“Mr. Lurton has kindly offered to endeavor to secure my release, and he will call on you for that paper. I hope you’ll like Lurton as well as he does you. You are the only woman in the world good enough for him, and he is the only man fit for you. And if it should ever come to pass that you and he should be happy together, I shall be too glad to envy either of you.
“Do shield the memory of my mother. You know how little she was to blame. I can not bear that people should talk about her unkindly. She had such a dread of censure. I think that is what killed her. I am sorry you wrote to Helen Minorkey. I could not now share my disgrace with a wife; and if I could marry, she is one of the last I should ever think of seeking. I do not even care to have her think well of me.
“As to the property, I am greatly perplexed. Plausaby owned it once rightfully and legally, and there are innocent creditors who trusted him on the strength of his possession of it. I wish I did not have the responsibility of deciding what I ought to do.
“I have written a long letter. I would write a great deal more if I thought I could ever express the gratitude I feel to you. But I am going to be always,
“Your grateful and faithful friend,
This letter set Isabel’s mind in a whirl of emotions. She sincerely admired Lurton, but she had never thought of him as a lover. Albert’s gratitude and praises would have made her happy, but his confidence that she would marry Lurton vexed her. And yet the thought that Lurton might love her made it hard to keep from dreaming of a new future, brighter than any she had supposed possible to her.
MR. LURTON’S COURTSHIP.
After the death of Mrs. Plausaby, Isa had broken at once with her uncle-in-law, treating him with a wholesome contempt whenever she found opportunity. She had made many apologies for Plausaby’s previous offenses—this was too much even for her ingenious charity. For want of a better boarding-place, she had taken up her abode at Mrs. Ferret’s, and had opened a little summer-school in the village schoolhouse. She began immediately to devise means for securing Charlton’s release. Her first step was to write to Lurton, but she had hardly mailed the letter, when she received Albert’s, announcing that Lurton was coming to see her; and almost immediately that gentleman himself appeared again in Metropolisville. He spent the evening in devising with Isa proper means of laying the evidences of Charlton’s innocence before the President in a way calculated to secure his pardon. Lurton knew two Representatives and one Senator, and he had hope of being able to interest them in the case. He would go to Washington himself. Isa thought his offer very generous, and found in her heart a great admiration for him. Lurton, on his part, regarded Isabel with more and more wonder and affection. He told her at last, in a sweet and sincere humility, the burden of his heart. He confessed his love with a frankness that was very winning, and with a gentle deference that revealed him to her the man he was—affectionate, sincere, and unselfish.