Drug-takers form a kind of brotherhood, and outside the
"Is there any hope?" said she, to her companion.
"None! The physician says he must die to-day!"
The countess opened the door so noiselessly, that not the slightest sound betrayed her presence. She sank upon a chair near the entrance, and fixed her tearful eyes with inexpressible agony upon the pale form, which lay upon the bed, near the open door, leading into the garden.
What!--this wan, emaciated figure, that countenance of deadly pallor, those fallen cheeks, those bloodless lips, the hollow temples, thinly shaded by the lifeless, colorless hair--was that Augustus William?--the lover of her youth, the worshipped dream- picture of her whole life, the never-effaced ideal of her faithful heart?
As she looked upon him, the sweetly-painful, sad, and yet glorious past, seemed to fill her soul. She felt that her heart was young, and beat, even now, as ardently for him who lay dying before her, as in the early time, when they stood side by side in the fulness of youth, beauty, and strength--when they stood side by side for the last time.
At that time, she died! Youth, happiness, heart were buried; but now, as she looked upon him, the coffin unclosed, the shroud fell back, and the immortal spirits greeted each other with the love of the olden time.
And now, Laura wept no more. Enthusiasm, inspiration were written upon her face. She felt no earthly pain; the heavenly peace of the resurrection morning filled her soul. She arose and approached the prince. He did not see her; his eyes were closed. Perhaps he slumbered; perhaps the king of terrors had already pressed his first bewildering kiss upon the pale brow. Laura bent over and looked upon him. Her long, dark ringlets fell around his face like a mourning veil. She listened to his light breathing, and, bowing lower, kissed the poor, wan lips.
He opened his eyes very quietly, without surprise. Peacefully, joyfully he looked up at her. And Laura--she asked no longer if that wasted form could be the lover of her youth. In his eyes she found the long-lost treasure--the love, the youth, the soul of the glorious past.