"I have been happier than I am now; at least, much gayer," said Phoebe

thoughtfully. "Yet I am sensible of a great charm in this brightening

moonlight; and I love to watch how the day, tired as it is, lags away

reluctantly, and hates to be called yesterday so soon. I never cared

much about moonlight before. What is there, I wonder, so beautiful in

it, to-night?"

"And you have never felt it before?" inquired the artist, looking

earnestly at the girl through the twilight.

"Never," answered Phoebe; "and life does not look the same, now that I

have felt it so. It seems as if I had looked at everything, hitherto,

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in broad daylight, or else in the ruddy light of a cheerful fire,

glimmering and dancing through a room. Ah, poor me!" she added, with a

half-melancholy laugh. "I shall never be so merry as before I knew

Cousin Hepzibah and poor Cousin Clifford. I have grown a great deal

older, in this little time. Older, and, I hope, wiser, and,--not

exactly sadder,--but, certainly, with not half so much lightness in my

spirits! I have given them my sunshine, and have been glad to give it;

but, of course, I cannot both give and keep it. They are welcome,

notwithstanding!"

"You have lost nothing, Phoebe, worth keeping, nor which it was

possible to keep," said Holgrave after a pause. "Our first youth is of

no value; for we are never conscious of it until after it is gone. But

sometimes--always, I suspect, unless one is exceedingly

unfortunate--there comes a sense of second youth, gushing out of the

heart's joy at being in love; or, possibly, it may come to crown some

other grand festival in life, if any other such there be. This

bemoaning of one's self (as you do now) over the first, careless,

shallow gayety of youth departed, and this profound happiness at youth

regained,--so much deeper and richer than that we lost,--are essential

to the soul's development. In some cases, the two states come almost

simultaneously, and mingle the sadness and the rapture in one

mysterious emotion."

"I hardly think I understand you," said Phoebe.

"No wonder," replied Holgrave, smiling; "for I have told you a secret

which I hardly began to know before I found myself giving it utterance.

Remember it, however; and when the truth becomes clear to you, then

think of this moonlight scene!"

"It is entirely moonlight now, except only a little flush of faint

crimson, upward from the west, between those buildings," remarked

Phoebe. "I must go in. Cousin Hepzibah is not quick at figures, and

will give herself a headache over the day's accounts, unless I help

her."

But Holgrave detained her a little longer.

"Miss Hepzibah tells me," observed he, "that you return to the country

in a few days."