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might overstep the bounds of modesty, and yet, wrung to the heart by his affliction, she said hurriedly: "Whenever it is convenient to you. All times are the same to me. But take some refresh

ment before you go," she continued, in a half supplicating voice, pointing to the table. "You must not leave this house with so worn a look. My father would not allow it. Meanwhile, I will leave you to your luncheon.”

Her hand was already on the door, when she turned once more towards him.

Pale and still, he stood where she had left him. His lips were still pressed tightly together, and his face wore a strange beseeching look. As their eyes again met the imprisoned heart broke all bounds, his head sank on his bosom, and he covered his face with both hands, his whole frame shook and trembled convulsively, and big tears dropped from between his bony fingers.

Alice closed the half-opened door. "Come, come," she said consolingly; "be composed; can

I do anything for you?"

As the lovely girl stood over him in her simplicity, she looked like a guardian angel sent from heaven for his protection. Young Wilson felt awe-stricken. The thrilling glance of benevolence, too pure for worldly thoughts, and the high soul

which looked out of her eyes, seemed to belong to a being not of this world. He almost felt as if she had the power to rise and float away with him into the blue heavens. The thought struck him how vain and presumptuous his attempt must be to paint a being so beautiful. He felt almost inclined to thank God for having stricken him with so great sorrow, because, but for his grief, he could have never known the compassion of Alice Littleton. The tumult in poor Wilson's breast was terrific. There were joy, sorrow, gratitude, love, suppressed love, love which every exertion failed to subdue, love embittered by the fear that it could not be returned, and by the conviction that it must be in vain. "Her pity," he thought, "is mine. Her generous heart will give that to all who need it; but I am too far down in the world for her love ever to reach me." Poor fellow, he wept, wept silently but bitterly. His heart was torn. His agitation was, for some time, too great for mastery, but, at length, when its first violence was spent, he subdued it by a strong effort; and, rising quickly from his seat, endeavoured to force on his features the look of proud independence he wished them to


But, however much he might avoid the pity of others, he felt that hers he ought not to reject.

In a low voice, without raising his eyes, he said: "I am well now; allow me to withdraw and trouble you no longer."

"No, sit down a few minutes, you seem weak," said she, observing that he staggered slightly, and grasped the back of a chair, as if for support. "Some wine will do you good." She poured out a glass and gave it him.

Apparently relieved by this stimulus, he continued, in a broken, almost inarticulate voice: "Your goodness has forced from me what I thought and hoped no one would ever see—my sorrow; for many years I have not known what kindness was. I never expected to know again. It is too much, too much for me." The rising tears interrupted him.

"I saw, a long while ago, that you were melancholy," said Alice.


"You are very, very good," continued he; no one else ever saw it, and I never dreamt that you would. Indeed, I should not tell you now, if your kindness had not made it my duty to do so."

"May I ask the cause?" said she, thinking of the payment for her picture. "It is not idle curiosity, I assure you," and she looked with innocent earnestness into his eyes.

Wilson was silent.

"Will you not tell me? Is it anything you cannot tell me?" In her gentle importunity she laid her hand on his, but as suddenly withdrew it. It trembled beneath her touch. She felt her face flush crimson, but the young man's eyes were bent on the ground, and he did not observe it.


At length he said slowly, and with hesitation: "My mother lies, I fear, on her death-bed. one is there to care for her."

"Gracious heavens!" exclaimed Alice, " that you should be here during such precious moments. Hasten home with all speed. I shall never forgive myself that you are here to-day."

"We have but little to live on," said Wilson, " and that little I must not neglect to earn. I am obliged to leave her sometimes, otherwise she would have long been dead."

"Give me your address," said Alice. "I will visit her myself. Quick, quick," she continued, seeing he hesitated. "Here is a pencil and paper, write it down. Take some refreshment, and go home with all speed."

Wilson seemed quite bewildered by her haste, and wrote down the address mechanically. The wavy uncertain characters showed the exhaustion of the writer.

"Thank you," said Alice, in the same hurried

"thank you.

tone, Do not stop one moment longer. Here is money," and she forced on him her purse. "I owe you for my picture, and will pay in advance." So saying, she quickly left the room, as if to avoid any farther delay or expostulation.

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