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A Struggle For Life
by [?]

M. Dorine laid down his paper, and came forward. “If the house,” he said, “is such as M. Cherbonneau describes it, I advise you to close with him at once. I would accompany you, Philip, but the truth is, I am too sad at losing this little bird to assist you in selecting a cage for her. Remember, the last train for town leaves at five. Be sure not to miss it; for we have seats for Sardou’s new comedy to-morrow night. By to-morrow night,” he added laughingly, “little Julie here will be an old lady–it is such an age from now until then.”

The next morning the train bore Philip to one of the loveliest spots within thirty miles of Paris. An hour’s walk through green lanes brought him to M. Cherbonueau’s estate. In a kind of dream the young man wandered from room to room, inspected the conservatory, the stables, the lawns, the strip of woodland through which a merry brook sang to itself continually, and, after dining with M. Cherbonneau, completed the purchase, and turned his steps towards the station just in time to catch the express train.

As Paris stretched out before him, with its lights twinkling in the early dusk, and its spires and domes melting into the evening air, it seemed to Philip as if years had elapsed since he left the city. On reaching Paris he drove to his hotel, where he found several letters lying on the table. He did not trouble himself even to glance at their superscriptions as he threw aside his travelling surtout for a more appropriate dress.

If, in his impatience to return to Mile. Dorine, the cars had appeared to walk, the fiacre, which he had secured at the station appeared to creep. At last it turned into the Place Vendome, and drew up before M. Dorine’s hotel. The door opened as Philip’s foot touched the first step. The valet silently took his cloak and hat, with a special deference, Philip thought; but was he not now one of the family?

“M. Dorine,” said the servant slowly, “is unable to see Monsieur at present. He wishes Monsieur to be shown up to the salon.”

“Is Mademoiselle”–

“Yes, Monsieur.”


“Alone, Monsieur,” repeated the man, looking curiously at Philip, who could scarcely repress an exclamation of pleasure.

It was the first time that such a privilege had been accorded him. His interviews with Julie had always taken place in the presence of M. Dorine, or some member of the household. A well-bred Parisian girl has but a formal acquaintance with her lover.

Philip did not linger on the staircase; with a light heart, he went up the steps, two at a time, hastened through the softly lighted hall, in which he detected the faint scent of her favorite flowers, and stealthily opened the door of the salon.

The room was darkened. Underneath the chandelier stood a slim black casket on trestles. A lighted candle, a crucifix, and some white flowers were on a table near by. Julie Dorine was dead.

When M. Dorine heard the sudden cry that rang through the silent house, he hurried from the library, and found Philip standing like a ghost in the middle of the chamber.

It was not until long afterwards that Wentworth learned the details of the calamity that had befallen him. On the previous night Mile. Dorine had retired to her room in seemingly perfect health, and had dismissed her maid with a request to be awakened early the next morning. At the appointed hour the girl entered the chamber. Mile. Dorine was sitting in an arm-chair, apparently asleep. The candle in the bougeoir had burnt down to the socket; a book lay half open on the carpet at her feet. The girl started when she saw that the bed had not been occupied, and that her mistress still wore an evening dress. She rushed to Mile. Dorine’s side. It was not slumber; it was death.