|Chapter Number||XIII - XV|
|Newspaper Title||The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933)|
author of " Lady Hutton's Ward,' 4o.
ins wgrT> poMiona-e ?rora" êPolcen by Ro" ,j 4lm0,t the first ho had ever uttered, soon .ed from hi' mmd' but they rnnklea like ¡¿ioned arrows in Dora's heart. She believed m, Beforo evening her husband repented [his anger, and called himself a coward for |Tuig scolded Dora. He went up to her, and Mei her face to his.
«little wife," bo Ba>ai "wo nave both been
I am wry sorry ¡ let us make friends." There waB just a spice of sullonness in Dora's (ture, and it came into full play now.
« it ¡j no matter," she repliod, coolly ¡ " I ew long ago that you were tired of me."
Ronald would not answer leBt they should ¡srrel again, but he thought to himself that i-bapä elie was not far wrong.
From that day the distance between them i(¡ened. In after years Dora saw how much
wai to blame. She understood how dis iteful her quiet, sullen resorve must have been
a iigh-brod, fastidious man like Ronald. [6 did not seo it then, but nurBed in her heart senary wrongs and injuries ; and above all, e yielded to a wild, fierce jealously of Valentine
For some weeks Miss Charteris Baw the oloud paning on Ronald's face. He grew silent, . lost the flow of spirits that had once seemed re- to fail ¡ and. during these few weeks a on" resolution grew in her mind. She was
true friend, and Bhe would try to restore ,ce and harmony between him and his wife. c waited for some days, but at her mother's
at it was impossible to see him alone. Yet honestly believed that if she oould talk to i, remind him of his first love for Dora, of
simplicity and many virtues, that sho might tore peace and harmony to her old friend's ne. Sho thought Ronald to blame. He 1 voluntarily taken active dutios upon himself, i to ker right judging, clear mind there was
earthly reason why he Bhould not fulfil them. would not fool hurt at her speaking, ehe felt e, for he had voluntarilly Bought her aid is ago. So Valentino waited day after day,
to find a chance for thoso few words she : would do so much good ; but as the ortunity did not como, she resolved to mako Taking her little jewollod pencil, Bho wroto following lines, that were in after time a
iib warrant :
Dear Mr. Earle,-I wish to spoak to you ticularly and privately. I Bhall be in our uuds to morrow morning about IO ; let mo you there before you enter the houso. Your
" VALENTINE CHABTBBI8."
11 the world might havo read the note, there nothing in it,-good intentions and a kindly ?rt dictated it, but it worked fatal mischief. »en Ronald was leaving her mother's houBO,
s Charteris openly placed the letter in his
That is the first note I havo ever written to ," sho said, with a smile. " You must not se the request it contains."
will send him home happy to-morrow, thought,-he ¡B easily influenced for good. must mako friends with his pretty little wife,
ithcr of them looks happy.
ousld did not opon the lotter until ho ¡
bed home,-then he read it with a half- |
iousness of what Valentine wanted him for. She is a noble woman," he said. " Her da havo made mo brave before,-they will do le left tho folded paper upon the table in studio; and jealous little Dora, going in cb. of some work she had left, found it there.
read it word for word, the color dying y out of her faco as she did so, and a bitter, àly jealousy piercing her heart Uko a two ed Bviord. It confirmed her worst fears, her 'kest doubts. How dare this brilliant, utiful woman, luro Ronald from hor?- how o she rob hor of his love ?
Ronald looked aghast at his wife's face when
re-entered the sitting-room. Ho had been ymg with the children, and had forgotten for
time both Valentine and her note. He cried in alarm as she turned her white, wild face um in dumb, silent despair.
What's the matter, Dora ?" he cried. " Aro ill, or frightened P You look uko a ghost." be made no reply, and, thinking sho had P'ed into one of her little fits of tempor, husband sighed heavily, and bado her good
oor foolish jealous heart, she never lay down rest. She had quite reBolved she would to the grounds and meet them there,
husband who WBB tired of her, and
woman who had lured him there. Sho
W listen to all they had to say, and then front them. No thought of the dishonor of h a proceeding struck her. Poor Dora was
gifted with great refinement of feeling,
"'ed upon it rather as a triumph ovor an ^J tiiTTa a degradation to herself. She knew
place m the grounds whore they would be o to meet. MÍBS Charteris called it her bower ; ^a-a tbick cluBtcr of trees, under the Bhado "Web. stood a pretty rustic seat, and Dora "gut if she placed herself behind the trees could see-unseen.
Wore Ronald took his breakfast, Dora bad '»ed the house on her foolish errand. She [ff the way to the houso and the entrance
.he garden. She had no fear ; even were "^covered there, no one could Burmise moro 0 that she was reBting on her way to the .ie- She crouched behind the trecB and
I'fd for them. It was wrong, weak, and 'sed ¡ but there was something so pitiful in
"hite face full of anguiBh that ono would *oly know whether to pity or blame her.
flThe sunshine reached her, the birds were
31CS in the trees, the flowers were all bloom »-".she, in her sorrow and desolation, heeded
ifng* At leDBtu slla 8ttW them,-Valentine her white morning dress, her beautiful face of earnest emotion, and Ronald by her side. «he snrmiBed, they walked straight to the -> and Valentine signed to Ronald to take a ' hy her side. Sweetly and clearly every .a «ho uttered sounded to Ronald, but they
«te dropg of molten lead on the jealous
»'Uf Ronald's wife.
i ou must try," Valentino was Baying ¡ " I T to think you would bo a hero. You are ?»?"'S youreelf a very weak and erring man." -J"» could not distinguish Ronald's words so
alnl.-i he said lomothing of "life and its
"-told you once," said Valentine, "that le man who could endure so bravely the con« fences of his own actions was a true hero.
'r.;v*'orflt-that you have made a mis« <. You must make the best you eau of it,
jou ire not doing that now."
" No," he said, gwely. " I am tery un« happy ; more so than you can imagine, Valen- tine. Life seems to hare lost all its charms for me. I had such great hopes once, but they are
all dead now."
" You are too young to Bay that," she replied ; " a little courage, a little pationce, and all will be well. If it comforts you to know that my warmest, deopost sympathy is with you-^"
Valentino Charteris never finished her sen- tence ; a pale, angry face and dark, gleaming cyeB full of passion suddonly flashed bofore her,
" You may spare your pity, Miss Charter«," cried a hoarse voioe. " Why havo you made my husband dissatisfied with mo? Why have you takon his Iovo from me? Why do you write notes asking him to meet you, that you may both spoak evil and wrong of his low-born
" HuBh '" said Ronald, sternly, graBping her arm ; " stop these wild words Dora ; are you
" No, not yet," she cried j " but thiB falso woman will drive me mad'"
Then Miss Charteris rose ; her calm, grand face unruffled ; not a quivor on her proud lips.
" Stay, Mifis Charteris, one moment, I pray you," said Ronald, " while my wifo apologises for her folly."
" It ii all true," oried Dora. " She wrote and asked you to meet her hero."
" Dora," asked her husband, gravely, " did you read the letter Miss Charteris wroto to me ?"
" I did," she replied.
" And you dehboratoly carno here to listen to what ehe had to say to mo ?" he continued, " you deliberately listened to what you were
never intonded to hoar ?"
" His grave, stern dignity calmed her angry paBBionB, and she looked half frightonod into his
quiet whito face. i
" Answer me," he said ; " have you crouched behind those trees deliberately and purposely to
" Yes," sho said ; " and I would do it again if any ono tried to take my husband from mo."
" Then may heaven forgivo mo for the dis- honor I have brought to my namo and race '" said Ronald ¡ " may hoaven forgivo mo for thinking such a woman fit to be my wifo1 Hear me," ho continued, and the paBBion in his voice changed to contempt. " Miss Charteris is your friend ; she aBkod mo to moot htr hore that she might plead your causo, Dora-that she might advise mo to remain more at homo with you, to go less into society, to look moro at the bright side of our married life, and to bo a better husband than I havo boon lately ; it was for that sho summoned mo hore."
" I-I do not behove it," sobbed his wifo.
"That is at your option," ho ropliod, coolly. " MIBB Charteris, I would knool to UBk vour pardon for tho insults you havo rocoived. If a man had uttered thom I would avengo thom. The woman who spoko thom boars my namo. I entreat your pardon."
"It is granted," she ropliod, "your wife must have been mad, or sho would have known I was her friend. I deeply regret that my good intentions have resulted so unhappily. Forgot my annoyance, Mr. Earle, and forgivo Dora, Bho oould not have known what sho was saying "
" I forgivo her," said Ronald ; "but I never wish to look on her face again I seo nothing but dishonor there. My love died a violont death ten minutes Binco. The woman BO dead to all delicacy-all honor, as to liston and sus poor, will nevor more be wifo of mino."
" Be pitiful," Baid Valentine, for Dora was weeping bitterly now,-all hor fire and passion, all her angry joaloUBy, had faded before his just
" I am pitiful," he replied. " Heaven knowe I pity her. I pity myself Wo Earles love
honorable women when wo love at all I will escort you to your house, MIBB Charteris, and then Mrs. Earle and myself will mako our ar- rangements."
In her sweet womanly pity Valentine bent down and kissed tho despairing face.
" Try to believe that you are wrong and mis- taken, Mrs. Earle," she said, gently. " I had no thought save to be your friend."
They spoke no words as tbey passed through the pretty grounds. Valentine was full of pity for hor companion, and of regret for her own share in that fatal morning's work.
When Ronald reached the cluster of trees again Dora was not thoro. Just at that moment he cared but httlo where she had gone His vexation and sorrow Beemcd almost greater than
he could bear.
THE pasBion and despair of that undisciplined heart was something pitiful to seo Reason, sonsc, and honor, for a timo, were all dead. If Dora could have Btampcd out the calm beauty of Valentino's magnificent face, she would have dono so Ronald'B anger, his bitter contempt, stung her until hor wholo heart and soul were in angry revolt, until bitter thoughts raged like a wild tempest within hor. She could not BOO much harm m what she had done ; she did not quite Beo why reading her own husband's lottor, or listening to a privato conversation of his, was a broach of honor. She thought but little at that time of what sho had done, her heart was full of anger against Ronald and Valentine. She clasped her hands angrily after MIBB Char- teris had kissed her, crying out that Bho was false, and had lured Ronald from her. Any ono passing hor on the high road would have thought her mad-tho white face, the dark gloaming eyes, the rigid lips, only opening for
moans and ones that marred tho sweet summer
silence. He should keep his word ¡ never como what might-never ehould ho look upon her face again-the face ho had caressed BO often and thought so fair. She would go away -ho was quite tired of her, and of her children too They would teaBo him and intrude upon him no moro Let him go to tho fair, false woman who had pretended to pity her
The little nursemaid, a simple peasant-girl, looked on in mute amaze when her miBtross en tored tho room where the babioB wero.
" Maria," she said, " I am going home, over the seas to England. Will you go with me ?"
The only thing poor Dora had learned during those quiet years was a moderate share of Italian. The young nurse looked up in wonder at the hard, ringing voice, usually soft as the cooing of a ringdove.
" I will go," she replied, " if madame will take mo. I leave none behind me that I love."
With trembling, passionate hands, and white, stern face, Dora packed her trunk and boxes -the children's little wardrobe and her own, throwing far from her every present either of dresB or toys that Valentine had brought. She never delayed to look round, and think of the happy hours spent in those pretty rooms. She never thought of the young lover who had
given up all the world for her. All she remem- bered was the wrathful husband, who wished never to see her more-who, m presonce of an- other, prayed heaven's pardon for making her his wife. She could not weep-the burning brain and jealous, angry heart would have boen bettor for that, but the dark eyes wero bright and full of strange, angry light. The little ones looking upon her, wept for fear. With oagor, pasBionate love, sho caught them in her armB, crying the while that they should never remain to be despised as she was.
In the white faced, angry woman, roueod to the higost pitch of passion, there was no trace of pretty, blushing Dora. Rapidly OB brain oould devise and hands plan, the boxes wore packed, cordod, and addressed. Onco during the brief timo Maria asked, " Whore aro you going, madam ?" And tho same clour, ringing voice answorcd, " To my father's house-my own home in England."
When everything was roady, the wondoriug children dressed, and tho little maid waiting, Dora eat down at her husband's desk and wroto these lines , no toars fell upon them ¡ hor hand did not tromblo ; tho words wero clear and firmly writton -
" I have not waitod for you to send mo away Your eycB shall not bo pained again by resting on the faco ' whoro you road dishonor ' I saw months ago that you wero tired of me I
going to my father's house, and my children I shall take with mo-you caro no more for thom than for mo. Thoy aro mino-not youra. I leave you with all you love in the world. I tako all I love with me. If you prayed for long years, I would never roturn to you, or speak to you again."
Sho folded the noto, at d addressed it to her huBband. She loft no kiss warm from her lips upon it. As she passed for over from tho little villa, ehe nevor turned for ono last look at the
vine elad walls.
The gaunt Bilont Italian servant, who had lived with Dora since tho first day she reached Florence, come to her in wondor and alarm, barely recognising hor pretty gentío mistress in tho palo, detormiued woman who looked hko one brought to bay. To her Dora spoke of tho lettor; it was to bo given to her husband as soon as ho roUrnod. Not ono word did she uttor in reply to tho woman's questions. Sho hurried with the keon despera- tion of despair, lost Ronald should roturn and
find hor still there
Soon aftor noon, and while Ronald lingered with Borne friends upon tho stops of tho Hotel D'Oro, his wife reached tho busy railway station at Florence. She hud money enough to take her home, but nono to sparo. She knew no roat ; every moment seemed liko an age to her, until the train was m motion, and fair, Bunny Florence
loft far behind
Without the stimulus of anger Dora would have shrunk in terror from tho thought of a long journoy alone-sho who had nevor beon without the escort of a kind and attontive husband. But no prospect daunted her now-tho wide Boas, tho danger of rail and road had no terrors for her. Sho would fly in hot hasto and angor
from one who Bald bofore her rival that he novor wished to BOO her fuco again.
* * # » * « -t
The samo Bun that shono so brightly on the blue wavos of the Arno hngored almost lovingly on a fair, quiet English landscape Far down in the fortilo and beautiful county of Kent, where tho broad Channel washos tho shore, stands tho pretty, almost unknown village of
Tho world is full of beauty, every country haB its share-Switzerland its snow-clad mountains, Germany its dark woods and broad Btreams, Franco its sunny plains, Italy its " thousand charms of Naturo and Art," but for quiet tranquil loveliness, for calm fair beauty, looking always fresh from the Mighty Hand that created it, there is nothing hko English scenery.
Tho white cliffs of Knutsford, hko "grand giants," ran ulong tho Bhoro , there was a broad stretch of yellow sand, biddon when tho tido was in, shining and firm when it ebbod Tho top of the cliff was like a carpet of thick green grass and springing heather. Far away, in tho bluo distance, ono could seo, on a bright Bunny day, tho outline of tho French coast Tho waves rolled in, and broko upon the yellow sands , the sea birds flew with busy wing, whito sails gleamed in tho sunshine Occasionally a largo steamer paaBod, but from the dills of Knutsford tbo world looked hko a beautiful, solitary desert There was no sound save the rich, ever changing musio of naturo, the rush of wind and waves, the grand, solemn anthem that the sea novcr tiros of singing
Far down tho cliff ran the zig-zag path that led to the villogo; there was no Bign of tho sea
on the othor side of the white rocks. There
the green fiolde and pretty hop-gardens strotched out far and wide, and the Farthinglow woods formed a belt around them. There, m the midst of a green, fertile valley, stood the villago of Knutsford. It had no regular Btreot, a pretty church, elad with gray ivy, stood on a small hill ; there wero a fow cottages, a few farm houses, a few little villas, one grand mansion, three or four shopB, and quiot homesteadB with thatched roofs and caves of straw.
One wondered how tho little villago carno there, there was no town within twenty mileB of it. It seemed to have boen droppod acci
dentally ¡ one could BOO no reason for its being
The prettiest and most complete little farm in the village was tho ono where Stophen Thorne and his wife dwelt. It was called " Tho Elms,'
a long avenue of elms led to tho little house and skirted the broad green meadows. It waB a short distanco from the village, so quiet, so tran- quil, that, living there, ono Bccmed out of the
Stephen Thorne and his wife wore not rich. In spite of Lady Earlo's bounty, it waB hard for them at times to mako both endB meet.
Crops, oven in that fair and fertile country, would fail, cattle would die, ram would fall when it should not, and the sun refuso to shine But this year everything had gone on woll, tho hay stood in groat ricks in the farmyard, the golden corn waved in tho fields ripe and ready for tho sickle, tho cows and Bhcep fed tranquilly in the meadows, and all things had prospered with Stephen Thorne. Ono thing only woighed upon his heart, and that WBB, hiB wifo would havo it that Dora's letters grew more and mora sad , Bho declared her child was unhappy, and he could not persuado her to the contrary.
It was a beautiful August evening. Ah, bow weak and feeble are words ' Who could paint the golden flush of summer beauty that lay over the meadows and cornfields ?-the hedgerows filled with wild flowers, the long, thick grass studded with gay blossoms, the calm, solemn eilenee only broken by the singing of the birds, the lowing of cattle, the ruetlmg of great ' branches in the sweet toft air.
Stephen Thorne had gone with hu guest and visitor, Ralph Holt, to fetch the cattle home. In Ralph's honor, good, motherly Mrs. Thome had laid out a beautiful toa ; golden honey that secmod just gathered from the flowers, ripe fruits, thick white cream-all nature's luxuries -everything was ready ¡ yet the farmer and his guest seomed long m coming. She went to the door, and looked across the meadows. The quiet summor beauty stole like a spell upon her. Sho was neither olover nor oloquent ; she had hardly been taught even to road ; but sho under- stood something of the grand poem unrolled bo-
Suddenly down in the meadows Mrs. Thorne caught sight of a lady, loading a little child by tho hand. She was followed by a young maid carrying another. As the lady drew nearer, Mrs. Thorne stood transfixed and bewildered. Could tho summer sun or the flickering shado be mocking hor ? Was she dreaming, or awake ? Far off still, through the summer hazo, sho saw a white, wan faco ; dark oyes, shadowed and voilod, SB though by long weoping , lips, once rosy and smiling, rigid and firm. She saw what Boomed to her the Borrowful ghost of the pretty, blooming child who loft her long ago. Sho tried to call out, but her voice died away in short, hoarso crios She tried to run forward and meet tho lady who came so slowly through the meadows, but she was powerless to move. She never hoard tho footstops of her husband and his guest. Sho only stirrod when Stophon Thorne placed his hand upon her shoulder, and in a loud, cheery voice, askod what ailed her.
" Look," sho said, hoarsely, " look down in tho meadow thero, and toll me-if that IB Dora, or Dora's ghost '"
She drew near more swiftly now, for sho had soon tho three figures at the door. The white faco and wild eyes seomed aflame with anxioty.
" Dora, Dora," criod Mrs. Thorne, " IB it really you ?"
" It is," said a faint bitter voice. " I am oomo homo, mother. My heart is brokon, and I long to d10 "
Thoy crowded round her, and Ralph Holt, with his strong arms, carried the fragile droop- ing figuro into the houso. They laid her upon the httlo couch, and drew tho curling rings of dark hair back from hor white faco. Mrs. Thorne wopt aloud, crying out for her pretty Dora, hor poor, unhappy child. Tho two men stood watching hor with grave, ead eyes. Ralph clonohod his hand as ho gazed upon her, the wreck of tho eimplo, gontlo girl he had loved so dearly.
" If ho has wronged her," he Baid to Stephen Thorno, " if ho has brokon hor heart, and sent her home to d10, lot him beware."
"I know it would never prosper," groaned hor fathor,-" such mornagoB never do."
Whon Dora openod her oycB, and saw tho three anxious faces around her, for a moment Bho was bowildered. Thoy know whon tho tor- ture of motnory returned to her, for Bho clasped
her hands with a low moan.
" Dora," Baid hor mother, " what has hap ponod? Trust UB, doar ohild,-wo are your host friends. Where is your husband?-and why hnvo you loft him f"
"BocauBO ho has grown tired of me," she oricd, with pussion and anger flaming again in her white, worn faco. " I did something ho thought wrong, and ho prayed heaven to pardon him for making mo hie wifo."
" What did you do?" askod her father, anxi- ously.
"Nothing that I thought wrong," Bhe re- plied , " ask me no questions, father. I would rather d10 any death than return to him or seo him again. Yet do not think evil of him. It
was all a mistake. I could not think his
thoughts, or live his life-wo wore quito differ- ent, and very unhappy. He never wuheB to seo mo again, and I will suffer anything rather than soo him "
Tho farmer and his wifo looked at oaoh other in silent dismay. This proud, angry woman, with hor passionato words, frightened thom. Could it bo their Dora, who had ever been sun- shine and music to them ?
" If you do not like to tako mo home, fathor," sbo said, m a hard voioo, " I can go elsewhere , nothing can eurpriBO or grievo mo now."
But kindly Mrs. Thorno had drawn the tired
head to her.
" Do you not know, child," she said, gontly, " that a mother's lovo never fails ?"
Ralph had raised the little ones in his arms, and was looking with wondering admiration at tho proud, boautiful faoo of little Beatrice, and tho fair lovoliness of Lillian. Tho children
looked with frank, fearless eyos into hiB plain,
" This one with dark hair has the roal Earle faco," said Stephen Thorno, proudly 5 " that is just my lord's look, proud and quiet; and little Lillian IB Bomothing hko Dora when she waB quite a child."
" Nover say that," criod tho young mothor. " Lot them grow like any ono else, but never
Thoy Boothcd her with gontlo, loving words. Hor father said Bho Bbould share his home with her children, and he would never give her up again. Thoy bade her watch the little onoB, who had forgotten their fears, and laughed ovor the ripe fruit and golden honey. They also drew aside tbo white cúrtame, and let her tired eyes fal! upon the sweet summer beauty of earth and eky. WaB not everything full of peace ? The sun sinking in the West, the birds singing their evening song, the flowers olosmg their bright oyOB, the wind whispering its " good night" to the shimmering, graceful elms,-it was all pcaco, and the hot, angry heart grew calm and still. Bitter tears rose to the burning eyes-tears that fell like rain, and seemed to take away the sharpest sting of her pam.
With wiflo and tendor thought they let Dora weop undisturbed. The bitter Bobbing ceaBcd at last. Dora had said farewell to her love She lay white and exhausted, but the anger and passion had died away.
" Let mo livo with you, father," she said, humbly. " I will serve you, and obey you. I am content, more than content with my home But for my httlo children, let all be as it was years ago."
When the little ones, like the flowers, had gone to sleep, and Dora had gone into the pretty white room prepared for her, Ralph rOBO
to take his leave
"Surely," said Stephen Thorne, "you aro not leaving us. You promised to stay a whole
" I know," replied the young farmer ; " but you bave many to think for now, Mr. Thorno. Tho time will come when the poor, wearied girl sleeping aboro us will be Lady Earle. Her huBband knew I loved her. No shadow even of suspicion must rest upon her. While your
daughter remains under your roof I shall not vieit you again."
Dora's father knew the young man was right. " Let me see tho little ones somotimes," con- tinued Ralph ; " and if large parcels of books find their way to 'The Elms,' you will know who sent thom ; but I muBt not como m Dora's way, she is no longer Dora Thorno "
As Stephen watched tho young man walking quickly through the long gray fields, ho wishod that Dora had never seen Ronald Earlo.
Poor Dora's troublos wero not yot ended. When the warm AuguBt sun poepod into hor room on tho following morning, she did not soo it Bhino ; when the children crept to her sido, and called for mamma, sho wai deaf to their little voices Tho tired hoad tossed wearily to and fro , the burning oyos would not closo A raging fever had her in its floreo clutohos When Mrs. Thorno, alarmed by the children's crios, carno in, Dora did not know her but cried out loudly that sho was a falsa woman who had lured hor husband from her.
Thoy Bont in all basto for aid , but the battle was long and floreo During thoso hours of delirium Mrs Thorno gloaned sorrowfully some portion of her daughter's story Sho criod out mcoBsantly against a fair woman,-Bomo Valen- tine,-whom Ronald loved , criod in eooru and in an¿or. Frequently she was in a garden be- hind soino troes, thon confronting Bomo ono with flaming eyes, sobbing that sho did not bo hevo it, then hiding her face, and crying out, "He has coasod to love me,-lot mo die."
But the time carno when tho floreo fovor
burnod itself out, and Dora lay, weak and holp loss, as a little child Sho rooo\orcd slowly, but she waB never tho Bunio again. Her youth, hopo, lovo, and happiness, woro all dead No smilo or dimple, no pretty blush carno to tho changed faco , tho old coy beauty was all gone.
Calm and quiet, with deep earnest oyes, und lipa that seldom smiled, Dora soomod to havo found another solf Evon with her children the sad restraint novor woro off, or grow loss If thoy wanted to play, thoy sought the farmer in tho fields, the good-natured nurso, or tho indul- gent grandmamma, never tho sad, pale mother. If thoy were in trouble, thon thoy sought her.
Dora asked for work. She would have been dairymaid, houBomuid, or anything olso, but hor father said no. A protty httlo room was given to hor, with woodbines and roses peeping in at tho window. Hore for long hours ovory day, whilo the children played in tho meadows, sho eat and sowed. Thoro, too, Dora, for the first time, learned whut Ronald, far away in sunny Italy, had failed to toaoh her-how to think and read. Big boxes of books carno from the town of Shoroboach. Stephen Thorne spared no troublo or expense in ploasing lus daughtor Dora woudorod aho had novor cured for books, now that doopor and moro solemn thoughts carno to her. The palo faco took a now beauty ; no ono could havo behoved that tho thoughtful woman with the sweet voice and refined accent was tho daughter of tho blunt farmor Thorno and his kindly wife
A fow wooka passod, and but for the little onos Dora would havo bohoved tho wholo to havo been but a long dark dream She would not think of Ronald , sho would not romombor his love, his Baorificos for hor, she thought only of hor wrongs and his cruel words
Tho children grew and thrivod Dora liad no caro at present over their education From her thoy learned good English, and between herself and the faithful young nurso thoy could learn, she thought, tolerable Italian. She would not think of a futuro that might tako those bolovod children from her. She ignored Ronald's claim to them-thoy woro hors Ho had tired of them whon he tired of hor. She nevor folt the days monotonous m that quiofc farm-house, as othors might havo done. A dead calm soomod to surround her, but it was dcBtmod soon to bo
RoNAM) did not roturn that ovening to tho pretty villa whoro be had onco boon so happy. In the warmth of his anger, ho felt that ho novor could look again upon his wife. To bis soneitivo, rofinod nature thore was something more repulsive in tho dishonorable act she had committed than there would have boen in a crime of deeper dye. Ho was shocked and startled, more so than if ho had awoke nomo fair summer morning to find Dora doad by his side. Sho waB, indeed, dead to him in one eonso. The ideal girl, all purity, gentleneBB, and truth, whom he had loved and married, had, it ap poared, never really oxistod aftor all. Ho shrank from tho idea of tho angry, vohoment woman, who had «BBOilod lum with vohoment words and foul calumnies. Ho shrank from tho woman who forgot evory rulo of good breeding
-every trace of good manners, m angry, floree
How was ho ever to faco Miss OharteriB again? She would never mention ono word of what had happoned, but ho could ill brook tho shamo Dora had brought upon him Ho remembered tho summer morning in tho woods, when he had told Valontino the story of his love, and had piotured his pretty, artless Dora to hor. Could the angry woman who had dared to insult him, and to calummato tho fairoBt and truest lady in all England, possibly
bo the same f
Ronald had novor boforo boen brought into closo contact with dishonor. Ho had somo faint recollection at college of having seen and known a young man, the son of a wealthy nobleman, scorned and despised, blackballed from all society, and ho was told that it was be-
cause ho had been doteoted m tho act of listen- ing at tho head master's door Ho remembered how old and young had shunnod this young man as though ho wore plague stricken , and now his own wifi, Dora, had done the very samo thing under circumstances that rendered tho dishonor greater He said to himsolf, with a cynical smile, what could ho expect f Ho hod married for love of a pretty child hko face, nevor giving any thought to principio, mind, or intel- lect Tho only wondor was that so wretched and unequal a match bud not turned out ton timos woreo His father's warning rang in Ins ears. How blind, how fooliBh, ho had been ' Every hope of hiB own life wrecked, every hopo and plan of his father's disappointed and doad Thero seemed to him nothing lift to caro for. His wife-oh, he would not think of her '-tho name vexed him. He could not stand in Valen- tine's presence again, and for the first timo ho realised what sho had been to him Home, and consequently England, was closed to him i the grand mission ho had once behoved his had faded
from his mind.
Thinking of all these things, Ronald's love for bis young wife seemed to change to dislike Three days passed before he returned home, then ho was lomewhat startled to find her really
gone. Ho had anticipated sullen temper, re- j newed quarrels, and thon perhaps a separation, |
but he was startled to find her actually gone. The servant gavo him the oold farewell lettor, written without toars, without sorrow. Ho tore it into shreds and flung it from him.
"Tho last act in the farce," ho said, bitterly. " If I had not been mad I should havo foreseen this "
Tho silont, dcBorted rooms did not remind lum lovingly of tho young wifo, parted from him for over. Ho was too angry, too annoyod, for any gontlo thoughts to nifluenco bun. She had loft him,-BO inuoh tho better, there could novel again bo poaco betwoon thom. Ho thought with regret of tho little ones,-they woro too young for him to undortnko, so that they wero host left with their niothor for a time. Ho eaid to himself that ho must ni uko the beet use ho could of his life ; ovcrj thing in it seemed ondod. Ho folt vory lonolj and unhappy as ho sat in his solitary home , and tho moro sorrow proBsod upon him, tho moro bittor Ins thoughts grow, the decpor bocatno his dislike to his un- happy young wife
Ronald wrote to his niothor, but lie said no word to her of tho causo of thoir quarrol.
" Dora and I," ho said, "will novor livo to- gether again,-porhaps novor moot Sho has gono homo to hor father ; I am going to wandor over tho wide earth Will you mduco my i lather to recoivo my children at Farlescourt?
and will you soo Mr. Burt, and arrange that half my small income is aottlod upon Dora ?"
But to all his wife's entreaties Lord Earlo turnod a doaf ear. Ho declared that nevor, during his lifo-tmio, should the children of Dora Thorne octor Earlosoourt His resolution was fixed and unalterable. How, ho asked, wue ho to triiBt tho man who had onco decoivod him?
For aught ho know, tho separation botwoon Ro- nald and his wife might bo a doop laid scheme, and that, tho children onco with him, thoro would bo a grand roconoihation botwoon tho parente.
" I am not surpnsod," ho said, " that tho un- happy boy is weary of his protty toy. It could not bo otherwise, ho must take tho coiiBoquoncos of his own folly Ho lind timo for thought, ho mado his own ohoioo, now let him abide by it
You havo disregarded my wish, Lady Holona, m oven Burning tho matter to mo. Lot all men- tion of it ceaBO. I havo no son. Ono thing, romonibor,-I am not hard upon you,-you can go where you hko, soo whom you hko, and spend what monoy you will, and how you will "
Lady Earlo was not long availing horsolf of tho pormiBBion. Thoro was groat oxoitumont at " Tho Elms " ono morning, cuuaod by tho ro ceipt of a lottor from Lady Earlo, saying that she Bhould bo thoro on tho eamo duy, to visit
her son's wife and children.
The little OHOB lookod up to hor with wondor mg oyos. To thom she was like a vision, with hor grand fuce and Binning hair, hor rich swoop- ing drosa and ]owols ; standing m tho httlo kitchon of tho farm houso, sho lookod out of placo.
Stephen Thorno und his wife rocoivod tho groat lady, not without soino trépidation, yot thoy wore in no way to blame. Tho fatal mar riago had boon as groat a blow to thom as to Lord and Lady Earlo. With tho quint dignity and graceful ouso that novor deserted hor, Lady Earlo soon mado thom fool at homo. Silo Btartcd m uttor surpriBo whon u quiet grnvo woman, on whoso faco BWOotnoBs and aullon humor woro BO strongly mmglod, ontorod tho room This oould not bo protty, coy, blushing Dora'-where woro the dimplos and smiles? Tho largo dark oyes rinsed so Badly to her woro full of strange, pathotio boauty With sharp pain the thought Btruck Lady Earlo, " What must Dora havo euflorod, to chango her eo greatly '" Tho sod oyos und worn fnoo touohod her as no boauty could havo dono Sho oloBpod Dora in her arms and kissed her.
" You aro my daughtor now," she said, in that rich, musical voice which Dora remembered BO well. " Wo will not romonibor tho past ¡ it is irrevocable If you have sinned against duty and obodienco, your fuco tells mo you havo suffered. What has como botwoon you and my Bon I do not sook to know. Tho shook munt havo hcon a groat one which partod you, for ho gavo up all the world for you, Doro, years ago. Wo will not Bpoak of Ronald Our caro must bo tho children. Of courso, you wish thom to remain with you ?"
" While it IB possible," said Dora, wearily. " I shall nevor loavc homo again ; but I oanuot hope to koop thom hero always "
" I Bhould havo hkod to adopt thom," said Lady Earlo, " *o tako thom home and oducato them, but-"
" Lord Earlo will not permit it," interrupted Dora, calmly. " I know-I do not wonder '
" You mast lot mo do all I can for thom boro," continuod Lady Eurlo, "I havo madoull plans and arrangements. Wo will givo tho children an education befitting thoir position, without removing thom from you. Thon
shall see what timo does. Lot mo seo the httlo onos. I wish you had called ono Holcna, after
Dora remembered why elie had not dono so, and a fluBh of ahame and unger roso to hor faco.
Thoy woro beautiful children, and Dora brought thom proudly to tho Btatoly lady woit mg for thom Lady Earlo took Bcutrico in hor
" How boautiful <" sho said, admiringly. " Why, Dora, this is tho Earlo face brought to perfection. This child will grow up into a magnificent woman."
' She has tho Earle spirit and prido," said tho young mothor j " I find it hard to manage
her evon now "
Then Lady Earlo looked at tho fair spiritual face and goldon hair of httlo Lillian. Tho aby dove like oyos and sweet lips oharmod her
1 There IB a great contrast between thom,"
she sold, thoughtfully. " Thoy will requiro ! careful training, Dora. And now wo vi ill speak of the matter which has brought mo hero."
Dora notiood that long as BIIO remained Lady Earlo novor let Bcatrico loavo her arms Oc- casionally abo bent over Lillian and touchod the Boft golden curls, but tho child with tho " Earle face " was tho one she loved best.
Together with Stephen Thorno and his wife Lady Earle went over " Tho Elms " Tho situa- tion delighted her, nothing could bo better or moro healthy for the children, but the interior of the house must be altered Then with dohcato grace that could only charm, novor wound, Lady Karlo unfolded her plans She wished a now tuite of rooms to be built for Dora and the children, to bo nicoly furnished with everything that could be required She would make the expense all her own. Immediately on her re turn Bho would send an efficient French maid for the little ones, and in the course of a year or two she would engago tho services of an accom- plished governess, who would undertake th»
education of Beatrice and Lillian without re« moving them from their mother's oare.
" I shall Bend a good piano and a harp," asid Lady Earle, " it will be my pride and pleasure to select books, muBio, drawings, and everything else my grandohildren require. I should wish thom always to bo mooly drossed and carofully trained. To you, Dora, I must loavo the highest and beat training of all Teach thom to be good, and to do their duty Thoy have learned all when they have loomed that "
For the firBt time in her lifo tho thought oame homo to Dora, how was Bho to teach what sho had novor learned and had failed to practice? That night, long after Lady Earle had gone away and the children bad fallen asleep. Dora knolt m tho moonlight and prayed that she might leam to toach hor childi on to do their
AB Lady Earlo had wished, so it was dono, the old firm houso was left intact, and a new group of buildings added to it Thoro was a protty sitting room for Dora, and a larger one to sorvo as a study for tho children, largo sleep- ing rooms, a bath room, and all replete with comfort. Two years pusBtd before all was com- pleted, und Lady Earle thought it time to send a governess to " The Elms "
* * * * » » »
During thoso yours little or nothing was hoard of Ronald. Aftor reading tho cold lottor Dora loft for him, it sooinod as though all lovo, all care, all interest, died out m his heart. Ho eat for many long hours, thinking of the blighted hfo " ho could not lay down, yet carod httlo to hold " Ho was only twenty three-tho ago at which life oponB to most mon, yot ho was worn, tired, wonriod of ovorytluug,-the onorgios that onco soomod boundlosB, the ambition once so horco und proud, all gone His wholo nature recoiled from tho shock Had Dora, m the fury of hor jealousy and rage, tried to kill him, ho would hate thought that but a Binall offence compared with tho deadly broaoh of honor crouching behind tho trcos to liston. Ho thought of tho quiot grand beauty of Valontmo's faco while Dora's was convulsed with passion Ho romombored tho utter wonder in Vulontino's oyos whon Dora's flamod upon thom. Ho ro- mombored tho Bickoning BOiiBo of shume that had oowed lum as hu listened to hor angry abusivo words And this untrained, ignorant, ill bred woman waa Ins wife ' For hor ho had given up homo, parents, position, wealth, hopes,-all he hud m hfo worth caring for. For her, and througli hor, ho stood there alone in tho world.
Thoso thoughts first mud ii en od him, then drovo him to dospau What had Ufo loft for lum ? He could not leturu to England, his father's doors woro olosod oguinBt him There waa no path opened to lum, without his father's help ho could not got into Parliament He could not work as au artist ut home Ho would not romani in Florence, nevor again, ho said to lumaolf, would ho soo Vulontino Charteris, Valontino, who had boon tho witness of his humiliation and disgrace Sooner anything than that Ho would luavo tho villa and go some whoro, ho carod little whore No quiot, no rest, carno to lum Hud his mtsfortunos boon acci- dental-had thoy boon any other than what thoy woro, tho result of Ina boyish folly and disobe« dionco, he would have found thom onsior to boar , us it was, the recollection that it was all his own fault drovo lum half wild.
Beforo morning ho had written a farewell noto to Lady Churton», saying that ho waa leaving Florence at onco, and would not be ablo to seo hor again. Ho wrote to Valontino, but tho fow stiff words oxproaaod httlo of what ho felt Ho pruyod hor to forgot the miserable Bcuno that would haunt him to his dying day ; to purdon tho insults that had driven him wild ; to pardon tho mad ¡cnlousy, tho dishonor of Dora, to forgot him and all bolongmg to lum« When Miss Churton» read that letter abo knew that all effort to restore poaco would for a time bo in vam Sho hoard tho duy following that tho clovor young artist, Mr Thorne, bad gono.
Countess RoBuli loudly lamentod Ronald*! departure It was so straugo, she said; tho dark eyed httlo wifo and hor children had gone homo to England, and the husband, aftor selling off his home, had gono with Mr Charles Standon into tho mtorior of Africa What was ho going
to do thoro ?
Sho lamentod him for two days without ooasing, until Valentino was tired of hor many conjectures Ho was missed in tho brilliant saloons in Floronco, hut by nono so much as by
What the protty coquettish countoss said was truo , aftor making many plans and forming many resolutions, Ronald met Mr Standon, who was on the point of joining a soarohmg expedition in South Africa Ho gladly consented to ac- company lum lhoro waa but little preparation needed Four days aftor tho nevor to-be-for gatton gardon scono, Ronald Earlo had loft Italy, and bcoamo a wandcror upon the faco of the
[TO HE COMINUEI) )
FOB THE BOTS -nonry Ward Beecher bus written this -" I novor saw anybody do any- thing that I did not watrh lura and BIO how ho did it, for thoro ia no tolling but that eomotimoa I might have to do it myself I waa going across a prairio , my horae began to limp Luckily I carno across a blacksmith's shop, but tho Billilli waB not at home I asked tho woman of tho houso if she would allow mo to start the Oro and mako tho shoe Sho said I might if I know how So I started the fir o and heated the shoo red hot, and turned it to fit my horse's foot, and pared the hoof, and turned the pointe of tlio nulls out cunningly, UB I had eeon the blacksmith do, so thut in driving into the hoof thoy should not go into tho quick, and flhod the horse At the next placo I wont to, I went straight to n smith, and told him to put the shoo on properly. Ho lookod at the horso's foot, and paid ino the greatest compliment I ovor rocoivod in my hfo Ho told me if I put on that BIIOO I hod botter follow black smithing all my life. Now, I should never hove known how to do this if I hud not looked on and seen others do it."
TBTINU TO FIND OUT A WOMAB'SAOL - In a recent trial for bi each of promise of marriage, the plaintill, who was a widow with grown up children, testified in her own bchulf On orose examination, tho counsel for the defendant modo an unsuccessful attempt to uecortum hor age, as follows -CouneclforDofcndunt If you phase, state what is your ago Widow I ora younger thun his first wife, any way. Counsol M eil, thut docB not lot us know. Will you toll us your ago? Widow I um younger than his first wife Counsel May I say sixty t Widow Now you uro too far Court Madam, how old IB your oldest son ? Widow Ho is dead. My eldest Bon living is twenty four Court Will you tell your ago ? Widow I think you don't want to know Counsel But you have a daughter, what ago is sho? Widow Enquire for yoursolf. COUUÍOI Well, I won't presa you any furthor It was said that the widow was sixty one, while tho dofindant was forty-four. At all ovetits, tho jury thought him old enough to know better than to make promises and break them, and young enough to leam better for the future, and they brought in a verdict against bim for 1750