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A Hero of the Pen by E. Werner

Frederic was still more surprised


Frederic

was still more surprised. "With my master?"

"Yes, I wish to speak with your master. Tell him that I await him here.--Hasten!"

An imperious wave of the hand accompanied the command, for command it was, and Frederic trudged away. Just as he was outside the door, it occurred to him that it was no longer fitting for him, one of the heroes of this glorious Prussian army, to be ordered around in this way by that American Miss; but it was with him as with Mr. Atkins; his will sank powerless before her imperious tone and glance; so, growling and muttering, but obedient, he went to his master's room on the required errand.

Jane had remained back alone in the large gloomy apartment which was only partially lighted by a chandelier suspended from the ceiling. Outside profound darkness already reigned; the moon had not yet risen, the winds sighed through the trees, and through the one open window floated the cold evening air. She shuddered involuntarily, and approaching the grate sank down into an arm-chair, whose richly carved back displayed an French coat of arms.

She was now just on the verge of certainty! All must become clear between them,--the next fifteen minutes would unveil the long buried secret! With what emotions Jane looked forward to his unveiling was known to her alone. The flames as they rose and fell lighted up a face upon which was now

mirrored one only expression, firm, unyielding decision. "_It must be!_" With these words, Forest had taught his daughter to endure every conflict and to bear every sorrow; but in his lifetime she had known little of sorrow or conflict. Now the trial had come; but dumbly, without lamentation, she bowed to the iron law of necessity.

For one moment, that unexpected reunion had overpowered her; but it had been for only a moment, it was not in Jane's nature to recoil from any decisive step; she was no coward, and she would now have a certainty, even though that certainty was to prove her destruction. The features wrought to their fullest energy, the compressed lips, and the determined icy glance, at this moment, gave her a really frightful resemblance to her dead father. There was not a breath of weakness, of submission; all was hard, rigid, icy; these features said--"let come what will, it shall be borne!"

The door opened from the outside, and Fernow entered. He closed the door behind him, but remained standing close to the threshold.

"You wished to see me, Miss Forest!"

"I wished an interview with you, Lieutenant Fernow. Shall we be undisturbed here?"

"I hope so for the next fifteen minutes."

"Ah--I beg you to come nearer."

He approached her slowly, and paused at the fireplace, directly opposite her. Between them crackled and glistened the flames, their lurid reflection sharply lighting up both these forms. They alone were visible in the half-darkened room; visible also to him who was pacing up and down the terrace just outside.


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