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A Hero of the Pen by E. Werner

This mysterious power seemed also to subdue Fernow


"Yes,

and if a formal testament is to be made," interposed the doctor, "I beg you give me the address of your relatives, so that I may be prepared for any emergency. Hitherto, I have made no inquiries concerning them; you have maintained such a strict secrecy in regard to your family affairs."

"Secrecy! I had nothing to conceal. I have no relatives."

"What! not a single one?"

"Not one; I stand entirely alone in the world."

There lay a quiet, but deep anguish in these words. The doctor preserved a sympathetic silence; Fernow reached him his hand.

"I must now bid you farewell. I have much to arrange, but I will see you again this evening."

He went. Doctor Stephen accompanied him to the door, and they parted with a cordial pressure of the hand. The professor entered the parlor through which he must pass in order to reach the hall; his features had won again the gentle, melancholy expression peculiar to them; but suddenly he started, and drew back--he caught a glimpse of Miss Forest.

She had not left her place at the window, but she had stepped forward somewhat, so that he could not avoid seeing her, and her glance met his. Jane's eyes were capable of no soft, dreamy glance, and even their fire was always like the glow of Northern Lights over an

ice field; but still, a strange power lay in those shadowing depths, the might of a proud, unyielding will, which knew not how to entice, but to compel; and she was in the fullest measure conscious of her power. Seldom as she had recourse to this power, whenever she did enforce it, the victory remained with her, and it had been a victory over no common individuals. The obstinate character of her father had bowed to this will; it had silenced the ever-ready sarcasm of Atkins; it had brought the cold, equally rigid nature of Alison under her control. And now it must also enforce something else; the step which, in spite of all that had happened, must and should cross her path, the farewell word which she must once again hear from his lips--for this, these eyes now beamed in the full radiance of their splendor, and deep below, under all this ice flamed something warmer than the mere glow of boreal fires.

This mysterious power seemed also to subdue Fernow; as if spellbound, his glance rested upon her face; he saw that she was waiting, waiting for a farewell. It would cost him only one step, one single word; here was involved an absence perhaps without return. Over Jane's features flashed a triumphant glance--then all at once the professor's face grew dark, every muscle was strained for an energetic resistance. Slowly, as if step by step, he would withdraw from the influence of a demoniac power, he tore his eyes from her face; his lips quivered as he set them firmly together, to shut in any farewell word; his breast rose and fell convulsively in an agonizing inward conflict; but the wounded pride of the man held its ground before temptation. He turned to go; a bow, cold, distant as that parting one upon the Ruenberg, and the door closed behind him. He had kept his word!

Jane stood there like a statue; this was too much! She had humiliated herself by waiting; she had waited all this time, and now she stood there decided to offer her hand in reconciliation, ready to give and to receive a last parting word; and this incredible self-mastery of hers had been thus received! What then did this man wish? Did he demand entreaties from her?

Entreaty? At the mere word, the whole nature of this young girl was aroused to resistance and exasperation. To entreat was something she could not do. Miss Forest, who so clearly tested, so calmly considered all, never had occasion to lament a momentary enthusiasm nor to atone for an error, because she never allowed herself to yield to impulse; even in her childhood entreaty was something that had been impossible to her. She had borne every punishment, but it was with an obstinacy which chose to endure for long weeks, rather than allow the word "forgive" to pass her lips; and Forest had discerned in the child too much of his own nature to force her to anything he would himself regard as a humiliation. The thought of entreaty flashed through Jane's soul, only to be repelled with abhorrence. He wished no farewell; well then he might go without it, into the field, to death, wherever he would.


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