Page:Female Prose Writers of America.djvu/378

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author afterwards; yet we trust that she will eventually find time for the composition of some more elaborate fiction than the short, fugitive stories with which she has hitherto graced our literature; and with her wide observation of the female heart, and her skill in managing incidents, she cannot but succeed brilliantly if she makes the attempt.

Most of her writings have been published under the nom de plume of “Clara Moreton.”


Alone in her chamber, Gertrude Leslie sat, reading in bitterness of spirit the once cherished testimonials of her early love. Years had passed since those glowing words had been penned, and yet the fountains of her heart were stirred as violently as upon their first perusal. Still burned upon its altar-shrine the love which years of estrangement had not the power to destroy; and like a guilty creature she hid her face within her hands, when she remembered that her heart was now promised to another.

Too well she knew that no promise bore the power of recalling that love from the worshipped idol of her youth, and that with false hopes she had deceived herself, as well as the noble and trusting heart now resting its happiness upon hers.

For a long time Gertrude sat motionless, her white hands pressed tightly over her colourless face, and her mind far away in the dreamy past. Sweet memories of that olden time came thronging to her brain, and again she was the guileless, happy child of “long ago”—again, in fancy, her light feet crushed the grass of the valley home where her childhood had been passed—again leaning upon the arm of one most tenderly beloved, she strayed along the banks of the moonlit river, her young heart as pure as the clear depths of the stream which reflected the golden gleaming stars of the azure sky. So in her heart did the stars of love then shed round a golden glow, but years had passed, and dimmer, still dimmer had grown their lustre, until at last she had fancied that the light of that early love had died away for ever. Vain fancy, when those written words had power to waken such strong emotions!

Rising from her seat, Gertrude with a quick impatience tore