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parents part with such a daughter as Bee, even to a husband so well beloved and highly esteemed as Ishmael; and Ishmael and Bee had reluctantly, but dutifully, submitted to their wishes, but not again would Ishmael cross the Atlantic without Bee. So, on the 1st of May they were very quietly married in the parish church that the family attended. Judge Merlin and his daughter were, of course, invited to be present at the ceremony; but both sent excuses, with best wishes for the happiness of the young pair. Not yet could Claudia look calmly on the marriage of Ishmael and Bee.
On the 7th of May Ishmael and his bride sailed from New York to Havre, for Paris. There he satisfactorily concluded the important business upon which he had been sent, and it is supposed to have been owing to his wise diplomacy alone, under Divine Providence, that a war was averted, and the disputed question settled upon an amicable and permanent basis. Having thus performed his mission, he devoted himself exclusively to his bride. She was presented at the French court, where her beauty, resplendent now with perfect love and joy, made a great sensation, even in that court of beauties. She went to some of the most select and exclusive of the ambassadors' balls, and everywhere, without seeking or desiring such distinction, she became the cynosure of all eyes. When the season was over in Paris they made the tour of Europe, seeing the best that was to be seen, stopping at all the principal capitals, and, through our ministers, entering into all the court circles; and everywhere the handsome person, courtly address, and brilliant intellect of Ishmael, and the beauty, grace, and amiability of Bee, inspired admiration and respect. They came last to England. In London they were the guests of our minister. Here also Bee was presented at court, where, as elsewhere, her rare loveliness was the theme of every tongue.
Meanwhile, Claudia, living in widowhood and seclusion, learned all of Bee's transatlantic triumphs through the "court circulars" and "fashionable intelligence" of the English papers; and through the gossiping foreign letter writers of the New York journals; all of which in a morbid curiosity she took, and in a self-tormenting spirit studied. In what bitterness of soul she read of all these triumphs! This was exactly what she had marked out for herself, when she sold her soul to the fiend, in becoming the wife of Lord Vincent! And how the fiend had cheated her! Here she was at an obscure country house, wearing out the days of her youth in hopeless widowhood and loneliness. This splendid career of Bee was the very thing to attain which she had sacrificed the struggling young lawyer, and taken the noble viscount. And now it was that very young lawyer who introduced his bride to all these triumphs; while that very viscount had left her to a widowhood of obscurity and reproach! In eagerly, recklessly, sinfully snatching at these social honors she had lost them all, while Bee, without seeking or desiring them, by simply walking forward in her path of love and duty, had found them in her way. But for her own wicked pride and mental short- sightedness, she might be occupying that very station now so gracefully adorned by Bee.
What a lesson it was! Claudia bowed her haughty head and took it well to heart. "It is bitter, it is bitter; but it is just, and I accept it. I will learn of it. I cannot be happy; but I can be dutiful. I have but my father left in this world. I will devote myself to him and to God," she said, and she kept her word.
There is one incident in the travels of Ishmael and Bee that should be recorded here, since it concerns a lady(?) that figured rather conspicuously in this history. The young pair were at Cameron Court, on a visit to the Countess of Hurstmonceux and Mr. Brudenell, whom they found enjoying much calm domestic happiness. Making Cameron Court their headquarters, Ishmael and Bee went on many excursions through the country and visited many interesting places. Among the rest, they inspected the model Reformatory Female Prison at Ballmornock. While they were going through one of the workrooms, Bee suddenly pressed her husband's arm and whispered:
"Ishmael, dear, observe that poor young woman sitting there binding shoes. How pretty and lady-like she seems, to be in such a place as this, poor thing!"
Ishmael looked as desired; and at the same moment the female prisoner raised her head; and their eyes met.
"Come away, Bee, my darling," said Ishmael, suddenly turn his wife around and leading her from the room.
"She really seemed to know you, Ishmael," said Bee, as they left the prison.
"She did, love; it was Mrs. Dugald."
Bee's blue eyes opened wide, in wonder and sorrow, and she walked on in silence and in thought.
Yes, the female prisoner, in the coarse gray woolen gown and close white linen cap, who sat on the wooden bench binding shoes, was Katie's "whited sepulcher." She had been sent first to the Bridewell, where for a few days she had been very violent and ungovernable, but she soon learned that her best interests lay in submission; and for months afterwards she behaved so well that at length she was sent to the milder Reformatory, to work out her ten years of penal servitude. Here she was supplied with food, clothing, and shelter--all of a good, coarse, substantial sort. But she was compelled to work very steadily all the week, and to hear two good sermons on Sunday, and as she had never in her life before enjoyed such excellent moral training as this, let us hope that the Reformatory really reformed her.
Ishmael and Bee returned home in the early autumn. Almost immediately upon his arrival in Washington, Ishmael was made district attorney. The emoluments of this office, added to the income from his private practice, brought him in a revenue that justified him in taking an elegant little suburban villa, situated within its own beautiful grounds and within an easy distance from his office. Here he lived with Bee, as happy, and making her as happy, as they both deserved to be.
It was in the third winter of Claudia's widowhood that the health of her father began to fail. A warmer climate was recommended to him as the only condition of his prolonged life. He went to Cuba, attended by Claudia, now his devoted nurse. In that more genial atmosphere his health improved so much that he entered moderately into the society of the capital, and renewed some of his old acquaintance. He found that Philip Tourneysee had succeeded at last in winning the heart of the pretty Creole widow, Senora Donna Eleanora Pacheco, to whom he had been married a year. He met again that magnificent old grandee of Castile, Senor Don Filipo Martinez, Marquis de la Santo Espirito, who at first sight became an ardent admirer of Claudia, and the more the Castilian nobleman of this pale pensive beauty, the more he admired her; and the more he observed her devotion to her father, the more he esteemed her. At length he formally proposed to her and was accepted. And at about the same time the marquis received the high official appointment he had been so long expecting. Claudia, in marrying him, became the wife of the Captain General of Cuba, and the first lady on the island. But, mark you! she had not sought nor expected this distinction. She simply found it in the performance of her duties; and if she did not love her stately husband with the ardor of her youth, she admired and revered him. In his private life she made him a good wife; in his public career an intelligent counselor; in everything a faithful companion. Judge Merlin spent all his winters with them in Havana; and all his summers at Tanglewood, taken care of by Katie.
A few words about the other characters of our story.
Old Mrs. Brudenell and her daughters vegetated on at Brudenell Hall, in a monotony that was broken by only three incidents in as many years. The first was the death of poor Eleanor, whose worthless husband had died of excess some months before; the second incident was the marriage of Elizabeth Brudenell to the old pastor of her parish, who repented of his celibacy because he had become infirm, and took a wife because he required a nurse; and the third was the visit of the Countess of Hurstmonceux and Mr. Brudenell, who came and spent a few months among their friends in America, and then returned to their delightful home in Scotland.
The Middletons continued to live at The Beacon, but every winter they spent a month at The Bee-Hive, which was the name of the Worths' villa; and every summer Ishmael, Bee, and their lovely little daughter, Nora, passed a few weeks amid the invigorating sea- breezes at The Beacon.
The professor lived with Ishmael, in the enjoyment of a vigorous and happy old age.
Reuben and Hannah Gray continued to reside at Woodside, cultivating the Tanglewood estate and bringing up their two children.
Alfred Burghe was cashiered for "conduct unworthy of an officer and a gentleman," as the charge against him on his trial set forth; and he and his brother have passed into forgetfulness.
Sally and Jim were united, of course, and lived as servants at Tanglewood, where old Katie, as housekeeper, reigned supreme.
Ishmael loved, prayed, and worked--worked more than ever, for he knew that though it was hard to win, it was harder to secure fame. He went on from success to success. He became illustrious.
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