DR. WINSCOMBE'S SACRIFICE,
Sr. Winscombe’s Sacrifice.
BT MBS. JANE G. AUSTIN.
“But doctor, dear Sear doctor, what are we
to do without you ? Mamma will die a thousand
times over; and I never shall know whether I
am really ill or making believe, without you to
assure me of the latter."
The doctor looked pleased, and adjusting nis
f ’old-bowed glasses, took a smiling survey of the
ovely speaker, with her great violet-blue eyes,
and maze of sunny hair, and skin of cream and
roses, and rounded beauty of form.
“But I have procured a successor, a charming" 1
young man, and as skilful as charming."
«• I here solemnly register a vow of everlasting
hatred against this accomplished youth. What
is his name ?”
“ Bobert Winscombe, and he isn’t such a.youth
as you seem to think. Fully thirty, I should say,
and a very manly,'handsome fellow."
“Is he married^doctor?” asked a frail, sweet
voice, as a hand, like a moonbeam, put aside a
lace drapery, screening a couch, in one corner.
“Oh, mamma, are you .wake!” exclaimed
Milliceut, running to arrange the dainty dra
peries. “And did you hear wliSt this dear,
horrid, old thing has been saying?”
“ Yes, and I was so grieved I couldn’t speak,
at first,” said the invalid, plaintively. “How
could you do it, doctor ? But is he married ?”
“ No, that is, I never asked him ; but he men
tioned that his only family was a sister, who
keeps house for him; and he expects a younger
brother, by-aud-hy. I suppose, by that, he’s
“ I’ll treat him horribly,” cned Millicent.
It was tlie third day after this, that Millicent,
dreaming in her hammock, under shelter of the
vine-clad verandah, .heard the /amilinr roll of
the doctor’s buggy upon the ravelled drive,
below. In a few minutes more, he had mounted
the steps, and presented himself inside the wall
Millicent started from her recumbent position,
or rather tried to do so; for to rise gracefully
and suddenly from a hammock, is rather a diffi-
cult feat, as Milly proved; for alas 1 the long
slender heel of her French slipper got entangled
in the meshes of the hammock, and as she sprang
up, tripped her so suddenly and violently, that
she fell forward. As Blie fell, she struck her
head against a croquet mallet, that had been
oarelessty left lying upon the floor, receiving a
wound sufficient to stun her for some moments.
When Jhe blue eyes next unclosed, their half-
conscious and dreamy gaze settled upon a strong,
dark face, bending over her, the gray eyes full
of watchful interest, the stern mouth breaking
into an evidently unaccustomed smile. _.
“You are better,” said this vision, quietly;
•and Milly, closing her eyes, heard again and
again the brief phrase, reverberating, as it
seemed, through vast reaches of echoing ’Space,
44 you are better, you are belterand then
•down, down through, those dark, endless spaces,
slid the swooning sense, and all was silence. _
Later on, she woke again, to find herself lying
on the bed in her own pretty bedroom, while
her mother, and a maid, and Dr. Wetherhee,
stood around her; and straight and silent as a
sentinel, at the foot of the bed, was the athletic
form, and the grave, kind face, for which, half-
consciously, she looked. ... .
A wan smile flitted across her lips, and very
softlv she whispered:
“ Yes, I am better, now.”
Dr. Winscombe smiled again, and came for
ward, with a soothing draught, he had been pre
paring. Then the room was darkened; and the
invalid left to solitude and repose.
But the repose would not come. For some
five minutes, she lay, silent; then springing
1 from the bed, she staggered to the mirror, and
* gazed feverishly at her own image. The fluffy
golden curls, deluged with water and cologne,
had been ruthlessly dragged back, and lay
clumped, in wet-darkened masses. A great blue
.swelling, upon one temple, was crested by a
deep cut. Pallid cheeks, and drawn and haggard
features, and violet shadows beneath the eyes,
all proved the severity of the late shock; and
Milly. clinging to the toilet-table lest she should
.fall, contemplated the image, in stern disap-
^ 44 A hideous monster, nothing less." said she,
mlond, and then crept back to bed, and cned
dierself to sleep.
and so slid quietiy into the position of daily
visitor; for before Milly was qnite recovered,
her mother, upset by the worry and fatigue her
daughter’s accident, fell into one of her nervous
crises ; and the new doctor found his skill and
patience, not to mention his amiability, severely
Summer waned into autumn, and although
Mrs. Batolpbe was better, it had become so
strong a habit of the doctor’s horse to turn in at
the great iron gates of the Batolpbe place, that
he seldom resisted it; and the delicate and
nervous invalid fanciel that some access of vigor
and calm came to her with his presence. Not
infrequently, she prevailed upon him to stay for
dinner, or tea, nr at least to take a biscuit.
“ By the bye.” said Mrs. Batolpbe, one day,
to Millic-nt,‘“you ought to call on the doctor's
sister. Go, dear, and ask her to tea.”
So Millicent went. But while unlatching the
doctor’s garden-gate, she heard a quick, strong
step behind her, that sent the blood tingling to
her cheeks, and made the warm white fingers so
clumsy over the latch, that another hand took
latch, and fingers, and all into its brown, firm
grasp, while a voice Millyku ew, so well, ah 1 so
well, said, blithely:
“ Let me 1 You are coming in ?”
“Yes,” replied the girl, forcing herself to
speak calmly, as a young lady speaking to a
friend ought to speak, uud raising her eyes,
though not qnite to the level of his own; add
“ Yes. I am going to call upon Miss Winscombe.
I thought these were your office-hours.”
44 They are. I was called home, suddenly.”
There was something peculiar about him, to
day; but what was it? His look, the one look
she had dared to meet, was burning aud eloquent
with—ah, what? Was it love? Did ho love
her ? If so, why had he never said it, except in
some half-dozen glances, and in this, the most
fervent of all ? Aud his voice 1 She, who kuew
iis every tone so well, she could not mistake
thit thrill, that caressing vibration, almost a
kiss, in which he had spoken thnso last words.
And the air cf intense, yet subdued excitement,
pervading his whole manner—what did that
Millicent had not answered one of these
questions, when she found herself standing in
the middle of the low-ceiled, sunny parlor, with
the doctor holding both hands, and looking
straight into her face, which before that gaze,
drooped, and drooped like a flower, upon whose
heart the sun gazes too pitilessly. What did he
read there ? Heaven knows. But releasing the.
little hands, that were almost crushed by that
iron grasp, he suddenly dashed his clenched fist
against his forehead.
“God forgive me 1” he groaned. “God for
give me 1” Then, snatching her hand, he said,
44 But, promise you will never hate me I”
44 Hate you 1” murmured she, in soft incred
ulity, yet puzzled inexpressibly by his words and
manner, so contradictory.
44 Millicent,,” he pursued, in an agitated voice,
look around this rootn, and tell me what I may
give you—some - memento of this visit, this
strange, strange visit.”
“ Why strange ?” demanded the girl, a touch
of womanly pride beginning now to struggle
through her agitation.
“Why? Who can tell why?” replied he,
vaguely. 44 But choose. Wuat will you have ?
Something you must take—something to mark
44 Then, it shall he this,” exclaimed Millicent,
carried away by what spirit she kuew not; aud
snatching from the table an engraving of the
Crucifixion, that lav there, in an open portfolio.
Bobert Winscombe took the picture from her
hand, looked a^ it, aud turned ghastly pale.
Then, returning it, he said, very quietly:
44 You could not have chosen better. Wait
Let me write the date upon the back.”
He did this, and folded the picture in a bit of
paper, tying it methodically with card. Neither
of theuTspoke, or looked at each other, while he
was doing this. Why, they could not tell. But
there are some crises too sad for speech.
Winscombe had just finished, when a carriage
drove to the door. He started, glanced out at
the window, seemed to grow suddenly rigid, and
|Q an n/lrl >aufwa<no/1 vniAA • Thnk ia mv
. an odd. restrained voice: 44 That is my
brother, who has come to bring me a patient,
and it you do not care to see-them, you can go
through the garden, and so ont to the other
street I need not apologize for sending you
away. You will not mistake me.”
Millicent only bowed her head, and like one
in a maze, followed the doctor, as he opened a
her companion, and never glanced back, so that
she did not see the blithe, handsome fellow, who
dismounted from the carriage, and carefully
lifted down a pallid, swooning figure.
44 Well, is she coming ?” asked Mrs. Batolphe,
as her daughter came languidlv into the parlor.
44 Coming ? Who ?” asked Millicent, dreamily.
44 Why, Miss Winscombe, of course. Didn’t
you go there to invite her to tea ? What in the
world is the matter with you, child?”
44 1—I didn’t see Miss Winscombe, mamma.”
“ Didn’t see her ? What can you mean ?”
44 1 will tell you, some other time,” auswered
Millicent, rising. “But, just now, my head
aches, and I will go apd lie down.”
Mrs. Batolphe rather pettishly picked up her
novel; and Millicent, in her room, sat drearily
staring out of the window, seeing notliiug, hear
ing nothing except that inward, inarticulate voice,
whose utterauces aro so much more engrossing
than the most eloquent speech from without.
“ He lores me,” said the voice, 44 certainly he
loves me. His eyes, his tone, his manner, all
said it. But why so strange about it all ? Whv
is the Crucifixion the best memento I could have
chosen of tiiat visit ?’’ So went on the voice, the
busy, cruel, untiring, dreary voice, telling of love
with none of love’s sweet assurance and joy, of
a heart given perhaps uuasked and unvalued,
except as a trophy ; 44 and yet, and yet he surely
loves me,” passionately broke in the voice, the
voice now of wounded maiden pride. 44 1 never
could have loved him, if he had not tried to win
'When all in tho house were asleep but herself,
Milliceut unfolded her picture, and falling upon
her kueees, gazed long aud earnestly at it. She
seemed, in that image of supreme self-devotion,
of sacrifice, and of love stronger than death, to
read the story of her own aud another’s life.
Then she hung the picture up, close beside her
bed, that her first and last look, morning and
night, might fall upon it; aud so drearily un
dressed, and lay down, to cry herself to sleep.
Bat the next day was bright and clear, and
Mrs. Batolphe felt herself able for a drive in the
pony carriage. “You must be tho driver,
Milliceut,” she said, “for Mouse aud Midge
travel more demurely aud steadily under your
hand than that of even Munuy.” Muuny was
the coaohman, and was nothing loth to take the
seat behind, in the rumble.
“ Beally, Milly,” said her mother, when they
had been driving for about an hour, 44 this is
charming. But, perliapB, we’ve gone far enough.
Hadu’t you better turn round ?”
Millicent obeyed, but just in the midst of the
manoeuvre, a dog burst yelping from the thicket,
that fringed the road, and sprang at the heads of
the ponies. The nuexpcctod noise and sight,
frightened the nearest horse, and this terroi
communicated itself immediately to the other;
and getting the bits between their teeth, the tw«j
set off at a breakneck pace, utterly beyonj
Millicent’s power to control. Meantime, tho first
mad wliiri'had unseated the stately Munuv. and
thrown him into the ditch, so that he could uofi
assist her. A catastrophe was imminent. But
Millicent, in all her dismay, fouud time to hop*
that her mother, at least, would escape with lS
and limb, and to wonder for her herself, “ Will
Bobert be sorry if I am killed ?"
But rescue was nearer at baud than she sup
posed. The master of the guilty spaniel, a long-
legged, athletic young fellow, no sooner saw the
mischief he had done, than throwing down hi*
gun, he started across the field, reaching its
opposite end, just as Mouse and Midge, putting
down their obstinate little heads, prepared to
bolt ronud the corner there. Taking the feuoe
in his stride, he was in the middle 6f the road,
as the poqies camo up. .Seizing the bridle of the
nearest, he flung the horse with a quick, power
ful movement, almost on its side; checked its
mad career and that of its fellow; and in a
moment more had both bits in his grasp, and had
brought ttie terrified animals under control.
44 1 hope you are not much frightened, ladies,”
he said, as the ponies stood, with steaming,
panting sides, regarding him with staring ami
astonished eyes. “These little rascals are
quite safe now.”
“Thanks—my mother—” replied Hillloent,
choking bacit a sob, turning to take the poor
hysterical, convulsed invalid To her arms.
“ If Bob was hefe, nqw,” said the young man.
half shyly. “Perhaps you know my brother,
Dr. Winscombe ?” ' -
“Yes, indeed, he is our physician. Oh! I
wish, with all my heart, beswas here now. Poor
darling, poor little mamma—there, dear, there.
If I had some sal-volatile *“
I tell you