Beulah (Chapter 8, page 2 of 10)


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Chapter 8

"Have you forgotten Eugene so soon?"

For an instant the eyes lighted up; then the long lashes swept her
cheeks, and she murmured: "Eugene; he has left me too; something will happen to him also. I
never loved anything but trouble came upon it."

Dr. Hartwell smiled grimly, as though unconsciously she had turned
to view some page in the history of his own life.

"Beulah, you must not despond; Eugene will come back an elegant
young man before you are fairly out of short dresses. There, do not
talk any more, and don't cry. Try to sleep, and remember, child, you
are homeless and friendless no longer." He pressed her hand kindly,
and turned toward the door. It opened, and Mrs. Chilton entered.

"Good-morning, Guy; how is your patient?" said she blandly.

"Good-morning, May; my little patient is much better. She has been
talking to me, and I am going to send her some breakfast." He put
both hands on his sister's shoulders, and looked down into her
beautiful eyes. She did not flinch, but he saw a grayish hue settle
around her lips.

"Ah! I thought last night there was little hope of her recovery. You
are a wonderful doctor, Guy; almost equal to raising the dead." Her
voice was even, and, like his own, marvelously sweet.

"More wonderful still, May; I can read the living." His mustached
lip curled, as a scornful smile passed over his face.

"Read the living? Then you can understand and appreciate my pleasure
at this good news. Doubly good, because it secures Pauline's return
to-day. Dear child, I long to have her at home again." An expression
of anxious maternal solicitude crossed her features. Her brother
kept his hand on her shoulder, and as his eye fell on her glossy
auburn curls, he said, half musingly: "Time touches you daintily, May; there is not one silver footprint
on your hair."

"He has dealt quite as leniently with you. But how could I feel the
inroads of time, shielded as I have been by your kindness? Cares and
sorrows bleach the locks oftener than accumulated years; and you,
Guy, have most kindly guarded your poor widowed sister."

"Have I indeed, May?"

"Ah! what would become of my Pauline and me, but for your
generosity, your--"

"Enough! Then, once for all, be kind to yonder sick child; if not
for her sake, for your own. You and Pauline can aid me in making her
happy, if you will. And if not, remember, May, you know my nature.
Do not disturb Beulah now; come down and let her be quiet." He led
her down the steps, and then, throwing open a glass door, stepped
out upon a terrace covered with Bermuda grass and sparkling like a
tiara in the early sunlight. Mrs. Chilton watched him descend the
two white marble steps leading down to the flower beds, and, leaning
against the wall, she muttered: "It cannot be possible that that miserable beggar is to come between
Pauline and his property! Is he mad, to dream of making that little
outcast his heiress? Yet he meant it; I saw it in his eye; the
lurking devil that has slumbered since that evening, and that I
hoped would never gleam out at me again. Oh! we are a precious
family. Set the will of one against another, and all Pandemonium
can't crush either! Ten to one, Pauline will lose her wits too, and
be as hard to manage as Guy." Moody and perplexed, she walked on to
the dining room. Beulah had fallen into a heavy slumber of
exhaustion, and it was late in the day when she again unclosed her
eyes. Harriet sat sewing near her, but soon perceived that she was
awake, and immediately put aside her work.

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