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and the work began. Neither spoke as the painting proceeded. Young Wilson looking up no oftener than was absolutely necessary. He felt she had seen his sorrow, and he felt she had commiseration for him. He regretted she had seen so much, and avoided her eye, lest he should betray more than he chose to reveal. The greatest sorrows lie the deepest in the heart, and the farthest from view. Proud and sensitive, he was unwilling that others should know the sufferings he bore.

As he quietly proceeded with his employment, Alice at intervals attentively scanned his features, seeking to discover in them some clue to Mansfield's mysterious conduct. But she saw little or nothing to satisfy her curiosity. His expression was serious, and his eyes deep and thoughtful. It is true, the quiet pensive glance, which spoke but too plainly of sorrows lasting and long endured, seemed in some way connected with the subject of her thoughts. Young in years, the ravages of grief had not yet disfigured the features, which, however, evidently bore their impress, and his earnest expression might, perhaps, arise as much from his meditative character as from the sadness which troubled his mind. The caste of Thomas Wilson's features was not of that regular type which constitutes manly beauty, but his face belonged to that

class which call affection rather than admiration into play-all was there clear, open, and pure. His forehead was broad and fair, and his deep hazel eyes, though quiet and melancholy, showed by slight but rapid changes the workings of an active mind. The lower part of his face was small and somewhat sunken, and in stature he was rather below than above the middle size.

Alice longed to question him about Mansfield, but knew not how to begin. She and Wilson had not been accustomed to converse. From modesty, or deference for her rank, the artist always seemed unwilling to speak; and, indeed, Alice had hitherto felt quite content to sit silently watching the hand which transferred her features to canvas. In addition to which, the occurrences of the last few days, and the increasing interest she felt in him, choked her words as they rose to her lips.

The sitting had almost drawn to a close, without a word spoken on either side, when Alice observed the young man's pale face grow unusually pallid. His hand shook, he laid his brush aside, and wiped the drops of heavy perspiration from his forehead.

Alice rose quickly from her chair, and, with an expression of deep concern and a voice slightly tremulous, she said: "You are ill. Do no more to-day. Nay, I will not allow it;" she interposed

her long slender fingers, and put his hand gently aside. With a violent effort he had suppressed his feelings, and taken up his brush again.

A thrill shot through him when he felt her hand touch his. For an instant he looked up into her face, and returned her glance of compassionate interest with one of deep gratitude and respectful admiration. Then his eyes sought the ground again, unwilling to show that they were shining with tears, and in a low and earnest voice he said: "You are very kind, Madam. It was nothing, I Allow me to proceed;" and he ap

assure you.

proached the picture again.

"Not to-day," said Alice, who had placed herself before it, with a gentle determination to prevent him; "not to-day. You seem faint, sit down," she continued, in the boldness of her innocent mind, "sit down, and I will send for some wine."

Wilson would have prevented her, but his tongue clave to his mouth, and she had already rung the bell.

His heart was bursting, but he dared not trust his tongue with the thanks he would have spoken. His lips, pressed tightly together, trembled with emotion which struggled to escape. The contest was fierce but short, and, turning abruptly away, he retired to the farther end of the room.

In sickness or in sorrow, 'tis woman's gentle part to comfort man, and well she discharges her charitable work. No longer the weak creature who nestles trustingly to the loved one's side at the approach of danger, she rises before us strong in the purity of her motives, strong in the consciousness of her high duty. No longer the frightened fawn who flees from us in the days of our strength and vigour; she now approaches unasked, but oh, how welcome! with healing in her hand.

Forgetting the natural diffidence of her sex, Alice hastened, without hesitation, to offer that sweet comfort which is woman's only to give. It was not her love, (for why conceal it? Alice loved him,) but pity for his untold sorrow, which drew her towards him. If Alice had not pitied his condition, if love had been the only feeling which swelled her bosom, nothing on earth would have induced her to approach him with such tender, gentle confidence; for Alice was a true woman, and worlds would not have drawn from her the secret of her heart.

Poor Wilson, exhausted by the struggle against his feelings, was sitting on an ottoman. One hand supported his head, which had sunk down on the window-cill, and the other, thin, pale, and almost transparent, rested on the rich velvet arm of an easy-chair beside him. Alice started when she

saw it; the skeleton's bones seemed to be the only substantial part of those white fingers. Several days had elapsed since she had seen him last. She had often eyed him closely, but, though always pale and thin, she had never seen him looking as he did to-day. The thought had never occurred to her that poverty might be his lot; and although it occurred to her now, was she right in the supposition? Are there not other cares which wear the human frame as quickly and as surely as poverty? Were she right, she would pay for her picture in advance, but should she be wrong, she might hurt his feelings by the mention of her suspicion. quick as lightning these thoughts passed through her mind, as her eyes rested on the pallid hand. "Come," said she gently, "arouse yourself, I cannot bear to see you so cast down."


She had approached him so noiselessly, that, distracted as he was with his grief, he had not heard her. At the sound of her voice he started, and hurriedly withdrew his hand from sight, as if ashamed that she had seen how thin it was.

"Pardon me," he said, with a strange expression of mixed pride and gratitude on his hollow features. "Allow me to retire for to-day. When would you like your next sitting?"

Uncertain what to do, timidly afraid lest she

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