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Only the deepening of that wistful look in the too shining eyes as they rested constantly upon Léon whenever he was present, the increased paleness of the wasted cheek, and the blue lines under the eyes, telling of midnight watchings, revealed the inward struggle. And sometimes, when she thought no one saw it, the sudden pressure of the pale, thin hands, that usually lay folded in an attitude unconsciously betokening weariness and sorrow, to her heart, as if to still a sharp physical pain. I did not know then how settled a conviction pressed upon her spirit, that this "Good-bye" would be the last she would ever speak to her idolized first - born
The days rolled quickly by, but the dreaded one came not for more than a week after the Declaration. We had much to do, my mother and I, for Léon. It was a sacred task to prepare everything which love could imagine as necessary or comfortable, a task in which other hands might not join, except Nina's. Many a pretty device, many a simple addition to the useful things my heavier fingers prepared, were turned out of those fairy hands and laid in Léon's stores. Little things, important in their triviality, which my duller wits never thought of. But all this under rigid injunction on her part, faithful promise on mine, that Léon should not know whence they came. I gave the promise, knowing well he would recognize them untold. Love is keen-witted.
Paris was surpassing herself in gaiety that week, as though, forecasting that the time for the mirth and frivolities in which she delighted was but short, she were making the most of it. As I have said, the war-excitement pervaded all ranks, without in the busy streets, within in the family circle. There were few households on which the shadow of coming separation did not rest, of coming bereavement, if human eyes had not been mercifully closed against it; but all was joy and festivity. Balls, soirées, concerts were given incessantly. A strange way it seemed to me of bidding farewell to men going forth to danger, it might be to death. Nina and Victor were, of course, at once drawn into the vortex; but Léon steadily refused all inducements to leave my mother during the few hours he was
at liberty, when each day might be his last; and I had never left her since her illness.
Quiet and happy, though pervaded with chastened sadness, were those last evenings we spent together-my mother, Uncle Lucien, Léon, and I. With all his exuberant patriotism, it was a hard struggle for Uncle Lucien to speak of Léon's departure. He loved him with a strange compound of fatherly and brotherly feeling. For it had always been a curious study to watch them together, especially so of late-the calm sense and judgment of the younger toning down the hot-headed rashness of the elder. Yet Léon was Uncle Lucien's beau-idéal of what a French soldier and a French gentleman should be, and Léon regarded him with a respect and affection wholly filial.
It grieved Léon greatly, I saw, that Nina seemed to care so little for his parting hours. Sometimes I wished he would speak to her; but as no actual confidence on the subject had passed between us, I did not like to broach the subject to him. Besides, I was afraid to interfere. I was by no means sure that Nina returned his affection; for if she did, I asked myself, could even her strong love of coquetry support her in her apparent indifference at his coming departure?
One day, it was the 22nd, Léon brought the tidings that his regiment would certainly leave Paris on one of the next days. Everything was in readiness, waiting only the word of command. Nina was talking merrily a moment before to Henri de l'Orme, a young fellow-officer of Léon's and the son of an old friend of my mother's. And for once her composure failed her. The laughing light died out in her eyes, the smile faded from her rosy lips, and after a vain struggle to seem her usual bright self she left the room. I was glad to think that for that one evening at least she had no engagement.
We had many visitors that day, and my mother retired to the sofa in her dressing-room soon after eight o'clock. I sat there with her some time, expecting Léon to join us there, as was usual to him. Going at last in search of him, I met Nina coming rapidly up the broad staircase. She flashed past me without speaking, leaving a piece of her flowing muslin dress in the bend of the balustrade. The glance I had in
passing of the glowing crimson of the cheek, the defiant light that shot from the sparkling eyes, warned me not to attempt to detain or speak to her. Something had happened to wake the demon of passion with unusual force in that fairy-like form. I heard the door of her own room shut violently and locked as I went down.
"O Léon, I thought she did; I felt sure, in spite of all her coquetry, that she did care for you very much."
"I think she does, Renée, care for me, as you say; but I wanted her love, and that she cannot give."
"Did she tell you so? O Léon, are you sure you quite understand one another."
"Quite sure, Renée," he answered, in a tone of such exceeding pain I could ask no more; and that evening I heard no more. And never from his lips.
In the library was only Uncle Lucien, smoking meditatively; the dining-room was empty, and on first looking in I thought the drawing-room was so too. But a second glance showed me Léon's tall figure brought out strongly against I do not know how long we stood there in the fading evening light in one of the high silence; it was till I suddenly remembered my narrow windows. I went towards him un- mother would be wondering where we were, and perceived. He stood with folded arms, resting we went to her. It must have cost Léon a great his brow against the glass. Not till I laid my effort to assume his ordinary quiet, pleasant hand on his arm and spoke his name did he manner. But he made it. More than once relax from his fixed attitude. Then he started, mamma, and Uncle Lucien, who presently joined and passing his arm round me, drew me closely us, asked for Nina. We saw no more of her that to his side. His face was deadly pale, his evening. When mamma had retired to rest, she features rigid, his eyes pained and troubled. sent me to seek her; but she only answered, "O Léon, what is it?" I whispered. "Is it through her closed door, that she had a headNina?" ache, and wanted nothing.
"Yes." He rested his cheek against my brow; I knew it was to conceal the workings of his face. I felt his frame trembling with suppressed emotion, while I waited for him to speak again. At last he went on "I have been dreaming, Renée, dreaming a golden dream. And the awakening is sudden and sharp. That is all. I had hoped, how vainly and presumptuously I see now, that I might bear with me the sweet assurance of requited love to cheer me amidst the horrors of war. I shall have the stern bracing of pain instead." The hard, dry, bitter tones of the voice usually so deep and sweet, fell like drops of molten lead on my heart, and I exclaimed passionately, "Would that you had never seen her-would that she had never come here; she has brought us nothing but sorrow!"
"O Renée," he said, and his voice was gentle then, "do not say that. Think how good and sweet she is, when she is her real self. Her faults are those of her early training; she will overcome them and be a noble woman yet. You will see. Think what she was to us all when our mother was ill. And it is not her fault that she cannot love me."
Salmy living at Meudon, and one of Nina's many admirers. He told us his mother was coming to fulfil her promise of taking Nina out to a fête she was holding in her grounds that day.
My mother asked Nina if she must go, reminding her it might be Léon's last day. But she answered quickly, with changing colour, "I have promised, mamma," for so she had learned to call my mother.
She went to prepare at once.
Shortly afterwards Madame de Salmy arrived. To her and her circle, as friends for Nina, I knew Léon had a special aversion. Of course the conversation was all of the war, and a great deal of nonsense Alphonse de Salmy talked, twisting his elaborately curled and waxed moustache-highflown, empty, bombastic nonsense-assuming all forces of earth and air and heaven to be alike the bond-slaves of Imperial France.
These seem trivial, every-day scenes on which I am dwelling so much, but from a tiny seed how large a harvest of blossom and fruitage is reaped; and Nina was then planting the germs of a bitter growth of future and unavailing regret.
And I too that morning. Madame de Salmy grew impatient as time passed and Nina did not appear, and at length my mother asked me to go and hurry her. It was unusual for Nina to be long at her toilette, she was so quick in all her
I went reluctantly. I was in no mood to weigh wisely or kindly the reason of her delay. On entering her room I found her not half dressed, and sitting with her hair flowing dishevelled around her. She looked up as I entered exclaiming coldly, "Why, Nina, not ready! Madame de Salmy is tired of waiting."
She raised her eyes to my face for an instant, with a strange appealing look, such as I have sometimes seen in a wounded, suffering animal. One word from me, one look even of tenderness and sympathy, would have spared us both many a dark hour of bitter sorrowful remorse. But I did not give either; my heart was full of anger and bitterness for Léon's pain. I only answered by saying coldly, "Can I help you, Nina? there is no time to lose." Ah! what would I have given a few hours later to have acted otherwise.
She sprang up at once, declining assistance,
and in a very short time followed me to the dining-room. One quick glance she gave as she entered the room, but Léon had not returned, and she stole up to my mother's sofa and whispered softly to her. Madame de Salmy was already taking leave with her usual volubility, but I heard my mother's answer to Nina's whispered words, "No, my pet, no. I did not wish you to stay; Léon will not leave to-day. I only feared you might not be in time to bid him farewell, but he would have been home ere this had his orders come. And you wish so much to go." Then I knew she had been seeking a last excuse to remain, and my heart smote me.
Very lovely she looked as she followed Madame de Salmy. Her cheeks were glowing and her eyes shining, and her simple yet elegant white dress and blue ribbons set off her petite figure to advantage. She had inherited the violet eyes and brilliant complexion of her mother, a beautiful Irish girl, and the delicate features and graceful beauty which had ever been remarkable in the females of the De Lucheux family. Never had I seen her look brighter and fairer than she did then; yet as she laughingly turned at the door with a gay "Au revoir," her eyes met mine with the same wistful look of repressed pain. I would have given worlds to recall the last half-hour, it was too late. Too late! It has often seemed to me that "Too late!" and "No more!" are phrases that epitomize the whole burden of human sorrow, But the first has most of agony. Most, because its key-note is remorse, its final chord unavailing regret. Too late-for the word, or touch, or look, or deed-room and time for which will be "no more." has travelled far on life's pilgrimage can look back on its chequered pathway and see it not thickly bordered with mounds raised above dead hopes and buried opportunities, over which the fitful gusts of memory sweep ever and anon, wailing "Too late! too late!"
Ah! who that
And if the "too lates" of time are thus bitter, what must be the "too late" of eternity? What for the agonized knocker at the shut door of the heavenly bridal feast?
Slowly and sadly I turned from the window as the carriage drove off, with a weary pain at my heart, a burden whose leaden weight
was to become almost insupportable in after- | parted I felt sure they had done so. For nearly
"Dear little Nina," mamma said; "she thought I was grieved at her going, and wished to remain; but I know how she loves the woods, countryborn and bred as she is." But I knew the intense wish Nina professed the previous day for the visit to Meudon was chiefly assumed in contradiction to Léon's objection to the De Salmys; it was only uttered in his presence.
It was late in the afternoon when Léon came in. One look at his face told us all. A spasm of anguish passed over mamma's white face for an instant, then it was calm again. Orders had arrived for several regiments to march next morning. Léon did not ask for Nina; and in the course of the evening a messenger arrived from Madame de Salmy, saying she had ventured to detain her for the night. Again the tide of resentment surged through my heart, almost obliterating the impression of that haunting look. It need not, for I knew Madame de Salmy, and might have considered how likely it was that Nina had been allowed no voice in the matter. That last evening passed with the tardy lengthiness we feel weigh upon us heavily, while we yet grudge each passing hour; with the jealous hanging on the looks and tones of the departing ones, contending with a strange incapacity of realization that those looks and tones will so soon cease to gladden our daily life. It was late ere Léon could persuade my mother to retire; and after she was settled for the night, she sent for him to give him some parting words. Parting words indeed, though I do not think she saddened his spirits by letting him know how fully she felt them to be such. As he came from her room, Augustine seized him, and I felt I must give up hopes of having once more a quiet talk before I went to rest. So I had to be content with the very tender good-night we exchanged as he went below with Augustine.
My room window looked into the paved court, and from it I saw the two brothers pacing up and down in it. I was glad for Augustine's sake; perhaps with his heart softened by parting sorrow, he might unburden the source of his trouble to Léon, whose efforts to induce him to do so he had as yet silently resisted. And before they
two hours they paced the small court, Léon's hand resting caressingly on Augustine's shoulder, as of old, talking earnestly in low tones, no. sound of which reached my ear. But while Léon was visible I could not lose the pleasure of gazing upon him; eyes and heart would hunger sorely and long for a sight of him before his return could be hoped for. And before they parted, the look on Augustine's face, clearly visible to my eyes, grown accustomed to the semi-darkness of the clear summer night, told me plainly it was even so; it was an expression of rest and calm comparatively great.
Before eight o'clock next morning Léon was gone-the last words had been spoken, the last embraces given and received, the last blessings uttered. My mother was calm, and her low quiet tones scarcely faltered as she said, “God and the Blessed Virgin watch over and protect you, my own beloved son;" but there was a solemnity in her manner which spoke of depths of thought and anguish within to which our tears were as nothing.
As my turn came for the last embrace, Léon whispered, "Say farewell for me to Nina, Renée, and tell her to forget what passed the other night. And-if I should fall-tell her I loved her to the last. Nothing can change that. You will care for and protect her, Renée, whatever may happen; for my sake promise me this." What would I not have promised him then?
At ten o'clock the departing regiments were to march past the Hôtel de Ville, and Uncle Lucien had promised to take Madame de l'Orme to snatch one more look at her boy. She was a widow at his birth, and he her only child, her idol, her all. My mother insisted on my accompanying them. She preferred being alone, she said, and I was only too glad to see Léon again, if but for a moment.
Early as it was, the streets were thronged with eager crowds as we drove through them on our way to the balcony in the Rue de Rivoli, on which Uncle Lucien had arranged we should stand.
It was a glorious, cloudless summer morning, the balmy air resonant with the din of many voices and distant martial music. It was strange to look on the crowded streets and well
lined balconies, and know countless hearts were quivering like our own with keen parting throes. Perhaps our sorrow was no more visible to the outward eye than that of others at whose cheerful and, in some cases, joyful composure we marvelled. The lip can smile while the heart is aching. And is not life made up of two distinct cords the outer and the inner! We passed many acquaintances on our way, bent on the same purpose, and met cheerful greetings and bright smiles. But we returned like for like, even poor Madame de l'Orme.
We had not long taken our places on the balcony when the nearing swell of the music and heavy tramp of horses' feet told us of the pageant's approach. For was it not a brave pageant, those serried lines of warriors going forth, high in heart and hope, to do battle for the honour of fair France? The most timid spirits must have risen, the saddest hearts swelled high, as rank after rank rode by-bright uniforms and flowing plumes, and glittering steel, and prancing steeds, fluttering banners and soul stirring music, stalwart forms and summer sunshine. Handkerchiefs fluttered, and bouquets fell, and throats were strained as they passed. On they rode, gorgeous
guards, stately cuirassiers, dark-faced Zouaves, gallant Chasseurs de France on their gray chargers, company after company, regiment after regiment, battalion after battalion. All seemed suggestive of a gay review-pleasant pastime for a summer day. What was there to tell of blood, and agony, and death? What to speak of ruin, disgrace, defeat?
At last came Léon's regiment, his and young De l'Orme's. First the latter passed. The face and figure of the gallant boy, as he waved a parting salute to us, ever rise beside that of my beloved brother when I think of that day— though then I gave it but a passing glance, for I had caught sight of Léon. He looked up and saw us; I marked the quick glance he gave beyond, beside us. No, Léon; Nina was not there. But his look was proud and bright, and as I gazed on his noble form and graceful bearing, pride in him overpowered for the moment sorrow and fear for him.
We watched them up the long straight street till their figures were lost in the bright-hued mass. After that, neither Madame de l'Orme nor I cared much for the rest of the sight, and waited wearily for the end.
FOREIGN MISSIONS OF THE FREE CHURCH.*
[This is a succinct, exact, and authentic record of a great Christian work-a work that will occupy an important place in history. The missions of the Scottish Church, presided over in their earlier years by Dr. Duff at Calcutta, by Dr. Wilson at Bombay, by John Anderson at Madras, and by other men equally devoted, though not so widely known, in other places of India and South Africa, assumed from the first, and still maintain, the distinctive character of great educational institutions the education, full and liberal, like that which is imparted to our own children at home, but given at the expense of Christians with the view of infusing Christianity into the springs of the national life, and so of ultimately sup planting heathenism. In every case this purpose was openly proclaimed from the first. Education was offered free to all who chose to accept it; but the education offered was an education in common things, in daily and hourly union with the teaching of the Holy Scriptures, and the commending of the gospel.
This system has taken deep root in India. Great results have already been attained; but, from the nature of the case, the full fruits must be expected in the next generation.
Mr. Hunter, having been himself one of the missionaries until his health failed, and having access to all the documents, is amply qualified to gather and group the facts, so that the reader may obtain within a narrow space a full view of the whole field. He has accomplished his task with judgment, simplicity, and perspicuity. Not only to members of the Free Church, whose work is here recorded, but to all the disciples of Christ, this volume should be very precious. We subjoin three short extracts, all from the Madras station, illustrating three distinct features of the work.-EDITOR.] "institutions" on the model of the Calcutta one at the other presidency seats. There being already missionaries at Bombay, it was easy to take immediate action
HE impassioned eloquence of Dr. Duff during his first visit to his native land had stirred up such an interest in his educational system of operations in the East, that an ardent desire arose for the establishment of
* From "History of the Missions of the Free Church of Scot land in India and Africa." By the Rev. Robert Hunter, M.A., formerly Missionary at Nagpore. With Prefatory Note by the Rev. Charles J. Brown, D.D., Edinburgh. T. Nelson and Sons, London and Edinburgh,