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      The Major's face grew dark, and his eyebrows met in a heavy frown. "I shall take it mighty hard of you, if you do," said he, sternly and gloomily. "I tell you, Harry, he is no Bergan at all, and he ought not to be treated like one. Eleanor would never have written to him, nor desired you to visit him, if she had known the true state of affairs;you can safely take that for granted, and act accordingly. Besides," he went on, after a slight pause, "it is only fair to warn you that any one who goes from Bergan Hall over to Oakstead (that's what he calls his place), doesn't come back again,with my consent. There's no relation, nor commerce, nor sympathy, nor liking, between the two places; and there never can be any while I live,nor after I am dead, either, if I can help it. So just put that matter out of your head, Harry, and say no more about it."

      The Prince of Ligne, a very accomplished courtier, about this566 time visited the sick and dying king. During his brief stay he dined daily with the king, and spent his evenings with him. In an interesting account which he gives of these interviews, he writes:

      Yetthe bed-linen, how strangely yellow!the shawl, how dim and faded!the flowers, how withered! He advanced again; he began to understand that the maiden who had dreamed on that pillow, whose hand had left its dainty mould in that glove, the sweetness of whose virgin breath still lingered in the room with the scent of the withered rosebuds, went out from it years ago,a bride,to be known thenceforth as wife and mother,his mother! His eyes grew moist; one by one he touched the little possessions left behind with her girlhood, striving thus to come a little closer to the fair, shy image, that moved him with such unutterable tenderness, yet seemed so far beyond his ken. Reverently, at last, he closed the door, as upon a still, white, smiling corpse, at once ineffably beautiful and ineffably sad.

      I do write for the "gentle reader" who enjoys religion in novels, as elsewhere. Be thus much said for his liking, even from the art side. There are two classes of novelsthe descriptive and the analytical; one pictures real life, the other passions and motives. Religion has its rightful place in both, because it is an important part of real life, and controls both passions and motives. Finally (for the subject is much too wide for a preface), the modern novel being so potent a power,for evil on the one hand, for social and civil reform on the other,it is fair to suppose that it may do good service for religion.Half-buried in thought, half-listening to his uncle's talk, he rode mechanically onward. On one side of his path, flowed the smooth, shining waters of the creek; on the other ran the Bergan estate, with its odd aspect of mingled thrift and neglect. He had often wondered at the singular blending, in his uncle's character, of the sturdy English energy inherited from that indefatigable Briton, Sir Harry, with the indifference and impromptitude induced by the climate. It was especially curious to note how these diverse qualities displayed themselves in different directions. With human beings, his laborers and dependents, and even with his animals, he was prompt, energetic, and exacting, accepting no excuses, and showing no indulgence; with inanimate things, he was often careless, negligent, and unobservant. On this portion of the estate, which seemed but little cultivated, fences were down or dilapidated, gates swung unwillingly on their hinges, and outbuildings seemed ready to fall with their own weight.

      Where he went, what he thought, is not to the purpose of our narrative. His walk was long, however; he did not return until dusk had deepened into clear and starry, but moonless night. As he came up through the great, dim elm-arches, with their solemn resemblance to a vast cathedral nave, a strange tremor seized him. A complete sceptic in regard to all superstitions and forebodings, he yet felt his nerves shaking with an undefined fear; he could not rid himself of the impression that something unprecedented and sinister was at that moment taking place. Reaching the college, he ascended the steps with a strange mixture of eagerness and reluctance; and immediately became aware of a subdued but excited murmur of voices in the upper hall. At the same moment, Mark Tracey came rushing down the stairs, carpet-bag in hand.

      "It's easy to see that you are Miss Eleanor's son, you have just her kind, pleasant ways," responded the blind woman, gratefully. "He is a little taller than you, Master Harry," she continued, turning toward the Major, as she laid her hand on Bergan's head,"yes, just a little taller, though not much."


      Growing oppressed, at last, with the sight of so much hopelessly shelved thought, so many pages bearing the prints of a long succession of fingers now crumbled into dust, Bergan turned back to the hall, mounted the staircase, and glanced into two or three of the chambers. He found in all faded carpets, ancient bureaus, high-post bedsteads, shadow-haunted hangings, a thick coating of dust, and a heavy, breathless scent which, it seemed to him, death must needs have left there, in his oldtime visits. Indeed, he could almost have believed that the last occupant of each dusky cavern of a bed had stiffened into clay therein, and been left to choke the air, and coat the furniture, with his own mouldering substance. No lighter dust, he thought, could have made the atmosphere so thick, or caused him to draw his breath so heavily.


      "The same thing might be said of your kindness."


      "Yes, he is a good deal like her, maumer; he has her eyes exactly. But he is even more like what I was forty years ago; it really makes me feel young again to look at him. He's a real Bergan, I can tell you that."