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money as an intimation that he was for- A few moments after his entrance I let saken of God and man. He believed in God myself in. The room was quite dark and I now. When a thinking man feels all his heard some one breathing heavily. Striking previous convictions slipping away from a light I saw Robert Lyon thrown across him in the presence of the Great Revealer, the bed, sleeping soundly. Having satisfied he knows that somewhere there is a God. myself that he was suffering only from exThen too the demand of Robert Lyon for haustion, I laid a covering over him and something that money could not buy, “for went out to tell Agnes and consummate my his lost life, his ruined soul,” troubled him plans. more than he could tell.
He struggled Opening the door to Mr. Dyer's apartfiercely, refusing sympathy of any sort, till ment, where a light was burning cheerily, I the third day, spent in body and mind, he saw him still lying as I left him, with closed fell into a stony despair from which I eyes and clasped hands, having no longer thought he never would rise again. His dis- strength for those endless walks. Agnes ease would make rapid work with him now. was kneeling by his side. I caught a glimpse
Agnes was with him constantly. Her of an upturned, pleading face like the face courage and cheerfulness in the midst of all of a pictured saint, and heard the low tones this was a continual marvel to me. As the of audible prayer. I softly closed the door, days darkened, she brightened. A new shutting myself out, and stood with uncov. spirit was in her; she was keeping her father ered head till the prayer was ended and alive; she would not let him go.
she rose to her feet. Distressed beyond measure at the suffer- A few words put Agnes in possession of ing I was forced to see and could not alle- the facts and my wishes. viate, and thoroughly disheartened by the “ Thank God !” she whispered with a raturn this wretched business had taken, I got diant face. And while glad tears filled her my hat and went out for a long walk. eyes she said earnestly: “ Doctor, the Lord
The sun was getting low and I neither Jesus has stood by me constantly the past knew nor cared which way I went. After few days. I could see Him no more than I awhile, turning a corner, I suddenly found could see the wind that blows; but He has myself upon the Boulevard. It was now been so near it has seemed to me that I quite night, but the lighted shops and street could shut my eyes and reach out and touch lamps made a long, broad avenue of light. Him with my hand. To-night I knew He Wearied, I walked slowly, avoiding the was here listening to me, and I will never crowded walks. At length some obstruction doubt Him again; never, God helping me.” blocked my way, and while I waited, look- There was no excitement, no fever about ing about, I saw a man leaning heavily her; a clear, steady light shone in her eyes. against a tree. His hat was pulled down I doubted not the Lord was with her, and a and his face was in shadow; but there was fresh courage came to me. something in his attitude that seemed famil- She told her father in a voice that vibrated iar. While I watched him he lifted his hat with joy, that Robert Lyon had returned and sighed heavily, as if wearied or oppressed. and that I wanted the drafts and receipts Suddenly, with the air of a man who had for him to sign. arrived at a conclusion, he walked rapidly He opened his eyes for the first time that away. I followed, and as he passed under day, and as soon as he was convinced of the a gas jet I became certain that it was Rob- fact of Lyon’s voluntary return, a gleam of ert Lyon. He hurried on as if afraid of hope entered the man once more. changing his mind if he gave himself time
CHAPTER XVII. to think ; and presently I became aware from the surroundings that he was steering for RECONSIDERED AND ACCEPTED. the room he had occupied and which had Late the next morning Robert Lyon been in readiness since his visit to Joel awoke and found a refreshing breakfast Dyer.
awaiting him, which he ate in silence,
while I sat over by the window busily wrong about him, and if he could have the writing.
courage and perseverance to live down his “ Doctor,” said he at length, "you brought evil appetites he would be once more a man me back in spite of myself, only to add to of whom Tom could be proud. my obligation to you. The recollection of As I placed the receipt signed by Robert your kindness and my seeming ingratitude Lyon in Joel Dyer's hands, he stared incredwas all that stood between me and a ulously. As he failed to understand the wretched death last night. I wanted you man's refusal at the first, so he failed to to think as well as you could of me, and so understand his acceptance in the end. But come to tell you that I am going to get I gave him his glasses and called Agnes to something to do, and for your sake will try look at an engraving I had found in an old to live a better life.”
shop, that he might read his receipt and in“Let the past go,” said I, reaching him dulge his thoughts secure from observation. my hand.
“We will wipe it all out and At last I ventured to look at him. He begin on a clean page. I have been wait was still holding the receipt, and his face ing for you to go up street with me and get was like a written page. He realized clearly your money, or what amounts to the same that so much money was gone forever from thing, bills of exchange payable in New his control, and it was a large sum to pay York. Then I want you to go home and away needlessly. With him anything that start anew." I talked with him long and could not be legally collected was needlessly earnestly, spoke of his mother and of Tom, paid. He had purchased peace of mind at a and when I told him of his mother's last high price. It was a costly luxury. But words, and how poor Tom loved him, and then, he reflected, that through a long life had sought him everywhere, he covered his he had allowed himself few luxuries, and face with his hands and fairly broke down. perhaps could afford to indulge himself in His past sickness and present weakness ren- this, since the thing would not occur again, dered him more accessible. I pressed my ad- and beside, he was so near through with it vantage to the utmost, requiring no pledges, all. Thinking of that, he folded the paper knowing how useless that would be, and so carefully and put it in his pocket-book. far won the day as to put him before night Never was bond or mortgage so precious as in possession of his property, part in ready this. It was, he believed, an assurance of money, but mostly in bills of exchange. peace in this life, and a sort of mortgage on These, mistrusting himself, he wished me to the Lord—a note on demand to be presented hold for the present.
at the entrance of that mysterious life On the street I found an acquaintance toward which he was journeying fast. Yes, who was going to Liverpool, and from there he could pass the remainder of his days in by the next steamer to New York. Robert peace. He had escaped; he had circumLyon finally consented to go with him. I vented that worthless Robert Lyon; he could found that he was, somehow, unwilling to afford to exult, even; and with these thoughts
1 face Tom just yet. Promising to follow in he swung himself off the couch, a deep, scara short time, I gave him letters of introduc- let spot like a blood stain burning either holtion to Mary and Hal, and telegraphed Hallow cheek; and in the old, imperative tone to meet him in New York and take him he called : home till I came.
“ Come, Agnes, get my cane.
I want to It is curious how far the consciousness of walk. I shall get well.now, and we will go being well dressed and of possessing a cer- home at once.” tain amount of filthy lucre goes to rehabili- He began to improve steadily. He postate a man in his own esteem, as also in sessed an astonishing amount of what is the esteem of those about him. When I called “ recuperative” force. The prospect parted with Robert Lyon at the depot, he of going home helped to put new vigor in was a self-respecting, dignified-looking man. him, and Agnes began to hope for a permaA superficial observer could see nothing nent improvement, if not a final cure.
In a few days I could see that notwith- ing, “ He is at the beginning and I am at standing his apparent courage and cheerful- the end of life.” There could be no sharper ness, he was not yet at rest. The tormenting contrast. It was Alpha and Omega, with thought of this Robert Lyon had so grown an immeasurable stretch between. into bim during the past two years that he “How are they all at home, Jack ?" asked could not rid himself of it at once. It still I, as soon as our party were comfortably haunted his sleep. And if the relief by day seated in the train that would take us to was not as complete as he expected, it was our own city. still enough to give strength and invigora- "First-rate I only mother has intermittent tion to a frame peculiarly susceptible to fidgets about that Mr. Lyon you sent over mental influences. He must have had a to us. He is out every night till nearly tough physical constitution to have resisted morning. Mother says there is something 80 long the inroads of his aggressive mental wrong about him, and I tell her of course force, which now that it had at last obtained there is ; you have no interest in people the upper-hand, was like a lion rampant. who are all right. If I had a club-foot or a In his restlessness he turned to the thought liver disease you would think as much again of his home with the longing of a homesick of me; now wouldn't you Uncle Doctor ?" child. Once there, he felt assured that the and he gave me another spasmodic hug, adabsolute
repose which he so craved would be ding : “ Hal says that you are a philanhis.
thropist as well as a physician, and that I had hoped for a few weeks of sight- probably this man has a moral obliquity that seeing both for Agnes and for myself. But you are endeavoring to straighten. I have he was so importunate, thinking as usual tried ever since to find out what a moral only of his own claims and conveniences, obliquity is,-mother fears it is infectious ;” that Agnes, glad to gratify him in anything, and Jack's mischievous eye looked up inwished to comply with his desire. And so quiringly, as in the old, boyish days when before the autumn storms came on we started he coaxed for a tin-trumpet or a hobbyfor home.
“ Never you mind Jack !” said I, settling CHAPTER XVIII.
his cap, which was forever perched on one JACK OPENS MY EYES.
side of his tousled head. “But tell me, I HALF expected Hal to meet us in New where is Hal; and why did he not come to York, but instead Jack came pushing his meet us ?” way through the crowd as soon
“Is that a reflection upon your humble steamer reached her dock. Dear old Jack! servant ?” He waited for me to shake my I scarcely knew him. He had grown a head head and pinch his cheek, before he contintaller, and a downy darkness on his upper ued: “ Hal said I could do just as well and lip betokened a coming mustache. His better than he, and so got off the train at voice, too, was in that transition period New Haven, leaving me to come on alone. when a youth commences a sentence in one I was to give his love to you, and to say octave and ends it in another. But his that he was going to stick to his studies heart was unchanged. He hugged me now, and should spend no more time runlike a bear, pulled off his cap with an ning back and forth, unless absolutely necesawkward bow to Miss Dyer, and shook sary. He also sent kindly regards to Miss hands with her father as if they were just Dyer and her father.” As Agnes smiled of an age. There was a breezy cheeriness and bowed her thanks a flush crept over her and whole-heartedness about the boy that face, and as Jack went on to say: “When would half cure one less hopelessly diseased. mother is not fidgeting about Mr. Lyon she Even his face brightened for a moment, but fidgets about Hal. She says he is not well, the brightness ended in a sigh, for as he and is worrying himself to death about stood with his cold, weak palm in Jack's something or other; and in truth the old warm, strong clasp, he could not help think- fellow has grown awful poor and sober.
But I tell her we shall all get well now you
“Guess she would not have been, if you have come home,"her face grew troubled had taken Tall Enough along." and pitiful, and she looked steadily out of “ It is too absurd,” said I after a thoughtthe car-window with wistful eyes, that saw ful pause. neither town nor landscape as we hurried on. “ What is too absurd ?" asked Jack, lean
“ But,” continued Jack, “ Maud makes up ing his head heavily on his shoulder. for all Hal's soberness. She is as gay as a “Nothing, it seems," said I, feeling more lark, and sings from morning till night. annoyed than I was willing to admit. Here She and Tall Enough go about whispering was Maud caring for Northrop Duff - a to each other, and laughing over the silliest chicken beside a hawk; and here, too, was things."
Agnes flushing when Hal's name was spo“What is that, Jack ?” said I quickly, a ken; and somehow the joy of coming home gleam of light just breaking in upon my was marred already. Then there was Lyon. benighted brain.
Trouble ahead in that direction. Why, Uncle Doctor! you would not be- The first look showed me that he had lieve it,” said Jack earnestly, “ but that Tall improved in health and strength and genEnough is up to the house every evening, not eral appearance since I saw him last, and to see Hal either. He has just taken pos- also confirmed my suspicions that with resession of our parlors and of Maud too. I turning health and strength came a resurdon't believe she knows there is any one else rection of the old, evil appetites and in* in the world. A fellow might as well have no stincts. There was a restlessness about him sister, if she is to be appropriated in that that nothing could quiet; an unexpended way."
nerve-force crowding him to action or dissiI looked over to Agnes. Notwithstand- pation. Dissipation was the old channel, ing her pre-occupation she heard Jack's and it would find vent there, unless drawn speech, and met my questioning eyes with off by steady and exhaustive action. As an amused smile.
soon as we were alone he asked for his “Have I been blind ?” queried I doubt- money, saying that he was “dead broke.” ingly, still looking in her face.
I knew that he could not have spent the "Perhaps so."
considerable sum in his possession when he “But you were not ? ”
left Liverpool, legitimately; and giving him “ No."
what money I had with me told him he had “I have had so little experience in mat- best wait a few days before getting his bills ters of that sort, and am getting so far of exchange cashed, in order to make a safe along in life that perhaps my blindness is a investment. permanent thing. Your sight is clearer, The next day he came for more money, Miss Dyer."
not shame-faced as one would expect, but as Again her face flushed, and this time coolly as he would ask for a glass of water, with an exquisitely pained and embarrassed being thirsty. look that made me bite my tongue with “What have you done with that you
had vexation for having said anything to trouble yesterday?" asked I, trying to arrest his her. She leaned back in her seat, and her uneasy eyes. face was for a long time hidden by the “Lost every cent of it at faro last night;" newspaper she was attentively perusing. adding hurriedly, “but I will get it back After a little I observed that the paper was again to-night, and more too." wrong side up. Well, perhaps it was just “ Look here, Robert,” said I gently: “I as interesting that way.
thought you had got through with all that, Jack was bouncing about as usual. and would begin life anew."
“Sit still, old fellow. Did Maud tell you “I never shall get through with it,” said she was homesick in Italy?”
he fiercely. “It is like a consuming thirst. “No; was she homesick ?”
I have become so accustomed to the excite* Very."
ment that I have got to have it or drink till
I drown the devilish craving. So far, I have “No; I cannot sleep till I am half-tired kept from drink; but no one knows how I to death. Sometimes I think I never shall have fought, and no one knows how much sleep again.” longer I can abstain. I staid in the house “Come with me then, and I will see that day and night, because I could not trust you have a good sound sleep. It will do myself out of doors, till I could bear it no you more good than anything else.” longer. Then I went out, and propelled by He followed me obediently as a child. an impulse I could not master, pushed Yielding was easier than resisting. There straight for a gambling saloon. If there is a constitutional laziness in the mental was one in the city, I knew I should go make-up of some people which is often the straight to it, blindfold. I tell you," said tap-root of their misfortunes. I gave him a he with an awed look and whispered tones, large dose of hydrate of chloral and made “I am mastered by something stronger than him lie on the lounge in my den. Having my own will; and it holds and drags me staid by him till he was in a sound, safe whether I will or not."
sleep that would last for some hours, I took “ But if you had work to do, work to keep my hat and went over to see Tom. you wholly occupied through the day and Tom was as glad to see me as I was to see thoroughly tired at night, that something' him, and we stood for a long time hand in which is only an abnormal habit that has re- hand, asking more questions than either turned with returning strength, could be kept could answer. At last there was a pause, down till your weakened will had grown and I said : strong enough to hold it there. You are not “ Tom, you remember we had a conversaa sound man. Your disease is moral debility; tion some two years ago upon a subject we and the cure lies almost wholly in your own agreed not to mention again ?” hands. Recognize the fact that you are un
“ Yes.” sound, and treat yourself with the same pa- “Will you give me leave to speak of it tience and perseverance that you would now ?” treat a sick child. Come! I will help you “ Yes; for you would not speak of it all in my power. Are you willing to try?” needlessly,” answered Tom under his breath;
“ It is useless !” said he with tears in his for his intuition, keen as a woman's, divined eyes. “I am past help. I have tried it that I had news of consequence for him. over and over again. There will come days He brought me a chair and sat down himwhen I think I am strongest that I cannot self. I scarcely knew how to begin, and his hold myself at all. You have no idea what anxiety helped me, for he asked unsteadily: an utterly worthless thing a rotten will is. “ Is he alive?" Do you know a man can yield and yield, till “ Yes.” he can do nothing else? I have come to Where?” that.” He stood staring at me with eyes “ In this city-at my house." full of horror that saw himself sliding surely, Tom's head went down. I could not surely into a bottomless abyss. Suddenly see his covered face, nor would I if I he covered his face with his hands exclaim- could. ing passionately: “Would to God I had After a little, glad to say what I must never been born!”
without looking at him, I added : “He “ Have you seen your brother ?”
was sick in a Paris hospital, and as soon as “ No, and I cannot,” said he with strange he was well enough I persuaded him to come inconsistency, “till I am more of a man. home. You remember that he lost his inGive me my money and I will go off and heritance in an unfortunate transaction with see if I cannot do better somewhere else.” a broker. Well, that man's conscience, or
“ Have you slept well of late ?” asked I, something behind it, or something within apprehensive that this uncontrollable rest- it, has forced him to make full restitution lessness would precipitate another debauch so far as money goes. Your brother has his with its consequences.
own once more, and it was about the dis