BLTC Press Titles

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The Art of Worldly Wisdom

Baltasar Gracian

Esoteric Buddhism

A. P. Sinnett

Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman

The Secret Doctrine, Volume I Cosmogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky




"I thought she was going to die; that was what I was begging her not to do. Oh! if I knew she had only fainted!"

"Has she been long ill?" asked Mrs. Grey, while she laid aside her cloak and proceeded to examine the prostrate form.

"Not to my knowledge, Madam. She was working, as usual, until twelve o'clock last night; but this morning she did not get up. I spoke to her, but she seemed confused, and kept growing paler and paler till I was frightened, and dragged the bed up to the window to see if the air would revive her. We had a doctor for her a month ago, and he said bad air was like to kill us both."

While the girl was talking, Mrs. Grey had taken

from a basket of hospital supplies such restoratives

and such refreshments as she thought best, and in a

short time had the pleasure of seeing her patient aroused sufficiently to take the nourishment provided for her.

She had now time to take an astonished glance at the room in which she sat. It was not only kept with nicety and care, but there were signs of refinement. A palette with its brushes hung upon the wall; unfinished bits of color were pinned here and there; two or three plants grew thriftily on a shelf by a window, and the seats of several old chairs showed that undeveloped, but artistic taste had had to do with seats covered with woolen patchwork, beautifully put together.

By degrees Mrs. Grey gained the woman's story; it was commonplace enough, but was npt narrated in a commonplace way, for not only was her tale adorned by a pretty foreign accent, but by sound common sense and good feeling.

She had married, young, a poor artist, who found her in her Swiss home, and was too eager to secure her to perfect himself in his profession. Neither of their families approved of the match, and they had made a foolish, runaway affair of it, coming to this country full of hope, but without a friend in it.

"My mother hadn't any mother, or brothers, or sisters; and her father wasn't her own father, and wasn't good to her."

Mrs. Grey looked the girl full in the face and smiled. "You think that makes a difference?" she said.

"I do, Madam. My mother never did anything wrong in her life."

What a firm young head was set on those young shoulders! It is not easy to describe, in words, the impression made by both mother and daughter.

"And how did you get on?" Mrs. Grey inquired, turning once more to Mrs. Haydon.

"Well, Madam, we got the punishment our selfwill deserved. We knew no one in this country. My husband worked hard, but had no friend to encourage him. He sold pictures enough to keep us alive and, at times, comfortable. But we lived from hand to mouth, and if we had sickness, things went very hard with us. Then he began to get disgusted with his work. He would begin a picture that looked beautiful to me, but would throw it aside unfinished. And it ended just as such stories always end. He died, and I was left alone with my little ones to support myself as best I could."

"You must have married very young?"

"Madam, we were a boy and a girl, nothing more. The laws of my country compel education. I was at school when this folly took place, and when I was left a widow, my position was a very embarrassing one. I was not capable of teaching because I had left school so young; and yet I had come of a good family and been used to certain comforts. For a time I supported myself by embroidery, but this life of confinement and deprivation of sleep—for I had to work till midnight—injured my health; and a physician, whom I consulted a few weeks ago, told me that, what with over-work, poor food, want of exercise, and living in a sphere so different from that in which I was born, I should soon break down completely."

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