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DB. HUBER'S NEW YEAR'S CALLS.
BY S. AN.VIE FROST.
Il was New Year's Day in York, and the year was coming in with tears and sighs. Halfmelted snow ground into the most unapproachable mud-covered streets and pavements; the rain fell in a fine, disconsolate drizzle; and the wind gave faint puffs, as if utterly discouraged at the prospect of getting up a good hearty bbr. It was chilly and cheerless, misty and muddy damp and dismal; but Dr. Huber, after a long look from his window, said, decidedly:
"Horrid weather! but I must go out!" And, baring arrived at this conclusion, out he went.
Now, the doctor, as he strode manfully down the street, under the shelter of a big cotton umbrella, did not look like a man to be scared by the weather. First, there was a tall, strong, well-knit, and finely developed figure to resist the elements, and the face was one that showed battle with fiercer foes than wind or rain. The strong, clearly-cut features, the firmly-set mouth, large dark eyes, broad forehead, ami well-poised head carried resolution and courage in every line and expression. There was no shrinking now in face or figure as he walked rapidly forward, yet there was a sadness in his eyes, a 1 curve of past pain about his lips, that said, \ plainly as words, " I have met trouble hand to band;" while the erect head and fearless carriage as plainly spoke, "And conquered it!";
And while the doctor rapidly marches on, I will tell you his life and victory.
Years before the New Year's Day upon which ray story commences, Albert Huber was a dandified boy of seventeen, heir-apparent to i a large fortune, the hope of a proud father, and 'be idol of a tender mother. Luxury had sur- I funded him from his very birth; every talent had been developed with loving care, every j sorrow set far from him, every wish gratified, and every hope cherished and encouraged.
He was but a boy, just nineteen, when he announced his determination to become a doctor j and marry Kate Reynolds, a belle in short nocks. Both projects met with approval. Miss | Reynolds was an heiress, and likely to become a I beanty when she emerged from school, and a doctor's profession was one quite suited to the; position of a gentleman. So, Albert was en- i couraged in his plans. ]
Of course every facility that wealth could: offer the young student was at his command, and having found now a task that met his intellectual capacities and kept them fully occupied, | the foppish boy astonished all his friends j hy becoming a close, earnest student. As he plunged deeper and deeper into the fields of •tody opened to him, the youth grew to love' hi< enoten profession with an engrossing fervour.'
Having no need to practise for pay, he chose to follow out abstruse fields of experiment, to work out knotty problems of cause and effect, and as the field before him pointed to newer discoveries and still greater difficulties, he followed the hint, and went abroad to search in Germany and France for more light and brighter examples than lay within his reach. He was twenty-five years old before he returned home, to wait for | patients, and woo Miss Reynolds.
Obedient to the hints given her by anxious
1 relatives, this young lady had waited his return
before giving any of her numerous suitors a
hope. She possessed beauty, a winning, gracious
manner, many accomplishments, wealth to adorn
I every charm, and a heart cold as marble, a cool
calculating brain, and a coquette's most alluring
Strong and earnest, true and manly, the doctor was no longer a foppish boy, but a | handsome, accomplished man. Young as he ! was, his name already stood high in his pro'fession, while Science owed him the debt of a I pamphlet which was making a stir in literary i and scientific circles. Altogether, Miss Reynolds \ decided, a prize worth winning, and bent her energies to the task.
At first the young man was dazzled and astonished at the change in his old playmate. From a pretty girl of fifteen she had become a magnificent beauty, willing yet to smile upon her old adorer, and admit him to the charmed circle of her friendship. How she won him from admiration to passionate love was her secret! Certain it is that he believed her pure and true, her love all his own, and laid at her feet the worship of his strong, tender heart.
His mother died, and he turned for comfort to his promised wife, listening entranced to her low, sweet tones of sympathy; drinking with his heart her gentle words of hope and implied promises of a love to more than fill the void in his life. A second blow followed, and bis father too was carried to his last home. Again, for one short week, he drew comfort from his betrothed, then woke from his dream of hope to find himself a beggar. The fortune he had hoped to call his own was swept away in a mad speculation, his father's last investment; and when he sought comfort where he had been wont to find it, it was to meet cutting words of scorn, to find his prospects sneered at, his hopes blasted, his love thrust coldly back upon him. Words of reproach for tones of love, bitter scorn to answer the hopes of a new fortune, cold incredulity to meet his promises of better days, drove him maddened from his betrothed, a very demon of outraged lov» and revengeful bitterness.
It were a bitter record to tell of the months that followed this final blow. Talent wasted, energy misapplied, temptation unresisted, and evil courted. The strong, nervous energy began to fail before the demon of drink; the cool calculating brain, turned from science to gambler's devices, grew heated and unreliable. Nights of wild rioting were followed by days of sick despair, and the life which had begun under every smiling hope and promise of success seemed about to end in the drunkard's grave or the suicide's coffin.
It was a sneer that turned the scale. An old friend (one still revelling in Fortune's smiles) said, in the hearing of the wretched man, "Poor fool! weak and unstable! I always thought his boasted strength and talent needed pampeiing to bring them to perfection. Well, he will be no great loss either to the profession or society."
Was this true i Was this the end of ambitious dreams of youth, of the glowing hopes of manhood? A life wasted, a soul lost, and for what i Because a false woman had let him see her worthless nature, and he was saved from a marriage that must have brought life-long misery.
With the same resolute energy that had marked every variation of his life, the doctor entered again upon the race for fame and fortune. His splendid physical organization threw oft' easily the effects of two years of wild dissipation, and the active brain once roused was ready for new tasks, new triumphs. This was the bitterest period of his life. Old friends, from whom he had hoped for encouragement, heard coldly his promises of reform; bis practice was nothing, only a few patients daring to trust life to hands that had proved so ready to grope for evil instead of bringing comfort. Day after day the prospects grew darker. Without money, almost without friends, with a heart cut to the core by woman's faithlessness, a home desolated by death, and swept away by poverty, a hand unsteadied by drink, and a name tarnished by riotous living, how dared he hope to atone the past and win a new name and fortune? Some few, who still felt an interest in the unhappy man, strongly advised him to find a new field for practice, a new home where the past could be no reproach; but the proud spirit rejected the advice. In his own city, in the face of all the past, he would win his name again.
For five long years he fought manfully, till, on the New Year's morning when our story commences, he faced the world free of all debt, with a fair practice, and an honourable name in his profession. Not one, but many small works from his pen were quoted as authority by more than one circle of scientific men, and he had accepted a hospital practice—almost forced upon him—as one of the best surgeons in his own city. So, as he strode through the muddy streets, Dr. Huber felt again friends with fortune.
Yet the battle had left scars, and there were gaping, unhealed wounds under the brave ex-'
terior. The heart that had been full to overflowing with warm, generous impulses, was crusted over with a hard coat of cynicism. He trusted no man, no woman, visiting upon all the sin of one. Worse yet—he had fought so well his hard battle, that self-reliance had become arrogance; and, in the place of trust to Providence, he had taken his own infallibility for his guide. The world saw a resolute, successful, talented, but hard, cynical man. God saw a self-reliant, presumptuous unbeliever.
Dr. Huber's first call was in no fashionable drawing-room. Down a dirty alley, where every step brought a new sight or smell of disgusting poverty, he walked rapidly, ungreeted by any of the loungers who watched him. „ The doctor's poor patients thought his hard, stern manner, and contempt for small ailments, fully outweighed any gratitude for gratuitous service.
It was a small room poorly furnished where he at length slopped. Upon a low pallet bed lay a little child, some eight or nine years old, who had been injured by a terrible fall. As the doctor came in, the little hands clasped close together and the nervous quiver of his patient's lips Bhowed his terror of the visit.
"Must it be to-day, Doctor?" asked the pale mother, as she looked into the doctor's face.
"Certainly! I told you so yesterday, and you" had better go and see some of your neighbours when Dr. Smith comes, for I can't be bothered with any fainting fits or hysterics."."
"Oh, no! Ob, mother, don't leave rae. I am so afraid of Dr. Huber."
It was a cry of agonizing apprehension. The doctor fairly trembled under it. Some longforgotten tenderness welled up in his heart, as he saw the frightened face turned to meet the mother's caresses. For a moment he stood irresolute, then he went to the bed, and putting his arm under the child's head, turned the pale face to meet his own.
"Johnny," the gentle tone made the child look up in glad surprise. "I am afraid your mother is not strong enough to stay and see her boy sutler. I will be very tender and careful with what must be done, and it will spare your poor mother pain to be away. Will you trust me and let her go?"
The clear childish eyes looked long into the dark ones questioning them, then the child said, "Mother, you may go:" and as the ta.'i form of another doctor approached the bed, [l.e little sufferer whispered, "Pray God for Johnny, mother."
Again the hardened heart thrilled under the child's voice. Truly wbat other help lay before Johnny for the next hour but what was heaven sent? A sincere "God help him," rose in the doctor's heart.
Skilfully, tenderly, and patiently the two surgeons worked in the little room; yet when they drew the sheet again over the childish form, and turned away from their task, they knew that all of their art was vain: the pain was stilled by a mightier hand than theirs, a stronger arm had made their efforts fruitless, and the God the mother prayed to had answered her and called Johnny home.
"You stay, and see his mother," said Dr. Huber, as he buttoned up his coat for a second calL '• I have no words for her. You are a Christian."
Leaving no time for comment or refusal, he strode away; but when Dr. Smith turned to the table to pack his instruments, he saw lying there a bank-note that would more than decently inter the still form on the bed. t "A pretty beginning for a new year," muttered Dr. Huber, as he again faced the rain; yet, s» he suddenly dashed from his face a drop of moisture that the rain had not placed there, there stirred in his heart a memory of his mother, a new-born uneasiness, that angels would hare hailed as his highest, purest hope for the coming year.
The second, third, fourth and fifth call found him still in the little court, and the sixth, which he had almost forgotten, was also there. It vras only a burnt arm, a baby arm that was nearly healed, and as he turned from it, after a brief inspection, he thought his calls in that locality over for the day. But there was some new expression in the doctor's face that morning, that gave the baby's mother courage to make a request she had meditated, but not dared to express.
"If you please, doctor, there's a poor body, a lodger of mine, that's ailing this month past. If it's not too much trouble"—
•' Where is she ?" impatiently interrupted the doctor.
"In the attic. It's not a woman, please, sir, but a man that's been fiddling in some theatre. He has a bit of a gal he's making an opery sioger out of."
"What's the matter with him r"
"Well, sir, he's wasting like. He thinks he 11 going to get out again soon, but to my mind his life's pretty well over."
"Show me the way."
Up the narrow stairway, past rooms of poverty's own choosing, the doctor and his guide mounted to the attic. There the woman entered, while the doctor stood back, studying the interior of the wretched room, desolate, cold, and cheerless, with a couple of wretched beds, a miserable little fire, and a few broken articles of furniture. In one corner stood a forlorn old piano, upon which rested a violin case and some music books. At this piano was seated a little girl, rapidly running a scale, while upon the bed the doctor's new patient counted time.
"One, two, three, four. Two breaks! Try again."
"It is so fast," sighed the child, obedient to the order.
"Signor," said the landlady, pronouncing the word as it is written, and splitting the emphasis exactly in halves. "Sig-nor, I've brought tbe doctor to see you."
The child slipped down from the piano stool,
and came to the bedside, while her father looked towards the door.
"A doctare! Ah, yes—does he know I have no moneys I"
"La! yes Sig-nor. Come, Julie, and see the baby while the doctor talks to your pa."
But the child shook her head, and only crept closer to the bed; so the landlady, having indicated the patient to the doctor, and the doctor to the patient by one comprehensive flourish of her arm, went down-stairs.
Wasting away! Ah, surely and rapidly. . One glance at the sunken eyes, hollow, hectic, flushed cheeks, and shaking hands told the doctor the story. With the new tenderness Johnny had awakened still vibrating in his heart, Dr. Huber spoke gently to the sick man in his own Italian tongue.
The child turned to him instantly, speaking rapidly the same musical language.
"Ah, you will cure him! See how already he is better! Oh, doctor, he has been so ill, so ill, poor papa. He coughs, and is so weak, and at night he moans and tosses instead of sleeping."
•' Hush, Guilia, you trouble the gentleman. Go see the baby, my darling, while I tell him about the cough."
The child slowly obeyed, and as her small form left the room, the Italhn said eagerly, "Can you save me—for her, for her only? She will be famous. Ah, such talent! But I must teach her. She is mine! We will again have comfort when she is older. Again I will be first violin when she is prima donna. Oh, save me! save me! Let me not die!" And,«exhausted by his own violence, the suffererfell back panting and coughing.
With all his accustomed brevity and decision the doctor delivered a short, impressive lecture upon the folly of such violent conduct, and fairly scolded his patient back to composure; then after a series of strictly professional inquiries, he promised to send some medicine and come the next day.
Guilia glided past him on the stairs, having evidently listened for his step, and the landlady waylaid him to have her own forebodings confirmed.
"And dear only knows what's to become of the gal. She's too pretty and smart for the workhouse, to my thinking," was the good woman's parting comment on the case.
Other professional calls followed in rapid succession, as the doctor passed from street to street, house to house. At last two o'clock found him again in his home, weary and turbed. What ailed him? He had faced ana battled with sorrow, suffering, and disease for years. He bad fought with death for many a patient, sometimes victorious, sometimes defeated, yet he had let his heart turn coldly from any lasting impressions, and looked upon all as so much chance in the roll of fate. But today he had left a deathbed subdued and saddened j be had seen the signet mark on one forehead and had shuddered with apprehension. He had many times maiked unmoved the same sign; but to-day he had whispered to his heart a prayer for help, where he had never before sought it.
His New Year's calls were not yet over. He was still at dinner, when a liny scented note was handed to him.
*' Will Dr. Huber call upon Miss Reynolds at his earliest convenience i
The doctor pushed his plate away, and started to his feet. Kate Reynolds! Even now the name, seen for the first time in years, sent a strange thrill of pain through his heart.
The rain still fell heavily, but he found the stately home of the heiress filled with a gay throng of visitors. Mrs. Reynolds, in full dress, came into the hall to meet him.
"I can't think what possesses Kate, doctor. She will not admit that she is sick, but has refused to see any callers to-day, and about an hour ago insisted upon sending for you. She wishes to see you alone!'
One hour later the doctor left the house. With bowed head and pallid face he walked home, wrote and despatched a note, and then locked the door of his study.
Have you ever seen an iron nature convulsed by the extreme of mental agony; a stern, hard heart turned from unbelief by one crushing blow; a lifetime of cynical hardness uprooted and thrown out by one whirlwind of passionate pain? If not, you cannot read the agony of the next hour.
White as death, with heavily-drawn breath, quivering limbs, and clasped hands, the doctor lay on the floor fighting the fiercest of all his life's struggles. At last the form* was still; the peaceful light of long, long years ago came to the bent face, and, kneeling like a child at his mother's knee, the doctor prayed, "Lord, I believe! Help thou my unbelief! Ob, in the coming hour of trial, God help me! God help me!" The passionate cry grew quiet, and at last the prayer came in whispered words, not the agony of the heart cry.
When Dr. Smith tapped at the door, there was no trace in the calm face of Dr. Huber of the past hour's struggle. Very grave, almost sad, the black eyes were now, but the note which had summoned the consulting physician had prepared him for that.
"I was sent for this morning by Miss Reynolds, in street," said Dr. Huber, quietly,
as he placed a chair for his friend, "and hare sent for you to go there with me immediately, to perform an operation."
"An operation! Kate Reynolds! This is very sudden. An accident?"
Not a quiver of the white lips told how the word stopped the throbbing of the doctor's heart.
"Cancer! I never suspected it."
"She has kept it from her own mother, but to-day the agony became unendurable. She knew the danger, and sent for me, I have a claim of old friendship."
How calmly he said it!
"But are you not pressing it too hurriedly r Must the operation be performed to-day r"
"She herself wishes it—and"—how dry his throat was !—" I fear it has gone too long now."
"But the light? It is after four." "True, true. How early tomorrow, then?" "Say nine o'clock." And so they parted— Dr. Smith to dress for a New Year's ball, Dt. Huber to again visit his old lady-love.
No longer young, with much of her beauty faded, looking now—deprived of all the glare I and gloss of her magnificent toilet—wan and I pale, she waited for him.
"Alone!" she said, as he entered, with yet a sigh of relief. j "Yes, alone. Dr. Smith will call with me to-morrow morning, at nine o'clock. I came to I prepare you for our visit."
"Thank you! I knew you would be kind | to me, when I sent for you. See how I trusted ; the love I once slighted, Albert "—and the j once haughty face was bowed. "Is there i danger?"
"I will not deceive you," he said, gravely; i " there is great danger."
"Then," and she reached out her hand to I bim, " say you forgive me."
"I forgive you," he said, softly, taking the | little hand in his own.
"Let me tell you now," she said humbly,
"that I have long bitterly repented the past.
I was cold and cruel, worshipping wealth and
1 position. In the long hours of pain this "—and
she touched her bosom—" has caused, I have
found a new heart, a new trust. I felt there
| was danger, and I prayed to be fit to die. Many
sins were mine to repent, but none cried louder
in my heart than my broken faith to you, O,
i Albert! you can never know what it cost me to
think of you wrecked, as you threatened to be,
; for two weary years. Thank God! your own
noble nature saved you. I may die to-morrow,
; I know ; and as a dying woman, Albert, hear
| me—I love you! have always loved you!"
"You may yet live," he ^whispered; "if
"Still," she answered, " I love you!" Long after midnight the doctor said to himI self, as he sat alone by his study fire, "NewYear's Day! With God's blessing, I will live a new life from this day."
It was a terrible morning that followed. None but himself knew what the operation cost him; but the hand that guided the knife was firm, the nerve steady, the eye true; and if the heart bled, none saw the wound.
Day after day saw the patient slowly gaining strength, and before another New Year dawned the doctor had taken his old love into his new life.
With a tender memory of each call on tho New Year's Day of our story, he cared for every patient; and when, years later, a new star broke forth upon the musical world, Guilia Cellini owed a deep debt of gratitude to the doctor who had tended her father's dying hours, and soothed his fears by a promise to protect and educate bis talented child.
A DROP OF INK.
BY MRS. AUDI.
'A drop of ink
Tie Author sighed as he 9at alone—
"Forth to the battle the Soldier goes,
"The man devoting his youth and health
"For me, how frail are my feeble powers!
That night the Poet in slumber lay—
"I have gated on mourners, subdued by grief,
'A church is raised, and a village traia
I look around—I rejoice to see
The various homes of charity:
Yet they were not always homes of rest;
The poor had been injured, wronged, oppressed •
Till fraud and cruelty, long concealed,
To thy piercing glance became revealed.
And the sighs and tears of a lowly band
Were kuown to the great ones of the land.
"Press onward—the rich and poor befriend,
See those snow-flakes how they nutter—
Flutter through the quiet air, Floating hither, floating thither,
Slowly sailing everywhere. Dark the cloud from which they quiver.
Drear each spot on which they fall, City, forest, frozen river,
AVhitcu 'neath their spotless poll. Xo deep wind the stillness rendeth,
Moaning 'mid the branches bare; Twig and trectop slowly bendeth
'Neath the suow-flakes falling there, As they shiver, as they quiver
Through the cold and quiet air.
Thus is life's each moment measured
By some blessing from above,
Tokens of our father's love.
Rough the paths our feet must tread, And life's work be hard and weary,
Lightly be its labours sped. Clouds of sorrow, o'er us bending,
Darkling shades around may spread; Hopes, with silent flight descending,
Rest on every toil-bent head; Blessings whiten, blessings brighten
Kvery path our feet must tread.
Jjkak.n Tjie Sanctity Of Duty.—It is to be feared that thousands, even of intelligent persons, and persons who arc supposed to be religious beings, have no conception of the greatness of the idea of duty, of moral accountableness, of the meaning of the word "ought." But it is certain that nothing is done well until it is done front the sense of n controlling principle of inherent and essential lightness. Duty is the child of Love, and therefor* there is power in all its teachings and commands.