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- Miss Lou - 64/64 -


purely unselfish, noble impulse. Only such an impulse can sustain and carry me through my life. No, no, Mrs. Waldo, I can never become happy in making others happy. I can never be happy again. The bullet which killed Allan Scoville pierced my heart also and it is dead, but that poor soldier taught me how one can still live and suffer nobly, and such a life must be pleasing to the only God I can worship." All wondered at the change gradually taking place in the girl. It was too resolute, too much the offspring of her will rather than her heart to have in it much gentleness, but it was observed that she was becoming gravely and patiently considerate of others, even of their faults and follies. As far as possible, her uncle and aunt were allowed their own way without protest, the girl sacrificing her own feelings and wishes when it was possible. They at last began to admit that their niece was manifesting a, becoming spirit of submission and deference, when in fact her management of their affairs was saving them from an impoverishment scarcely to be endured.

For Mrs. Whately the girl now had a genuine and strong affection, chilled only by her belief that the plan in regard to the son was ever in the mother's mind. So indeed it was. The sagacious woman watched Miss Lou closely and with feelings of growing hope as well as of tenderness. The girl was showing a patience, a strength of mind, and, above all, a spirit of self-sacrifice which satisfied Mrs. Whately that she was the one of all the world for her son.

"I do believe," she thought, "that if I can only make Louise think it will be best for us all as well as Madison, she will yield. The spirit of self-sacrifice seems her supreme impulse. Her sadness will pass away in time, and she would soon learn to love the father of her children. What's more, there is something about her now which would hold any man's love. See how her lightest wish controls those who work for her, even that harum-scarum Zany."

In the late autumn a long-delayed letter threw Mrs. Whately into a panic of fear and anxiety. A surgeon wrote that her son had been severely wounded and had lost his left arm, but that he was doing well.

Here the author laid down his pen. In Mr. Roe's journal, under date of July 11, is an entry alluding to a conversation with a friend. That conversation concerned the conclusion of this book, and was, in effect, substantially the same as the outline given by him in a letter, part of which is quoted as follows:

"It is not my purpose to dwell further on incidents connected with the close of the war, as the book may be considered too long already. It only remains for me now to get all my people happy as soon as possible. Zany and Chunk 'make up,' and a good deal of their characteristic love-making will be worked in to relieve the rather sombre state of things at this stage. Whately returns with his empty sleeve, more of a hero than ever in his own eyes and his mother's. Miss Lou thinks him strangely thoughtful and considerate in keeping away, as he does, after a few short visits at The Oaks. The truth is, he is wofully disappointed at the change in his cousin's looks. This pale, listless, hollow-eyed girl is not the one who set him to reading 'Taming of the Shrew.' That her beauty of color and of outline could ever return, he does not consider; and in swift revulsion of feeling secretly pays court elsewhere.

"Mrs. Whately, however, makes up for her son's deficiencies. Utterly ignorant how affairs are shaping, she works by her representations upon Miss Lou's sympathies until the weary consent is wrung from the poor girl--'Nothing matters to me any more! If it makes you all happy--why--then--But I must wait a year.' She feels that her love for Allan Scoville will never be less, and that this period of time is little enough to devote to him in silent memory.

"The delighted aunt hastens to report to her son, who stares rather blankly, for a lover, as he hears of this concession on his cousin's part, and without answer, he orders his horse and rides furiously away. The ride is one that has been very frequently taken since the young man's return, and pretty soon he is in earnest conversation with the rosy-cheeked, black-eyed daughter of Dr. Williams. There seems to be very good understanding between the two, and later, just at the final scene, it will come out as effectively as can be portrayed the startling news of their secret marriage.

"The days go on. One afternoon in the late autumn, Aun' Jinkey, smoking and 'projeckin'' as usual in her cabin, has a vision which fairly sends her heart, as she will express it, 'right troo de mouf.' Was it a 'spook,' or had the dead really come back to life? And I hear her exclaim, throwing up her hands, 'Bress de Lawd, Marse Scoville, dat you? Whar you drap fum dis yere time? I doan almos' know you widout de un'fo'm!'

"But the 'vision' will not stop to narrate to the old aunty of his capture, imprisonment and illness, his release and hurried journey North. He catches sight of the slight figure of Miss Lou in the distance near the run, and in a moment is beside her. 'Only death could keep me from seeking you and living for you always, did I not tell you, my darling, my darling?'

"And here I will leave them. The reader's imagination will picture more if more is wished. It is better so."

THE END


Miss Lou - 64/64

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