|Chapter Number||XVI - XVIII|
|Newspaper Title||The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933)|
By tho author of "Lady Hutton's Ward," &c.
VALEMINB CBABTEBIS never told tho secret. Rho hetened to the wonder and coujeoturos of jil around her, but not oven to bor mothor did she hint of what bad passed Sho pitied Ronald profoundly. Sho know the shock Dora had inflicted on his sensitivo, honorable disposition. For Dora herself sho felt nothing but compassion. Her grand serene nature was incapable of such jealousies. Valentino never could bo ]oalous or mean, but sho could undei stand tho torturo which had modo Bhy gentle Dora both.
" JealouB of mo, poor child," Bald Valentine to horself, " nothing but ignoranco oan oxcuse her, as though I, with half Florence at my feet, cared for her husband, except as a dear and true friend."
So the little villa was dosertod, the gaunt, silent serrant found another place. Ronald's pictures were eagerly bought up; tho pretty countess, after looking very Eontimontal and end for some days, forgot her sorrow and its causo in the novelty of making the acquaintance of an impassible, an unimpressionable American. Florence soon forgot one whom she had been proud to know and honor.
Two months afterwarde, as Miss Charteris sat alono in her favorito nook-the bower of treoB whero poor Dora'a tragedy had been onacted she was found by tho Prince Borgezi.
Every one had said that sooner or Inter it would come to this Punco Borgezi, the most fastidious of mon, who had admired man} women but loved nono, whoBe verdict was the rulo of fushion, loved Valentine Charteris. Her fair English face, with its calm grand beauty, her gracoful dignity, her noblo mind and pure aoul, had captivated him. For many long weeks ho hovered round Valontino, longing, yet dreading, to apeak the words which would unite or part them for life.
Lately there had been Bomo rumours that Lady Charteris and hor daughter intonded to loavo Florcnco, then Pnnco Borgezi decided upon knowing bia fate. Ho sought Valentine, and found her seated under the shade of her favorite trees.
" Miss Charteris," ho eaid, nftor a fow words of greeting, " I am oomo to ask fiom you tho greutes( favor, tho highest boon, you oan confer on any man "
" What IB it f" asked Valentine, calmly, anti cipating somo trifling requcBt.
"Your pormiesion to keep for my own tho origma! ' Queen Qumevoro,' " ho replied ; " Ümt picturo ia more to me than all I poasoss. Only one thing ia doaror-the original. May I evor hope to make that mino also '"
Valentino raised her magnificent oyOB in won- der. It was an offoi of marnago then that ho was making What should sho Bay ?
" Havo you no word for mo, Miss Charteris ?" he said. " I lay my life and my love at your fact Havo you no word for mop"
" I really do not know what to Bay," replied
" You do not rofuflo me," aaid hoi lover. " Not exactly," replied Valentine.
" And you do not accept mo ?" ho continued. " Decidodly not," ehe ropliod, more firmly.
" Then I Bhall consider thoro ia somo giound (or hope," ho eaid
Valentiuo had recoveiod her eolf-possoasion. Her lover gazed anxiously at hoi beautiful face , itB proud calm waa unbroken
" I will foil you how it is," resumed Valentino, Bftor a short pause. " I uko you bottor perhaps than any man I know, but I do not love you."
" You do not forbid mo to try all I can to win your love ?" asked the prince
" No," waa tho calm roply ¡ " I oateom you very highly, prince ; I cannot say moro."
" But you shall in time," ho ropliod. " I would not chango your quiot friendly liking, Miss Charteris, for tho love of any other
Under the bright Bky tho handsome Italian told the story of his love, in words that woro poetry itself,-how ho worshipped tho fair, calm, girl, so unliko tho women of his own elimo. AB Bho listened, Valentine thought of that summer morning years ago when Ronald had told her the story of his love, and then Valen- tine owned to her own heart that if Ronald were in Princo Borgezi's place, she should not listen so calmly, or reply so coolly.
" How cold and stately these English girls arc!" thought her lover; "they aro moro Uko goddeeseB than women. Would any word of mine ever break the proud coldness of that per-
fect fuco ?"
It did not then, butbeforo the morning onded Priuco Borgezi had obtained permission to visit England in tho spring, and ask again the suruo question. Valentino like him. She admired bia noble and generous character, hie artistic tastes ¡ his fastidious exclusivenesa had a charm for her ¡ sho did not lovo bim, but it scorned to her more than probable that tho doy would
come when sho should do BO.
Lady Charteris and hor daughter left Florence, and returned to Greenoke. Lady Earle paid them a long visit, and heard all thoy .had to tell of her idolised eon. Lady Charteris
spoke kindly of Dora ; and Valentino believing she could do something to reatoro peace, sont an affeclionnto greeting, and asked permission to
visit » The Elms." .
Lady Eurie saw she had made a mistake when she repeated Valentino's words to Dora. Tho young wifo's face flushed burning red, and then
grew white as death.
" Pray bring me no moro messagca from Misa Charteris," Eho replied. "I do not like her
she would only come to triumph over me. I
decline to Bee her, I hare no message to send
Then for the first timo an inkling of some t'»ng uko the truth carno to Lady Earle. Evidently Dora was bitterly jealous of Valen- tine-had she any causo for it ? Could it bo that her unhappy eon had learned to love Miss Charteris when it was all too late ? From that aay Lady Earle pitied her son with a deeper and moro tender compassion ; she translated Dora's curt words into civil English, and then wrote to Miss Charteris. Valentino quite under- stood, upon reading them, that Bho was not yet pardoned by Ronald Earlo's wife.
Time passed on without any great changes, until the year carno when Lady Earle thought her grandchildren should begin their education. She wts locg in ¡electing one into whoso hands she coula entrust them. At length ehe met with arra. Vyvian, the widow of an officer who had died in India, a lady' qualified in every way
the task, accomplished, a good linguist, speaking French aud Italian fluently as English -» magnificent musician, an artist of no mean
skill, and what Lady Earle valued still more, a vroman of sterling principio and earnest religious feeling.
It was no light taBk that Mrs. Vyvian under- took. Tho children had reached their fifth year, and for ten years Bho bound herBclf by promiso to remain with them, night and day, to teach and train thom. True tho reward promised waa groat. Lady Earle settled a handsomo annuity upon hor. Mrs. Vyvian was not dismayed by tho lonely house, tho complete isolation from all society, or by tho homely appearance of the farmer and his wife. Tho piano and harp were sont to " The Elms." Every week Lady Earlo despatched a largo box of books, und tho governeBs was quito content.
Mrs. Vyvian, to whom Lady Earlo entrusted every detail of her eon's marriage, was well pleased to find that Dora liked her, aud begun to Bhow some taste for study. Dora who would dream of other things whon Ronald road, now tried to leam herself. Sho was not ashamed to sit hour after hour at tho piano, trying to master some simplo little air, or to ask questions when anything puzzled her in her reading. Mrs. Vyvian, so calm and wiae, BO gentío yet BO strong, taught her so clovorly that Dora novor felt her own ignorance, nor did she grow disheartened
as she had done with Ronald.
The time carno whon Dora could play pretty Bimplo ballads, singing thom in her own bird like, clear voice, and whon she could appreciate grout writers, and speak of thom without any mistake, either as to their names or their worka. It was a simplo, pleasant, happy lifo ; the greater part of tho day was spent by both mother and children in study. In the evening carno long rambles through tho green woods, tvhero Dora Boomed lo know tho name and history of overy flower that grew; over the smiling moadows, where tho kine stood knee-deep in tho long, sccntod grass ; oror tho rocks, and down by the sea-shore, whero tho waves ohunted their grund anthem, and broko in white foam-drifts upon
No wondor the young girls imbibod a deep warm love for all that was beautiful in nuturo. Dora nover woariod of it,-from tho smallest bindo of grass to tho most stately of forest treos,
Bho loved it all.
The littlo twin sistors grew in beauty both oí body and mind ; but the contrast botwoon (horn WUB great. Beatrice was tho most beautiful aud brilliant; Lillian swoot and lovable Beatrice was all firo and spirit ; her Bister WUB gentío and calm. Beatrice had grcut faults and great virtues ; Lillian WUB eimply good and oharming. Yet, withal, Beatrice was tho best loved. It was soldom that any ono refused to gratify her
Dora loved both children tenderly ; but tho warmest love WOB certainly for tho child who had the Earle faco, She waa imperious and wilful, generous to a fault, impatient of all con- trol ; but hor greatest fault, Mrs. Vyviau eaid, was a constant oraving for oxcitcmont, a dis- taste and disliko of quiot and retirement. Sho would rido tho most rostivo horaos, sho would do anything to break tho ennui and monotony of the long days.
Boautiful, daring, and restless, overy day running a hundred risks, and loved tho botter for the dangers sho ran, Boatrico waa almost worshipped at " Tho Elms." Nothing over daunted her, nothing over made hor dull oread. Lillian was gentío and quiot, with moro depth of character, but less power of showing it ; somowhafc timid mid diflldont; a moro charming model of a young English girl could not havo been found,-spiritual, graceful, and refined ; so sereno and fair, that to look at her wus rest in itself.
Lady Earle ofton visited " Tho Elms ;" no mystery had boon made to the girls ; they woro told their falhor WOB abroad and would not ro- turo for many years, and that perhaps ut somo distant day thoy might livo with him in his own homo. Thoy did not ask many quostiona, satis- fied to boliovo what was told thom, not Eoeking
to know moro.
Lady Earlo lovod tho young girls very dearly. Beatrico, so Hko hor father, was undoubtedly tho favorite. Lord Earlo never onquircd aftor thom; when Lady Earlo askod for a larger choque than usual, ho gave it to her with a smile, perfectly understanding ita destination, but novor betraying tho knowlodgo.
So oleven years had pussed like a long tran- quil droam. Tho Bun rose and sot, tho tides obbod and flowed, spring flowers bloomed and died, tho summer skies smiled, autumn leaves of golden hue withered on the ground, and winter snow fell ; yet no chango carno to tho quiot homestead in tho Kentish meadows.
Beatrico and Lillian had reached their six- teenth year, and two fuiror girls were soldom Boon. Mrs. Vyviau's efforts had not been in vain ; thoy woro accomplished far beyond tho ordinary run of young ladies. Lillian inhoritod her father's talont for drawing. Sho was an ex- cellent artist; Beatrice excelled in music. She had a magnificent contralto vcicc that had been carofully trained. Both wero cultivated, graco fu!, elegant girls, and Ljdy Earlo often sighed to think they should bo living in such profound obscurity. Sho could do nothing ; elovon years had not changed Lord Earle'e resolution. Time, far from softening, embittered him tho moro against his son. Oí Ronald, Lady Earle heard but littlo. Ho was still in Africa ; ho wrote at rare intervals, but thoro was littlo com-
fort in his lettors.
Lady Earle did what she could for her grand- children, but it was a strange, unnatural life. They know no othor girls ; thoy had nover been twenty milos from Knutsford. All girlish plea- sures and enjoyments wero a scaled book to them. Thoy had nover been to a party, a pic- nic, or a ball ; no life was ever ao simplo, so quiet, so devoid of all amusement as theirs. Lillian waa satisfied und happy ; her rich, teem- ing fancy, her artistic mind, and contented, sweet disposition would havo rendered her hoppy under any circumstances ; but it was different with brilliant, beautiful Beatrico. No wild bird in a cogo ever pined for liberty or chafed under restraint as she did. Sho cried out loudly against tho unnatural solitude, the isolation of
Buch a life.
Eleven years had done much for Dora. The coy, girlish beauty that had won Ronald Earle's heart had given placo to a sweet, patient womanhood. Constant association with one so elegant and refined as Mrs. Vyvian had done for her what nothing elso could bave aohioved. Dora had caught the refined, high-bred accent, tho graceful, cultivated manner, the easy dignity. She had in Bomo way imbibed tho noble, beau- tiful thoughts, the ideas that Mra. Vyvian ex
Dora retained two peculiarities-ono was a groat dislike for Ronald, the other a sincere dread of all love and lovers for her ohildron. From her they heard nothing but depreciation of men. All men were alike, false, insincere,
fickle, cruol ; all lovo was nonsense and folly. Mrs. Vyvian tried hor bost to counteract those idoaa ; thoy had this ono evil consequence that noither Lillian nor Beatrico would over dream of even naming such subjects to tho mothor who Bhould havo boon their friond and confidante If in tho booka Lady Earlo eont there was any montion of this lovo their mother droadod BO, thoy went to Mrs. Vyvian, or puzzled ovor it themselves. With these two exceptions, Dora had becomo a thoughtful, gentío woman. As her mind became moro cul- tivated she understood bettor the dishonor of tho fuult whioh had robbed her of Ronald's love Her fair faco grow crimson when Bho remembered
what sho had dono.
It waa a fair and tranquil womanhood ; tho dark oyoB retained thoir wondrous light and beauty ; tho curling rings of dark hair woro luxuriant os over ; tho lips woro a patient, sweet oxprossion. Tho clour, healthy counlry air had given a delicate bloom to tho flower-hko faoo. Dora looked moro Uko the older sUtor of the young girls than their mothor.
The quiot, half-dreamy monotony was broken at last. Mrs. Vyviau tvos suddenly summoned home. Her mother, to whom Bho waa warmly attachod, waa said to bo d}ing, and abo wished her fow last days to bo Bpout with herdaughtor. At tho Bamo timo Lady Earlo wroto to say that hor husband waa so ill, it was impossible for her to look for any lady to Bupply Mrs. Vyvian's placo. Tho consequenoo was, that, for tho first timo in thoir lives, tho young girls wero loft for a few wooka without a companion, and without
ONE boautiful morning in May, Lillian wont alono to Bkotoh. The beauty of sky aud sou tompted hor ; lloecy white clouds floatod gontly over tho bluo heavens ; tho sun shono upon the wator until, at timcB, it roionibled a hugo son of rippling gold. Far off in tho distuueo wore tho Bhining white euils of two boats ; thoy looked in tho golden hazo liko tho brilliant winga of some bright birds. Tho sun upon tho whito sails struck her fimoy, and she wautod to
sketch tho effect.
It was the kind of morning that makes life soem all beuuty and gladnoss, ovon if tho boort bo wcighod down with caro. It was a luxury morely to live and breathe Tho loavoa woro all Bpringing in the woods ; tho meadows woro grcon: wild Howers blossomed by tho hodgo rows; the birds sang gaily of the coming summer; tho whito hawthorn throw its rich fragranco all round, and the purple heather
bloomed on the olida.
As Bho Bat thoro, Lillian was indeed a fair picturo hersolf on that May morning ; (ho swcot, spiritual face, tho noble hoad, with its crown of goldon hair ; tho violot oyoa, so full of thought ; tho sensitivo lips, swoot, yet firm ; tho whito forohoad, tho throno of iutollcct. Tho littlo fingors that moved rapidly and gracofully over tho drawing woro whito and shapely ; thoro waa a delioato "roso-loaf" flush in tho protty hand. She looked fair and tranquil us tho morning itself. Tho puro swcot faco hud no touch of fire or puBBion ; its eoronity WUB all un- moved ; tho world had novor breathed ou the innocent, ohild-liko mind ; a whito lily waa not moro puro and stuiuloss than tho young girl who sat amidst the purple hoathor, sketching tho
whito far-off Bails.
So intent was Lillian upon hor drawing, that Bho did not hoar tho light, rapid Bteps coming near ; BIIC was not nrousod until n rich musical voice called, "Lillian, if you have not changed into a stono or a studio, do spoak." Thon, looking up, sho suw Boulrico by hor Bide.
"Loy down your penoils and talk to ruo," said Beatrico, imporiously. " How uukind of you, tho only human being in this placo who can converso, to como hero all by yourself I What did you think was to beoomo of mo ?"
"I thought you wero reading to mamma," snid Lilian, quietly.
" Reading !" exclaimed Boatrico j " you know I um tired of reading, tirod of writing, tired of sowing, tirod of everything I havo to do."
Lilian looked up in wondor at the beautiful,
"Do not look 'good' at mo," eaid Beatrico, impatiently. " I am tirod to doath of it all, I want Bomo ohango. Do you think any girls in tho world load such u life as wo do ; shut up in a rambling old farm-houso, studying from morn to night ; shut in on ono sido by that tiresome sea, imprisoned on tho oilier by fields and woods ; how can you tako it BO quietly, Lilian ?
I am wearied to doath."
" Somothing has disturbod you this morning," eaid Lillian, gontly.
" That ¡B liko mamma," said Beatrico; "juBt her very tone and words. Sho does not under- stand, you do not understand ; her lifo satieflos mamma, your lifo contonts you ; it ¡B filled up, I suppose; mino is not-it is all vaguo and ompty. I Bhould wolcomo anything that changad this monotony ; ovon sorrow would bo bottor than this dead lovel-one day so liko anothor, I can nover distinguish thom."
" My dear Bontrico, think of what you aro saying," said Lillian,
" I am tired of thinking," said Boatrico ; " for tho last ten yoars I havo boon told to ' think ' and ' reflect.' I havo ' thought ' all I can ; I want a fresh subject."
'Think how beautiful those far-off whito sails look," Baid Lillian ; " how thoy gloom in the sunshine : BCC, that ono looks liko a mysterious hand, raised to beckon UB away."
" Such ideas aro very well for you, Lillian," retorted Beatrico. " I see nothing in thom. Look ot the storicB wo road ; how different thoBO girls aro to us ! Tboy havo fathers, brothers, and friendB ; thoy havo jowels and dreasea ; they have knights and cavaliorB, who pay thom homage ; tboy danco, ride, and enjoy thomeolves. Now look at UB, shut up hore with old and aerioiiB poople."
" Hush, Beatrico," eaid Lillian ; " mamma is ,
" Not in years, perhaps," replied Beatrico j " but she scemB to mo old in sorrow. Sho is never gay or light-hearted. Mrs. Vyvian ¡a very kind, but she nover laughs. Is overy ono sad and unhappy, I wonder ? Oh, Lillian, I long to seo tho world-the bright, gay world-ovor tho seas there ; tho world whore fair and noble ladies live-the world that ¡B full of muaio and song and mirth. I long for it as an imprisoned bird longs for fresh air and groen woods."
" You would not find it all happinees," said Lillian, sagely.
" Spare mo all truiamB," cried Beatrico. "Ah, Bister, I am tired of all this ; for cloven yoars tho sea has been singing tho same songs ; the waves riso and fall just as thoy did a hundred years Binco ; the birds sing the Berne story ; the tun shines tho same ; even tho shadow of tho great elms falls over the meadow just as it did
whon wo first playod thoro. I long to bo away from the sound of tho sea and the rustling of tho elm trees. I want to bo whero thoro aro girls of my own ago, and to do OB thoy do. It Beoms to mo wo BIIBII go on reading and writing, sowing and drawing, and taking what mamma calla instructivo rambloa, until our heads grow gray."
"Not so bad as that, Boatrico," laughed Lillian. " Lady Eurlo says papa must return SOLDO timo ; then wo shall all go to him."
" I nover beliovcd ono word of it," said Bea- trico, undauntedly. " At times I could almost doclaro papa himself a myth. Why do wo not Iivo with him ? why dooa ho novor write ? Wo novor hoar of or from him, eavo through Lady Earlo ; bosidos, Lillian, what do you think I hoard Mrs. Vyvian say once to grandmamma ? It was that wo might not go to Eurloscourt at all,-that if papa did not return, or died young, all would go to somo Lionol Dacro, and wo should romain hore Imagino that fato !-liviug a long life, and dying, at ' Tho Elms !' "
" It is all conjooturo," said her sister. " Try to bo moro contontod, Boatrico ; wo do not inako our own lives ; wo havo not tho control of our own destiny."
"I should uko to control mino," sighed
" Try to bo contontod, darling," continuod tho swoot pleading voice " Wo all lovo and ad- miro you. No ono was over loved BO dearly or so Well na you aro. The days aro rathor long at times, but there aro all tho wondors and beauties of nature, tho beauties of religion."
" Nature and religion aro oil very woll," eriod Boatrico ; " but givo me ' lifo.' "
Sho turnod hor beautiful, rostless fuco from tho smiling sea ; tho south wind dancing ovor tho purplo houthor oaught up tho words uttered in that oloar, muaioal voice, and carried thurn over tho cliff to ono who was lying with half olosod oyes undor tho shndo of a largo flowering shrub,-a young man, with a dark, half Spanish face, handsome, with a coarse kind of beauty. Ho waa lying thoro, roating upon tho fragrant hoathor, onjoying tho boauty of tho morning. As tho muaioal tones reached him, and tho etrango words foil upon his ear, ho smiled, and raised his hoad to soo who uttorod thom. Ho Baw tho young girls, but thoir faces woro turnod from him ; those words rang in hia our, " N aturo and roligion aro nil very well, but givo mo life."
Who waa it sighod for lifo ? Ho uudorstood tho longing ¡ ho resolved to wait thoro until tho girls wont owoy. Again ho hoard tho samo
" I shall loavo you to your sails, Lillian. I wish thoao samo boats would como to oarry us away ; I wish I could sit Biniliug ovor a draw- ing ; I wish I had wings and could fly over the Ben, and soo tho bright, grand world that HOB boyond it. Good-byo ; I am tired of tho nevor ending wash of thoso long, low ivavos."
Ho saw a young girl riso fiom tho fragrant heather, and turn to duscond tho cliff. Quiokas thought ho rushod down, and turning back, con trivod to moot hor half way.
Boatrico carno singing down tho cliff. Hor humor, nover tho saino ton minutoB togothor, had suddenly changod. Sho romombored a now aud beautiful song that Lady Earlo had sont, and determined to go homo and try it. Thoro carno no warning to hor that bright summor morning. Tho Bouth wind lifted tho hair from hor brow, aud wuftod tho fragronco of hawthorn buda und spring flowers to groot hor, but it brought no warning mossago ; tho birds singing so gaily, the sun shining so brightly, could not toll her that Iho first link in a torriblo ohain was to bo forgod that morning.
Half way down tho cliff, whero tho path ¡B Bteop and narrow, Boatrico suddenly mot tho strangor. A stranger waa an ovont at " Tho Elms." Fow strungors ovor carno. Only at raro intorvals an artist or a tourest Bought sholtor and hospitality at the old farm-houao. Tho stranger seemed to bo a gontlomau. For ono moment both stood ; thon, with a low bow, tho gontlomau stoppod asido to lot the young girl pass. As ho did BO, ho noted tho rare beauty of that brilliant faco-ho romombored the longing words.
" No wonder," ho thought ; " it is a sin for
Buch a face as that to bo biddon boro."
The boauty of those mugnifioont oyoa startled him. Who was Bho? What could BIIO bo doing hero ? Beatrico, turning again, Baw tho stranger looking cagorly aftor hor, with profound ad- miration oxproBBod in ovory fcaturo of his faco ; and that admiring gazo, the first eho had ovor roeeivod in hor lifo, Bank dcop into tho vain, girlish hcurt.
Ho watohod the graceful, slender figuro, until tho turn of tho road hid Beatrico from his viow. Ho followed her ut a safo distance, and saw hor croes tho long moadows thatlod to " Tho Elms." Thon Hugh Fornely waited with putionco until ono of the farm luborora oamo by, By judicious questioning ho discovorod much of tho history of tho beautiful young girl who " longed for life" Her faoo huunted him-its brilliant, queonly boauty-tho dark, radiant oyoB. Como what might, Hugh Fornely Buid to himself, ho must soo hor again.
On tho following morning ho Baw tho girh return to tho cliff. Lillian finished hor picture. Ever and anon ho hoard Boatrico Bulging, in a low, rieh voice, the Bong that had charmed hor with its woird boauty,
For men must work, anil women imut wooli And tlio sooner it's over, the soonor lo sleep
And good-bye to tho bar and its moaning.
" I Uko those words, Lillian," ho hoard her say. " I wonder how soon it will bo * over ' for mo. Shall I ovor weep, as tho song says ? I have novor wept yet."
This morning the golden-haired aistor left tho cliff first, and Beatrice eat reading until tho noon-day sun Bhono upon tho sea. Hor book charmed hor ; it was a Btory, tolling of tho lifo sho loved and longed for,-of the gay, glad world,-of lovely ladies and noble knights. Unfortunately all tho people in tho book wero good and grand, heroic and ideal. The young girl, in her simplicity, beliovod that thoy who lived in the world she longed for wero all liko pcoplo in books.
Whon sho left tho path that lod to the moa- dows, eho saw by hor sido tho stranger who had met her the day before. Again ho bowed pro- foundly, and, with many wolhoxproBsod apolo- gies, asked somo trifling question about the
Beatrico replied briefly, but sho could not help scoing tho wonder of admiration in his faoo. Hor own grew crimson undor hia gaze, he saw it, and hia heart beat high with triumph. As Beatrice wont through tho meadow, ho walked by her sido. She never quite remem- bered how it happened, but, iu a few minutes, he was telling her how many years had pasted since he had Been the spring in England. She forgot all restraint, all prudence, and raised her beautiful eyes to his.
" Ah, then," she cried, " you have seen the great world that lies over tho wide sea."
" Yes," ho replied, " I hovo seon it. I havo been in strango, bright lands, so different from England, thoy scorned to belong to another world I havo seen many of tho wondors bookB toll of-sunny climes and bright skies, strango bright birds and glittering seas, tvhoro tho spico
Aa he spoke, m words that were full of wild, untutored oloquonco, ho saw tho young girl's oycB rivetod upon him Snro of hat ing aroiiBOd her attention, ho bowed, apologiaod for his in- trusion, and left hei.
Had Dora been liko other mothors, Boatrico would bato rclatod this littlo ndvonturo, and told of tho handsoino young traveller who had been m strango climes. As it was, knowing Dora's utter dread of all men,-hor fear lost hor children Bhould ovor lovo and marry, Boatrico nover nninod tho 8iib)oct. Sho thought much of Hugh Fornol}-not of him himself, but of the world ho had spoken about, and abo hopod it might happen to hor to meet him
" If wo hnd eomo ono boro who could lolk m that way," sho Bald to horsolf, " ' Tho Elms ' would not bo quite BO insupportable"
Two days aftorwards, Boatrico, waiidormg on tho sandB, mot Hugh Fornoly. Sho aaw tho eturtlcd look of delight on his fuco, and smiled at his pleasure.
" Pruy forgive mo," ho said. " I-I cuunot pass you without ono word Timo Ima seemed to mo like ono long night sinco I saw you last."
Ho hold in his hand somo beautiful lillies of tho volloy-overy littlo «Into tvuxon ball was perfect Ho offered thom to hor with a low
'This IB tho most beautiful flowei I hate
seen for many years," ho said. " Mo} I bo forgiven foi bogging poi mission to offer it to tho most bountiful lady I havo over soon ?"
Bojtnco took it from him, blushing at his words Ho walked by her sido along tho yollow sands, tho waves rolling in and broiikuig tit their feet. Again his eloquence charmed her. Ho told hor his namo, and how ho was captain of a small hading vessel. Iustinotitoly ho eoomod to understand hor ohuraotoi, hor ro uittiitio, ideal way of looking at ovoi} thing Ho talked to her of tho doop soas and then many wondors,- of tho ocean, said to bo fathomless , of tho 001 al islands and of waters where tho palo, gloaming peail is found , of tho quiet nights spent at sen, whero tho atara shino as thoy noter scorn to shine on land ¡ of tho strange hush that falla upon tho heaving ttatcrs bofoio a stonn. Ho told her of long da} s tt lion thoy wore boonluiod upon tho gi oat dcop, tthon
their vessel eeomod
A painted shin upon a painted ocom
With hor mart ollous fancy und quick imagina-
tion sho followed him to tho wondrousdoptha of silent wutore, whoro strange simpes not 01 seen by human oyos, hover. She hung upon Ins «olds , ho Baw if, und rejoiced in his success Ho did not sturtlo hoi by any moro oomplimonts, but when theil walk tras onded, ho told hoi that morning would hvo m lus mouiory us tho happiest
timo of his life.
Aftor a few dn}B it Bcomod to becomoaBOttlod thing that Bontnco should moot Hugh Fornlcy. Lillian ttondoicd that hor eistoi so often pro
forrcd lonely rambles, but sho saw tbo beautiful faco sho lovod so dourly grow brighter and hnppior, noi or dieaining of tho ouiiso
For many long daya littlo thought of Hugh Fornely carno to Boatrico. Hor mind ian uhtaj a upon what ho had fold hoi-upon bia dosenp tions ot what ho hud scon and hoaid Ho noted tine, and waited with paliuneo,boin of love, for tho timo when Bho should take an interest in
Words aro all wouk in winch to express the psssionuto lovo ho felt for this young girl, beau- tiful and stately UB a quoon. It Boomed to him liko n fairy talo; on tho morning ho Hist saw Boatrico ho had boen walking a long distanco, and had lain donn to rost on iho cliffs. Thoro tho beuutiful vision had dawned upon him. Tho first moment ho gazod into that peorless fuco ho loved Beutrico with a passion that frightened himself Ho determined to win her, ovon though tho winning should cjst him his
At last and by slow dogrecs ho bogan to speak of hoi and of hunsolf, slowly and caro fully, his koon oyos noting overy ohungo upon hor faco ; ho bogan lo offoi her delicate compli- ments, and flattery so well disguised that it did not seem to hor flattery at all. Ho malo hor undorBtand that ho believed her to bo tho most beautiful girl ho had ovor behold Ho fronted hor always UB though sho woro a quoon, and ho
hor humblest slave
Slowly and surely tho swoot poiflon worked itB way ; tho day carno whon tho giacoful, eubtlo flattery was nocossary to tho voiy oxistonco of Beatrice Earle. Thoro waB much to exouso hor ; tho clover, artful man into whoao hands sho had fallen was her first novolty, hor first admiroi tho first who soomod to íomombor that sho was no longer a child, and to treat her with defe- rential attention. Had Bho been, us othor girls aro, surrounded with friends, accustomed to Boototy, properly trained, piopnrod by tho ton der wisdom of a loving mothor, she would noter havo caat her proud oyoB upon Hugh Fornely ; sho would novor havo courted tho danger or run
As it was, whllo Dora proforrod eohtudo, and nourished a keen dishko to hei husband in her heurt,-whilo Ronald yiolded to obetmato prido, and noglcctcd every duty,-whilo both preferred tbo gratification of thoir own tempers, und neg- lected tho ohildron the Almighty intrusted to them, Boatrico went on to her fate,
It was so sad a story, the details BO simple, yot BO pitiful. Evory element of that impulsivo, idealistic nature, helped on the tragedy. Hugh Fern ely understood Boatrico as perhaps no ono elso ever did. Ho idoaheod himself. To hor at longth ho became a groat hero, who bad run through grand adventures-o hero who had tra- velled and fought, brave and generous. Aftor a time ho spoko to hor of lovo, at first novor oven appearing to euppoao that sho could caro for him, but telling her of his own passionate wor- ship,-how her face haunted him, filled his dreams at night, and shone beforo him all duy, how the vory ground Bho stood upon was sacred to him,-how ho envied tho flowers sho touched, -how ho would give up everything to bo the roso that died in her hands. It was all vory pretty and poetical, and ho know how to find pretty pioturoequo spots in the wooda, where the birds and tho flowers helped him to tell hiB
Beatrice found it very pleasant lo bo wor- shipped like a queen ; there was no moro mono- tony for her. Evory morning eho looked for- ward to seeing Hugh-to learning moro of those words that seemed to ber like Bwootest music.
Sho know that somo timo or other during tho day sho should seo him ; ho would look into her face until ita boauty blinded him. Blamo the sad mothor and her stern dootrinos, blamo tho proud fathor and his neglect, that sho know not how wrong all this was. Ho loved her ; in a thousand eloquent ways ho told hor so. Sho was his queen, his lodo-Btar, beautiful and peer- less. It was far moro pleasant to sit on tho sea shore, or under tho greenwood trees, listoning to Buch words, than to pass long, droary boura in- doors. And nono of thoso entrusted with tho caro of the young girl over dreamed of hor danger.
So this waa tbo love her mothor dreoded BO much, This waa tho lovo poota sang of und uovolUts wroto about. It waa very plousunt ; but in after da}s, when Beatrice herself carno to love, abo kuow that thU had been but child's play.
It was tho romance of tho stolen mootinga tliut oharmod Beatrice. If Hugh had boon ad Milted to "The Elma," BIIO would havo woariod of him in a tvook ; but tho oonooalmont gavo her something to think of. Thoro was some- thing to occupy hor mind ; ovory day sho must nrrango for n long ramblo, BO that sho could moot Hugh. So tvhilo the Biimmor eoaa ohunted, whilo tho birds sang, whilo the corn grow ripo iii tho fields, and tho opplo blossoms diod iiwoy,-whilo worm, luxurious Bummer ruled with bia golden wand,-Ronald Eurlo's duughter wont ou to hor futo.
AT length thoro oamo an interruption to Hugh Fernoly'a love dream. Tlio timo drew near when ho must leave Soabay. Tho vossol ho com- manded waa bound for China, and was to anil iu a few days. Tho (bought that ho tuuat louvo tho beautiful girl ho lorod BO dourly and so dooply struok him willi tinondiirublo pain ; ho seemed only to havo lived sinoo ho had mot hor, and ho know that life without hor would bo a burdon loo groat for bim to boar. Ho oskod himself ii liuudrod times ovor, " does alio lovo mo ?" Ho could not toll. Ho roaolvod to fry. Ho dared not look that futuro in tho faoo whioli should tako her from lum.
Tho time drew noiiror ; tho day waa sottlcd on willoh tho Soiigull was to sot sail, and yet Hugh Fernoly had won no promiso from Boa-
Ono morning Hugh mot her at tho etilo load- ing from (ho fields into tho moadow lane-tho protlicst spot in Knutsford. Tho ground was a porfcot and bountiful curpot of flowers ¡ tho wild hyacinth, purple foxglores, tho profty,
strawberry blossoms all grow thoro. Tho hedges wero ono gorgooiiB mass of wild roses and woodbiuoB ; tho full olm troos that run ulong the luno twined their slutoly brnuchoa overhead ¡ tho banks on oach side woro radiant in different oolorod masBos ; hugo fern leaves clung round
roots of tho trees.
Boatrico liked tho pretty green quiot of Mea dow-lano. Sho ofton walked thoro, and on this ovoutful morning Hugh sutv lior sitting in tho midst of tho fern leovos. Ho waa by hor Bido in a minuto, and his dark, bandsonio fuco lighted with joy.
"How tho Bim shinos!" ho said; "Iwotulor tho birds bogin to sing und Iho flotvera to bloom boforo you como out, Mina Earlo."
" I um not theil- Bim," ropliod Boatrico, with u
"But you aro minc," cried Hugh ; and boforo sho oould roply ho was kneeling at hor foot, hor hands oluspcd in hia, whilo ho told hor of tho lovo thal WUB wearing his lifo away.
No ono oould liston to Bitch words unmovod ; they woro truo mid eloquent, full of strango pathos. Ho told hor how dark tho futuro would bo to him, how Bad und woury his lifo ; whoreas, if elio would only loro him und lot him claim her when ho roturnod, ho would make hor hnppy UB a queou. Ho would tuko hor to bright sunny landB where eho Bhould bo ii quoon among mon, Ho would show hor all tho boaulios and won- ders she longod to soo. He would buy liar jovvols and dressos such as lior boauty deBorvod. Ho would bo hor humblo, devotod sluvo, if BIIO would only lovo him.
It was vory plousunt-tho bright morning, tho pioturcsquo gludo, tho warmth und bright- ness of summor all uround. Boatrico lookod at tho handsomo faoo, palo with emotion ; sho folt Hugh's wurm lips proesod to her hand ; eho folt hot toara rain upon hor Augers, und wondorod at suoh lovo. YOB, this was tho lovo sho had road of mid thought about.
" Boatrico," oriod Hugh, " do not slay ino with ono word. Say you will lovo mo, my darling, say I may return and olaim you IIB my own. Your wholo lifo Bhall bo Uko ono long, bright Bummer day."
Sho waa carried away by the burning torront of passionato words. With all lior spirit and pride alio folt woak und powerless boforo Iho mighty lovo of thia atrong man. Almost un- conscious of what sho did, Boatrico luid her whito hands upon tho dark, handsomo hoad of
"Hugh, Hugh," BIIO said j "you frighten me I do lovo you ; seo, your tears burn my hand."
It was not a very enthusiastic reception, but it satisfied him. Ho olnspod tho young girl in his arma, mid she did not rosist ; ho kiaacd (ho proud lips and tho flushed chook. Boatrico Earlo said no words ¡ BIIO was half frlghtonod, half touchod, und wholly subdued.
" Now you aro mino," cried Hugh ; " mino, my own peerless quoon ; nothing Bhall part us
" Hush !" cried Boatrico, again shuddering as with cold fear-"that ¡B a word I disliko and dread BO muoli, Hugh,-do not use it,"
" I will not," ho replied ; and thon Beatrico forgot hor foarB. Ho waa BO happy,-ho loved hor so doarly,-ho was BO proud of winning her. It waa tho moat plouBant flattery ovor offorod to woman, bho listonod through tho long hours of thut sunny morning. It was tho 15lh of July-ho modo her noto tho day-and in two years ho would roturn, to take hor for ovor from (ho quiot houso whero hor beauty and graco
aliko woro buried.
That waa the viow of tho mattor that had soized upon the girl's imagination. It was not so much love for Hugh ; sho liked him. His flattery,-tho excitement of mooting him,-his love, hud bocomo necessary to her ; but had any other means of escapo from the monotony elie hated presented itself, she would havo availed herself of thom quito IIB oagerly. Hugh waa not so much a lover to hor as ho waa Iho medium of escape from a lifo that daily became
moro and more unendurable
She listened with bright Bmiles when ho told her that in two years ho should roturn to fetch her; and she, thinking much of tho romance, and little of the dishonor of concealment, told him how her ead young mother hatod and
dreaded all mention of love and lovers.
" Thon you must nover toll her," ho said, " leave that for me whon I return. I shall have money thon, and perhaps havo command of a grand vessel. Sho will not refuse mo whon sho knows how donrly I lovo you ; and oven should your fathor-tho üthor you tell mo of-come home, you will bo truo to mo, Beatrice, will you
" Yes, I will bo true," sho ropliod,-and, to do her justico, sho mount it at tho time. Her fathor's roturn soomed vnguo and unoertain ; it might bo in ton or twenty years,-it might be novor. Hugh offered her freedom and liberty in two yoars.
" If others should seek your lovo," ho said, " should priiiso your beauty, und offer you rank or wealth, you will say to yourself that you will bo truo to Hugh ?"
" Yea," Bho said, Grmly, " I will do so."
" Two yoarB will soon pass away," said ho. " Ah, Beatrice," ho oiutinued, " I shall havo to loavo you noxt Thursday ; givo mo all tho hours you can. Onco away from you, all timo will seem to mo a long, dark nihill."
It so happoned that tho farmer and his men wero at work in u field quito on tho other side of Knutsford. Dora and Lillian woro intent, tho ono upon a box of booka, nowly arrived, tho other upon a picturo ; so that Boatrico had overy day many hours at hor own disposal. Sho spont thom all with Hugh, whoso lovo soomed to inoroaso with ovory moment.
Hugh waa to louvo Soubuy on Thursday, und on WudueBilay evening ho liugoiod by hor sido na though ho oould not part with hor. To do Hugh Fornley juatico, ho loved Beatrico for herself. Had she boon ii pomiilcss beggar, ho
| would havo lovod hor just tho sumo. Tho only
dark cloud in hia sky waa tho kuowlcdgo that she was fur abovo him. Still, ho arguod to him- self, tho story eho told of hor fathor was a vory impossible one Ho did not bcliovo that Ronald Earle would ovor luko his daughtors homo,-ho did not quito know what to think,
but ho had no four on that scoro.
On tho Wodnosduy evening thoy tvandorcd down tho ohff, and sat upon Iho shoro, watching tho sun Bot upon tho waters. Hugh took from his pookot a littlo morocco case, and plocod it in tho hunda of Boatrico. Sho openod it, and cried out with iidmiralion ; llioru lay tbo most oxquisito ring BIIO lind over seen, of pulo gold, delicately and elaborately chusod j it was sot with Ihrco gleaming opula of raro beauty.
" Look nt the motto inaido," said Hugh.
Sho hold tho ring in her dainty fingere and rend, " Until death part us."
" Oh, Hugh," abo criod, " that word again ! I drond it; why is it always coming to mo?"
Ho smiled at her fours, and UBked hor to lot him placo tho ring upon hor fingor.
" In two yours' timo," ho mid, " I shull placo n plain gold ring on this bountiful hand. Until then wear this, Beatrice, for my euko ; it is our bctrolhul riug."
"It shall not leave my fingor," sho said. " Mamma will not nolico it, and overy ono olso will think sho lins given it to mo horaolf."
" And now," said Hugh, " promiso mo onco moro, Boatrico, }ou will bo truo to mo-you will wo.it for mo-that when I return you will lot ino cliiim you na my own."
" I do promiso," sha said, looking at tho sun shining on tho opals.
Beutrieo novor forgot tho hour that folloivcd. Proud, impotuous, und imperial UB sho was, tho young man's lovo and sorrow touohod her na nothing had over dono. Tho BunbouniB died away in tho weat ; tho glorious mass of tinted clouds fell Uko a voil ovor the ovom'ug sky ¡ tho waves cunno in rapidly, breaking into shoots of whito, creamy founi in tho guthoring durknoBS ¡
but still ho could not leure her.
" I must go, Hugh," said Boatrico, nt length ¡
" mumina will rnieB mo."
Sho nover forgot tho wistful oyos lingoring upon her faco.
" Onco moro, only onco moro," ho said, " Boatrico, my own lovo, whon I roturn you will bo my wifo?"
" Yes," she replied, startlod «liko by his griof
and his love
"Novor bo fuleo to mo," ho oontinuod. "If you woro-"
" Whnt then ?" sho askod, with a smile, as ho paused.
" I Bhould either kill myaolf or you," he ro- pliod, " porhnpB both. Do not mako mo say Buch torriblo things. It could not bo. Thoauu may full from tho hcavenB, tho sea rolling thoro may bocomo dry land, uuturo-ovorything may provo falso, but not you, Iho noblest, the truest of women. Say, ' I lovo you, Hugh,' and lot thoso bo your luet worda to mo. They will go with mu over the wido ocean, and bo my rost and stay."
" I love you, Hugh," sho enid, as ho wished
Something liko u deop, bitter sob carno from his white lips. Dentil itsolf would hnvo scomod casior than leaving her. H o raised hor beautiful face to his,-hia tears and hisses might havo burned it,-lind then ho was gone.
Gono! Tho romaneo of tho paBt fow wooks, tho ongrossing interest, tho romaneo had all suddenly collapsed. To-morrow tho old mono- tonous lifo must bogin again; no moro flattery, priiiso, or love Ho was gono, tho whole ro- maneo was onded, nothing of it romninod eave tho memory of his lovo, and tho ring upon hor
At first thcro fell upon Boatrico a dreadful blank ; tho monotony, tho quiot, tho simplo oc- cupations, woro moro unendurable than ever ; but in a fow days that feeling woro off, and then she bogan to wonder nt what she had done Tho glamour foil from boforo hor oyoa ; the novelty und oxoitoment, tho romance of tho stolen moolings, the pleasant homage of love nnd worship, no longer blinded hor. Ah, and boforo Hugh Fornely hod boon many days and nights upon tho wide ocean, sho ended by grow- ing rather ushumed of the matter, and trying to think of it us littlo as sho could. Once she half tried to (oil Lillian ; but (ho look of horror on tho sweet, puro face sturtled her, and she turnod the subject by some merry jost.
Then tkero carno u letter from MrB. Vyvian, announcing hor roturn. Tho girls wero warmly attaohod to tho ludy, who hud cortainly'devolod the ton best years of her life to thom. Sho brought with hor many novelties, new books, now music, amusing intelligence from tho outer world. For BOino days thoro was no look of excitement and amusement, theil all fell again
into tho old routine
Mrs, Vyvian saw a great chango in Beatrico. Somo of tho old impotuoBÍty had died away ; she waa brilliant as over, full of lifo andgaiety; but in somo way thero was an indescribable chango. At times a strange calm would como over tho bcauliful face, a fur-off, dreamy exproa sion steal into the durk, bright pyos. She hod lost hor old frankness. Timo was when Mr», Vyvian could road all her thoughts, and very rebellious thoughts they often were. But now thero seemed a soaled chamber in the girl's heart. She never spoko of tho future, and for tho ¿rat time her wutehful friend saw in hera nervous fear that distressed hor. Oarefully and cautiously tho governess Iriod to ascerlain the caueo ¡ she felt sure at last that, young as she was, carefully as she had been watched,'Boatrice Earle had a secret in her life that she shared with no one else.
IO BE CONTINUED.]