Book I. Rachael Levine
Chapter VI

Rachael's mind struggled past its eclipse, but her recovery was very slow. Even after she recognized her mother and Dr. Hamilton, she sat for months staring at Nevis, neither opening a book nor looking round upon the life about her. But she was only eighteen, and her body grew strong and vital again. Gradually it forced its energies into her brain, released her spirit from its apathy, buried memory under the fresher impressions of time. A year from the day of her return, if there were deep and subtle changes in her face and carriage, which added ten years to her appearance, she was more beautiful to experienced eyes than when she had flowered for the humming-birds. She took up her studies where she had dropped them, a little of her old buoyancy revived; and if her girlishness was buried with ideals and ambitions, her intellect was clear and strong and her character more finely balanced. She flew into no more rages, boxed her attendants' ears at rarer intervals, and the deliberation which had seemed an anomaly in her character before, became a dominant trait, and rarely was conquered by impulse. When it worked alone her mother laid down her weapons, edged as they still were, and when impulse flew to its back, Mary Fawcett took refuge in oblivion. But she made no complaint, for she and her daughter were more united than when the young girl had seemed more fit to be her grandchild.

The Governor of St. Christopher had written a letter to his friend, the Governor of St. Croix, which had caused that estimable functionary to forbid Levine the door of Government House. Levine could not endure social ostracism. He left St. Croix immediately, and took his son Peter with him. To this child Rachael never referred, and her mother doubted if she remembered anything associated with its impending birth. Perhaps she believed it dead. At all events, she made no sign. Except that she was called Mistress Levine, there was nothing in her outer life to remind her that for two years the markers in her favourite books had not been shifted. She had studied music and painting with the best masters in Copenhagen, and in the chests which were forwarded by her sisters from St. Croix, there were many new books. She refused to return to society, and filled her time without its aid; for not only did she have the ample resources of her mind, her mother, the frequent companionship of Dr. Hamilton and four or five other men of his age and attainments, but she returned to the out-door life with enthusiasm. On her spirit was an immovable shadow, in her mind an indelible stain, but she had strong common sense and a still stronger will. An experience which would have embittered a less complete nature, or sent a lighter woman to the gallantries of society, gave new force and energy to her character, even while saddening it. To the past she never willingly gave a thought; neither was she for a moment unconscious of its ghost.