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vent this morning; and now he is not here to welcome his little god-daughter. They have just told me that he has been called away by urgent business; what business can there be more urgent than to crown and kiss me?
How have I displeased him—I who have always tried to please him? For more than a year he has changed in his manner to me. What can I have done to have caused this? We were such good friends before, like comrades. He is very
old. Oh, not as old as the abbe who distributed the prizes, but yet old. He is thirty-three. I remember when I was a child I called him by his first name, René. He used to toss me in his arms, oh, so high; then he would kiss and call me his little Renee; and thus we tossed out two names from one to the other like a ball,—“René,-Renee.” When I grew older, we took long walks together in the country; such good times as we had! Although I was but fifteen, he talked to me as only a brilliant and wise man can talk. Oh, such happy days! But since-since, when I was nearly seventeen, suddenly he said to me one day, that I was getting too big for him to kiss me. I have cried about it many a time since; and after that he hardly ever came to see me at the convent, and on his visits he seemed distracted and kissed me coldly on the forehead. During vacations he avoided me. He employed a horrible English governess who never left my side; I never had a chance to be alone with him. And now, to-day-alas! "Poor me," as Sister Teresa says. Gracious, wasn't Sister Teresa cross! I remember three years ago how she scolded one of the older girls who had seen my godfather in the parlor for saying: “The godfather of Renee d’Aramville is very handsome; I would marry him to-morrow if he would ask for
hand.” Marry my godfather! What a funny idea. Jenny would have made him very miserable with her awful temper. I don't know why, but I have detested her since that day, the little cat. What would suit René, if he should marry (but he never will), would be a good little woman, sweet, loving, devoted as—as—faith! I don't know of anyone who resembles the person I have dreamed
of for him. I wonder why he does not intend to marry? A year ago, on leaving the convent, that horrid Jenny said to me, “Do you know, Pussy, your handsome god-papa has a heartache?” I have often thought over those words since, and sometimes I fancy she was right. Perhaps he loves a young girl whom he cannot marry. If that is the case, I am very sorry for him. If it is not, so much the better. I know I am wicked to have such thoughts, but I never could have liked his wife; she would have swallowed him up entirely; while now, we shall live here together, we two. I mean to say, we three; for I must not forget the inevitable Betsy. Such a happy, tranquil life we shall lead. Surely he will love me again when he sees me.
That reminds me; I will begin my role of mistress of the house by looking over my domain. [Sees in glass that she still has on medal; she takes it off slowly.] Good-bye, little school-girl, you must never forget the convent where all have been so kind to you. Thanks to a lovely forethought that I recognize, everything here is exquisitely arranged and seems to be waiting for me. My piano —what is that English song? [Sits at piano and sings.] Ah, I remember:
“ 'Mid pleasures and palaces, though we may roam,
And see, my own style of furniture covered with my favorite stuff: and on this stand the books I love. Ah! here is a letter. Oh, how nice! It is from godpapa. Now I shall know the reason of his absence. [Reading letter.]
“My dear little god-daughter” [answering] my dear little godpapa, [reading] "I have been obliged to be away from you to-day. I regret it very much”—and so do I, monsieur,—“but Miss Betsy will replace me.” Ah, no!
“To-morrow I shall see you. We must talk together seriously about your future life. I must then go on a journey which will take several weeks.” Oh! I come and he goes! “You know how much I love you, more than any other being in the world, and that your happiness, dear Renee, is all I live for. René de Perboise."
And yet he goes away! It is very plain to me that I have driven him away from his own house. He says polite things so that I shall not feel so bad, but in his heart he detests me—I who have so much affection for him.
[Having reflected, she briskly takes up again medal, wreath and books.] I will go back to the convent; I will not stay in a house where I am not welcome, where I drive away the master. I have some pride left, after all, and-why, another letter for me! Alas, I am no longer interested in letters; however, let me see what it contains. From M. Duval, the lawyer, who sends me a note that my father entrusted to him to send to me when I should be eighteen years old. I was eighteen five days ago. [Unseals letter.] Oh, papa, papa; if you only knew how miserable your little girl is. [Reading:] “My Darling Daughter:
“When you read this letter you will have reached an age when your personal charms and your large fortune will attract to you a great deal of attention. Give your hand in marriage freely, but do not give it to anyone but an honest man. For
my part, I have never known but one worthy of that title. He is my dear young friend, René de Perboise.” My godpapa! "If he still holds for you the same sentiments that he has avowed to me”—what! René has loved me !—"you will find in him the tender and loving friend that I wish for you, from the bottom of my heart. In any case, listen to your heart and your reason before choosing a husband, my cherished child. I love and bless you." [Kisses letter.]
What have I just learned! Do I dream? Am I awake? My godfather-is it possible ? He—marry me! I am insane; he detests me. [After reflection.) But does he detest me, after all ? Let me see. I am a young lady now. There are many things to consider that I have not understood. His pretended hatred of marriage; his assumption of coldness toward me; his strange fight from the moment I came back—is not all this proof of his affection for me? Is it not because he is an honest man, as my father says ? [Looking at letter.] If he still considers me a little girl, he would not have taken so much trouble to avoid me.
Ah! I now understand Jenny's meaning,-“his heart aches.” But why has he not spoken to me? Is it because of my fortune ? We would divide that. Is it because of his age? But shouldn't a husband be older than his wife, so as to be able to guide her footsteps? And, then, he is very handsome; the girls were all mad about him at the convent. What do I feel for him? I hardly know how to define it. [Lets face fall into hands.] But of one thing I am certain; I will obey you, my dear papa. I will choose my husband from my heart and with all my reason.
And now I await him. I, too, have grave and serious things to talk over with you, [very tenderly] my godfather !
“I NO CAN MARRY BOTH O' DEM."
["BETWEEN TWO LOVES.”]
T. A. DALY.
[Copyright, 1908, by T. A. Daly. By permission of Catholic Standard and Times
An' alla time she seeng, her eyes
Carlotta ees no gotta song,
Oh, my! I weesh dat Angela
Was strong for carry wood,
An' looka pretta good.
I love Carlotta, too.
So w'at I gona do?
VEHICLE OF LOVE.
GEORGE C. HIBBARD.
OW this is very unfortunate,” said old General Sorym
geur to Miss Ingle, as he finished reading the note that the man had handed to him when he stepped from the ferry. I am compelled to go to the club at once, and I cannot put you in the train for Lenox. I am distressed, but it's a most important matter."