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      The new year was just a week old, and Isola and Allegra were standing on a terraced hillside in a country where January has noontides as brilliant and balmy as an English June. They had travelled up that almost perpendicular hill in a roomy landau drawn by a pair of strong horses, and now, near the summit of the hill, on the last of those many terraces that zig-zag up the face of the cliff, they had alighted from the carriage, and were standing side by side upon the broad white road, at an angle where the cliff dipped suddenly, clothed with the wild growth of stunted olive and bushy pine, down and down to the abyss where the blue sea looked like a sapphire at the bottom of a pit. They stood and gazed, and gazed again, almost bewildered by the infinite beauty and variety of that dazzling prospect.Godfrey Bergan, standing by, saw something of the struggle, yet did not understand it in the least. "A drunkard's aimless wrath!" he said to himself,"quenched in its own fury."

      Before dinner, the two gentlemen were left to a quiet chat by themselves on the cool, shady piazza. Bergan embraced this opportunity to explain, more fully than he had yet done, his motives and aims. He told his uncle,a little proudly, it might be, for he wished it to be understood that he had come hither with a self-respecting purpose of independence, and not with any idea of leaning upon his friends,he told his uncle that his choice of Berganton as the starting-point of his professional career, was due to the influence of his mother. Her childhood's home, and its vicinity, had always kept a tenacious hold on her affections, despite the fact that more than two-thirds of her womanhood had been spent elsewhere, and all the deeper joys and sorrows of her life had blossomed and fruited in different soil. When, therefore, it became necessary for one of her sons to go out into the world, in search of a better field of labor than was afforded in his native village, her thoughts naturally turned to the spot so haloed in her memory, and where her ancestry had sent such deep, old roots into the soil, as to create a kind of kinship for evermore between their descendants and the locality. It would be a pleasant thing for Bergan, she thought, to make a home and a name for himself in a place where he possessed so strong a claim to residence; it would be equally pleasant for the old town to recognize the familiar mould of features and character in its streets; and it would be pleasantest of all for herself to know that her son was with her kinsfolk, amid well-known scenes, rather than among strangers, on ground where her thoughts could find no foothold. Some day, she hoped to visit him there, and feed her mother's pride upon his success, at the same time that she renewed her girlhood amid old associations.She dreamt her dream of that strange world in fear and trembling, conjuring up scenes of horrortiger hunts; snakes hidden in the corner of a tent; battle; fever; fire; mutiny. Her morbid imagination pictured all possible and impossible danger for the man she loved. And then she thought of his home-comingfor good, for goodfor all the span of their joint lives; and she longed for that return with the sickness of hope deferred.

      "What are you doing?" he asked.The summer ran its course, and came to an end. With the first frost of autumn, Hubert Arling arrived in Savalla, to pay a visit of indefinite extent to his brother. A few days after, Coralie, newly returned from Farview, called at the office, expecting to find her father there, according to appointment; but found only Bergan, as it appeared, writing in his usual place. He rose, bowed, and finally took her offered hand, with what seemed to her an odd mixture of hesitation and embarrassment, while she poured forth greetings, thanks, and questions.

      Bergan smiled, and pointed upward. "From the Source of all succor, whatever be the channel."

      "Dearest, the plainest Christian rites are enough, if they but make us one."


      Hereupon, Major Bergan's wrath broke out afresh. It was not in human naturecertainly not in that particular species of human nature represented by the Majorto hear with equanimity that the very measure which he had taken to prevent what he considered to be an unsuitable marriage, had possibly availed to hasten it forward. The walls of the doctor's office trembled with the oral thunderbolts launched at the offenders. In due time, however, these also subsided into the low growl of the exhausted tempest; dying away, at last, in muttered imprecations upon that curious turn of eventsthe grim humor of which the Major was now quite capable of appreciatingwhich had made him the trustee of Mrs. Lyte's affairs, and the guardian of her interests.


      Bergan obeyed, and a considerable portion of the wainscoting slid easily to one side, disclosing a small room or closet, so artfully contrived between wall and chimney, that its existence could never have been suspected. It was lighted and ventilated by a window, and furnished with an armchair and a massive, old-fashioned secretary. Rue opened one of the compartments of the latter, and revealed several small canvas bags, which, it was easy to see, contained gold and silver coin.Bergan colored with indignation, and was about to say something in sharp rebuke of the covert insult; but Mr. Islay stopped him by a look, and a slight, yet decided gesture.


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