Leah Mordecai eBook

Belle K. Abbott
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 169 pages of information about Leah Mordecai.

“’Oh! don’t take things too much to heart, my boy.  Leah does not care for you very much anyway.  It will be but a small disappointment to her, if indeed she ever thought seriously of marrying you; and I remember to have heard her say that she never intended to marry—­ conscious of her affliction, I suppose.’

“Mark winced under these words, and replied, ’She need not have deceived me.’

“’Oh! girls will be girls, you know; and after you get over this trouble, if you still like the name, remember, here is Leah’s sister Sarah, as fine a girl as you’ll find anywhere, if she is my daughter.’

“‘I could love her for her sister’s sake, if nothing more,’ said Mark with feeling; and then he bowed his head upon the marble mantel and looked steadily into the fire without a word.

“‘Then if you desire,’ continued my step-mother, with a little assumed hesitation, ’after reflection, you may speak to her father on the subject.  Sarah will make a fine wife.’

“Think of me, Lizzie!  Think of me, in that miniature dungeon, silently listening to the death sentence of my earthly happiness!  Think of my weakness, in mutely listening to the lie that was, perhaps, to wreck my whole life!  Think of me, and pity me!” Leah brushed away a tear, the first that had fallen from her stony eyes since the beginning of her story; and then she continued: 

“If Mark heeded these last words of my step-mother, he gave no evidence of it, for he continued to stare blindly at the glowing grate, apparently oblivious of every surrounding object.  At length he aroused, and said: 

“‘I must be going.  Mrs. Mordecai, I bid you good night.’

“‘Stay longer, I pray,’ rejoined my step-mother; and he replied: 

“‘Not to-night; it’s late now, and I must be alone.  Alone!’ he reiterated sorrowfully, and then was gone in a moment.  All this time, Lizzie, I had stood shivering in my hiding-place, with my trembling hand almost benumbed by the cold granite knob, by which I held the door.  I scarcely dared to breathe, for fear my presence would be revealed.  The ordeal was terrible, I assure you!  I thanked Heaven when I heard the library door open and close again, this time upon the receding figure of my step-mother, for then I was free again—­free to breathe, and to move, and to sigh, if I chose, without betraying my hiding-place, or the cause of my concealment.  I need not, could not if I chose, tell you of my feelings on that occasion.  I remember them but dimly, even now.  But this much I do remember, and so it shall be.  I resolved that Mark Abrams should be free, rather than be undeceived by any word of mine.  My pride, the little that is left in my soul, and my resentment, the shadow of it that yet lingers about me, struggled for a time in a fierce contest, and as usual, I yielded up my rights, and succumbed again to a cruel fate.  My heart has given up its treasure, and he will never know aught of the bitter | sacrifice.  I feel that I am ill-fated and despised, Lizzie; and feeling so, I do not desire to overshadow the life of Mark Abrams.  I love him too much, too dearly, ever to becloud his future with my miserable life.  I would rather live on and suffer in silence, as I have done for years, unloved and unloving to the end.”

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Project Gutenberg
Leah Mordecai from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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