“No! I will never give up!”
He smiled, and left her.
She remained with her sick friend until sunrise the next morning, and ere she left the house was rewarded by the assurance that she was better. In a few days Kate was decidedly convalescent. Beulah did not take typhus fever.
The day was sullen, stormy, and dark. Gray, leaden clouds were scourged through the sky by a howling southeastern gale, and the lashed waters of the bay broke along the shore with a solemn, continued boom. The rain fell drearily, and sheet lightning, pale and constant, gave a ghastly hue to the scudding clouds. It was one of those lengthened storms which, during the month of August, are so prevalent along the Gulf coast. Clara Sanders sat near a window, bending over a piece of needlework, while, with her hands clasped behind her, Beulah walked up and down the floor. Their countenances contrasted vividly; Clara’s sweet, placid face, with drooped eyelids and Madonna-like serenity; the soft, auburn hair curled about her cheeks, and the delicate lips in peaceful rest. And Beulah!—how shall I adequately paint the gloom and restlessness written in her stormy countenance? To tell you that her brow was bent and lowering, that her lips were now unsteady and now tightly compressed, and that her eyes were full of troubled shadows, would convey but a faint impression of the anxious discontent which seemed to have taken entire possession of her. Clara glanced at her, sighed, and went on with her work; she knew perfectly well she was in no humor for conversation. The rain increased until it fell in torrents, and the hoarse thunder muttered a dismal accompaniment. It grew too dark to see the stitches; Clara put by her work, and, folding her hands on her lap, sat looking out into the storm, listening to the roar of the rushing wind, as it bowed the treetops and uplifted the white-capped billows of the bay. Beulah paused beside the window, and said abruptly:
“It is typical of the individual, social, moral, and intellectual life. Look which way you will, you find antagonistic elements fiercely warring. There is a broken cog somewhere in the machinery of this plunging globe of ours. Everything organic, and inorganic, bears testimony to a miserable derangement. There is not a department of earth where harmony reigns. True, the stars are serene, and move in their everlasting orbits, with fixed precision, but they are not of earth; here there is nothing definite, nothing certain. The seasons are regular, but they are determined by other worlds. Verily, the contest is still fiercely waged between Ormuzd and Ahriman, and the last has the best of it, so far. The three thousand years of Ahriman seem dawning.”
She resumed her walk, and, looking after her anxiously, Clara answered:
“But remember, the ‘Zend-Avesta’ promises that Ormuzd shall finally conquer and reign supreme. In this happy kingdom I love to trace the resemblance to the millennium which was shown St. John on lonely Patmos.”