Beulah (Chapter 5, page 2 of 3)


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Chapter 5

"No, I may as well hold him."

"Girl, will you follow my directions?" said he sharply.

Beulah looked up at him for a moment, then rose and placed the boy
in his crib, while a sort of grim smile distorted her features. The
doctor mixed some medicine, and, setting the glass on the table, put
both hands in his pockets and walked up to the nurse. Her head was
averted.

"Beulah, will you be good enough to look at me?" She fixed her eyes
proudly on his, and her beautiful teeth gleamed through the parted
lips.

"Do you know that Eugene is going away very soon, to be absent at
least five years?"

An incredulous smile flitted over her face, but the ashen hue of
death settled there.

"I am in earnest. He leaves for Europe next week, to be gone a long
time."

She extended her hands pleadingly, and said in a hoarse whisper: "Are you sure?"

"Quite sure; his passage is already engaged in a packet that will
sail early next week. What will become of you in his absence?"

The strained eyes met his, vacantly; the icy hands dropped, and she
fell forward against him.

Guy Hartwell placed the slight, attenuated form on the sofa, and
stood with folded arms looking down at the colorless face. His high
white brow clouded, and a fierce light kindled in his piercing dark
eyes, as through closed teeth came the rather indistinct words: "It is madness to indulge the thought; I was a fool to dream of it.
She would prove heartless, like all of her sex, and repay me with
black ingratitude. Let her fight the battle of life unaided."

He sprinkled a handful of water on the upturned face, and in a few
minutes saw the eyelids tremble, and knew from the look of suffering
that with returning consciousness came the keen pangs of grief. She
covered her face with her hands, and, after a little while, asked: "Shall I ever see him again?"

"He will come here to-night to tell you about his trip. But what
will become of you in his absence?--answer me that!"

"God only knows!"

Dr. Hartwell wrote the directions for Johnny's medicine, and,
placing the slip of paper on the glass, took his hat and left the
room. Beulah sat with her head pressed against the foot of the crib-
-stunned, taking no note of the lapse of time.

"Twilight gray
Had in her sober livery all things clad."

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