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NEVER DID the sun go down with a brighter glory on the quiet
corner in Soho, than one memorable evening when the Doctor and
his daughter sat under the plane-tree together. Never did the moon
rise with a milder radiance over great London, than on that night
when it found them still seated under the tree, and shone upon
their faces through its leaves.

Lucie was to be married to-morrow. She had reserved this last
evening for her father, and they sat alone under the plane-tree.
“You are happy, my dear father?” “Quite, my child.” They had
said little, though they had been there a long time. When it was yet
light enough to work and read, she had neither engaged herself in
her usual work, nor had she read to him. She had employed herself
in both ways, at his side under the tree, many and many a time;
but, this time was not quite like any other, and nothing could make
it so.

“And I am very happy to-night, dear father. I am deeply happy in
the love that Heaven has so blessed-my love for Charles, and
Charles’s love for me. But, if my life were not to be still consecrated
to you, or if my marriage were so arranged as that it would part us,
even by the length of a few of these streets, I should be more
unhappy and self-reproachful now than I can tell you. Even as it
is--” Even as it was, she could not command her voice.

In the sad moonlight, she clasped him by the neck, and laid her
face upon his breast. In the moonlight which is always sad, as the
light of the sun itself is-as the light called human life is-at its
coming and its going.

“Dearest dear! Can you tell me, this last time, that you feel quite,
quite sure, no new affections of mine, and no new duties of mine,
will ever interpose between us? I know it well, but do you know it?
In your own heart, do you feel quite certain?” Her father answered,
with a cheerful firmness of conviction he could scarcely have
assumed, “Quite sure, my darling! More than that,” he added, as
he tenderly kissed her: “my future is far brighter, Lucie, seen
through your marriage, than it could have been-nay, than it ever
was-without it.” “If I could hope that, my father!--” “Believe it,
love! Indeed it is so. Consider how natural and how plain it is, my
dear, that it should be so. You, devoted and young, cannot fully
appreciate the anxiety I have felt that your life should not be
wasted--” She moved her hand towards his lips, but he took it in
his, and repeated the word.
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