She would see him; one look would confirm the secret between them. All the torturing anxieties of absence would be banished so soon as she could reassure herself by hearing his voice, by feeling the pressure of his hand. She had thought and dreamt of this evening in the still woodland ways, until her heart beat rapidly with a sense of her coming happiness; and now this disappointment was too bitter. She could not bear it.
She went over to her father.
"Papa," she said, "I wish to go. Don't let me take you; I can get to the hotel by myself ——"
"My dear child!" said he, with a stare, "I thought you particularly wanted to go to —— House, after what Balfour told you about the staircase and the flowers ——"
"I — I have a headache," said the girl. "I am tired. Please let me go by myself, papa."
"Not at all, child," said he. "I will go whenever you like."
Then she besought him not to draw attention to their going. She would privately bid good-night to Mrs. Blythe; to no one else. If he came out a couple of seconds after she left the room he would find her waiting.
"You must say good-by to Balfour," said Lord Willowby; "he will be dreadfully disappointed."
"I don't think it is necessary," said Lady Sylvia, coldly. "He is too much engaged — he won't notice our going."
Fortunately, their carriage had been ordered early, and they had no difficulty in getting back to the hotel. On the way, Lady Sylvia did not utter a word.
"I will bid you good-night now, papa," said she, as soon as they had arrived.
He paused for a moment, and looked at her.
"Sylvia," said he, with some concern, "you look really ill. What is the matter with you?"
"Nothing," she said. "I am tired a little, and I have a headache. Good-night, papa."
She went to her own room, but not to sleep. She declined the attentions of her maid, and locked herself in. Then she took out a small packet of letters.
Were these written by the same man? She read, and wondered, with her heart growing sorer and sorer, until a mist of tears came over her eyes, and she could see no more. And then, her grief becoming more passionate, she threw herself on the bed, and burst into a wild fit of crying and sobbing, the letters being clutched in her hand, as if they, at least, were one possession that could not be taken away from her. That was a bitter night — never to be forgotten; and when the next day came, she went down — with a pale and tired face, and with dark rings under the beautiful, sad eyes — and demanded of her father that she should be allowed at once to return to Willowby Hall, her maid alone accompanying her.
From The Philadelphia Press.
BURNS AND WASHINGTON.
Robert Burns, born in January, 1759, was not seventeen years old when the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia. Not until the following year did he write the first poem of his (eulogizing a lass under the name of "Handsome Nell") that has been discovered and preserved, and his compositions between 1777 and 1783, when the American War was ended, were neither numerous nor important. The fecundity of his genius became apparent, in the number and merit of his productions, between the latter date and the summer of 1786, when his poems were first collected and published in book form. It was his youth, then, when our War of Independence was in progress, and at its conclusion, that prevented Burns, a man of the most liberal opinions, from alluding to it or to its heroes in his verse. In his second edition, in 1787, he introduced "A Fragment" of nine stanzas, narrating, in the quaintly familiar language of a rustic, the events of, and connected with, the American War. As a poem this is poor, and chiefly to be valued as showing its author's political feeling.
It has been regarded as singular that Burns, who cannot have been ignorant of Washington's career as "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen," did not allude to him in prose or verse. Yet, in a letter to Mrs. Dunlap, in June, 1794, only two years before his death, he says: "I am just going to trouble your critical patience with the first sketch of a stanza I have been framing as I passed along the road "(he wrote, he said, "in a solitary inn, in a solitary village, of Castle Douglas"). "The subject is 'Liberty.' You know, my honored friend, how dear the theme is to me. I design it as an irregular ode for General Washington's birthday. After having mentioned the degeneracy of other kingdoms I come to Scotland, thus: —