful heart-disease, which had come like a
nightmare to haunt her bridal days.

Next morning there came a Boston paper containing a notice of the
marriage, and this Guy sent to Daisy, with only the faint tracing of a
pencil to indicate the paragraph.

"Better so than to write," he thought; though he longed to add the
words, "Forgive me, Daisy; your letter came too late."

And so the paper was sent, and, after a week or two, Guy went back to
his home in Cuylerville, and the blue rooms which Julia had fitted up
for Daisy five years before became her own by right. And Fanny Thornton
welcomed her warmly to the house, and by many little acts of
thoughtfulness showed how glad she was to have her there. And Julia was
very happy save when she remembered the heart-disease which she was sure
Guy had, and for which he would not take advice. "There was nothing the
matter with his heart, unless it were too full of love," he told her
laughingly, and wondered to himself if in saying this he was guilty of a
lie, inasmuch as his words misled her so completely.

After a time, however, there came a change, and thoughts of Daisy ceased
to disturb him as they once had done. No one ever mentioned her to him,
and since the receipt of her letter he had heard no tidings of her until
six months after his marriage, when there came to him the ten thousand
dollars, with all the interest which had accrued since the settlement
first was made. There was no word from Daisy herself, but a letter from
a lawyer in Berlin, who said all there was to say with regard to the
business, but did not tell where Miss McDonald, as he called her, was.

Then Guy wrote Daisy a letter of thanks, to which there came no reply,
and as time went on the old wound began to heal, the grave to close
again; and when, at last, one year after his marriage, they brought him
a beautiful little baby girl and laid it in his arms, and then a few
moments later let him into the room where the pale mother lay, he
stooped over her, and kissing her fondly, said;

"I never loved you half as well as I do now!"

It was a pretty child, with dark blue eyes, and hair in which there was
a gleam of gold, and Guy, when asked by his wife what he would call her,
said;

"Would you object to Margaret?"

Julia knew what he meant, and like the true, noble woman she was,
offered no objection to Guy’s choice, and herself first gave the pet
name of Daisy to her child, on whom Guy settled the ten thousand dollars
sent to him by the Daisy over the sea.



CHAPTER IX.—DAISY, TOM, AND THAT OTHER ONE.


Watching, waiting, hoping, saying to herself in the morning, "It will
come before night," and saying to herself at night, "It will be here
to-morrow morning." Such was Daisy’s life, even before she had a right
to expect an answer to her letter.

Of the nature of Guy’s reply she had no doubt. He had loved her once, he
loved her still, and he would take her back of course. There was no
truth in that rumor of another marriage. Possibly her father, whom she
understood now better than she once did, had gotten the story up for the
sake of inducing her through pique to marry Tom; but if so, his plan
would fail. Guy would write to her, "Come!" and she should go, and more
than once she counted the contents of her purse and added to it the sum
due her from Madame Lafarcade, and wondered if she would dare venture on
the journey with so small a sum.

"You so happy and white, too, this morning," her little pupil, Pauline,
said to her one day, when they sat together in the garden, and Daisy was
indulging in a fanciful picture of her meeting with Guy.

"Yes, I am happy," Daisy said, rousing from her revery; "but I did not
know I was pale, or white, as you term it, though, now I think of it, I
do feel sick and faint. It’s the heat, I suppose. Oh! there is Max, with
the mail! He is coming this way! He has,—he certainly has something for
me!"

Daisy’s cheeks were scarlet now, and her eyes were bright as stars as
she went forward to meet the man who brought the letters to the house.

"Only a paper!—is there nothing more?" she asked, in an unsteady voice,
as she took the paper in her hand, and recognizing Guy’s handwriting,
knew almost to a certainty what was before her.

"Oh, you are sick, I must bring some water," Pauline exclaimed, alarmed
at Daisy’s white face and the peculiar tone of her voice.

"No, Pauline, stay; open the paper for me," Daisy said, feeling that it
would be easier so than to read it herself, for she knew what was there,
else he would never have sent her a paper and nothing more.

Delighted to be of some use, and a little gratified to open a foreign
paper, Pauline tore off the wrapper, starting a little at Daisy’s quick,
sharp cry as she made a rent across the handwriting.

"Look, you are tearing into my name, which he wrote," Daisy said, and
then remembering herself she sank back into her seat in the garden
chair, while Pauline wondered what harm there was in tearing an old
soiled wrapper, and why her governess should take it so carefully in her
hand and roll it up as if it had been a living thing.

There were notices of new books, and a runaway match in high life, and a
suicide on Sumner street, and a golden wedding in Roxbury, and the
latest fashions from Paris, into which Pauline plunged with avidity,
while Daisy listened like one in a dream, asking, when the fashions were
exhausted, "Is that all? Are there no deaths or marriages?"

Pauline had not thought of that,—she would see; and she hunted through
the columns till she found Guy’s pencil mark, and read:

"Married, this morning, in——church, by the Rev. Dr.——, assisted by the
rector, Guy Thornton, Esq., of Cuylerville, to Miss Julia Hamilton, of
this city."

"Yes, yes, I see,—I know, it’s very hot here, isn’t it? I think I will
go in," Daisy said, her fingers working nervously with the bit of paper
she held.

But Pauline was too intent on the name Thornton to hear what Daisy said,
and she asked: "Is Mr. Thornton your friend or your relative?"

It was natural enough question, and Daisy roused herself to answer it,
and said, quickly: "He is the son of my husband’s father."

"Oh, _oui_," Pauline rejoined, a little mystified as to the exact
relationship existing between Guy Thornton and her teacher’s husband,
who she supposed was dead, as Daisy had only confided to madame the fact
of a divorce.

"What date is the paper?" Daisy asked, and on being told she said softly
to herself: "I see; it was too late."

There was in her mind no doubt as to what the result would have been had
her letter been in time; no doubt of Guy’s preference for herself, no
regret that she had written to him, except that the knowledge that she
loved him at last would make him wretched with thinking "what might have
been," and with the bitter pain which cut her heart like a knife there
was mingled a pity for Guy, who would perhaps suffer more than she did,
if that were possible. She never once thought of retribution, or of
murmuring against her fate, but accepted it meekly, albeit she staggered
under the load and grew faint as she thought of the lonely life before
her, and she so young.

Slowly she went back to her room, while Pauline walked up and down the
garden, trying to make out the relationship between the newly-married
Thornton and her teacher.

"The son of her husband’s father?" she repeated, until at last a meaning
dawned upon her, and she said: "Then he must be her brother-in-law; but
why didn’t she say so? Maybe, though, that is the English way of putting
it;" and having thus settled the matter Pauline joined her mother, who
was asking for Mrs. Thornton.

"Gone to her room, and her brother-in-law is married. It was marked in a
paper, and I read it to her, and she’s sick," Pauline said, without,
however, in the least connecting the sickness with the marriage.

Daisy did not come down to dinner that night, and the maid who called
her the next morning reported her as ill and acting very strangely.
Through the summer a malarious fever had prevailed to some extent in and
about Rouen, and the physician whom Madame Lafarcade summoned to the
sick girl expressed a fear that she was coming down with it, and ordered
her kept as quiet as possible.

"She seems to have something weighing on her mind. Has she heard any bad
news from home?" he asked, as in reply to his question where her pain
was the worst, Daisy always answered:

"It reached him too late—too late, and I am so sorry."

Madame knew of no bad news, she said, and then as she saw the foreign
paper lying on the table, she took it up, and, guided by the pencil
marks, read the notice of Guy Thornton’s marriage, and that gave her the
key at once to Daisy’s mental agitation. Daisy had been frank with her
and told as much of her story as was necessary, and she knew that the
Guy Thornton married to Julia Hamilton had once called Daisy his wife.

"Excuse me, she is, or she has something on her mind, I suspect," she
said to the physician, who was still holding Daisy’s hand and looking
anxiously at her flushed cheeks and bright, restless eyes.

"I thought so," he rejoined, "and it aggravates all the symptoms of her
fever. I shall call again to-night."

He did call, and found his patient worse, and the next day he asked of
Madame Lafarcade:

"Has she friends in this country? If so, they ought to know."

A few hours later and in his lodgings at Berlin, Tom read the following
dispatch:

"Mrs. Thornton is dangerously ill. Come at once."

It was directed to Mr. McDonald, who with his wife had been on a trip to
Russia, and was expected daily. Feeling intuitively that it concerned
Daisy, Tom had opened it, and without a moment’s hesitation packed his
valise and leaving a note for the McDonalds when they should return,
started for Rouen. Daisy did not know him, and in her delirium she said
things to him and of him which hurt him cruelly. Guy was her theme, and
the letter which went "too late, too late." Then she would beg of Tom to
go for Guy, to bring him to her, and tell him how much she loved him and
how good she would be if he would only take her back.

"Father wants me to marry Tom," she said in a whisper, and Tom’s heart
almost stood still as he listened; "and Tom wanted me, too, but I
couldn’t, you know, even if he were worth his weight in gold. I could
not love him. Why, he’s got red hair, and such great freckles on his
face, and big feet and hands with frecks on them. Do you know Tom?"

"Yes, I know him," Tom answered, sadly, forcing down a choking sob,
while the "big hand with the great frecks on it," smoothed the golden
hair tenderly, and pushed it back from the burning brow.

"Don’t talk any more, Daisy; it tires you so," he said, as he saw her
about to speak again.

But Daisy was not to be stopped, and she went on:

"Tom is good, though; so good, but awkward, and I like him ever so much,
but I can’t be his wife. I cannot. I cannot."

"He doesn’t expect it now, or want it," came huskily from Tom, while
Daisy quickly asked:

"Doesn’t he?"

"No, never any more; so, put it from your mind and try to sleep," Tom
said, and again the freckled hands smoothed the tumbled pillows and
wiped the sweat drops from Daisy’s face, while all the time the great
kind heart was breaking, and the hot tears were rolling down the
sunburnt face Daisy thought so ugly.

Tom had heard from Madame Lafarcade of Guy’s marriage and, like her,
understood why Daisy’s fever ran so high, and her mind was in such
turmoil. But for himself he knew there was no hope, and with a feeling
of death in his heart he watched by her day and night, yielding his
place to no one, and saying to madame, when she remonstrated with him
and bade him care for his own health:

"It does not matter for me. I would rather die than not."

Daisy was better when her mother came,—saved, the doctor said, more by
Tom’s care and nursing than by his own skill, and then Tom gave up his
post, and never went near her unless she asked for him. His "red hair
and freckled face" were constantly in his mind, making him loathe the
very sight of himself.

"She cannot bear my looks, and I will not force myself upon her," he
thought; and so he staid away, but surrounded her with every luxury
money could buy, and as soon as she was able had her removed to a pretty
little cottage which he rented and fitted up for her, and where she
would be more at home and quieter than at Madame Lafarcade’s.

And there one morning when he called to inquire for her, he, too, was
smitten down with the fever which he had taken with Daisy’s breath the
many nights and days he watched by her without rest or sufficient food.
There was a faint, followed by a long interval of unconsciousness, and
when he came to himself he was in Daisy’s own room lying on Daisy’s
little bed, and Daisy herself was bending anxiously over him, with a
flush on her white cheeks and a soft, pitiful look in her blue eyes.

"What is it? Where am I?" he asked, and Daisy replied:

"You are here in my room; and you’ve got the fever, and I’m going to
take care of you, and I’m so glad. Not glad you have the fever," she
added, as she met his look of wonder, "but glad I can repay in part all
you did for me, you dear, noble Tom! And you are not to talk," and she
laid her hand on his mouth as she saw him about to speak. "I am strong
enough; the doctor says so, and I’d do it if he didn’t, for you are the
best, the truest friend I have."

She was rubbing his hot, feverish hands, and though the touch of her
cool, soft fingers was so delicious, poor Tom thought of the big frecks
so obnoxious to the little lady, and drawing his hands from her grasp
hid them beneath the clothes. Gladly, too, would he have covered his
face and hair from her sight, but this he could not do and breathe, so
he begged her to leave him, and send some one in her place. But Daisy
would not listen to him.

He had nursed her day and night, she said, and she should stay with him,
and she did stay through the three weeks when Tom’s fever ran higher
than hers had done, and when Tom in his ravings talked of things which
made her heart ache with a new and different pain from that already
there.

At first there were low whisperings and incoherent mutterings, and when
Daisy asked him to whom he was talking he answered:

"To that other one over in the corner. Don’t you see him? He is waiting
for me till the fever eats me up. There’s a lot of me to eat, I’m so big
and awkward, overgrown,—that’s what Daisy said. You know Daisy, don’t
you? a dainty little creature, with such delicacy of sight and touch.
She doesn’t like red hair; she said so, when we thought the man in the
corner was waiting for her; and she doesn’t like my freckled face and
hands,—big hands, she said they were, and yet how they have worked like
horses for her. Oh, Daisy, Daisy, I have loved her ever since she was a
child, and I drew her to school on my sled and cut her doll’s head off
to tease her. Take me quick, please, out of her sight, where my freckled
face won’t offend her."

He was talking now to that other one, the man in the corner, who like
some grim sentinel stood there day and night, while Daisy kept her
tireless watch and Tom talked on and on,—never to her,—but always to the
other one, the man in the corner, whom he begged to take him away.

"Bring out your boat," he would say. "It’s time we were off, for the
tide is at its height, and the river is running so fast. I thought once
it would take Daisy, but it left her and I am glad. When I am fairly
over and there’s nothing but my big freckled hulk left, cover my face,
and don’t let her look at me, though I’ll be white then, not red. Oh,
Daisy, Daisy, my darling, you hurt me so cruelly."

Those were terrible days for Daisy, but she never left her post, and
stood resolutely between the sick man and _that other one_ in the
corner, until the latter seemed to waver a little; his shadow was not so
black, his presence so all-pervading, and there was hope for Tom, the
doctor said. His reason came back at last, and the fever left him, weak
as a little child, with no power to move even his poor wasted hands,
which lay outside the counterpane and seemed to trouble him, for there
was a wistful, pleading look in his gray eyes as they went from the
hands to Daisy, and his lips whispered faintly: "Cover."

She understood him, and with a rain of tears spread the sheet over them,
and then on her knees beside him, said to him, amid her sobs:

"Forgive me, Tom, for what I said when I was crazy. You are not
repulsive to me. You are the truest, best, and dearest friend I ever
had, and I—I—Oh, Tom, live for my sake, and let me prove how—Oh, Tom, I
wish I had never been born."

Daisy did not stay with Tom that night. There was no necessity for it,
and she was so worn and weary with watching that the physician declared
she must have absolute rest or be sick again. So she staid away, and in
a little room by herself fought the fiercest battle she had ever fought,
and on her knees, with tears and bitter cries, asked for help to do
right. Not for help to know what was right. She felt sure that she did
know that, only the flesh was weak, and there were chords of love still
clinging to a past she scarcely dared think of now, lest her courage
should fail her. Guy was lost to her forever; it was a sin even to think
of him as she must think if she thought at all, and so she strove to put
him from her,—to tear his image from her heart, and put another in its
place,—Tom, whom she pitied so much, and whom she could make so happy.

"No matter for myself," she said at last. "No matter what I feel, or how
sharp the pain in my heart, if I only keep it there and never let Tom
know. I can make him happy, and I will."

There was no wavering after that decision,—no regret for the "might have
been,"—but her face was white as snow, and about the pretty mouth there
was a quivering of the muscles, as if the words were hard to utter, when
next day she went to Tom, and sitting down beside him, asked how he was
feeling. His eyes brightened a little when he saw her, but there was a
look on his face which made Daisy’s pulse quicken with a nameless fear,
and his voice was very weak, as he replied:

"They say I am better; but, Daisy, I know the time is near for me to go.
I shall never get well, and I do not wish to, though life is not a gift
to be thrown away easily, and on some accounts mine has been a happy
one, but the life beyond is better, and I feel sure I am going to it."

"Oh, Tom, Tom, don’t talk so. You must not leave me now," Daisy cried,
all her composure giving way as she fell on her knees beside him, and
taking both his hands in hers wet them with her tears. "Tom," she began,
when she could speak, "I have been bad to you so often, and worried and
wounded you so much; but I am sorry, so sorry,—and I’ve thought it all
over real earnestly and seriously, and made up my mind, and I want you
to get well and ask me that,—that—question again,—you have asked so many
times,—and—and—Tom,—I will say—yes—to it now, and try so hard to make
you happy."

Her face was crimson as if with shame, and she dared not look at Tom
until his silence startled her. Then she stole a glance at him, and met
an expression which prompted her to go on recklessly:

"Don’t look so incredulous, Tom. I am in earnest. I mean what I say,
though it may be unmaidenly to say it. Try me, Tom. I will make you
happy, and though at first I cannot love you as I did Guy when I sent
him that letter, the love will come, born of your great goodness and
kindness of heart. Try me, Tom, won’t you?"

She kissed his thin white hands where the freckles showed more plainly
than ever, and which Tom tried to free from her; she held them fast and
looked steadily into the face, which shone for a moment with a joy so
great that it was almost handsome, and when she said again: "Will you,
Tom?" the pale lips parted with an effort to speak, but no sound was
audible, only the chin quivered and the tears stood in Tom’s eyes as he
battled with the temptation. Should he accept the sacrifice? It would be
worth trying to live for, if Daisy could be his wife, but ought he to
join her life with his? Could she ever learn to love him? No, she could
not, and he must put her from him, even though she came asking him to
take her. Thus Tom decided, and turning his face to the wall, he said
with a choking sob:

"No, Daisy. It cannot be. Such happiness is not for me now. I must not
think of it, for I am going to die. Thank you, darling, just the same.
It was kind in you and well meant, but it cannot be. I could not make
you happy. I am not like Guy; never could be like him, and you would
hate me after a while, and the chain would hurt you cruelly. No, Daisy,
I love you too well,—and yet, Daisy,—Daisy,—why do you tempt me so,—if
it could be, I might perhaps get well, I should try so hard."

He turned suddenly toward her, and winding both his arms around her,
drew her to him in a quick, passionate embrace, crying piteously over
her, and saying:

"My darling, my darling, if it could have been, but it’s too late
now,—God is good and will take me to Himself. I thought a great deal
before I was sick, and believe I am a better man, and that Jesus is my
friend, and I am going to him. I’m glad you told me what you have. It
will make my last days happier, and when I am gone, you will find that I
did well with you."

He put her from him then, for faintness and exhaustion were stealing
over him, and that was the last that ever passed between him and Daisy
on the subject which all his life had occupied so much of his thoughts.
The fever had left him, it is true, but he seemed to have no vital force
or rallying power, and, after a few days, it was clear even to Daisy
that Tom’s life was drawing to a close. "The man in the corner," who had
troubled him so much, was there again, and Tom was very happy. He had
thought much of death and what lay beyond during those days when Daisy’s
life hung in the balance, and the result of the much thinking had been a
full surrender of himself to God, who did not forsake him when the dark,
cold river was closing over him.

Calm and peaceful as the setting of the summer sun was the close of his
life, and up to the last he retained his consciousness, with the
exception of a few hours, when his mind wandered a little, and he talked
to "that other one," whom no one could see, but whose presence all felt
so vividly.

"It would have been pleasant, and for a minute I was tempted to take her
at her word," he said; "but when I remembered my hair, and face, and
hands, and how she liked nothing which was not comely, I would not run
the chance of being hated for my repulsive looks. Poor little Daisy! she
meant it all right, and I bless her for it, and am glad she said it, but
she must not look at me when I’m dead. The frecks she dislikes so much
will show plainer then. Don’t let her come near, or, if she must, cover
me up,—cover me up,—cover me from her sight."

Thus he talked, and Daisy, who knew what he meant, wept silently by his
side, and kept the sheet closely drawn over the hands he was so anxious
to conceal. He knew her at the last, and bade her farewell, and told her
she had been to him the dearest thing in life; and Daisy’s arm was round
him, supporting him upon the pillow, and Daisy’s hand wiped the death
moisture from his brow, and Daisy’s lips were pressed to his dying face,
and her ear caught his faint whisper:

"God bless you, darling! I am going home! Good-bye."

"The man in the corner,—that other one,"—had claimed him, and Daisy put
gently from her the lifeless form which had once been Tom.

They buried him there in France, on a sunny slope, where the grass was
green and the flowers blossomed in the early spring; and, when Mr.
McDonald examined his papers, he found to his surprise that, with the
exception of an annuity to himself, and several legacies to different
charitable institutions, Tom had left to Daisy his entire fortune,
stipulating only that one-tenth of all her income should be yearly given
back to God, who had a right to it.



CHAPTER X.—MISS MCDONALD.


She took the name again, and with it, also, Margaret, feeling that Daisy
was far too girlish an appellation for one who clad herself in the
deepest mourning, and felt, when she stood at poor Tom’s grave, more
wretched and desolate than many a wife has felt when her husband was
buried from sight.

Tom had meant to make her parents independent of her so that she need
not have them with her unless she chose to do so, for knowing Mr.
McDonald as he did, he thought she would be happier without him; but God
so ordered it that within three months after poor Tom’s death, they made
another grave beside his, and Daisy and her mother were alone.

It was spring time, and the two desolate women bade adieu to their dead,
and made their way to England, and from there to Scotland, where among
the heather hills they passed the summer in the utmost seclusion.

Here Daisy had ample time for thought, which dwelt mostly upon the past
and the happiness she cast away when she consented to the sundering of
the tie which had bound her to Guy Thornton.

"Oh, how could I have been so foolish and so weak," she said, as with
intense contempt for herself, she read over the journal she had kept at
Elmwood during the first weeks of her married life.

Guy had said it would be pleasant for her to refer to its pages in after
years, little dreaming with what sore anguish of heart poor Daisy would
one day weep over the senseless things recorded there.

"Can it be I was ever that silly little fool?" she said bitterly, as she
finished her journal. "And how could Guy love me as he did. Oh, if I but
had the chance again, I would make him so happy. Oh, Guy, Guy,—my
husband still,—mine more than Julia’s, if you could know how much I love
you now; nor can I feel it wrong to do so, even though I never hope to
see your face again, Guy, Guy, the world is so desolate, and I am young,
only twenty-three, and life is so long and dreary with nothing to live
for or to do. I wish almost that I were dead like Tom, only I dare not
think I should go to the Heaven where he has gone."

In her sorrow and loneliness, Daisy was fast sinking into an unhealthy
morbid state of mind from which nothing seemed to rouse her.

"Nothing to live for,—nothing to do," was her lament, until one golden
September day, when there came a turning point in her life, and she
found there was something to do.

There was no regular service that Sunday in the church where she usually
attended, and as the day was fine and she was far too restless to remain
at home, she proposed to her mother that they walk to a little chapel
about a mile away, where a young Presbyterian clergyman was to preach.

She had heard much of his eloquence, and as his name was McDonald, he
might possibly be some distant relative, inasmuch as her father was of
Scotch descent, and she felt a double interest in him, and with her
mother was among the first who entered the little humble building, and
took a seat upon one of the hard, uncomfortable benches near the pulpit.

The speaker was young,—about Tom’s age,—and with a look on his florid
face and a sound in his voice so like that of the dead man that Daisy
half started to her feet when he first took his stand in front of her,
and announced the opening hymn. His text was, "Why stand ye here all the
day idle?" and so well did he handle it, and so forcible were his
gestures and eloquent his style of delivery, that Daisy listened to him
spell-bound, her eyes fixed intently upon his glowing face, and her ears
drinking in every word he uttered.

After dwelling a time upon the loiterers in God’s vineyard, the idlers
from choice, who worked not for lack of an inclination to do so, he
spoke next of the class whose whole life was a weariness for want of
something to do, and to these he said, "Have you never read how, when
the disciples rebuked the grateful woman for wasting upon her Master’s
head what might have been sold for three hundred pence, and given to the
poor, Jesus said unto them, ’The poor ye have with you always,’ and is
it not so, my hearers? Are there no poor at your door to be fed, no
hungry little ones to be cared for out of the abundance which God has
only loaned for this purpose? Are there no wretched homes which you can
make happier, no aching hearts which a kind word would cheer? Remember
there is a blessing pronounced for even the cup of cold water, and how
much greater shall be the reward of those who, forgetting themselves,
seek the good of others and turn not away from the needy and the
desolate. See to it, then, you to whom God has given much. See to it
that you sit not down in idle ease, wasting upon yourself alone the
goods designed for others; for to whom much is given of him much shall
be required."

Attracted, perhaps, by the deep black of Daisy’s attire, or the
something about her which marked her as different from the mass of his
hearers, the speaker seemed to address the last of his remarks directly
to her, and had the dead Tom risen from his grave and spoken with her
face to face, she could hardly have been more affected than she was. The
resemblance was so striking and the voice so like her cousin’s, that she
felt as if she had received a message direct from him; or, if not from
him, she surely had from God, whose almoner she henceforth would be.

That day was the beginning of a new life to her. Thenceforth there must
be no more repining; no more idle, listless days, no more wishing for
something to do. There was work all around her, and she found it and did
it with a will,—first, from a sense of duty, and at last for the real
pleasure it afforded her to carry joy and gladness to the homes where
want and sorrow had been so long.

Hearing that there was sickness and destitution among the miners in
Peru, where her possessions were, she went there early in November, and
many a wretched heart rejoiced because of her, and many a lip blessed
the beautiful lady whose coming among them was productive of so much
good. Better dwellings, better wages, a church, a school-house followed
in her footsteps, and then, when everything seemed in good working
order, there came over her a longing for her native country, and the
next autumn found her in New York, where in a short space of time
everybody knew of the beautiful Miss McDonald, who was a millionaire and
who owned the fine house and grounds in the upper part of the city not
far from the Park.

Here society claimed her again, and Daisy, who had no morbid fancies
now, yielded in part to its claims, and became, if not a belle, at least
a favorite, whose praises were in every mouth. But chiefly was she known
and loved by the poor and the despised whom she daily visited, and to
whom her presence was like the presence of an angel.

"You do look lovely and sing so sweet; I know there’s nothing nicer in
Heaven," said a little piece of deformity to her one day as it lay dying
in her arms. "I’se goin’ to Heaven, which I shouldn’t have done if
you’se hadn’t gin me the nice bun and told me of Jesus. I loves Him now,
and I’ll tell Him how you bringed me to Him."

Such was the testimony of one dying child, and it was dearer to Daisy
than all the words of flattery ever poured into her ear. As she had
brought that little child to God so she would bring others, and she made
her work among the children especially, finding there her best
encouragement and greatest success.

Once when Guy Thornton chanced to be in the city and driving in the
Park, he saw a singular sight—a pair of splendid bays arching their
graceful necks proudly, their silver-tipped harness flashing in the
sunlight, and their beautiful mistress radiant with happiness as she sat
in her open carriage, not with gayly-dressed friends, but amid a group
of poorly-clad pale-faced little ones, to whom the Park was paradise,
and she the presiding angel.

"Look,—that’s Miss McDonald," Guy’s friend said to him, "the greatest
heiress in New York, and I reckon the one who does the most good. Why,
she supports more old people and children and runs more ragged schools
than any half-dozen men in the city, and I don’t suppose there’s a den
in New York where she has not been, and never once, I’m told, was she
insulted, for the vilest of them stand between her and harm. Once a
miscreant on Avenue A knocked a boy down for accidently stepping in a
pool of water and spattering her white dress in passing. Friday nights
she has a reception for these people, and you ought to see how well they
behave. At first they were noisy and rough, and she had to have the
police, but now they are quiet and orderly as you please, Perhaps you’d
like to go to one. I know Miss McDonald, and will take you with me."

Guy said he should not be in town on Friday, as he must, return to
Cuylerville the next day, and with a feeling he could not quite analyze
he turned to look at the turnout which excited so much attention. But it
was not so much at the handsome bays and the bevy of queer-looking
children he gazed, as at the lady in their midst, clad in velvet and
ermine, with a long white feather falling among the curls of her bright
hair. When Daisy first entered upon her new life, she had affected a
nun-like garb as most appropriate, but after a little child said to her
once: "I don’t like your black gown all the time. I likes sumptin’
bright and pretty," she changed her dress and gave freer scope to her
natural good taste and love of what was becoming. And the result showed
the wisdom of the change, for the children and inmates of the dens she
visited, accustomed only to the squallor and ugliness of their
surroundings, hailed her more rapturously than they had done before, and
were never weary of talking of the beautiful woman who was not afraid to
wear her pretty clothes into their wretched houses, which gradually grew
more clean and tidy for her sake.

"It wasn’t for the likes of them gownds to trail through sich truck,"
Bridget O’Donohue said, and on the days when Daisy was expected, she
scrubbed the floor, which, until Daisy’s advent had not known water for
years, and rubbed and polished the one wooden chair kept sacred for the
lady’s use.

Other women, too, caught Biddy’s spirit and scrubbed their floors and
their children’s faces on the day when Miss McDonald was to call, and
when she came, she was watched narrowly, lest by some chance a speck of
dirt should fall upon her, and her becoming dress and handsome face were
commented on and remembered as some fine show which had been seen for
nothing. Especially did the children like her in her bright dress, and
the velvet and ermine in which she was clad when Guy met her in the Park
were worn more for their sakes, than for the gaze of those to whom such
things were no novelties. To Guy she looked more beautiful than he had
ever seen her before, and there was in his heart a feeling like a want
of something lost, as her carriage disappeared from, view and he lost
sight of the fair face and form which had once been his own.

The world was going well with Guy, for though Dick Trevylian had paid no
part of the one hundred thousand dollars, and he still lived in the
Brown Cottage on the hill, he was steadily working his way to
competency, if not to wealth. His profession as lawyer, which he had
resumed, yielded him a remunerative income, while his contributions to
different magazines were much sought after, so that to all human
appearance he was prosperous and happy. Prosperous in his business, and
happy in his wife and little ones, for there was now a second child, a
baby Guy of six weeks old, and when on his return from New York the
father bent over the cradle of his boy, and kissed his baby face, that
image seen in the Park seemed to fade away, and the caresses he gave to
Julia had in them no faithlessness or insincerity. She was a noble
woman, and had made him a good wife, and he loved her truly, though with
a different, less absorbing, less ecstatic love than he had given to
Daisy. But he did not tell her of Miss McDonald. Indeed, that name was
never spoken now, nor was any reference ever made to her except when the
little Daisy sometimes asked where was the lady for whom she was named,
and why she did not send her a doll.

"I hardly think she knows there is such a chit as you," Guy said to her
once, when sorely pressed on the subject; and then the child wondered
how that could be; and wished she was big enough to write her a letter
and ask her to come and see her.

Every day after that little Daisy played "make b’leve Miss Mack-Dolly"
was there, said Mack-Dolly being represented by a bundle of shawls tied
up to look like a figure and seated in a chair. At last there came to
the cottage a friend of Julia’s, a young lady from New York, who knew
Miss McDonald, and who, while visiting in Cuylerville, accidentally
learned that she was the divorced wife, of whose existence she knew, but
of whom she had never spoken to Mrs. Thornton. Hearing the little one
talking one day to Miss Mack-Dolly, asking her why she never wrote, nor
sent a "sing" to her _sake-name_, the young lady said:

"Why don’t you send Miss McDonald a letter? You tell me what to say and
I’ll write it down for you, but don’t let mamma know till you see if you
get anything."

The little girl’s fancy was caught at once with the idea, and the
following letter was the result:

                                   "_Brown Cottage_, ’Most Tissmas time.

"_Dear Miss Mac-Dolly_:—I’se an ’ittle dirl named for you, I is, Daisy
Thornton, an’ my papa is Mr. Guy, an’ mam-ma is Julia, and 'ittle
brother is Guy, too—only he’s a baby, and vomits up his dinner and ties
awfully sometimes; an’ I knows anoder ’ittle dirl named for somebody who
dives her ’sings,’ a whole lot, an’ why doesn’t youse dive me some, when
I’se your sake-name, an’ loves you ever so much, and why you never turn
here to see me? I wish you would. I ask papa is you pretty, an’ he tell
me yes, bootiful, an’ every night I pays for you and say God bress papa
an’ mam-ma, an’ auntie, and Miss Mac-Dolly, and 'ittle brodder, an’ make
Daisy a dood dirl, and have Miss Mac-Dolly send her sumptin’ for
Tissmas, for Christ’s sake. An’ I wants a turly headed doll that ties
and suts her eyes when she does to seep, and wears a shash and a
pairesol, and anodder big dolly to be her mam-ma and pank her when she’s
naughty, an’ I wants an’ ’ittle fat-iran, an’ a cook-stove, an’
washboard. I’se dot a tub. An’ I wants some dishes an’ a stenshun table,
an’ ’ittle bedstead, an’ yuffled seets, an’ pillars, an’ bue silk kilt,
an’ ever many sings which papa cannot buy, cause he hasn’t dot the
money. Vill you send them, Miss Mac-Dolly, pese, an’ your likeness, too.
I wants to see how you looks. My mam-ma is pretty, with back hair an’
eyes, but she’s awful old—I dess. How old is you? Papa’s hair is some
dray, an’ his viskers, too. My eyes is bue.

                               "Yours, respectfully, "_Daisy Thornton_."

                                  ————

Miss McDonald had been shopping since ten in the morning, and her
carriage had stood before dry goods stores, and toy shops, and candy
stores, while bundle after bundle had been deposited on the cushions and
others ordered to be sent. But she was nearly through now, and, just as
it was beginning to grow dark in the streets, she bade her coachman
drive home, where dinner was waiting for her in the dining-room, and her
mother was waiting in the parlor. Mrs. McDonald was not very well, and
had kept her room all day, but she was better that night, and came down
to dine with her daughter. The December wind was cold and raw, and a few
snowflakes fell on Daisy’s hat and cloak as she ran up the steps and
entered the warm, bright room, which seemed so pleasant when contrasted
with the dreariness without.

"Oh, how nice this is, and how tired and cold I am!" she said, as she
bent over the blazing fire.

"Are you through with your shopping?" Mrs. McDonald asked, in a
half-querulous tone, as if she did not altogether approve of her
daughter’s acts.

"Yes, all through, except a shawl for old Sarah Mackie, and a few more
toys for Biddy Warren’s blind boy," Daisy said, and her mother replied:
"Well, I’m sure I shall be glad for your sake when it is over. You’ll
make youself sick, and you are nearly worn out now, remembering everbody
in New York."

"Not quite everybody, mother," Daisy rejoined, cheerfully; "only those
whom everybody forgets,—the poor, whom we have with us always. Don’t you
remember the text, and the little kirk where we heard it preached from?
But come,—dinner is ready, and I am hungry, I assure you."

She led the way to the handsome dining-room, and took her seat at the
table, looking, in her dark street dress, as her mother had said, pale
and worn, as if the shopping had been very hard upon her. And yet it was
not so much the fatigue of the day which affected her as the remembrance
of a past she did not often dare to recall.

It was at Christmas time years ago that she first met with Guy, and all
the day long, as she turned over piles of shawls, and delaines, and
flannels, or ordered packages of candy, and bonbons, and dollies by the
dozen, her thoughts had been with Guy and the time she met him at Leiter
and Field’s and he walked home with her. It seemed to her years and
years ago, and the idea of having lived so long made her feel old and
tired and worn. But the nice dinner and the cheer of the room revived
her, and her face looked brighter and more rested when she returned to
the parlor, and began to show her mother her purchases.

Daisy did not receive many letters except on business, and, as these
usually came in the morning, she did not think to ask if the postman had
left her anything; and so it was not until her mother had retired and
she was about going to her own room, that she saw a letter lying on the
hall-stand. Miss Barker, who had instigated the letter, had never
written to her more than once or twice, and then only short notes, and
she did not recognize the handwriting at once. But she saw it was
post-marked Cuylerville, and a sick, faint sensation crept over her as
she wondered who had sent it, and if it contained news of Guy. It was
long since she had heard of him,—not, in fact, since poor Tom’s death;
and she knew nothing of the little girl called for herself, and thus had
no suspicion of the terrible shock awaiting her, when at last she broke
the seal. Miss Barker had written a few explanatory lines, which were as
follows:

                                              "_Cuylerville_, Dec., 18—.

"_Dear Miss McDonald_:—Since saying good-bye to you last June, and going
off to the mountains and seaside, while you, like a good Samaritan,
stayed in the hot city to look after ’your people,’ I have flitted
hither and thither until at last I floated out to Cuylerville to visit
Mrs. Guy Thornton, who is a friend and former schoolmate of mine.
Here,—not in the house, but in town,—I have heard a story which
surprised me not a little, and I now better understand that sad look I
have so often seen on your face without at all suspecting the cause.

"Dear friend, pardon me, won’t you, for the liberty I have taken since
knowing your secret? You would, I am sure, if you only knew what a dear,
darling little creature Mr. Thornton’s eldest child is. Did you know he
had called her Daisy for you? He has, and with her blue eyes and bright
auburn hair, she might pass for your very own, with the exception of her
nose, which is decidedly _retrousse_. She is three years old, and the
most precocious little witch you ever saw. What think you of her making
up a bundle of shawls and aprons, and christening it _Miss Mac-Dolly_,
her name for you, and talking to it as if it were really the famous and
beautiful woman she fancies it to be? She is your ’sake-name,’ she says,
and before I knew the facts of the case, I was greatly amused by her
talk to the bundle of shawls which she reproached for never having sent
her anything. When I asked Julia (that’s Mrs. Thornton) who Miss
Mac-Dolly was, she merely answered, ’the lady for whom Daisy was named,’
and that was all I knew until the gossips enlightened me, when, without
a word to any one, I resolved upon a liberty which I thought I could
venture to take with you. I suggested the letter which I inclose, and
which I wrote exactly as the words came from the little lady’s lips.
Neither Mr. Thornton, nor his wife, know aught of the letter, nor will
they unless you respond, for the child will keep her own counsel, I am
well assured.

"Again forgive me if I have done wrong, and believe me, as ever,

                                     "Yours, sincerely, "_Ella Barker_."

                                  ————

Daisy’s face was pale as ashes as she read Miss Barker’s letter, and
then snatching up the other devoured its contents almost at a glance,
while her breath came in panting gasps, and her heart seemed trying to
burst through her throat. She could neither move nor cry out for a
moment, but sat like one turned to stone, with a sense of suffocation
oppressing her, and a horrible pain in her heart. She had thought the
grave was closed, the old wound healed by time and silence, and now a
little child had torn it open, and it was bleeding and throbbing again
with a pang such as she had never felt before, while there crept over
her such a feeling of desolation and loneliness, a want of something
unpossessed, as few have ever experienced.

But for her own foolishness that sweet little child might have been
hers, she thought, as her heart went after the little one with an
indescribable yearning which made her stretch out her arms as if to take
the baby to her bosom and hold it there forever. Guy had called it for
_her_, and that touched her more than anything else. He had not
forgotten her then. She had never supposed he had, but to be thus
assured of it was very sweet, and as she thought of it, and read again
little Daisy’s letter, the tightness about her heart and the choking
sensation in her throat began to give way, and one after another the
great tears rolled down her cheeks, slowly at first, but gradually
faster and faster until they fell in torrents, and a tempest of sobs
shook her frame, as with her head bowed upon her dressing-table she gave
vent to her grief. It seemed to her she never could stop crying or grow
calm again, for as often as she thought of the touching words, "I pays
for you," there came a fresh burst of sobs and tears, until at last
nature was exhausted, and with a low moan Daisy sank upon her knees and
tried to pray, the words which first sprang to her lips framing
themselves into thanks that somewhere in the world there was one who
prayed for her and loved her too, even though the love might have for
its object merely dolls, and candies, and toys. And these the child
should have in abundance, and Miss McDonald found herself longing for
the morrow in which to begin again the shopping she had thought was
nearly ended.

It was in vain next day that her mother remonstrated against her going
out, pleading her white, haggard face and the rawness of the day. Daisy
was not to be detained at home, and before ten o’clock she was down on
Broadway, and the dolly with the "shash," and "pairesol," which she had
seen the day before under its glass case was hers for twenty-five
dollars, and the plainer bit of china, who was to be dollie’s mother and
perform the parental duty of "panking her when she was naughty," was
also purchased, and the dishes, and the table, and stove, and bedstead,
with ruffled sheets, and pillow-cases, and blue satin spread, and the
washboard, and clothes-bars, and tiny wringer, and diverse other toys,
were bought with a disregard of expense which made Miss McDonald a
wonder to those who waited on her. Such a Christmas-box was seldom sent
to a child as that which Daisy packed in her room that night, with her
mother looking on and wondering what Sunday-school was to be the
recipient of all those costly presents, and suggesting that cheaper
articles would have answered just as well.

Everything the child had asked for was there except the picture. That
Daisy dared not send, lest it should look too much like thrusting
herself upon Guy’s notice and wound Julia his wife.

Daisy was strangely pitiful in her thoughts of Julia, who would in her
turn have pitied her for her delusion, could she have known how sure she
was that but for the tardiness of that letter Guy would have chosen his
first love in preference to any other.

And it was well that each believed herself first in the affection of the
man to whom Daisy wanted so much to send something as a proof of her
unalterable love. They were living still in the brown cottage; they were
not able to buy Elmwood back. Oh, if she only dared to do it, how gladly
her Christmas gift should be the handsome place which they had been so
proud of. But that would hardly do; Guy might not like to be so much
indebted to her; he was proud and sensitive in many points, and so she
abandoned the plan for the present, thinking that by and by she would
purchase and hold it as a gift to her namesake on her bridal day. That
will be better, she said, as she put the last article in the box and saw
it leave her door, directed to Guy Thornton’s care.

                                  ————

Great was the surprise at the Brown Cottage, when, on the very night
before Christmas the box arrived and was deposited in the dining-room,
where Guy and Julia, Miss Barker and Daisy, gathered eagerly around it,
the later exclaiming:

"I knows where it tum from, I do. My sake-name, Miss Mac-Dolly, send it,
see did. I writ and ask her would see, an’ see hab."

"What!" Guy said, as, man-like, he began deliberately to untie every
knot in the string which his wife in her impatience would have cut at
once. "What does the child mean? Do you know, Julia?"

"I do. I’ll explain," Miss Barker said, and in as few words as possible
she told what she had done, while Julia listened with a very grave face,
and Guy was pale to his lips as he went on untying the string and
opening the box.

There was a letter lying on the top which he handed to Julia, who
steadied her voice to read aloud:

                                            "New York, December 22, 18—.

"Darling little _sake-name_ _Daisy_:—Your letter made Miss Mack-Dolly
very happy, and she is so glad to send you the doll with a _shash_, and
the other toys. Write to me again and tell me if they suit you. God
bless you, sweet little one, is the prayer of

                                                      "_Miss McDonald_."

After that the grave look left Julia’s face, and Guy was not quite so
pale, as he took out, one after another, the articles, which little
Daisy hailed with rapturous shouts and exclamations of delight.

"Oh, isn’t she dood, and don’t you love her, papa?" she said, while Guy
replied:

"Yes, it was certainly very kind in her, and generous. No other little
girl in town will have such a box as this."

He was very white, and there was a strange look in his eyes, but his
voice was perfectly natural as he spoke, and one who knew nothing of his
former relations to Miss McDonald would never have suspected how his
whole soul was moved by this gift to his little daughter.

"You must write and thank her," he said to Julia, who, knowing that this
was proper, assented without a word, and when on the morning after
Christmas Miss McDonald opened with trembling hands the envelope bearing
the Cuylerville post-mark, she felt a keen pang of disappointment in
finding only a few lines from Julia, who expressed her own and little
Daisy’s thanks for the beautiful Christmas box, and signed herself:

    "Truly, _Mrs. Guy Thornton_."

Not Julia, but Mrs. Guy, and that hurt Daisy more than anything else.

"Mrs. Guy Thornton! Why need she thrust upon me the name I used to
bear?" she whispered, and her lip quivered a little, and the tears
sprang to her eyes as she remembered all that lay between the present
and the time when she had been Mrs. Guy Thornton.

She was Miss McDonald now, and Guy was another woman’s husband, and with
a bitter pain in her heart, she put away Julia’s letter, saying, as she
did so, "And that’s the end of that."

The box business had not resulted just as she hoped it would. She had
thought Guy would write himself, and by some word or allusion assure her
of his remembrance, but instead, there had come to her a few perfectly
polite and well-expressed lines from Julia, who had the _impertinence_
to sign herself Mrs. Guy Thornton! It was rather hard and sorely
disappointing, and for many days Miss McDonald’s face was very white and
sad, and both the old and young whom she visited as usual wondered what
had come over the beautiful lady, to make her "so pale and sorry."



CHAPTER XI.—AT SARATOGA.


There were no more letters from Mrs. Guy Thornton until the next
Christmas, when another box went to little Daisy, and was acknowledged
as before. Then another year glided and a third box went to Daisy, and
then one summer afternoon in the August following, there came to
Saratoga a gay party from New York, and among other names registered at
one of the large hotels was that of Miss McDonald. It seemed to be her
party, or at least she was its center, and the one to whom the others
deferred as to their head. Daisy was in perfect health that summer, and
in unusually good spirits; and when in the evening, yielding to the
entreaties of her friends, she entered the ball-room, clad in flowing
robes of blue and white, with costly jewels on her neck and arms, she
was acknowledged at once as the star and belle of the evening. She did
not dance,—she rarely did that now, but after a short promenade through
the room she took a seat near the door, and was watching the gay
dancers, when she felt her arm softly touched, and turning saw her maid
standing by her, with an anxious, frightened look upon her face.

"Come, please, come quick," she said, in a whisper; and following her
out, Miss McDonald asked what was the matter.

"_This_, you must go away at once. I’ll pack your things. I promised not
to tell, but I must. I can’t see your pretty face all spoiled and ugly."

"What do you mean?" the lady asked, and after a little questioning she
made out from the girl’s statement, that in strolling on the back piazza
she had stumbled upon her first cousin, of whose whereabouts she had
known nothing for a long time.

This girl, Marie, had, it seemed, come to Saratoga a week or ten days
before, with her master’s family consisting of his wife and two little
children. As the hotel was crowded, they were assigned rooms for the
night in a distant part of the house, with a promise of something much
better on the morrow. In the morning, however, the lady, who had not
been well for some days, was too sick to leave her bed, and the doctor,
who was called in to see her, pronounced the disease,—here Sarah stopped
and gasped for breath, and looked behind her and all ways, and finally
whispered a word which made even Miss McDonald start a little and wince
with fear.

"He do call it the _very-o-lord_," Sarah said, "but Mary says it’s the
_very old one_ himself. She knows, she has had it, and you can’t put
down a pin where it didn’t have its claws. They told the landlord, who
was for putting them straight out of doors, but the doctor said the lady
must not be moved,—it was sure death to do it. It was better to keep
quiet, and not make a panic. Nobody need to know it in the house, and
their rooms are so far from everybody that nobody would catch it. So he
let them stay, and the gentleman takes care of her, and Mary keeps the
children in the next room, and carries and brings the things, and keeps
away from everybody. Two of the servants know it, and they’ve had it,
and don’t tell, and she said I mustn’t, nor come that side of the house,
but I must tell you so that you can leave to-morrow. The lady is very
bad, and nobody takes care of her but Mr. Thornton. Mary takes things to
the door, and leaves them outside where he can get them."

"What did you call the gentleman?" Miss McDonald asked, her voice
faltering and her cheek blanching a little.

"Mr. Thornton, from Cuylerville, a place far in the country," was the
girl’s reply; and then, without waiting to hear more, Miss McDonald
darted away, and going to the office, turned the leaves of the Register
to the date of ten or eleven days ago, and read with a beating heart and
quick coming breath:

"Mr. and Mrs. Guy Thornton, two children and servant. No. -- and --."

Yes, it was Guy; there could be no mistake, and in an instant her
resolution was taken. Calling her maid, she sent for her shawl and hat,
and then, bidding her follow, walked away in the moonlight. The previous
summer when at Saratoga, she had received medical treatment from Dr.
Schwartz, whom she knew well, and to whose office she directed her
steps. He seemed surprised to see her at that hour, but greeted her
cordially, asked when she came to town and what he could do for her.

"Tell me if this is still a safeguard," she said, baring her beautiful
white arm, and showing a large round scar. "Will this insure me against
disease?"

The doctor’s face flushed, and he looked uneasily at her as he took her
arm in his hand and examining the scar closely, said:

"The points are still distinct. I should say the vaccination was
thorough."

"But another will be safer. Have you fresh matter?" Daisy asked, and he
replied:

"Yes, some just from a young, healthy cow. I never use the adulterated
stuff which has been humanized. How do I know what humors may be lurking
in the blood? Why, some of the fairest, sweetest babies are full of
scrofula."

He was going on further with his discussion, when Daisy, who knew his
peculiarities, interrupted him.

"Never mind the lecture now. Vaccinate me quick, and let me go."

It was soon done; the doctor saying, as he put away his vial:

"You were safe without it, I think, and with it you may have no fears
whatever."

He looked at her curiously again as if asking what she knew or feared,
and observing the look, Daisy said to him:

"Do you attend the lady at the hotel?"

He bowed affirmatively and glanced uneasily at Sarah, who was looking on
in surprise.

"Is she very sick?" was the next inquiry.

"Yes, very sick."

"And does no one care for her but her husband?"

"No one."

"Has she suffered for care,—a woman’s care, I mean?"

"Well, not exactly; and yet she might be more comfortable with a woman
about her. Women are naturally better nurses than men, and Mr. Thornton
is quite worn out, but it does not make much difference now; the lady——"

Daisy did not hear the last part of the sentence, and bidding him
good-night, she went back to the hotel as swiftly as she had left it,
while the doctor stood watching the flutter of her white dress,
wondering how she found it out, and if she would "tell and raise _Cain_
generally."

"Of course not. I know her better than that," he said, to himself. "Poor
woman" (referring then to Julia). "Nothing, I fear, can help her now."

Meanwhile, Daisy had reached the hotel, and without going to her own
room, bade Sarah tell her the way to No. —.

"What! Oh, Miss McDonald! You surely are not——" Sarah gasped, clutching
at the dress, which her mistress took from her grasp, saying:

"Yes, I am going to see that lady. I know her, or of her, and I’m not
afraid. Must we let her die alone?"

"But your face,—your beautiful face," Sarah said, and then Daisy did
hesitate a moment, and glancing into a hall mirror, wondered how the
face she saw there, and which she knew was beautiful, would look scarred
and disfigured as she had seen faces in New York.

There was a momentary conflict, and then, with an inward prayer that
Heaven would protect her, she passed on down the narrow hall and knocked
softly at No. —, while Sarah stood wringing her hands in genuine
distress, and feeling as if her young mistress had gone to certain ruin.



CHAPTER XII.—IN THE SICK ROOM.


Julia had the small-pox in its most aggravated form. Where she took it,
or when, she did not know; nor did it matter. She _had_ it, and for ten
days she had seen no one but her husband and physician, and had no care
but such as Guy could give her. He had been unremitting in his
attention. Tender and gentle as a woman, he had nursed her night and
day, with no thought for himself and the risk he ran. It was a bad
disease at the best, and now in its worse type it was horrible, but
Julia bore up bravely, thinking always more of others than of herself,
and feeling so glad that Providence had sent them to those
out-of-the-way rooms, where she had at first thought she could not pass
a night comfortably. Her children were in the room adjoining, and she
could hear their little voices as they played together, or asked for
their mamma, and why they must not see her. Alas! they would never see
her again; she knew, and Guy knew it too. The doctor had told them so
when he left them that night, and between the husband and wife words had
been spoken such as are only said when hearts which have been one are
about to be severed for ever.

To Julia there was no terror in death, save as it took her from those
she loved, her husband and her little ones, and these she had given into
God’s keeping knowing His promises are sure. To Guy she had said:

"You have made me so happy. I want you to remember when I am gone, that
I would not have one look or act of yours changed if I could, and yet,
forgive me, Guy, for saying it, but I know you must often have thought
of that other one whom, you loved first, and it may be best."

Guy could not speak, but he smoothed her hair tenderly, and his tears
dropped upon the swollen face he could not kiss, as Julia went on.

"But if you did, you never showed it in the least, and I bless you for
it. Take good care of my children; teach them to remember their mother,
and if in time there comes another in my place, and other little ones
than mine call you father, don’t forget me quite, because I love you so
much. Oh, Guy, my darling, it is hard to say good-bye, and know that
after a little this world will go on the same as if I had never been.
Don’t think I am afraid. I am not, for Jesus is with me, and I know I am
safe; but still there’s a clinging to life, which has been so pleasant
to me. Tell your sister how I loved her. I know she will miss me, and be
good to my children, and if you ever meet _that other one_, tell
her,—tell her,—I——"

The faint voice faltered here, and when it spoke again, it said:

"Lift me up, Guy, so I can breathe better while I tell you."

He lifted her up and held her in his arms, while through the open window
the summer air and the silver moonlight streamed, and in the distance
was heard the sound of music as the dance went merrily on. And just
then, when she was in the minds of both, Daisy came, and her gentle
knock broke the silence of the room and startled both Guy and Julia.

Who was it that sought entrance to that death-laden, disease-poisoned
room? Not the doctor, sure, for he always entered unannounced, and who
else dared to come there? Thus Guy questioned, hesitating to answer the
knock, when to his utter surprise the door opened and a little figure,
clad in airy robes of white, with its bright hair wreathed with flowers
and gems, came floating in, the blue eyes shining like stars, and the
full red lips parted with the smile, half pleased, half shy, which Guy
remembered so well.

"Daisy, Daisy!" he cried, and his voice rang like a bell through the
room, as, laying Julia’s head back upon the pillow, he sprang to Daisy’s
side, and taking her by the shoulder, pushed her gently toward the door,
saying:

"Why have you come here? Leave us at once; don’t you see? don’t you
know?" and he pointed toward Julia, whose face showed so plainly in the
gaslight.

"Yes, I know, and I came to help you take care of her. I am not afraid,"
Daisy said, and freeing herself from his grasp, she walked straight up
to Julia and laid her soft white hand upon her head. "I am Daisy," she
said, "and I’ve come to take care of you. I just heard you were here.
How hot your poor head is; let me bathe it; shall I?"

She went to the bowl, and wringing a cloth in ice water, bathed the sick
woman’s head and held the cool cloth to the face and wiped the parched
lips and rubbed the feverish hands, while Guy stood, looking on,
bewildered and confounded, and utterly unable to say a word or utter a
protest to this angel, as it seemed to him, who had come unbidden to his
aid, forgetful of the risk she ran and the danger she incurred. Once, as
she turned her beautiful face to him and he saw how wondrously fair and
lovely it was, lovely with a different expression from any he had ever
seen there, it came over him with a thrill of horror that that face must
not be marred and disfigured with the terrible pestilence, and he made
another effort to send her away. But Daisy would not go.

"I am not afraid," she said. "I have just been vaccinated, and there was
already a good scar on my arm; look!" and she pushed back her sleeve,
and showed her round, white arm with the mark upon it.

Guy did not oppose her after that, but let her do what she liked, and
when, an hour later, the doctor came, he found his recent visitor
sitting on Julia’s bed, with Julia’s head lying against her bosom and
Julia herself asleep. Some word which sounded very much like
"thunderation" escaped his lips, but he said no more, for he saw in the
sleeping woman’s face a look he never mistook. It was death; and ten
minutes after he entered the room Julia Thornton lay dead in Daisy’s
arms.

There was a moment or so of half consciousness, during which they caught
the words, "So kind in you; it makes me easier; be good to the children;
one is called for you, but Guy loved me too. Good-bye. I am going to
Jesus."

That was the last she ever spoke, and a moment after she was dead. In
his fear lest the facts should be known to his guests, the host insisted
that the body should be removed under cover of the night, and as Guy
knew the railway officials would object to taking it on any train, there
was no alternative except to bury it in town; and so there was brought
to the room a close plain coffin, and Daisy helped lay Julia in it, and
put a white flower in her hair and folded her hands upon her bosom, and
then watched from the window the little procession which followed the
body out to the cemetery, where, in the stillness of the coming day,
they buried it, together with everything which had been used about the
bed, Daisy’s party dress included; and when at last the full morning
broke, with stir and life in the hotel, all was empty and still in the
fumigated chamber of death, and in the adjoining room, clad in a simple
white wrapper, with a blue ribbon in her hair, Daisy sat with Guy’s
little boy on her lap and her namesake at her side, amusing them as best
she could and telling them their mamma had gone to live with Jesus.

"Who’ll be our mamma now? We must have one. Will oo?" little Daisy
asked, as she hung about the neck of her new friend.

She knew it was Miss Mack-Dolly, her "sake-name," and in her delight at
seeing her and her admiration of her great beauty, she forgot in part
the dead mamma on whose grave the summer sun was shining.

The Thorntons left the hotel that day and went back to the house in
Cuylerville, which had been closed for a few weeks, for Miss Frances was
away with some friends in Connecticut. But she returned at once when she
heard the dreadful news, and was there to receive her brother and his
motherless little ones. He told her of Daisy when he could trust himself
to talk at all, of Julia’s sickness and death, and Miss Frances felt her
heart go out as it had never gone before toward the woman about whom
little Daisy talked constantly.

"Most bootiful lady," she said, "an’ looked des like an ’ittle dirl, see
was so short, an’ her eyes were so bue an’ her hair so turly."

Miss McDonald had won Daisy’s heart, and knowing that made her own
happier and lighter than it had been since the day when the paper came
to her with the marked paragraph which crushed her so completely. There
had been but a few words spoken between herself and Guy, and these in
the presence of others, but at their parting he had taken her soft
little hand in his and held it a moment, while he said, with a choking
voice, "God bless you, Daisy. I shall not forgot your kindness to my
poor Julia, and if you should need,—but no, that is too horrible to
think of; may God spare you that. Good-bye."

And that was all that passed between him and Daisy with regard to the
haunting dread which sent her in a few days to her own house in New
York, where, if the thing she feared came upon her, she would at least
be at home and know she was not endangering the lives of others. But God
was good to her, and though there was a slight fever with darting pains
in her back and a film before her eyes, it amounted to nothing worse,
and might have been the result of fatigue and over-excitement; and when,
at Christmas time, yielding to the importunities of her little namesake,
there was a picture of herself in the box sent to Cuylerville, the face
which Guy scanned even more eagerly than his daughter, was as smooth and
fair and beautiful as when he saw it at Saratoga, bending over his dying
wife.



CHAPTER XIII.—DAISY’S JOURNAL.


                                               _New York_, June 14, 18—.

To-morrow I am to take my old name of Thornton again, and be Guy’s wife
once more. Nor does it seem strange at all that I should do so, for I
have never thought of myself as not belonging to him, even when I knew
he was married to another. And yet when that dreadful night at Saratoga
I went to Julia’s room, there was in my heart no thought of this which
has come to me. I only wished to care for her and be a help to Guy. I
did not think of her dying, and after she was dead, there was not a
thought of the future in my mind until little Daisy put it there by
asking if I would be her mamma. Then I seemed to see it all, and
expected it up to the very day, six weeks ago, when Guy wrote to me,
"Daisy, I want you. Will you come to me again as my wife?"

I was not surprised. I knew he would say it sometime, and I replied at
once, "Yes, Guy, I will."

He has been here since, and we have talked it over, all the past when I
made him so unhappy, and when I, too, was so wretched, though I did not
say much about that, or tell him of the dull, heavy, gnawing pain which,
sleeping or waking, I carried with me so long, and only lost when I
began to live for others. I did speak of the letter, and said I had
loved him ever since I wrote it, and that his marrying Julia made no
difference, and then I told him of poor Tom, and what I said to him, not
from love but from a sense of duty, and when I told him how Tom would
not take me at my word, he held me close to him and said, "I am glad he
did not, my darling, for then you would never have been mine."

I think we both wept over those two graves, one far off in sunny France,
the other in Saratoga, and both felt how sad it was that they must be
made in order to bring us together. Poor Julia! She was a noble woman,
and Guy did love her. He told me so, and I am glad of it. I mean to try
to be like her in those things wherein she excelled me.

We are going straight to Cuylerville to the house where I never was but
once, and that on the night when Guy was sick and Miss Frances made me
go back in the thunder and rain. She is sorry for that, for she told me
so in the long, kind letter she wrote, calling me her little sister and
telling me how glad she is to have me back once more. Accidentally I
heard Elmwood was for sale, and without letting Guy know I bought it,
and sent him the deed, and we are going to make it the most attractive
place in the county.

It will be our summer home, but in the winter my place is here in New
York with my people, who would starve and freeze without me. Guy has
agreed to that and will be a great help to me. He need never work any
more unless he chooses to do so, for my agent says I am a millionaire,
thanks to poor Tom, who gave me his gold mine and his interest in that
railroad. And for Guy’s sake I am glad, and for his children, the
precious darlings; how much I love them already, and how kind I mean to
be to them both for Julia’s sake and Guy’s. Hush! That’s his ring, and
there’s his voice in the hall asking for Miss McDonald, and so for the
last time I write that name, and sign myself

                                                    _Margaret McDonald_.

                                  ————

             _Extracts from Miss Frances Thornton’s Diary._

                                                _Elmwood_, June 15th, —.

I have been looking over an old journal, finished and laid away long
ago, and accidentally I stumbled upon a date eleven years back. It was
Guy’s wedding day then; it is his anniversary now, and as on that June
day years ago I worked among my flowers, so have I been with them this
morning, and as then people from the Towers came into our beautiful
grounds, so they came to-day and praised our lovely place and said there
was no spot like it in all the country round. But Julia was not with
them. She will never come to us again. Julia is dead, and her grave is
in Saratoga, for Guy dare not have her moved, but he has erected a
costly monument to her memory, and the mound above her is like some
bright flower bed all the summer long, for he hires a man to tend it,
and goes twice each season to see that it is kept as he wishes to have
it. Julia is dead and Daisy is here again at Elmwood, which she
purchased with her own money, and fitted up with every possible
convenience and luxury.

Guy is ten years younger than he used to be, and we are all so happy
with this little fairy, who has expanded into a noble woman, and whom I
love as I never loved a living being before, Guy excepted, of course. I
never dreamed when I turned her out into the rain that I should love her
as I do, or that she was capable of being what she is. I would not have
her changed in any one particular, and neither, I am sure, would Guy,
while the children fairly worship her, and must sometimes be troublesome
with their love and their caresses.

It is just a year since she came back to us. We were in the small house
then, but Daisy’s very presence seemed to brighten and beautify it,
until I was almost sorry to leave it last April for this grand place
with all its splendor.

There was no wedding at all; that is, there were no invited guests, but
never had bride greater honor at her bridal than our Daisy had, for the
church where the ceremony was performed, at a very early hour in the
morning, was literally crowded with the halt, the lame, the maimed and
the blind; the slum of New York; gathered from every back street, and
by-lane, and gutter; Daisy’s "people," as she calls them, who came to
see her married, and who, strangest of all, brought with them a present
for the bride; a beautiful family Bible, golden clasped and bound, and
costing fifty dollars. Sandy McGraw presented it, and he had written
upon the fly leaf, "To the dearest friend we ever had, we give this
book, as a slight token of how much we love her." Then followed, upon a
sheet of paper, the names of the donors and how much each gave. Oh, how
Daisy cried when she saw the _ten cents_, and the _five cents_, and the
_three cents_, and the _one cent_, and knew it had all been earned and
saved at some personal sacrifice for her. I do believe she would have
kissed every one of them if Guy had permitted it. She did kiss the
children and shook every hard, soiled hand there, and then Guy took her
away and brought her to our home, where she has been the sweetest,
merriest, happiest, little creature that ever a man called wife, or a
woman sister. She does leave her things round a little, to be sure, and
she is not always ready for breakfast. I guess she never will wholly
overcome those habits, but I can put up with them now better than I
could once. Love makes a vast difference in our estimate of others, and
she could scarcely ruffle me now, even if she kept breakfast waiting
every morning and left her clothes lying three garments deep upon the
floor. As for Guy,—but his happiness is something I cannot describe.
Nothing can disturb his peace, which is as firm as the everlasting
hills. He does not caress her as much as he did once, but his thoughtful
care of her is wonderful, and she is never long from his sight without
his going to seek her.

May God bless them and keep them always as they are now, at peace with
Him and all in all to each other.



                                THE END.


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