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terror, in who arranged the means of
escape from this embarrassment, by giving up
her own property; every farthing she
possessed barely covering the claim. A sacrifice
Horace was forced at last to accept, after
much delay and much anguish of mind, not
seeing his way clearer out of the strait, and
unwilling, for Ada's sake, delicate as she was
just now, to brave the horrors of an arrest.
So Margaret, who had always been the giver
and the patroness, had her world reduced
to dependence; of itself a sore trial to a
strong will.

In every circumstance of life it was
the same. She was the good angel of the
household, without whom all would have
been loose and disjointed; to whom love gave
the power of consolation, and suffering the
might of strengthening. Yet Horace and
Ada lived on sightless and unperceiving;
satisfied to taste lifeenjoying that gentle epicurean
thankfulness which accepts all blessings
lovingly but without question, and never
traces the stream which waters its garden
to its source near the heavens.

Ada's summons had sounded; her innocent
and loving life was sentenced to its end. Useless
on earth, but asked for in heaven, she must
die, that she may be at peace. And it was in
mercy that she was taken away; for age and
care were not made for her. They would have
made life more tiresome than she could
support. But this last little blossom, although
it looked so fragile, broke down the slight
twig on which it flowered, and the young
mother and her baby passed to heaven together.
The light had faded away and the
shadow fell softly in its place.

What had passed from Horace? A child;
a sunny landscape; a merry laugh; a tamed
woodbird; something very lovely but not
necessary; something loved more than
himself, and yet not his true self. With Ada,
all the beauty and the joy of his life
had gone; but the spirit remained. Not
a thought hung tangled in his brain for want
of a clearer mind to unravel it: not a noble
impulse fell dead for want of a strong hand to
help it forward. What he was with Ada he
was without her; in all save pleasure. She
had been the delight of his life, not its
inspiration. It was beauty, not nobleness, that she
had taken with her: love, not strength. It
made even him,—unreflecting artist, man of
impulse as he was, stand by that grave-side
wondering. He knew how much he loved
her. He knew his whole heart and soul had
been centered on her and her alone; but he
almost shuddered to find that one part of his
being had been uninfluenced by her, and that
his mind was not wrecked in the ruin of his

Ada's death made Margaret's path yet
more difficult. Of course she was to remain
with Horace. He could not understand
existence without her; and the world would
not be ill-natured to a wife's sister; so
unlovely and so ancient in her spinsterhood.
Not even the most suspicious prudery could
imagine a love that had been given to the fairy
Ada, that darling child of Nature, transferred
to the tall thin figure clothed in the scant
black dress, with even the once magnificent
tresses turning sadly from their purer beauty,
and silvered now with white hairs. No, she
might remain there safe enough, the poor
Margaret! Who cared to know that she had loved
with that one deep powerful love of a neglected
heart; that she had bound herself to a daily
cross when she accepted agonies without name
and without term, that she suffered and was
still?  Who cared to praise her strength or to
honour her heroism? Not even they for whom
she had suffered. The sacrifice had been
accepted; but not even a garland had been
prepared for the victim. Without pity and
without praise for her own deed, she must
be contented without reward.

Time went on; and excepting that Horace
was graver and more watchful of his
sister-in-law, with a certain indefinable tenderness
at times, and then a rigid coldness that
was almost like displeasure at others, there
was no change in him since his wife's death;
neither in their position with each other,
nor in Margaret's place in the household.
For strong souls the ordeal of life never
ends, and Margaret must pass through hers
to the end.

On a certain soft, still summer's night,
Horace and Margaret, for the first time for many
months, went on the lake together, the little
Ada, the eldest now of that fairy world, with
them. They rowed about for some time in
silence, the child saying to itself pretty hymns
or nursery rhymes, muttering in a sweet low
voice, like a small bell tinkling in the distance.
They landed on the island where, years ago, they
had landed with another Ada. The moonlight
now, as then, filled the wide sky and rested
over the whole valley; and, again, of all the
things that stood in its light, Margaret was
the only unlovely thing. But Horace had
changed since then.

They sat down on the rustic bench, the
child playing at their feet.

"Years ago we sat together, Margaret, on
this same bench," said Horace, suddenly,
"when I asked my destiny at your hands. I
have often thought, of late, that I asked it
amiss." He spoke rapidly, as if there was
something he wished to say, and a weight he
wished to thrust off his heart.

"Amiss, Horace? Was any life happier
than yours? The sorrow that has darkened
it was not a part of the destiny you asked
from me."

"But now, now, Margaret," he cried

"And now, Horace, you have a life of duty."

"Margaret, Margaret, give me your strength!
This grey life of mine terrifies me. It is
death I live in, not life."

"Learn strength, then, by your sorrow,"