“I dared not undeceive my father; and as to the gifts my heart cried out, ’Go, vain baubles, go? What are diamonds and velvet to a desolate soul? Go, as Mark Abrams, and many other things rightfully mine, have gone from me—through treachery and fraud.’
“At this dreadful discovery, dear Lizzie, I longed for your true heart, so warm with sympathy, but it was far, far away, and no medium of communication between us but the soulless, tearless pen. That was inadequate then; now, the feeling has passed.
“But I crave your pardon for consuming so much time and space upon myself and my woes. Forgive me.
“When the wedding is over I’ll write you a full and detailed account of it all.
“Did I tell you in my last of Bertha Levy? She is cultivating her voice in Berlin, and promises to become a marvellous singer, they say. Would you ever have thought she could be sober long enough to sing even a short ballad? What a girl Bertha was!-real good and kind though, despite her witchery.
“Oh, me! do you ever wish, Lizzie, you were a school-girl again at Madam Truxton’s? I do. I often recall the song: “’Backward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight,’ and am always sorrowful that my cry is unheeded by this swift-footed monarch.
“I see Madam Truxton occasionally. She is always engrossed, as you know, and the pressing duties to the new pupils exclude from her mind all remembrance of the old ones. Yet I love her, and always shall.
“I think I hear you asking, ‘What of Emile?’ and in a few brief words I can reply. I still see him occasionally, and he still professes his unchanging love for me. Forgive me, Lizzie; pardon what may seem in me a weakness, but I must confess it, I believe I love Emile. Firmly as I once promised you to shut my heart against his overtures of love, I have slowly but surely yielded my resolution, and now I can but frankly confess it. I do not think I shall ever marry him. I have told him so again and again, and I believe I shall never surrender this resolve. I have never told my father of Emile’s devotion to me. I have not deemed it necessary, as I do not intend to marry him; and, then, I have been afraid to tell him. I only meet Emile by chance, and but rarely. I know you would advise me not to see him at all, and maybe I will not in the future. Nous verrons.
“Since I wrote to you last, Kitty Legare has died. She has been fading, as you know, for a long time with consumption. Dear girl, now she is at rest; and, I think, to be envied.
“But dear friend, I am drawing my letter to a tedious length. The stillness of the hour admonishes me to seek repose. So, hastily and with everlasting love, I bid you good night. “Your own “Leah.”
The days passed on, and the night before the wedding hung its cold, starless gloom over the Queen City-hung as the sable pall above the dead.