Night gathered around the Queen City with dark and sombre fold, after the chilly October day previous to the one appointed for Leah Mordecai’s departure for Europe-a night whose ominous gloom seemed to pervade the innermost apartment of the banker’s home. It was late before Mr. Mordecai could spare his daughter from his presence, and give the good-night kiss, his usual benediction before they separated for slumber. Even the wily Rebecca said good night now in a tender tone, and gave Leah a gracious smile as she ascended the stairs for the last time. “It is the last,” thought she, “for many a long day, maybe forever, and I can smile in sincerity. Once gone, I’ll see to it that she never comes again. Aha! I am happy now, and can smile in joy and truth.”
Once more within her quiet chamber, Leah locked the door and stood a moment with frightened face gazing furtively around the room. All was silent. The beating of her own wild heart was all the sound she heard. Then sinking down from actual weakness, she sat a moment as if summoning the last spark of courage in her timid, fearful soul and said, “Yes, it is a dreadful alternative, but I am driven to it. If I obey my father, and go to Europe, I know I shall not return for many years, if ever. If I am to be separated from my father, it shall not be by that woman’s scheming. She has devised this plan to send me from my home, and she shall be disappointed. I am assured that Emile loves me, yet I should never have married him had I not been forced to do so-simply because he is not a Jew. But as it is, I take the step deliberately, firmly resolved to abide the consequences, be they good or evil. Yes, I am resolved to take this first step in disobedience to my father’s wishes. I cannot help it. It has caused me terrible suffering to reach this decision, but circumstances press me to it. Now, it is irrevocable. God forgive me, if I cause my father sorrow! He knows how I love and serve him, and Heaven knows how cruelly I have been dealt with. But time is passing. I must write a last, fond letter to my dear Lizzie; tell her of this final, desperate step in my life, and beg that her love, so long tried, may follow me still through the untried life that lies before me, be it a life of sunshine or of shadow.
“Oh! the thought is dreadful. Let me see. Now the hour is eleven. Emile will come at twelve. I must hasten;” and rising from her recumbent posture, Leah replaced the watch within her bosom, and seating herself at the escritoire, wrote a last, loving letter to the friend of her school-days. This she dropped into her pocket, that she might post it at the lodge. Then she wrote, with trembling hand and faltering heart, a farewell message to her beloved father; and she was done. In a small portmanteau she had carefully packed the few things requisite for her clandestine journey. The well-filled trunks were safely locked, and the keys hanging idly upon the ring in her work-basket. “These