Page:Aunt Phillis's Cabin.djvu/261

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Alice had known, too, that it was he. But when we long to be assured of happiness, we are often slow to believe. It was not until her eyes could distinguish every feature that her heart said, "It is Arthur." Then all was forgotten—all timidity, all reserve—all, save that he was the dearly loved brother of her childhood; the being with whom her destiny had long been associated. She passed from the drawing-room to the porch as he alighted from his horse, and when his father released him from a long embrace, Arthur's eyes fell upon the dear and unchanged countenance, fixed upon him with a look of welcome that said more than a thousand words.

* * * * * *

"Aunt," said Arthur, a week after his return, as he sat with Mrs. Weston and Alice in the arbor, "before you came, Alice had been trying to persuade me that she had been in love with Walter; but I can't believe it."

"I never did believe it for a moment. She thought she was, and she was seized with such a panic of truth and honor that she made a great commotion; insisted on writing to you, and making a full confession; wanted to tell her uncle, and worry him to death; doing all sorts of desperate things. She actually worked herself into a fever. It was all a fancy."

"I have too good an opinion of myself to believe it," said Arthur.

"I am sorry," said Alice, "for it is true. It is a pity your vanity cannot be a little diminished."

"Why, the fact is Alice, I remember Uncle Bacchus's story about General Washington and his servant, when the general's horse fell dead, or rather the exclamation made by the servant after relating the incident: 'Master, he thinks of everything.' I do too. When we were children, no matter how bad Walter was, you took his part. I remember once he gave William such a blow because he stumbled over a wagon that he had been making, and