One evening, at a bridal party (but not her own; for, so lost from

self-control, she would have deemed it sin to marry), poor Alice was

beckoned forth by her unseen despot, and constrained, in her gossamer

white dress and satin slippers, to hasten along the street to the mean

dwelling of a laboring-man. There was laughter and good cheer within;

for Matthew Maule, that night, was to wed the laborer's daughter, and

had summoned proud Alice Pyncheon to wait upon his bride. And so she

did; and when the twain were one, Alice awoke out of her enchanted

sleep. Yet, no longer proud,--humbly, and with a smile all steeped in

sadness,--she kissed Maule's wife, and went her way. It was an


inclement night; the southeast wind drove the mingled snow and rain

into her thinly sheltered bosom; her satin slippers were wet through

and through, as she trod the muddy sidewalks. The next day a cold;

soon, a settled cough; anon, a hectic cheek, a wasted form, that sat

beside the harpsichord, and filled the house with music! Music in

which a strain of the heavenly choristers was echoed! Oh; joy! For

Alice had borne her last humiliation! Oh, greater joy! For Alice was

penitent of her one earthly sin, and proud no more!

The Pyncheons made a great funeral for Alice. The kith and kin were

there, and the whole respectability of the town besides. But, last in

the procession, came Matthew Maule, gnashing his teeth, as if he would

have bitten his own heart in twain,--the darkest and wofullest man that

ever walked behind a corpse! He meant to humble Alice, not to kill her;

but he had taken a woman's delicate soul into his rude gripe, to play

with--and she was dead!