“Here goes old trunk number one. Books, and everything pertaining to school-days, are tucked away in you;” and she turned the key. “This one, number two, I shall not close till Aunt Rose makes a little deposit in it of something for my mother—so she requested me.” Then stooping down, Lizzie drew forth from its hiding-place a carefully wrapped little bundle, and handing it to Leah, said:
“Here, dear, is a scarlet silk scarf, fringed with gold, that I desire to give you as a keepsake. It is something I prize, as it was brought from Greece by an uncle of mine, some years ago. Its colors will contrast beautifully with your sweet face; take it.”
“Keep it yourself, Lizzie. I need nothing, I care for nothing, for personal adornment. You tell me I am beautiful, but that does not satisfy the heart that has suffered so from cruel wrong-doing. I care only for that of which I receive so little—human sympathy and love. Take it back.”
“No; keep it as a memento of my love, if you never care to wear it,” said Lizzie.
Leah laid her arms around Lizzie’s neck at these words, and bending her head kissed her again and again.
“Now I am done, let’s sit here by the window that looks out toward the sea, and have our chat.”
“To-day you leave me, Lizzie,” Leah began; “leave poor Leah with no one—” then she stopped.
“Why do you hesitate? Is there something that troubles you?” Lizzie asked, observing Leah’s hesitation.
“Yes,” Leah said faintly, “there is something that troubles me—something that I fear to tell even you, dear Lizzie.”
“Can’t you trust me?”
“Not that, Lizzie; but I am ashamed to tell you, and afraid too. But,” she continued, “you know what I suffered about Mark Abrams, and how his love was taken from me and secured for another. Well”—she hesitated again. “The secret I am about to disclose now, does not concern Mark Abrams, or any other Hebrew under the sun.”
“Is it some love-affair with a Gentile?”
“Yes,” whispered Leah, “and it greatly perplexes me. It is something that has been forced upon me, and tremblingly I come to you for advice.”
“Whom does it concern?”
“One that tells me he loves me, and swears eternal devotion—one whose name I hardly dare to mention.”
“I hope he is worthy of you, whoever it may be.”
“Have you not suspected me, Lizzie? Has not my tell-tale face betrayed me before? Can’t you think who it is to whom I refer?”
“Can it be Emile Le Grande?” said Lizzie, after a moment’s reflection, with a look of astonishment.
“Yes,” faltered Leah, “he is the one that tells me he loves me.”
“And do you love him, Leah?” said Lizzie, with some hesitation. The curtain that continued fluttering with renewed force was wafted full into the face of the young Jewess, and veiled the crimson blushes that overspread it. As gently as it came, the curtain floated back, and Lizzie detected the traces of Leah’s sudden emotion. Without waiting for further inquiry, Leah continued: