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and the present was one of them. Julius- give them ; indeed little more than that Uncle poor prodigal as he might be--had fed on his Julius, whom they had supposed to be dead, own swines' husks silently, far away; he had had reappeared, and at last come home. never either disgraced or wronged any one, “But why did he not come home before, least of all his brother. Heavy grief though mamma ?” he had caused, there was mixed with it none “Being a soldier he could not do that, I of that aching bitterness which Edna felt in her suppose." own heart, and the mute contempt which she “Still, he might have written," said Julius, read in her husband's face, whenever she a little severely. “It was unkind of him to chanced to mention her sister. Therefore, let you and papa imagine he was dead, and ber rejoicing over the lost and found was as grieve after him for so many years." anclonded as her love-and she had always “People sometimes do unkind things withlored Julius.
out meaning it, or, at least, without definitely The wonderful news could not be long hid, intending it,” said the mother, gently. “When especially in this loving family, where the pa- you are as old as I am, my son, you will have rents kept none but necessary secrets from their learned that—" Here she stopped, hindered children. The mother was soon the centre of by the great difficulty with all young people, an eager group, asking all manner of questions, how to keep them sternly to the right; and and evidently regarding the whole matter as a yet while preaching strict justice, to remember sort of real-life fairy tale.
mercy. “In truth, my children," added she, "Don't bother mamma, children,” said Julius, with that plain candor which had been her with tender authoritativeness. “Come away safeguard all her life, and taught her sons to with me, and I'll tell you as much as I know, be as fearlessly true as herself, “it is useless while she reads papa's letter.”
to question me; for I know almost nothing, Dr. Stedman had written, not telegraphed, except that papa has found his brother again, that he might startle her less and give her the which will make him so happy. You like papa latest intelligence, and had sent his letter by to be happy, all of you ?”. the faithful Tommy Fox, who was to remain “Ah, yes !” and they ceased troubling her that night at Brook Street, and bring Mrs. with their wonderings, but with the brilliant Stedman back with him the first thing next imagination of youth darted at once to the posmorning.
sibility of Uncle Julius's appearance among "I do not want you until the morning," them, making endless speculations and arrangewrote William to his wife. “You must get ments concerning him. The twins, hearing he a good night's rest, for I fear you may have had been a soldier, brought out their favorite some days, or perhaps weeks, of heavy nursing toy-cannon, with a man behind it, which man here. However, if he survives the next twenty- they immediately named “Uncle Julius.” Robfour hours, he will live, I doubt not. I might ert, who had set his heart upon wandering half have sent for you to-night, but I thought it over the world, exulted in the thought of all best not."
the information he should get about foreign Edna felt also that it was best not--that not countries; and Will, after much meditation, eren his wife should share in this solemn watch leaped at once to a most brilliant conclusion. which William kept so faithfully-uncertain “That folio of drawings you keep, beside whether after all his brother might not slip the old easel in your bedroom, mamma-were away, unrecognizing and anrecognized, into they not done by Uncle Julius? You said he the next world. But even if Julius died, it was an artist before he went away to India." would be a lighter burden to bear than that “Yes." which Dr. Stedman had borne so patiently, so "And clever, too, to judge by those sketches, silently, all these years; not suffering it to which you have never properly shown me yet, darken his home-life, which would indeed have and will not let me have to copy ; very good been both foolish and wrong. Still it was there they are, some of them,” continued Will, with
-and his wife knew it. Almost every human the slightly patronizing tone of the younger heart has some such dark chamber in it; she generation. “Of course, he is too old to had had hers too.
make an artist now; but he might help to make Now, was the grief to be lifted off or not? me one." Edna could not tell; nor William. He had “Perhaps," said the mother, and wondered only said, in reference to the future, one thing whether Uncle Julius would recognize, as his
-" If Julius recovers, will my wife take him brother and she had long since began to do, home?" At which the wife smiled to her- the eternal law of progression, whereby one self. There was no need to answer that ques- generation slips aside, or is set aside, and antion.
other takes its place-a law righteous and easy So, it was necessary to prepare for possibili- of belief to bappy parents, but hard to others, ries; and first, by telling the children as much who have to drop down, solitary and childless, of their uncle's history as she thought advis- into the great sea of oblivion, leaving not a able. They were not inquisitive or worrying trace behind. As she looked on her bright, children. Still they had their natural curiosity, brave boys growing up around her, in whom increased by the very few facts she was able to her memory and their father's would livc, long after both were in the dust, Edna thought of wisdom, He would take it to Himself, to do Julius, and sighed.
with it according to His omnipotent will, which “Now, my little man, you must chatter no must be perfect, or it would not be omnipotent. more, but be off to bed; for mamma has a There was a figure standing at the ale-house great deal to do to-night."
door-her husband watching for her. Edna Nevertheless, she was not afraid, though it looked rather than asked the trembling queswas a small and already full house in which she tion, “Is he alive?" which William's smile anhad to make room for the wanderer ; but the swered at once. capacity of people's houses often corresponds. He had held up bravely till now; but when with that of their hearts. And she had good he found himself alone with his wife he broke servants - a good mistress usually has — and down. Edna took his head to her bosom, and helpful, unselfish children. Her eldest, espe- let him weep there, almost like one of his own cially, followed her about the house, assisting little children. in her plans and arrangements almost as clev. But there was no time to waste in mere emoerly as a daughter, and yet so manly, so wise, tion-the patient must not be left for ten minso reliable that for the hundredth time his mo- utes. Nothing but constant watching could ther pitied all women who had not a son like save the life which flickered like a dying taper, Julius,
half in and half out of the body. Julius might Yet when he and she sat together over the slip away at any moment, giving no sign, as fire, the house being silent and all preparations all the night through he had given none. It made, both for her temporary absence and for was impossible to say whether he even recogher return with poor Uncle Julius, if he recov-nized his brother, though the pressure on the ered—with the reaction from her first joyful brain produced stupor rather than delirium. excitement over-anxious thoughts came into | “He lies, looking as quiet as a baby,” said Edna's mind. Was she right in bringing into Will, with a great sob. “I have cut his hair her household and among her young sons this and beard ; he is quite bald. You would hardman, who might be so changed-whose life for ly know him. I wonder if he will know you, fifteen years and more was utterly unknown to Edna ?” her, except that he had sunk deplorably from “Let us come and see," answered Mrs. Ste:his former estate? When her eldest son, look- man, as she laid aside her bonnet, and made ing at her with his honest, innocent, boyish silently all her little arrangements for the long, eyes, said, earnestly, “Now, mamma, tell me long sisterly watch, of which God only knew the all about poor Uncle Julius,” Edna trembled. end.
But only for a moment. She knew well, her Her husband followed her with eyes full of anxious life had often taught her, the plain love. “There is nobody to do this but you, fact that we can not live two days at once; that my wife. You would do it, I knew." She beyond a certain prudent forecasting of conse- smiled. “And I have made things as light for quences we have but to see the right for the you as I can. Mrs. Fox will take the nighttime being, and act upon it.
nursing. She is evidently very fond of him“My son," she answered, cautiously, as her but every body was always fond of Julius. My judgment prompted, but honestly, as mothers poor dear lad !" ought who have their children's souls in their The strong fraternal love-rare between men, hands, “ Uncle Julius has had a very hard, sad but, when it does happen, the heavenliest, nolife. It may have been not even a good life. blest bond, a help through life, and faithful even I do not know. But papa does; and he un-unto death-shone in William's eyes; and his derstands what is right far better than we. He wife honored and loved him for it. says he wishes Uncle Julius to come home-he “Come,” she whispered, “ perhaps, please is so glad and thankful to have him at home. God, we may save him yet. Come and take So of course it is all right. We can trust papa, me to Julius's room." both you and I.”
For another day and night the poor brain“ To be sure we can," said Julius, and looked worn out with misery, and disordered by the his father's very image while he spoke: so that continual use of opium-lay in a torpid condiEdna had no farther fear even for her darling tion, of which it was impossible to foretell the
next change. Then sharp physical pain superIt was little more than ten in the forenoon, vened, and forced into a kind of semi-consciousand Holt Common was bathed in the brightest ness the bewildered mind. spring sunshine, when Edna crossed it under The day he had spent out on the commonTommy Fox's guidance, to take the shortest (Tommy Fox afterward confessed to having seen cut to the “Goat and Compasses.” She scarce Mr. Stone lying for hours under a damp furzely looked at the sweet sights around her—the bush)—brought back his old rheumatic torments. green mosses, the perfumed gorse--so full was He had over again the same illness, rheumatic her heart, trembling between hope and fear, fever, through which his brother had nursed him wondering whether it would please God to give twenty years ago. Strangely enough, this agony this poor wrecked life into their hands-hers of body was the most merciful thing that could and Will's—to be made whole and sound again, have happened to the mind. It seemed to aneven in this world; or whether, in His infinite nihilate the present entirely, and thrust him
back to the days of his youth. He took quite Letty, either as Letty or as Mrs. Vandernaturally the presence of Will and Edna, and decken, he never once named. very soon began to call them by their right. Indeed, in the complete absorption of the names, and comprehend, in a confused way, time, neither Edna nor her husband thought that he was under their charge. And in his much about her themselves. The near neightotal helplessness the great difficulty which borhood of Holywell Park troubled them not; William had foreseen, the stopping of the the place was half shut up, the mistress being supplies of opium, became easier than they away at Brighton. Thence she never sent, had anticipated. After he had been brought never wrote; at which they were neither surback, as it were, from the very gates of the prised nor sorry. grave, to some slight recognition of where he But the night before they had settled to quit was, and what had happened to him, he seemed Mrs. Fox's kindly roof the good woman brought to wake up, as people often do after very severe to Mrs. Stedman, for whom she had conceived illnesses, with the freshness of a child—asking a great admiration, a note from the Hall. no questions, but helplessly and obediently. “I don't know if you knows Mrs. Vanderclinging to those about him, till sometimes decken, ma'am, but perhaps you do, as it was none of his nurses could look at him without through her little girl I heard of Dr. Stedman. tears.
And she's a kind lady-a very kind lady inGradually he passed out of sickness into con- deed: he saw her the day before he was ill. valescence, began visibly to amend in body, Didn't you, Sir?" though how far his mind was alive to the Edna interposed, and stopped the conversathings around him it was difficult to say. He tion, but her caution seemed needless. The noticed nothing much-neither the changes sick man took no notice, and she hoped he had which Edna had gradually instituted in his seen and heard nothing. However, just before ragged wardrobe, nor the comforts which she she left him for the night, Julius called her back. gathered around him in his homely room. He “What was that note you had ? From vour spoke little, and his whole intelligence seemed sister?" to be absorbed in trying to bear, as patiently as “Yes." he could, his physical sufferings, which, for a “ Have you seen her ?" long time, were very great. When at last Edna, | "No." to whose ministering care he had grown quite This was all he asked, or was told, though, accustomed, proposed taking him “home,” he in much anxiety, Edna sat down beside him for assented, but without asking the slightest ques- another half hour. By-and-by Julius felt feetion as to what and where “home” was. | bly for her hand.
"Are you there still, sister Edna? I like to “Quite sure. Now go to sleep." have you beside me. I know you now, and “One minute"—and Julius lifted himself up Will too, though at first I did not. I thought and caught Edna's hand. “Tell her-your I was dreaming. I have had so many queer sister-that for the child's sake I have forgiven dreams. They all came out of that box which her all. I will never harm her. Her daughter you never will let me have."
knows nothing-never will know. Say I for“No, never again.”
give her, and bid her good-by froin me." “Does Will say so ?”
“I will,” said Edna; and then, still holding 6. Yes.”
her hand, Julius dropped into the quietest slum“ Then I suppose he must be obeyed. When ber which he had yet known. we were lads, kind as he was to me, Will al- When alone for the night Mrs. Stedman read ways made me obey him.” Julius smiled faint-orer again the dirty-looking note, which had ly, yet more like his own smile than Edna had lain a whole day in the pocket of a small child, ever seen yet. “Where is Will to-night?" one of Mrs. Vanderdecken's Sunday-class, by
“Gone home, to get ready the house for us whom it had been sent. Letty's cowardice had to-morrow, you know. Besides, he has his followed her to the last. There was in the work to do.”
missive neither beginning nor ending. No“Ah, yes! and mine is all done. I shirked thing that could identify it or its writer, or beit once; and now, when I want to do it, I can tray any fact that it was safer to conceal. not. Why do you and Will take me home? 1 "I know all, and was glad your husband had been would never have come of myself. I shall only sent for to the poor man, you and he being the proper be a burden upon you. Do you know, Edna, persons to manage the business. Give himn my best that I have not a half-penny in the world ?”
wishes, and I hope he will soon get well. If I could
do any thing-but it is better not-you will under* Yes."
| stand that. Only, if you like to come and talk it over “Except, of course, my pension as a soldier with me, I shall be very glad to see you, for I am quite --a common soldier, which I have been-I alone here, though I shall return to Brighton in two ceased to be a gentleman years ago."
days." Edna smiled.
Edna closed the letter with a heavy sigh, “Do not mock me, it is true. You had bet- and sat long pondering over it, and how she ter not take me back. I shall only be a trouble should answer it; whether it would not be adto you. Nay, even a disgrace. Will is an hon- | visable, under the circumstances, and especially est, honorable, prosperous man, while I - What with regard to a future that was very difficult will all your friends say?"
at best, to go and see Letty, as she asked, in “We shall never ask them. But," added her own house, and, calmly but not unkindly, Will's wife, in reasoning not her own, for her “ talk it over," as she proposed, thus closing own failed her, “it is just the story of the piece forever the grave of a past that could returu no of silver —. And when she hath found it she more. calleth her friends and neighbors together, say- In her husband's absence Edna was obliged ing, Rejoice with me, for I have found my piece to trust to her own judgment, and what she that was lost.'”
knew his would be. He had said more than Julius turned away bitterly. “Don't talk to once that nothing should induce him to enter me out of the Bible. I do not believe in the his sister-in-law's door, nor did his wife dissent Bible. Only”-as if he feared he had hurt her from this. There is a limit beyond which self_“I believe in you."
respect can not pass; and charity itself changes " Thank you, dear.” She often called him its character when it becomes the subserviency “dear" now, in the tone she used to her own of weak right to rampant wrong. But Mrs. children; for, in many ways, Julius had grown Stedman, who had not an atom of weakness so very like a child. “And I believe in the about her, or pride either, felt no hesitation Bible. Therefore, I came here to nurse you, whatever in crossing, just once and no more, and keep you alive if we could. Therefore, as her sister's grand threshold ; neither humbly soon as you are stronger, I mean to take you nor scornfully, but with a kindly sisterly heart. home, to begin a new life, and never to speak If she could do Letty any good, why, well! If of the old lite any more."
not, still it was well too. They would both see Tender as her words were, there was a cer- clearly, once for all, what their future relations tain authority in them—the quiet decision which to one another were to be. Edna always showed—and nobody attempted So next morning, before Julius was well to gainsay.
| awake, without saying any thing to him or any Julius did not, but lay quiet, with his eyelids body, she started off across the common to closed, till at length he suddenly opened them. Holywell Hall.
“There was a packet-letters—which I think It was a very fine house, the finest Mrs. StedI made up just before I was ill. Where is it?" man had ever entered; for her busy domestic
“Mrs. Fox found it, and delivered it to the life and narrow means had, until lately, kept her person to whom it was addressed."
very much out of society. She admired it ex" And that was—"
tremely, for she had such pleasure in any thing “Mrs. Vanderdecken.”
orderly, fit, and beautiful. Yet, when her lit“ Are you sure of that?"
| tle feet trod on the polished black and white
marble of the hall, and followed two tall liver- | at all for doing so. I was only too thankful ied footmen up a magnificent staircase, stately, to get her safe away, where she would hear no silent, and chill, her heart sank a little, and she more of that dreadful story, or of him, poor felwas glad fate had not burdened her with her low; he made her so fond of him. She cried sister's splendid lot. It did not occur to her, her eyes out till I told her Dr. Stedman was in her utter lack of self-consciousness, that, had with him, and that he was getting well. That such been the case, the probabilities were that is true, is it not ?" Holywell Hall would have been as bright as “Yes, thank God!” Brook Street.
| “And nobody here knows who he is; but, The footman went before, and she was fol- like Gertrude, people think him Mr. Stone?" lowing him at once into Mrs. Vanderdecken's “No-Mr. Stedman," said Edna, coldly. morning-room, when she heard her sister's voice "My husband was not likely to be ashamed of within, and hesitated.
his brother, or to conceal his relationship to “Stedman is the name, Wood?—I don't know him. But you need not be alarmed; we have -yes, I do know the lady. Show her into the carefully hidden our connection with you. No yellow drawing-room. Oh, she's here." one here has the least idea that you are my sis
Rather awkwardly Mrs. Vanderdecken came ter." forward, merely to shake hands, till, the serv “Thank you, thank you!” And then, some ant having closed the door behind him, she dim notion striking Letty that it was an odd stooped and kissed her sister, though not with thing to express gratitude for, she added, halfmuch demonstration of affection.
apologetically, “You see, we are obliged to be “I am very glad to see you. It is extremely careful. In our position people do talk of us kind of you to come. You see I couldn't come so. And he was so violent, so cruel, to meto you—it was quite an impossibility.”
Julius, I mean. And there was something so “ Certainly
disreputable—so dreadful - about his story. Then Letty burst out:
You know it, of course.' “Oh! Edna, do give me a little comfort. I “No; he has told us almost nothing; and have been so frightened—so thoroughly miser- we are determined to inquire nothing. My able. This is indeed a wretched business.” husband believes less in the confession of sins
"I do not see that, since it has ended so well than in the forsaking of them. Unless Julius in Julius's recovery. He might have died. It speaks himself we shall never ask him a single was such a merciful chance that your little girl question about his past life." wrote to my busband."
“Well, perhaps that is your best course; any * Yes; and I assure you I did not scold her other would be so very inconvenient. I de