The night had passed.
Far and near the garden view
looked its gayest and brightest
in the light of the noonday sun.
The cheering sounds which tell
of life and action were audible
all round the villa. From the
garden of the nearest house rose
the voices of children at play.
Along the road at the back sounded
the roll of wheels, as carts
and carriages passed at intervals.
Out on the blue sea, the distant
splash of the paddles, the distant
thump of the engines, told from
time to time of the passage of
steamers, entering or leaving
the strait between the island
and the mainland. In the trees,
the birds sang gayly among the
rustling leaves. In the house,
the women-servants were laughing
over some jest or story that
cheered them at their work. It
was a lively and pleasant time--a
bright, enjoyable day.
The two ladies were out together;
resting on a garden seat, after
a walk round the grounds.
They exchanged a few trivial
words relating to the beauty
of the day, and then said no
more. Possessing the same consciousness
of what she had seen in the trance
which persons in general possess
of what they have seen in a dream--believing
in the vision as a supernatural
revelation--Clara's worst forebodings
were now, to her mind, realized
as truths. Her last faint hope
of ever seeing Frank again was
now at an end. Intimate experience
of her told Mrs. Crayford what
was passing in Clara's mind,
and warned her that the attempt
to reason and remonstrate would
be little better than a voluntary
waste of words and time. The
disposition which she had herself
felt on the previous night, to
attach a superstitious importance
to the words that Clara had spoken
in the trance, had vanished with
the return of the morning. Rest
and reflection had quieted her
mind, and had restored the composing
influence of her sober sense.
Sympathizing with Clara in all
besides, she had no sympathy,
as they sat together in the pleasant
sunshine, with Clara's gloomy
despair of the future. She, who
could still hope, had nothing
to say to the sad companion who
had done with hope. So the quiet
minutes succeeded each other,
and the two friends sat side
by side in silence.
An hour passed, and the gate-bell
of the villa rang.
They both started--they both
knew the ring. It was the hour
when the postman brought their
newspapers from London. In past
days, what hundreds on hundreds
of times they had torn off the
cover which inclosed the newspaper,
and looked at the same column
with the same weary mingling
of hope and despair! There to-day--as
it was yesterday; as it would
be, if they lived, to-morrow--there
was the servant with Lucy's newspaper
and Clara's newspaper in his
Would both of them do again
to-day what both had done so
often in the days that were gone?
No! Mrs. Crayford removed the
cover from her newspaper as usual.
Clara laid _her_ newspaper aside,
unopened, on the garden seat.
Mrs. Crayford looked, where
she always looked, at the
column devoted to the Latest
Intelligence from foreign parts.
The instant her eye fell on the
page she started with a loud
cry of joy. The newspaper fell
from her trembling hand. She
caught Clara in her arms. "Oh,
my darling! my darling! news
of them at last."
Without answering, without
the slightest change in look
or manner, Clara took the newspaper
from the ground, and read the
top line in the column, printed
in capital letters:
THE ARCTIC EXPEDITION.
She waited, and looked at Mrs.
"Can you bear to hear it, Lucy," she
asked, "if I read it aloud?"
Mrs. Crayford was too agitated
to answer in words. She signed
impatiently to Clara to go on.
Clara read the news which followed
the heading in capital letters.
Thus it ran:
intelligence, from St. Johns,
has reached us for publication.
The whaling-vessel _Blythew ood_
is reported to have met with
the surviving officers and men
of the Expedition in Davis Strait.
Many are stated to be dead, and
some are supposed to be missing.
The list of the saved, as collected
by the people of the whaler,
is not vouched for as being absolutely
correct, the circumstances having
been adverse to investigation.
The vessel was pressed for time;
and the members of the Expedition,
all more or less suffering from
exhaustion, were not in a position
to give the necessary assistance
to inquiry. Further particulars
may be looked for by the next
The list of the survivors followed,
beginning with the officers in
the order of their rank. They
both read the list together.
The first name was Captain Helding;
the second was Lieutenant Crayford.
There the wife's joy overpowered
her. After a pause, she put her
arm around Clara's waist, and
spoke to her.
"Oh, my love!" she murmured, "are
you as happy as I am? Is Frank's
name there too? The tears are
in my eyes. Read for me--I can't
read for myself."
The answer came, in still,
"I have read
as far as your husband's name.
I have no need
to read further."
Mrs. Crayford dashed the tears
from her eyes--steadied herself--and
looked at the newspaper.
On the list
of the survivors, the search
was vain. Frank's
name was not among them. On a
second list, headed "Dead or
Missing," the first two names
that appeared were:
FRANCIS ALDERSLEY. RICHARD
In speechless distress and
dismay, Mrs. Crayford looked
at Clara. Had she force enough
in her feeble health to sustain
the shock that had fallen on
her? Yes! she bore it with a
strange unnatural resignation--she
looked, she spoke, with the sad
self-possession of despair.
"I was prepared for it," she
said. "I saw them in the spirit
last night. Richard Wardour has
discovered the truth; and Frank
has paid the penalty with his
life--and I, I alone, am to blame." She
shuddered, and put her hand on
her heart. "We shall not be long
parted, Lucy. I shall go to him.
He will not return to me."
were spoken with a calm certainty
that was terrible to hear. "I
have no more to say," she added,
after a moment, and rose to return
to the house. Mrs. Crayford caught
her by the hand, and forced her
to take her seat again.
"Don't look at me, don't speak
to me, in that horrible manner!" she
exclaimed. "Clara! it is unworthy
of a reasonable being, it is
doubting the mercy of God, to
say what you have just said.
Look at the newspaper again.
See! They tell you plainly that
their information is not to be
depended on--they warn you to
wait for further particulars.
The very words at the top of
the list show how little they
knew of the truth 'Dead _or_
Missing!' On their own showing,
it is quite as likely that Frank
is missing as that Frank is dead.
For all you know, the next mail
may bring a letter from him.
Are you listening to me?"
"Can you deny
what I say?"
Is that the way to answer me
when I am so distressed
and so anxious about you?"
"I am sorry
I spoke as I did, Lucy. We
look at some subjects
in very different ways. I don't
dispute, dear, that yours is
the reasonable view."
"You don't dispute?" retorted
Mrs. Crayford, warmly. "No! you
do what is worse--you believe
in your own opinion; you persist
in your own conclusion--with
the newspaper before you! Do
you, or do you not, believe the
in what I saw last night."
"In what you
saw last night! You, an educated
woman, a clever
woman, believing in a vision
of your own fancy--a mere dream!
I wonder you are not ashamed
to acknowledge it!"
"Call it a
dream if you like, Lucy. I
have had other dreams
at other times--and I have known
them to be fulfilled."
"Yes!" said Mrs. Crayford. "For
once in a way they may have been
fulfilled, by chance--and you
notice it, and remember it, and
pin your faith on it. Come, Clara,
be honest!--What about the occasions
when the chance has been against
you, and your dreams have not
been fulfilled? You superstitious
people are all alike. You conveniently
forget when your dreams and your
presentiments prove false. For
my sake, dear, if not for your
own," she continued, in gentler
and tenderer tones, "try to be
more reasonable and more hopeful.
Don't lose your trust in the
future, and your trust in God.
God, who has saved my husband,
can save Frank. While there is
doubt, there is hope. Don't embitter
my happiness, Clara! Try to think
as I think--if it is only to
show that you love me."
She put her arm round the girl's
neck, and kissed her. Clara returned
the kiss; Clara answered, sadly
"I do love
you, Lucy. I _will_ try."
Having answered in those terms,
she sighed to herself, and said
no more. It would have been plain,
only too plain, to far less observant
eyes than Mrs. Crayford's that
no salutary impression had been
produced on her. She had ceased
to defend her own way of thinking,
she spoke of it no more--but
there was the terrible conviction
of Frank's death at Wardour's
hands rooted as firmly as ever
in her mind! Discouraged and
distressed, Mrs. Crayford left
her, and walked back toward the