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196            UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; OR
had written time and again, till she became weary and doubtful; how her health had failed under her anxieties, and how, at last, she had discovered the whole fraud which had been practiced on them both. The letter ended with expressions of hope and thankfulness, and profes­sions of undying affection, which were more bitter than death to the unhappy young man. He wrote to her im­mediately : —
" I have received yours, — but too late. I believed all I heard. I was desperate. / am married, and all is over. Only forget, — it is all that remains for either of us."
And thus ended the whole romance and ideal of life for Augustine St. Clare. But the real remained, — the real, like the flat, bare, oozy tide-mud, when the blue, sparkling wave, with all its company of gliding boats and white-winged ships, its music of oars anct chiming waters, has gone down, and there it lies, flat, slimy, bare, — exceed­ingly real.
Of course, in a novel, people's hearts break, and they die, and that is the end of it; and in a story this is very convenient. But in real life we do not die when all that makes life bright dies to us. There is a most busy and important round of eating, drinking, dressing, walking, visiting, buying, selling, talking, reading, and all that makes up what is commonly called living, yet to be gone through; and this yet remained to Augustine. Had his wife been a whole woman, she might yet have done some­thing — as woman can — to mend the broken threads of life, and weave them again into a tissue of brightness. But Marie St. Clare could not even see that thev had been broken. As before stated, she consisted of a fine figure, a pair of splendid eyes, and a hundred thousand dollars; and none of these items were precisely the ones to minister to a mind diseased.
When Augustine, pale as death, was found tying on the sofa, and pleaded sudden sick-headache as the cause of