She walked on and joined Eugene in the hall. Antoinette stood in the door, and they merely exchanged bows, while Mr. Graham grasped her hand and earnestly thanked her for the many kindnesses she had rendered to his family. Beulah looked at the composed, beautiful face of the young wife, and then at the thin form of the husband, and said hastily:
“You owe me no thanks, sir; the claims of true friendship are imperative. In removing to his own house I trust Eugene’s improvement may not be retarded.”
Antoinette tripped down the steps, and, gathering the flounces of her costly dress, seated herself in the carriage. Mr. Graham bit his lip, colored, and, after a cordial good-by, joined her. Eugene smiled bitterly, and, turning to Beulah, took both her hands in his, saying feelingly:
“Beulah, I leave your house a wiser, if not less miserable man. I am going to atone for the past; to prove to you that your faith in me is not altogether unmerited. If I am saved from ruin and disgrace I owe it to you; and to you I shall look for sympathy and encouragement. To you, my best friend, I shall often come for sisterly aid, when clouds gather black and stormy over my miserable home. God bless you, Beulah! I have promised reformation, and will keep my promise sacred if it cost me my life.”
He raised her hand to his lips, and, linking his arm in Mr. Lindsay’s, left the house and entered the carriage, while the latter mounted his horse and rode slowly away.
“You look weary, child. You must give yourself some rest now,” said Mrs. Williams, wiping her eyes with the corner of her apron.
“Rest! Ah, yes; if I could find it,” returned the girl, taking the comb from the back of her head and shaking down the folds of hair till it hung round her like a long mourning veil.
“Suppose you try to sleep some,” suggested the matron.
“I have some work to do first,” said she, drawing a long breath and wiping the dust from her desk.
Mrs. Williams withdrew; and, clasping her hands over her forehead, Beulah stood looking up, with dim eyes, at the cloudless face that smiled down on her, until she almost fancied the lips parted to address her.
Mr. Lindsay’s visits grew more frequent. At first Beulah wondered what brought him so often from his distant home to the city, and supposed it must be some legal business which engaged him; but gradually a different solution dawned upon her mind. She rejected it as the prompting of vanity, but again and again the supposition recurred. The imperturbable gravity and repose of his manner often disconcerted her. It was in vain that she resorted to sarcasm, and irony; he was incorrigibly unruffled; in vain she was cold, repellent, haughty; his quiet smile remained unaltered. His superior, and thoroughly cultivated intellect, and the unaffected simplicity