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stood. The muddy waters danced and glistened in the sunshine, and light burst in on Tom's darkened soul. He leapt back, terrified lest some evil spirit should drag him down, and, covering his face with his hands, exclaimed aloud: "Great God, my mother, my mother!"

The thought of her, little as she deserved it, recalled him to himself. "Without me," he said, "she must die. She has still enough to keep body and soul together a few hours longer; and who can tell, perhaps God may help me before those hours are past!" Tom felt an unwonted composure come over him, and he continued his way to Mr. Littleton's house.

But the small remaining strength which the excitement of madness had kept up through the trials of the morning failed him, now that his agitated feelings had grown calmer. With difficulty he supported his weakened frame, which at length fairly gave way, and the gentle pity of Alice Littleton wrung from him the confession of his

sorrow.

But we must close this chapter, already too long, and resume the thread of our story where we dropped it.

CHAPTER VIII.

VERCOME by Tom's unhappiness, and by the sad news she had wrung from him, Alice's only thought had

been to heal the rankling sorrow her

heart bled to see. She bitterly blamed her neglect that no payment had been made for her picture; but her spirit leaped with the impatience which good angels feel when on an errand of mercy. Her mind had entertained no other thought, and no other duty seemed so pressing, as to hasten with all speed to Tom's cottage. But now that she was again alone in her own room, another feeling new and strange to her awoke in her breast. The eager longing of her innocence to comfort a fellowcreature was suddenly checked by a contrary feeling of more earthly stamp. She hesitated, and asked herself, almost to her own surprise, whether she ought to go. Her innocence answered Yes, but the new feeling said firmly No. Until now Alice had never loved, and had never until now known

I

that coy spirit which springs up in pure woman's heart side by side with love-that perverse spirit which drags her, against her will, from man, with a hand more powerful than love impels her to him. Long and thoughtfully Alice pondered over what she ought to do; but, at length, her promise to go, the knowledge that she was expected, and the thought how much more she could do for a sick woman's relief than would occur to a man, or a hired stranger, proved the weightier; and so she went immediately to lay in a store of such luxuries as she thought the invalid might require.

Let us now follow Tom, who, having returned home with all speed, hurried into the sick room.

"Mother," he said, with a joyful look, and he knelt down by her bed-side; "Mother, I've good news for you."

She had taken no notice of his entrance; but turned round as quickly as her weakness would allow, on hearing his words. "What is it?" she

said, eagerly.

"Miss Littleton has paid me part of the money for her picture," he answered.

The old woman's strength seemed to return with the news. She raised herself in bed for an instant, and then sunk back again exhausted.

"Don't exert yourself, Mother," said Tom, care

fully rearranging the wretched remains of the bedding which their poverty had still left them. "Don't exert yourself. Now, what would you like? Only look at the money;" and he emptied the gold out upon the bed.

The old woman looked at it with greedy eyes, and felt each coin slowly and thoughtfully with her bony fingers, rubbing it to and fro as if to test its goodness.

"Ah! ah!" she laughed gluttonously, sinking back upon the pillow, and squeezing the palms of her hands together; "I want a great many things, Tom."

"Well, Mother, what?" asked Tom, with a happy heart that he could at length gratify her.

“Oh, I want jelly, and tea, and sugar, and beef for beef-tea, and-"

"Here they are, Mother!" said Tom, interrupting her, and almost panting with delight, as he drew aside the bed-curtain, and showed all the articles mentioned on a chair by the bed-side.

"And here, Tom," she continued, in a voice half of persuasion, and half of command, as she dived her arm down under the bed-clothes, and brought out a long-necked bottle; "here, this."

"No, Mother, it's not good for you, it's not, indeed. It will kill you in your present state." For

several days Tom had positively refused her the indulgence of spirits. It was the only thing he had refused, and much as the habit disgusted him, the refusal cost him a pang. "Mother," he said, firmly, "once for all, I will not do it. Ask anything else, but not that."

The sick woman saw it was useless, and, with a muttered curse, hid the bottle, once more, deep under the bed-clothes.

Tom turned away, he felt the tears starting to his eyes.

After a pause, during which she seemed to be trying to master her useless anger, she raised her head, and said sharply: "Tom, what are you doing there?"

He was standing at the window, deep in his own sad thoughts.

"Nothing, Mother," he replied.

"Then make me some beef-tea, will you?"

Tom set to work with alacrity. Presently, looking up, he said: "Mother, I should have told you Miss Littleton is coming." He could not help reddening slightly, but the sick woman was far too much engaged with herself to notice it.

"Eh!

Eh! what d'ye say? Miss Littleton coming to see me?" said she, surprised.

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