THE HAND BUT NOT THE HEART
THE HAND BUT NOT THE HEART
"PAUL!" The young man started and a delicate flush mantled his
handsome face as he turned to the lady who had pronounced his name
in a tone slightly indicative of surprise.
"Ah! Mrs. Denison" was his simple response.
"You seem unusually absent-minded this evening" remarked the lady.
"You have been observing me?"
"I could not help it; for every time my eyes have wandered in this
direction they encountered you standing in the same position and
looking quite as much like a statue as a living man."
"How long is it since I first attracted your attention?" inquired
the person thus addressed assuming an indifference of manner which
it was plain he did not feel.
"If I were to say half an hour it would not be far wide of the
"Oh no! It can't be five minutes since I came to this part of the
room" said the young man whose name was Paul Hendrickson. He
seemed a little annoyed.
"Not a second less than twenty minutes" replied the lady. "Your
thoughts must have been very busy thus to have removed nearly all
ideas of time."
"They _were_ busy" was the simple reply. But the low tones were
full of meaning.
Mrs. Denison looked earnestly into her companion's face for several
moments before venturing to speak farther. She then said in a
manner that showed her to be a privileged and warmly interested
"Busy on what subject Paul?"
The young man offered Mrs. Denison his arm remarking as he did so--
"The other parlor is less crowded."
Threading their course amid the groups standing in gay conversation
or moving about the rooms Paul Hendrickson and his almost maternal
friend (sic) souhgt a more retired position near a heavily curtained
"You are hardly yourself to-night Paul. How is it that your evenly
balanced mind has suffered a disturbance. There must be something
wrong within. You know my theory--that all disturbing causes are in
"I am not much interested in mental theories to-night--am in no
philosophic mood. I feel too deeply for analysis."
"On what subject Paul?"
A little while the young man sat with his eyes upon the floor; then
lifting them to the face of Mrs. Denison he replied.
"You are not ignorant of the fact that Jessie Loring has interested
me more than any maiden I have yet seen?"
"I am not for you have already confided to me your secret."
"The first time I met her it seemed to me as if I had come into the
presence of one whose spirit claimed some hidden affinities with my
own. I have never felt so strangely in the presence of a woman as I
have felt and always feel in the presence of Miss Loring."
"She has a spirit of finer mould than most women" said Mrs.
Denison. "I do not know her very intimately; but I have seen enough
to give me a clue to her character. Her tastes are pure her mind
evenly balanced and her intellect well cultivated."
"But she is only a woman."
Mr. Hendrickson sighed as he spoke.
"_Only_ a woman! I scarcely understand you" said Mrs. Denison
gravely. "_I_ am a woman."
"Yes and a true woman! Forgive my words. They have only a
conventional meaning" replied the young man earnestly.
"You must explain that meaning as referring to Jessie Loring."
"It is this only. She can be deceived by appearances. Her eyes are
not penetrating enough to look through the tinsel and glitter with
which wealth conceals the worthlessness of the man."
"Ah! you are jealous. There is a rival."
"You alone can use those words and not excite my anger" said
"Forgive me if they have fallen upon your ears unpleasantly."
"A rival Mrs. Denison!" the young man spoke proudly. "That is
something _I_ will never have. The woman's heart that can warm under
the smile of another man is nothing to me."
"You are somewhat romantic Paul in your notions about matrimony.
You forget that women are 'only' women."
"But I do _not_ forget Mrs. Denison that as you have so often said
to me there are true marriages in which the parties are drawn
towards each other by sexual affinities peculiar to themselves; and
that a union in such cases is the true union by which they become
in the language of inspiration 'one flesh.' I can enter into none
other. When I first met Jessie Loring a spirit whispered to me--was
it a lying spirit?--a spirit whispered to me--'the beautiful
complement of your life!' I believed on the instant. In that I may
have been romantic."
"Perhaps not!" said Mrs. Denison.
Hendrickson looked into her face steadily for some moments and then
"It was an illusion."
"Why do you say this Paul? Why are you so disturbed? Speak your
heart more freely."
"Leon Dexter is rich. I am--poor!"
"You are richer than Leon Dexter in the eyes of a true woman--richer
a thousandfold though he counted his wealth by millions." There
were flashes of light in the eyes of Mrs. Denison.
Hendrickson bent his glance to the floor and did not reply.
"If Miss Loring prefers Dexter to you let her move on in her way
without a thought. She is not worthy to disturb by even the shadow
of her passing form the placid current of your life. But I am by no
means certain that he _is_ preferred to you."
"He has been at her side all the evening" said the young man.
"That proves nothing. A forward self-confident agreeable young
gentleman has it in his power thus to monopolize almost any lady.
The really excellent usually too modest but superior young men
often permit themselves to be elbowed into the shade by these
shallow rippling made up specimens of humanity as you have
probably done to-night."
"I don't know how that may be Mrs. Denison; but this I know. I had
gained a place by her side early in the evening. She seemed
pleased I thought at our meeting; but was reserved in
conversation--too reserved it struck me. I tried to lead her out
but she answered my remarks briefly and with what I thought an
embarrassed manner. I could not hold her eyes--they fell beneath
mine whenever I looked into her face. She was evidently ill at ease.
Thus it was when this self-confident Leon Dexter came sweeping up
to us with his grand air and carried her off to the piano. If I
read her face and manner aright she blessed her stars at getting
rid of me so opportunely."
"I doubt if you read them aright" said Mrs. Denison as her young
friend paused. "You are too easily discouraged. If she is a prize
she is worth striving for. Don't forget the old adage--'Faint heart
never won fair lady.'"
Paul shook his head.
"I am too proud to enter the lists in any such contest" he
answered. "Do you think I could beg for a lady's favorable regard?
No! I would hang myself first!"
"How is a lady to know that you have a preference for her if you do
not manifest it in some way?" asked Mrs. Denison. "This is being a
little too proud my friend. It is throwing rather too much upon the
lady who must be wooed if she would be won."
"A lady has eyes" said Paul.
"And a lady's eyes can speak as well as her lips. If she likes the
man who approaches her let her say so with her eyes. She will not
"You are a man" replied Mrs. Denison a little impatiently; "and
from the beginning man has not been able to comprehend woman! If
you wait for a woman worth having to tell you even with her eyes
that she likes you and this before you have given a sign you will
wait until the day of doom. A true woman holds herself at a higher
There was silence between the parties for the space of nearly a
minute. Then Paul Hendrickson said--
"Few women can resist the attraction of gold. Creatures of
taste--lovers of the beautiful--fond of dress equipage elegance--I
do not wonder that we who have little beyond ourselves to offer
them find simple manhood light in the balance."
And he sighed heavily.
"It is because true men are not true to themselves and the true
women Heaven wills to cross their paths in spring-time that so many
of them fail to secure the best for life-companions!" answered Mrs.
Denison. "Worth is too retiring or too proud. Either diffidence or
self-esteem holds it back in shadow. I confess myself to be sorely
puzzled at times with the phenomenon. Why should the real man shrink
away and let the meretricious fop and the man 'made of money' win
the beautiful and the best? Women are not such fools as to prefer
tinsel to gold--the outside making up to the inner manhood! Neither
are they so dim-sighted that they cannot perceive who is the man and
who the 'fellow.' My word for it if Miss Loring's mind was known
you have a higher place therein than Dexter."
Just then the two persons of whom they were speaking passed near to
them Miss Loring on the arm of Dexter her face radiant with
smiles. He was saying something to which she was listening
evidently pleased with his remarks. The sight chafed the mind of
Hendrickson and he said sarcastically--
"Like all the rest Mrs. Denison! Gold is the magnet."
"You are in a strange humor to-night Paul" answered his friend
"and your humor makes you unjust. It is not fair to judge Miss
Loring in this superficial way. Because she is cheerful and social
in a company like this are you to draw narrow conclusions touching
"Why was she not as cheerful and as social with me as she is now
with that fellow?" said the young man a measure of indignation in
the tones of his voice. "Answer me that if you please."
"The true reason is no doubt wide of your conclusions" answered
Mrs. Denison. "Genuine love when it first springs to life in a
maiden's heart has in it a high degree of reverence. The object
rises into something of superiority and she draws near to it with
repressed emotions resting in its shadow subdued reserved almost
shy but happy. She is not as we saw Miss Loring just now but more
like the maiden you describe as treating you not long ago with a
strange reserve which you imagined coldness."
"Woman is an enigma" exclaimed Hendrickson his thoughts thrown
"And you must study if you would comprehend her" said Mrs.
Denison. "Of one thing let me again assure you my young friend if
you expect to get a wife worth having you have got to show yourself
in earnest. Other men not half so worthy as you may be have eyes
quite as easily attracted by feminine loveliness and they will
press forward and rob you of the prize unless you put in a claim. A
woman desires to be loved. Love is what her heart feeds upon and
the man who appears to love her best even if in all things he is
not her ideal of manhood will be most apt to win her for his bride.
You can win Miss Loring if you will."
"It may be so" replied the young man almost gloomily. "But for
all you say I must confess myself at fault. I look for a kind of
spontaneity in love. It seems to me that hearts created to become
one should instinctively respond to each other. For this reason
the idea of wooing and contending and all that is painfully
"It may be" said Mrs. (sic) Dunham "that your pride is as much at
fault in the case as your manhood. You cannot bend to solicit
"I cannot--I will not!" The gesture that accompanied this was as
passionate as the surroundings would admit.
"It was pride that banished Lucifer from Heaven" said Mrs. Denison
"and I am afraid it will keep you out of the heaven of a true
marriage here. Beware my young friend! you are treading on
dangerous ground. And there is moreover a consideration beyond
your own case. The woman who can be happy in marriage with you
cannot be happy with another man. Let us just to make the thing
clear suppose that Jessie Loring is the woman whose inner life is
most in harmony with yours. If your lives blend in a true marriage
then will she find true happiness; but if through your failure to
woo and win she be drawn aside into a marriage with one whose life
is inharmonious to what a sad weary hopeless existence may she
not be doomed. Paul! Paul! There are two aspects in which this
question is to be viewed. I pray to Heaven that you may see it
Further conversation was prevented by the near approach of others.
"Let me see you and early Paul" said Mrs. Denison. It was some
hours later and the company were separating. "I must talk with you
again about Miss Loring."
Hendrickson promised to call in a day or two. As he turned from Mrs.
Denison his eyes encountered those of the young lady whose name had
just been uttered. She was standing beside Mr. Dexter who was
officiously attentive to her up to the last moment. He was holding
her shawl ready to throw it over her shoulders as she stepped from
the door to the carriage that awaited her. For a moment or two the
eyes of both were fixed and neither had the power to move them.
Then each with a slight confusion of manner turned from the other.
Hendrickson retired into the nearly deserted parlors while Miss
Loring attended by Dexter entered the carriage and was driven
IT was past the hour of two when Jessie Loring stepped from the
carriage and entered her home. A domestic admitted her.
"Aunt is not waiting for me?" she said in a tone of inquiry.
"No; she has been in bed some hours."
"It is late for you to be sitting up Mary and I am sorry to have
been the cause of it. But you know I couldn't leave earlier."
She spoke kindly and the servant answered in a cheerful voice.
"I'll sit up for you Miss Jessie at any time. And why shouldn't I?
Sure no one in the house is kinder or more considerate of us than
you; and it's quite as little as a body can do to wait up for you
once in a while and you enjoying yourself."
"Thank you Mary. And now get to bed as quickly as possible for you
must be tired and very sleepy. Good-night."
"Good night and God bless you!" responded the servant warmly. "She
was the queen there I know?" she added proudly speaking to
herself as she moved away.
It was a night in mid-October. A clear cool moon-lit radiant
night. From her window Jessie could look far away over the
housetops to a dark mass of forest trees just beyond the city and
to the gleaming river that lay sleeping at their feet. The sky was
cloudless save at the west where a tall craggy mountain of vapor
towered up to the very zenith. After loosening and laying off some
of her garments Miss Loring instead (sic) off retiring sat down
by the window and leaning her head upon her hand looked out upon
the entrancing scene. She did not remark upon its beauty nor think
of its weird attractions; nor did her eyes after the first glance
convey any distinct image of external objects to her mind. Yet was
she affected by them. The hour and the aspect of nature wrought
their own work upon her feelings.
She sat down and leaned her head upon her hand while the scenes in
which she had been for the past few hours an actor passed before
her in review with almost the vividness of reality. Were her
thoughts pleasant ones? We fear not; for every now and then a faint
sigh troubled her breast and parted her too firmly closed lips. The
evening's entertainment had not satisfied her in something. There
was a pressure on her feelings that weighed them down heavily.
"There is more in one sentence of his than in a a page of the
other's wordy utterances." Her lips moved in the earnestness of her
inward-spoken thoughts. "How annoyed I was to be dragged from his
side by Mr. Dexter just as I had begun to feel a little at my ease
and just as my voice had gained something of its true expression. It
is strange how his presence disturbs me; and how my eyes fall
beneath his gaze! He seems very cold and very distant; and proud I
should think. Proud! Ah! has he not cause for pride? I have not
looked upon his peer to-night. How that man did persecute me with
his attentions! He monopolized me wholly! Perhaps I should be
flattered by his attentions--and perhaps I was. I know that I was
envied. Ah me! what a pressure there is on my heart! From the
moment I first looked into the face of Paul Hendrickson I have been
an enigma to myself. Some great change is wrought in me--some new
capacities opened--some deeper yearnings quickened into life. I am
still Jessie Loring though not the Jessie Loring of yesterday. Have
I completed a cycle of being? Am I entering upon another and higher
sphere of existence? How the questions bewilder me! Clouds and
darkness seem gathering around me and my heart springs upward half
in fear and half in hope!"
An hour later and Miss Loring still sat by the closed window her
eyes upon the gleaming river and sombre woods beyond yet seeing
them not. The tall mountain of vapor which had arisen like a
pyramid of white marble no longer retained its clear bold outline
but yielding to aerial currents had been rent from base to crown
and now its scattered fragments lay in wild confusion along the
whole sweep of the western horizon. Down into these shapeless ruins
the moon had plunged and her pure light was struggling to penetrate
their rifts and pour its blessing upon the slumbering earth.
A rush of wind startled the maiden from her deep abstraction and
as it went moaning away among the eaves and angles of the
surrounding tenements she arose and putting off her garments went
sighing to bed. Dreams visited her in sleep and in every dream she
was in the presence of Paul Hendrickson. Very pleasant were they