“Your words astonish me, my child; they savor of ingratitude, and are strange words for your lips. What can you mean?”
Leah trembled that so much had escaped her hitherto silent lips, betraying even faintly the true feeling of her heart; and repressing the words that would have followed had her father not offered his rebuke, she replied quickly:
“Forgive me, dear father, if I seem ungrateful; perhaps I do not appreciate the love I enjoy; but I do not wish to go so far away from you. And you will not send me, will you?”
“Never trouble about me, my daughter; go and stay a year, if no longer; that’s a short period of time, when it is past. Go for the improvement you will get. Go and become distinguished, my child;” and the ambitious parent’s eye kindled with a new light at the thought.
Leah made no reply, and the father, releasing the delicate hand he had so tenderly held, said again and again, “Never mind me, child, never mind me; a year’s a short time. Go and become distinguished.”
The banker went to his counting-house that day, elated with the project for his daughter’s pleasure and improvement, little dreaming where, or for what purpose, this plan was conceived; and Leah spent its lonely hours in sorrow and in tears.
LE GRANDE’S DIARY.
“I have been in such a maze of suspense and bewilderment for a month, dear Journal, that I have neglected you; to-night I’ll recall, if I can, some of my lost days. No, I can’t. It makes no diference; they were only days of trouble. I am perplexed to death to know the result of the baron’s letter. He wrote, of course, and urged that Mr. Mordecai send Leah at once to him. And the preparations are going rapidly forward for her departure. Every day I say, ‘Darling, stay with me,’ and her father says, ’Daughter, you must go.’ ‘We shall see, in the end, what the end will be.’
“October 15.-To-night, dear Journal, I make the most triumphant record of my life. Tell it not, breathe it not, to a mortal soul! Leah, my darling, has promised to marry me, and not go to Europe, as her father had determined. She told me last night, when I met her in the park, that her mind was made up. She would not go. She did not wish to go, and to marry me was her only alternative. She loves me, though, and we shall be happy, I am sure. My parents are bitterly opposed, and hers will be, to such a union, but we will be married, for all that. Helen alone is in my confidence; she has none of that pride that revolts at Leah’s being a Jewess. To-morrow I leave for Havana, where I go with papers from our banking house to a branch house in that city. If I am successful in making my business arrangements, as I feel assured I shall be, then all will be well. I can only remain two days, as the day for Leah’s embarkation is not a fortnight off. My mother and father know nothing of the business that takes me away, yet I have not deceived them. But, Journal, good night.