THE FIRST LETTER.
his race. Dr. Bretton would have benignity for the lowest savage, or the worst criminal".
"I heard some gentlemen, some of papa's friends, who were talking about him, say the same. They say many of the poor patients at the hospitals, who tremble before some pitiless and selfish surgeons, welcome him".
"They are right; I have witnessed as much. He once took me over a hospital; I saw how he was received: your father's friends are right".
The softest gratitude animated her eye as she lifted it a moment. She had yet more to say, but seemed hesitating about time and place. Dusk was beginning to reign; her parlor fire already glowed with twilight ruddiness; but I thought she wished the room dimmer, the hour later.
"How quiet and secluded we feel here!" I remarked, to reassure her.
"Do we? Yes; it is a still evening, and I shall not be called down to tea; papa is dining out".
Still holding my hand, she played with the fingers unconsciously, dressed them, now in her own rings, and now circled them with a twine of her beautiful hair; she patted the palm against her hot cheek, and at last, having cleared a voice that was naturally liquid as a lark's, she said:—
"You must think it rather strange that I should talk so much about Dr. Bretton, ask so many questions, take such an interest, but——".
"Not at all strange; perfectly natural; you like him".
"And if I did", said she, with slight quickness, "is that a reason why I should talk? I suppose you think me weak, like my cousin Ginevra?"
"If I thought you one whit like Madame Ginevra, I would not sit here waiting for your communications. I would get up, walk at my ease about the room, and anticipate all you had to say by a round lecture. Go on".
"I mean to go on", retorted she; "what else do you suppose I mean to do?" And she looked and spoke—the little Polly of Bretton—petulant, sensitive. "If", said she, emphatically, "if I liked Dr. John till I was fit to die for liking him, that alone could not license me to be otherwise than dumb—dumb as the grave—dumb as you, Lucy Snowe—you know it—and you know you would despise me if I failed in self-con-