|Chapter Number||I - III|
|Newspaper Title||The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933)|
BY THE AUTHOR OF "LADY HUTTON'S
He cares for neither right nor reason.
And only asks-his own way.-OLD SONG.
"THE consequences of folly seldom end with its originator," said Lord Earle to his Boa, "Hely upon it, Ronald, if you were to tab this most foolish and unadvisable step, you would bring misery upon yourself and every
one connected with you. Liston to reason."
"There is no reason in prejudice," replied the young man, haughtily. "You cannot bring forward one valid reaBon against my marriage."
Despite his annoyance, a smile came on Lord
Earlo's grave face. t*
"I can bring a thousand roasons, if necee, g sary," he replied. " I grant everything you ¡ay, | Dora Thorne is very pretty ; but, remomber, . she is quite a rustió and unformed beauty,^ ¡ and I almost doubt whethor she can read or \ spell properly. She is modest and goo-\ t I grant, and I never hoard one Byllablo agjAtt ' her ¡ but, Ronald,-let mo appeal to your botter f judgment,-are a moderate amount of pretti. ' neas and shy modesty sufficient qualifications for your wife, who will have to take your
mother's place ?"
I "They are quite sufficient to satisfy mo," re-
plied the young man.
" You have others to consider," said Lord Í Earle, quickly. j
" I love her," interrupted his son ¡ andt^ain j
the father smiled. I
" We know what it means," he said, " '»hen , boya of nineteen talk about love. Believe me, Bonald, if I were to consent to your request, you would be the first in after years to re
proach mo for weak compliance with your youl V
" You would not call it folly," retorted Re. j nold, his face flushing hotly, " if Dora were an
heiresB, or the daughter of some "
" Spare mo a long discourse," again inter- Us rupted Lord Earle. " You are quito right ¡ if the young girl in question belonged toyourowa station, or even if sho wero near it, that would be quite a different matter. I am not annoyed that you have, as you think, fallon in love, or that you wish to marry, although you are young. I am annoyed that you should dream of wishing to marry a simple rustic, the daugh- ter of my lodgekeeper. It ¡B SO supremely ridiculous, that I can hardly treat the matter
" It is serious onough for me," replied his I son, with a long, deep sigh. " If I do not I
marry Dora Thorne, I shall never marry at all." j¡
" Bettor that than a mésalliance," said Lord fi
" She is good," cried Ronald,-" good and j fair, modeBt and graceful. Her heart is pure as
her face is fair. What misalliance can there | bo, father ? I nevor have and never shall be-
lieve in the cruel laws of caste. In what is one ' man better than another, or superior to another, savo that he bo moro intelligent or more virtu,
" I shall never interfere in your politics, f Ronald," said Lord Earle, laughing quietly, " Boforo you aro twenty-one you will have gone through muny stages of that fever. Youth is almost invariably liberal, age conservative. Adopt what lino of politics you will, but do not bring theory into practice in this instance."
' I should consider myself a hero," continued
Hie joungcr mon, " ¡f I could bo the first to j break through the trammels of custom, and tho [
absurd laws of caste."
' You would not be the first," said Lord ¡tj Earle, quietly. " Many before you have made g| unequal marriagCB; many will do so after you ¡ j
but in overy caso I believe regret and disappoint- PI
" They would not in my ease," said Ronald, i| eagerly ¡ " and, with Dora Thorne by my side, I < could do anything ; without her, I can do j
I Lord Earle looked grieved at the pertinacity !
of his Bon.
" Most fathers would rofuBe to hear all this f nonsense, Ronald," he Baid, gently. "I listen,Jj
and try to convince you by reasonable argu-
ments that the step you seem bent upon taking | is one that will entail nothing but misery. I| have said no angry word to you, nor shall I do I
I tell you simply it cannot be. Dorap Thorne, my lodgekeepor'a daughter, is no fitting | wife for my son, the heir of Earlescourt. Cornel*
with me, Ronald; I will show you further|
what I mean."
They went together, the father and son, s
like in face, yet so dissimilar in mind. Thojf had been walking up and down the broad ter-
race, one of tho chief beauties of Earlescourt.| The park and pleasure grounds, flushed withr Summer beauty, lay smiling around them. Ths|
Bong of hundreds of birds thrilled through thô'|j
sweet summer air, the water of the pretty fßiffi. tains rippled musically, rare and gorgboui
flowers charmed the eyo, and Bent perfumed "jï messoges from their beautiful leaves; but S J
neither song of birdB nor fragrance of flowers- ^Jl neither sunshine nor mUBic-brought any -8 brightness to tho grave faces of father and son. With slow steps they quitted the broad ter-
race, and entered the hall. They passed 'Jj through a long îiiiYe of magnificent apartments,
up the broad marble staircase, through long j corrodors, until they reached the picture gallery)
one of the finest in England. Every great J master was represented there ; Murillo's dark j Spanish scenes, Guido's fair angels, Raphael's j sweet Madonnas, Claude Loraine's bright fand
scapes, Salvator Rosa's grand designs, Correg- " " * glo's marvellous tints, and one of Tintoretto's»
finest paintings. The lords of Earlescourt had Bl
all loved pictures, and each of them had added j*"* to the treasures of that wonderful gallery.
One portion of the gallory was set aside for ! the portraits of the members of the family.
Grim old warriors and fair lad'"es hung Bide by j side ; faces of marvellous beauty, bearing th« j signs of noble descent, shone out clearly from
their gilded frames. Lord Earle took his sou j
"Look, Ronald," he said, laying one hand | upon his shoulder; "you stand before your an- cestor now. Yours ia a grand old race. Eng-
land knows, and honors it. Look at these pic. j
tured faces of the wives our fathers chose.
There is Lady Sybella Earle : when one of j Cromwell's soldiers drew bis dagger to slay her :
husband, tho truest friend King Chrávs ever _J| had, Bhe flung herself before him, and received j^ the blow in his stead. Sbe died, and be lived; Jig noblo and beautiful, is she not ? Now look at j
the Lady Alicia-this fair patrician ladyr smiling (J by the Bide of her grim lord ; she, at the risk oí M her life, helped him to fly from prison, where E| he lay condemned to death for some great poli'
tical wrong. She saved him, and for her sake he received pardon. Here is the Lady Helena _not beautiful ; but look at the intellect, the queenly brow, the soul-lit eyes ' She, I need not toll you, wus a poetess. Wherever the English laugungo was spoken, hor verses wero read men were nobler and better for reading them The ladies of our race wore such that brave men may be proud of them Is it not so,
" Yes," ho replied, calmly, " they wero grand
Lord Earle then led his son to a large paint ing, upon which the western sunbeams lingered, brightening the fair face they shone upon, urtil it Beemod living and smiling A deep and tender reverence Btolo into Lord Earle's voice as ho spoko
" No fairor or more noble lady over ruled at Earlescourt than your mother, Ronald. She is the daughter of ' a hundred earls,' high bred, beautiful, and refined Now, let mo ask you, in ?V name of common Bense, do you wish to place my lodgekeeper's daughter by your niotbei's side ? Admit that she is pretty and good-is it m the fitting order of things that
she should bo hero ?"
For the first time, in the heedlosB Cory course of his lovo, Ronald Earlo paused. Ho looked at tho serene and noble face beforo him, tho broad brow, the sweet arched lips, the rofiued patrician features, and there carno to him tho memory of another face, charming, shy, and blushing, with a gracoful beauty, different from the one beforo lum as sunlight compared to moonlight Tho words falterod upon his lips mstinotively ho felt that protty, blushing Dora had no place there Lord Earlo looked relieved as he sow tho doubt upon his son's face
" You seo it, Ronald, ' ho cried " Youl idea of the ' fuBion ' of races is well enough in theory, but it will not do biought into praotico I have oeen patient with you-I havo treated you, not as a schoolboj whoso head is hulf turned by his first love, but as a sensible man endowed with ron«on and thought. Now give me a reward PromiBo mo here that you will mako a bravo effort, give up all foolish thoughts of Dora Thorne, and not seo her again '
abroad for a year or two-you will soon forget this boyieh folly, and bless the good Boneo that has saved you from it. Will you promiso me,
Ronald ? '
"I cannot, father," ho replied, " for I havo promised Dora to mako her my wifo. I cauuot brejk my word. You youraelf could nover
counsel that "
" lu thiB case I can," said Lord Earlo, eagerly, " that promiso is not binding, not even in honor ; tho girl herself, if sho haB any reason, cannot and does not expect it."
" She believed mo," said Ronald, simply ; " besides, I love her, father."
" HUBII," replied Lord Earlo, angrily, " I will listen to no more nonsonso Theio is a limit to my patience. Once and for all, Ronald, I toll you that I decidedly forbid any mention of Buch a murringo , it is degrading and ridiculous I forbid you to marry Dora Thorno ; if you dis- obey me, you mußt bear tho penalty "
" And what would tho penalty be ?" asked tho heir of Earlescourt, with u coolness and calm- ness that irritated his father.
" Ono you would hardly wish to pay," replied the earl. " If, in Bpito of my prayers, entreaties and commands, you persiBt m marrying tho girl, I will never look upon your fuco again. My homo «hall bo no longoi- your home. I will tako from you my lovo, my esteem, and what perhaps thoso who havo lured j ou to ruin may value Btill more, my wealth. I cannot disinherit you, you will, somo day, bo Lord Eurie, of EarleBcourt, but, if you persist in this folly, I will not ollow you one farthing You shall ho to mo as one dead until I d10 myself"
" I havo threo hundred a yoar," said Ronald, calmly, " that my godfather left me."
Lord Earle's face grew now white with auger " YeB," ho rephod, " you havo that ; it would not find you in gloves and cigars, now. But, Ronald, you cannot be soriouB, my boy. I havo loved you-I havo beon so proud of you-you eannot mean to dofy and wound mo."
His voico faltered, and his son lookod up quickly, touched to tho heart by his father's
"Give mo jour conaont, father," ho cried' passionately. "You know I lovo you, and I lovo Dora , I cannot give up Dora."
" Enough," said Lord Earlo ; " words seem useless You heal my final resolve, I Bhall nover ohango it,-no after repentance, no en- treaties, will move me. Chooso between your parents, your home, your position, and tho lovo of this fair, foolish girl, of whom, m a few months, you will be tirod and weary. Chooso between us. I ask for no promise , you havo refused to gno it. I appeal no moro to your affoction, I leave you to decide for youraelf. J might coerce and forco you, but I will not do so. Obey mo, and I will mako your happmess my stud). Dofy mo, and marry the girl,-then, an life, I will never look upon your face again. Henceforth I will havo no son ; you will not bo worthy of the name. There IB no appeal. I leave you now to mako your choice ; this is my
With firm, proud Btops Lord Earlo quitted the gallery, leaving his Bon to reflect upon what
he had said.
THE Earles, of Earlescourt, wore one of the I oldest families in England. Tho " Barony of Eyrie" is mentioned in the early reigns of the Tudor kings. They nover appear to have taken any great part either in politics or warfare. The annaU of the family told of simple virtu OUB HveB ; fhoy contained, too, some few ro montic incidents. Some of the older barons had been brave soldiers ; and there were stories of hairbreadth escapes and great exploits. Two or throe had taken to politics, and had como to grief through their eagerness and zeal ; but, as a rule, the barons of Earle had been simple, kindly gentlemen, contented to live at home upon their own estate, satisfied with tho duties they found there, careful iu the alliances they contracted, and equally careful in tho bringing up and establishment of their children.
One and all they had been zealous cultivators of the fine arts. Earlescourt waa almost over-
crowded with pictures, statues, and works of |
\Uon succeeded father, inheriting with title and estate the same kindly, simple disposition, and the some tastes, until Rupert Earle, nine- teenth baron, with whom our story openB, be- came Lord Earle. Simplicity and kindneas were not his characteristics. Ho was proud, ambitious, and inflexible; ho longed for the time when the Earles should become famous, when their name should he oue of weight in
council. In early Ufo his ambitious doaires seemed about to ho realised. He was but twenty when he succeeded his father, and waB an only child, olever, keen and ambitious. In his twentv-first year ho married Lady Helena Brooklyn, the daughter of one of the proudest pe^rs in Britain There lay before him a fair and useful life His wifo was an elegant, ac- complished woman, who knew the world and its ways-who had, from her earliest childhood, boen accustomed to tho highest and best society Lord Earle often told her, luuphingly that eho
would havo ruado an excellent ambassadress -
her manners wero BO bland and gracious , she had tho raro gift of appearing interested in every one und everything
With such a wife at the head of his establish
mont, Lord Earlo hoped for great things Ho looked to a prosperous career as a statesman, no honors seemed to him too high no ambition too great But a hard fate lay beforo bim Ho made ono brilliant and successful speech m Par lmment -a speech nover forgotten by those who heard it, for its astonishing eloquence, its keen wit, its bittor aatiro Novor again did his
voice rouBO uhko friend and foo Ho w is seized
with a Budden and dangerous illness which brought him to the bnuk of tho grave After a long and dosperato struggle with tho " grim enemy," he slowly recovered, but all hope of public life was over for him The doctors said ho might lue to bo a hale old man if ho took proper precautions , ho must hvo quietly, avoid all excitement and never dream again of politics
To Lord Earle this scorned like a Bcutence of exile or death HIB wifo tried her utmost to
comfort und oonsolo him, but for some years he lived only to repino at his lot Lady Helena
dovoted herself to him Earlescourt became
the centro and home of elegant hospitality, men of letters, great artists, and men of noto visited there and m time Lord Earlo became
reconciled to his fate All his hopes and arnbt
tion were now centered in his only son, Ronald, a fine noblo boy, unhko his fithor in every respect savo one He had the same olour cut Saxon face with clear honest oyos and proud lips, tho Bumo fair hair and stately caina_e , but ra ono rcBpcct they differed Lord Earle looked firm and inflexible, no one over thougnt of op pealing against his dccisiou or tiyiug to ehan_o his resolution If " my lord had said it" the matter was settled Even Lady Helena knew that any attempt to influence him was vain Ronald on the contraiy, could bo stubborn, hut not 1 Vc as moro oasily miluencod ap peal to the bottor part of his nature, to his affection or sense of duty, was seldom made in
No other children gladdened Lord Earle's heart, and all his hopos were contcred in his son For the socond time in his hfo great hopes and
ambition rose within him What ho had not achieved hiB son would do , tho honor ho could no longer seek might ono day be his There was something almoBt pitiful in tho lovo of the stern, disappointed man for his child Ho longed foi tho time when Ronald would bo of age to commonco his public career Ho planned for his son as ho hod never plonned for himself.
Time passed on, and the hoir of Earloacouit went to Oxford, as his father had done before lum Then como the second bitter disappoint ment of Lord Earle's hfo Ho himself was a Tory of tho old school, Liberal principles woro an abomination to him , ho hated and detested everything connected with Liberalism It was a groat shock to him when Ronald returned from college a ' full fledged Liboral " With lus usual keenness, ho sow that all discussion was USOICBB
" Let tho Liberal fever wear itself out," said ono of hiB frionas, " you will find, Lord Earlo that all young men favor it Conservatism IB tho result of ago and expononco By tho timo your Bon takes a position m tho world, ho will have passed through manv stages of Libeiiiham "
Lord Earlo devoutly bohoved it When tho first shock of his disappointment was over, Ronald's political zeal bogan to amuse him Ho liked to see the boy earnest in ovorything Ho smiled when Ronald, in his clear young voico, read out tho speeches of the chief of his party Ho Bmiled when tho young man, oagor to bring theory into practice, fratermsod with tho tenant farmors, and viBitod families from whom his father shrank in aristocratic dread
There was little doubt that in thoso days Ronald Earle believed himself callod to a groat mission. He dreamed of the time when tho harriers of caste would bo thrown down, when mon would havo equal rights and privileges, when the aristocracy of Intellect and virtuo would take precedency of noble birth, when wealth would be more equally distributed, and the days when ono man perishes of huugcr while another revels in luxury Bhould coaso to bo. HÍB dreams wero neither oxactly Liberal nor R adlcal ¡ they were simply Utopian, Even thon, when ho was most zealous, had any one proposed to him that he should inaugurate tho now state of things, and bo tho first to divide his fortune, the futility of his theories would have struck him more plainly. Mingling in good society,
tho influence of clever men and beautiful wo- men would, Lord Earlo believed, convert hiB son in time. He did not oppose him, knowing that all opposition would but increase his zeal. It was a bitter disappointment to him ; he boro it bravely, for ho never ceased to hope.
A now trouble was dawning for Lord Earle, one far more serious than the Utopian dreams of his son ; of all his sorrows it was tho keenest and the longeBt felt. Ronald fell in love, and persisted in marrying a simple ruBtio beauty, the lodgokecpcr's daughter.
Earlescourt was ono of the fairest spots in fair and tranquil England. It Biood in tbo deep green heart of the land, in tho midst of the bonny fertile midland counties. Tho Hall was surrounded by a large park, whero the deer browBod under the stately spreading trees, where there were flowery dells and knolls that would charm an artist ; a wide brook, almost broad and deep enough to be called a river, ripplod through it. Earlescourt was noted for its trees ; a grand old cedar stood in the middle of the park, the shivering aspen, tho graceful elm, the majestic oak, the tall, Honoring chest- nut were all seen to greatest perfection there. Art had dono much, nature moro, to beautify the home of the Earles. Gorgeous pleasure gardenB were laid out with unrivalled skill ; the broad deep lake was half screened by the drooping willows bending over it, and the white water-lilies that lay on itB tranquil breast.
The Hall itself was a picturesque gray old building ; the turretB covered with ivy, the square towers of modern build ; thoro wero deep oriel windows, stately old rooms that told of tho ancient race, and cheerful modern apart- ments replete with modern luxuries. One of tho great beauties of Earlescourt was the broad
terrace that ran along one side of the house ; the viow from it was unequalled for quiet loveli- ness. The lake shone in tho distance from be- tween tho treos ; the porfumo from the haw- thorn hedges ulled the air, tho fountains ripplod morrily in the sunshine, and the flowers bloomod in sweet summer boauty.
Lord Earlo loved his beatiful homo ; he spared no expenso in improvements, and the timo carno wh u Earlescourt was known as a model estate
Ono thing he did, of which he repented until the hour of hm death On the western sido of the park ho built a now lodge, and installed thoro Stophen Thorno and his wife, little dream- ing as ho did so that the first link ni what was to bo a fatal tragody was forged.
Rouald was nineteen, aud Lord Earlo thought, his collège careor ended, his son Bhould travol for two or three years Ho could not go with him, but ho hoped that survcillanco would not bo needed, that his boj would bo wi«o enough and mauly enough to toko his first stops in hfo alone Ho left collego with all honors ; he had won a doublo first. His compeors spoko «eil of him, his masters pruisod hun , great things wero prophesiod for Ronald Earlo. They might havo boen accomplished but for tho unfortunate ovout that darkened Earlescourt with a oloud of shamo and sorrow.
Lord and Lady Earlo had gono to pay a visit to an old friend, Sn Hugh Charteris, of Green oko Thinking Ronald would not loach home until tho third week in Juno, thoy accopted Su Hugh's invitation, and promisod to spend tho
first two weeks in Juno with him. But Ronald
altered IHB plans, the visit ho was making did not prove to bo u vory plouBant one, and ho returned to Earlescourt two days after Lord and Lady Earlo had left it. His fathor wrote immediately, pressing him to join tho party at Greonoke. Ho declined, saying that aftor the hard study of tho few last months, ho louged for quiet, rest, and nothing to do.
Knowing that every ottontion would bo paul to his son's comfort, lord Earlo thought but little of tho mottor In aftor years ho bittoily rogrotted that ho had not insisted upon his son's going to Groonoko So it happened that Ro- nald Earlo, his college career ended, his futuro lying hko a bright, unrutllod droum beforo lum, had two weeks to spend alono at Earle«oourt
lho first day WBB pleasant onough. Ronald went to seo tho horses, inspected tho konnols, gladdonod tho gamokocpor's heart by his koon approoiation of good sport, rowed on tho lake, played a solitary game at hilliards, dined m great stato, read thrco chapters of " Mill on Liberalism," four of a sensational novel, and fell asleep satisfied with that day, but rathol at a IOSB to know what ho Bhould do on tho noxt.
It was a beautiful Juno day, no cloud in tho smiling heavens, the sun WUB bright ; and warm nature lookod BO fair and tompting that it was impossible to remain indoors. Out in the gardens the summer air Boomed to thull with tho song of tho birds. Butterflies spread thoir blight wings and coquetted with tho fragrant blossoms, busy humming bcos buried them selves in tho white loavos of tho lily and tho crimson heart of tho roso It was a morning for youth mid lovo and beauty ; the perfumed breeze whispeiod sweet stones, and the fountains rippled as though tho water had boen sot to
Ronald wnudorod through tho gardens, the dohcate golden laburnum blossoms foil undor his feet, and ho sat doini undor tho shado of a largo acacia. The sun was warm, and Rouald thought a dish of Btrawbcrnos would bo very uccoptablo. He dobatcd within himsolf for
Borne timo whether ho Bhould roturn to tho house and ordor thom, or walk down to tho fruit gardon and gather thom foi himsolf.
What impulso was it that sont him on that fair Juno morning, whon all naturo sang of lovo und huppmcBS, to tho spot wharo ha mot his
TIIE strawberry gardons at Earlescourt woro very oxtonsivo. Far down amongst tho groon boda Ronald Earlo saw a young girl kneeling, gathering the npo fruit, which sho placod in a largo baskot lined with leaves, and ho wont down
" I should like a few of those strawberries," ho Baid, gently, and BIIO lifted to hiB a faco ho uovor forgot. Involuntarily ho raised bia hat, m homage to hor youth and shy, sweot boauty. " For whom aro you gathering thoso ?" ho asked, wondoring who sho was, and whenco sho came.
In a moment tho young girl stood up, and mado tho prettiost and most graceful of cuitsojs
" Thoy ore for tho housekeeper, sir," BIIO re- plied , and hor voice WBB musical and clear OB a
"Thon may I ask who you aro?" continued
"I um Dora Thorno," sho replied, "the lodgokeoper's daughtor."
Why have I nover soon you before ?" he
1 Because I havo lived always with my aunt at Dalo," sho repliod. " I only carno homo last year."
"I see," said Ronald. "Dora," ho asked, " will you givo mo sorao of thoso strawberries ? They look BO npo and tempting."
He sat down on ono of tho garden ohairs and watched her. The protty white fingers looked so fair, contrasted with the crimson fruit and groon leaves. Deftly and quickly Bho contrived a Bmall basket of loaves, and filled it with fruit. She brought it to him, and then for the flrBt time Ronald saw hor clearly, and that ono glance was fatal to him,
Sho was no calm, grand beauty. Sho had a Bhy, sweet, blushing face, roBombhng nothing BO muoh as a rosebud with fresh, npo lips ; pretty little teeth, that gleamed hko white jewels ; large dark eyoa, bright as stars, and voiled by long lashes ; dark hair, soft and Binn- ing. Sho WBB indeed so fair, eo modest and graceful, that Ronald Earle waa charmed
" It must be because you gathorod them, thoy are BO nice," ho said, taking the little bas- ket from her handB. " Rest awhile, Dora,-you muat bo tired with this hot Bun shining full upon you. Sit hore under tho shade of this apple tree."
He watched the crimson blushes that dyed her fair young face. She nover onco raised her dark eyeB to hie. Ho had seen beautiful and stately ladieB, but nothing so coy or bowitching as this pretty maiden. The moro he looked at her, the moro he admired her. Sho had no delicate patrician loveliness, no refined grace ; but for glowing, shy, fresh beauty, who could equal her ?
So the young heir of Earlescourt sat, pretend- ing to enjoy the strawberries, but, in reality, en grossed by the charming figure before him.
Sho neither stirred nor spoke. Under the boughs of tho apple tree, with the sunbeams falling upon hor, she made a fair picture, and his eyes were rivetod upon it.
It was all very delightful, and very wrong. Ronald should not havo talked to the lodge keeper's daughter, and sweet, rustic Dora '1 horno should havo known better. But the sun shone, and tho birds sang , thoporfumod breeze and the fragrunt flowers surrounded thom They wero young,-youth, lovo, and happiness, sunshine and Howers Ah, well, such days come but Bcldoni, and pass all too quickly.
"Dora Thorno," said Ronald, musingly, " what a prottv name ' How well it suite you ' It is quite a little song in ltaolf."
She smiled with dohght at his words , thon hor ehy dark oyes wore raisod for a moment, and quicklj dropped again.
" Havo you road Tonnyson's ' Dora ?' " ho
" No," she replied,-" I havo little time for reading "
" I will tell you tho story," ho said, grandly
"Ever Binoe I road it I havo mado an ideal ' Dora,' and you rouliBO my dream."
Sho had not tho least idea what ho meant, but when ho rocitcd tho muBioal words, hor fanoy and imagination wore stirred, sho saw the wheat field, tho goldon coi n, tho little child and its anxious mother. When Ronald ceased
spoaking, ho saw her hands wero clasped and her lips quivering.
" Did you hko that ?" ho aBkod, with uncon- scious patronage.
" So much '" she rophod. "Ah, ho must bo a great man who wrote those words , and you
remember them nil !"
Her Bimplo admiration flattored and charmed lura Ho recited othor versos for her, and tho girl hstonod m a tranco of delight. The sun eliino und wostorn wind brought no warning to tho hoir of Earlescourt that he was forging tho first link of a droadful tragedy, ho thought only of tho'sln blushing hoautj and coy graco of the young girl
Suddonly from over tho trees thoro 'carno tho sound of tho groat bell at tho hall. Thou Dora
" It is 1 o'clock '" sho criod, " what shall I do ? Mrs Morton will be angry with mo " _
'< Angry '" said Ronald, annoyed at this sud- den broak up of his Arcadian droam ; " angry with you I-for what ?"
" Sho is waiting for tho strawbornos," rophod conscious Dora, "and my basket is not half
It was a non idea to him that any ono should duro to be angry with this piotty gontlo Dora
" I will help you," ho said.
lu IOBB tluui a minuto tho hoir of Earlescourt was kneeling by Dora Thorne, guthoring quiokly tho upo etrawbomes, and the basuot was soon
"Thoro," said Ronald, "jou need not fear Mrs Morton now, Dorn You must go, I sup- pose ; it soome hard to louvo this bright sun- shine to go indoors "
" I-I would rather stay," said Dora, frankly ;
" but I havo much to do "
" Shall you bo hero to morrow ?" ho UBkod.
" Yes," sho replied , " it will tako mo all tho week to gather strawbornos for tho househoopor '
*' Good bye, Dora," ho aaid ; " I shall seo you again."
Ho hold out his hand, und her little fingers trembled mid (tuttcrod m his grasp Sho looked so happy, yet so frightened, so oliarming, and yet so shy Ho could have chspod hor m his arms that moment, and havo Bald ho loved hor , but Ronald was a gentleman Ho bowed over tho httlo hand, and then relinquished it. Ho watohod tho piotty, fairy Cguro, as tho young girl tripped away,
" Shame on all artißoial training !" eaid Ro-
nald to himsolf. " What would our fine ladies
givo for such a faco ? Imagino boauty without coquctrj or affectation. That girl's heart is as puro as a Btainloas lily ; sho novor hoard of a ' grand match ' or a ' good parti.' If Tcnn) ? son's Dora was hko hor, I do not wonder ut anything that happened "
Instead of thinking to himsolf that ho had dono a foolish thing that bright morning, and thal his plain duty was to forgot all about tho girl, Ronald lighted his cigir, and begun to
drouin of tho faco that had oharmed lum
Dora took tho fruit to Mrs Moiton, und re ooivod no ropnmand ; then abo was Bent homo to tho cottage, her woik for the day ended. Sho had to pass through tho park. Was it the samo road Bho had trodden thut morning ? What caused tho new and Binning glory that bud fallen on ovory loaf and treo ? Tho blue hoavons Boomod to Bmilo upon hor,-ovory flower, every Bong of tho bright birds had a new meaning.
What was it ? Then sho carno to tho brook-side
and sat down on tho violet bank Tho rippling water was singing a now Bong, somothing of love and youth, of boauty and happinoBB , Boroo thing of a now and fairv-hko hfo ; and with the faint ripple and fall of tho wator, oamo baok to
hor tho voice that had filled hor oars anl touched
hor hoart. Would Bho ovor again forgot tho handsome faco that had smiled BO kindly upon hor? Surely ho was a king amongst mon, and ho had praised her, said hor namo WBB like a song, and that eho was hko the Dora of tho beautiful poem. This grand gentleman, with the clear handsomo face and dainty whito hands, actually admired her1
So Dora dreamed by the brook side, and sho was to seo him a»tun and again ; ehe gave no thought to a cold, dark timo when eho should soo him no moro. To morrow the sun would
shine, tho birds sing, and Bho should see him
Dora nover romombored how that happy doy passed Good Mrs. Thorno looked at her child, and sighed to think how pretty sho was, and how Boon that sweet dimpled face would bo worn
Dora's first proceeding WBB characteristic enough. Sbo went to her own room and locked tho door ; then Bho put tho crocked little mirror in the sunshine, and proceeded to examine her faco. Sho wanted to see why Ronald Earlo ad- mired her ; sho wondered much at this new power she seemed possessed of,- sho placed the glasB on the tablo, and sat down to study her own face. Sho Baw that it WBB very fair ; the coloring was dclicato and vivid, like the folded IcavcB in tho heart of a rose ; the fresh red Ups wore arched and Binding! the dark, shy eyes, with their long Büken lashes, wore bright and clear ; a pretty, dimpled, smiling face that told of a sweet, simple, loving nature-that waa all ; there was no intellect, no BOU!, no high bred re- finement, nothing but the charm of the bright, half-Btartled beauty.
Dora was half puztled. Sho had nover thought much of her own appearance. Living
always with sensible, simple people, tho per- nicious language of flattery waa unknown to her. It was with a half-guilty thrill of delight that sho for the first timo realised the charm of
her own sweet face.
The sunny hours flow by. Dorn novor noted thom, she thought only of tho morning past and the morning tocóme, whilo Ronald dreamed of her almost unconsciously. Sho had been a bright feature in a bright day , Ina artistic taste had been gratified, his ejes hud boen churmcn. Tho protty picture haunted him, and ho reiuoin bercd with pleasuro that on the morrow ho should seethoshj Biveet faco again. No thought
of harm or wron_ even cnterod his mind. Ho ' did not think that ho had boen imprudont Ho ' had reoited a beautiful poem to a protty coy I girl, and in a grand lordly way ho behovod linn self to have performed a kind action.
Tho mormug carno, and it brought bright, blushing Dora to her work ; again tho little v,hito fingers glistened amidst tho crimson bcrricB. Dora heaid him coming. Sho heard his footsteps, and her face grow " i uby red " Ho mado no protenco of finding her accidentally.
" Good morning, Dora," ho said , " you look as bright as tho sunshine and as fair as tho flowers. Put uwuj tho basket ; I havo brought a book of pooms, und moan to road some to you. I will help you with your work afterwards.
Dora, nothing loath, sat down, and stiaight way they woio both in fairyland. Ho road in- dustriously, stealing overy now and thon a glance at his pretty companion. Sho know nothing of nhut hu was reading, but his volco mado sweeter LMUSIC than she had 01 or hoard
At length tho book was cloaod, und Ronald wondciod what thoughts wore ruumng tluough that simple artless mind. So ho talkod to her of hor daily life, hor work, her pleasures, horfnonda. As ho talked he grow more and moro charmod ; sho had no great amount of intellect, no wit or koon powors of ropartco, but tho girl's lota of nuturo mado hor a poetess. Sho seemed to know all tho Bocretsof tho troca and tho flowers ; no boauty escaped hor; tho rUBtlo of green leaves, tho sighs of tho western wind, tho solemn hush of tho deep groon woods, the changing tints of tho Bummer sky delighted her. Beau- tiful «ords, embodying beautiful thoughts, rippled o\cr tho fresh npo lips. Sho know nothing olso. Sho had soon no pictures, reud no books, know nothing of tho fino arts, was totitll) ignorant of all scholarly loro, but deep in hoi heurt lay the piiBBionato lovo for tho fuir
fuco of nature.
It was now to Ronald. Ho had hoard fa- shionable Indies speak of ovorything thoy do
lightid in. Ho hod novor hoard boforo of " musió in tho lull of rain-drops," or character
Once Dora forgot hor shyness ; and when Ro- nald said something, she laughed m reply. How swoot und puro that laughter was 1-hko u soft peal of silvoi bolls Whon Ronald Earlo wont to Bloop that night, tho Bound haunted his
[TO al- CONTINUED J