"Meg," said Le Moyne, "I can hardly forgive you for your cruelty toward my brother's child, and only that I know that it is Zula's wish, do I spare you the full extent of justice that belongs to you.
Leave the city and never dare to return. I will attend to your brother John and his mining stock later on."
"I'll go," said Crisp, shivering.
"But you promised to take me to Rene," said Meg, turning to Scott.
"To-morrow you may go and speak to her," he said. "She lies out there in the cemetery."
"Dead?" shrieked Meg. "Dead?"
"Yes, dead," said Scott, "and she told me ere she died, how she had sinned against me, and of your son's attempt to take my life."
"Dead!" Meg repeated. "Oh, I wanted to see her just once more, for the gypsy's curse is here yet."
"Stay your curses, Meg; they cannot harm her now," said Zula.
"No, they can't harm her, but I'll have revenge on John--yes, and on you."
"Take your son and leave the house, Meg," Scott said. "The coachman will drive you to your home."
"Yes. I'll go, but I'll leave my curses behind me," said Meg, as she followed Crisp out of the door.
"Mother," Scott said, as he stepped to Zula's side, "I want to ask you a question. I asked Miss Elsworth one day if she would be my wife.
She would not consent until she had told me the story of her life. I loved 'Auralia' before I ever saw her, and I loved Miss Elsworth. I pitied the child Zula, and Paul I could not live without. Since they are all one, are you willing that I should repeat the request, and if she consents can you love her with a mother's love?"
"Oh, Scott," said Mrs. Wilmer, with tearful eyes, "I am not worthy the love of such a daughter."
Scott raised Zula's hand, and clasping it firmly, said:
"Zula, I said once that I could not live without Paul, and when he came back I should take him into partnership. What do you think of the offer?"
"I think that if you and your partner can agree as well as you and your valet that as a firm you will prosper."
"Heaven bless you, my children," said Mrs. Wilmer, fervently. "Be happy in the love of each other."
"Zula, my dear sister, and also my brave Paul," said June, smiling, "I am so glad that Scott is happy. I know that I do not need to say, treat him kindly, for you cannot fail to know the true character of each other."
"Zula, do you give your full consent?" Scott asked.
"I will refer you to my uncle," said Zula, looking at Le Moyne, "as he is my only relative."
"I suppose I must consent," said Le Moyne, "for it was through Lawyer Wilmer's management that I found you."
A week later Zula stood in the presence of Mr. and Mrs. Platts. They could scarcely believe the story which Zula told them, and only on condition that she remained as their daughter, would they forgive her for remaining away so long, and Zula promised, for a time, to remain.
A portion of her property, which Irene's pretended father had claimed, was given her uncle. Mapleton, in company with Meg and Crisp, left the States, and never returned.
Le Moyne, becoming tired of bachelor life, married Eunice Graves, and Ross, it is said, has formed the acquaintance of Carrie Horton, and thinks she comes very near being an angel.
An evening in winter. It is cold and stormy without, but bright and warm is the home that I shall ask you to enter with me, and look for a moment on the scene.
A man and woman are sitting by the glowing grate, watching the sport of a beautiful boy of three years of age. He has his mother's dreamy eyes, and his father's curling locks.
"Paul, my darling, come here," Scott Wilmer says.
The boy climbs upon his father's knee and, laying his bright head on Scott's breast, says:
"Papa, I wish I was a man like you," and as the dark lashes droop over the beautiful eyes, Zula whispers:
"God keep you, my darling boy, and when you are a man may you be like him."
Scott smiles, and, clasping his wife's hand, says:
"Zula, darling, one hour of the present happiness is enough to repay me for all the sorrows of the past."
The scene is ended, the curtain falls, and you and I, dear reader, turn again to the busy world, each to toil, to suffer or be happy, as fate wills, until that curtain falls which shuts out the light of mortality.