|Chapter Number||XIX - XXII|
|Newspaper Title||The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933)|
By the author of "Lady Hutton's Ward," Ac.
IHEBE was confu'ion and dismay in tho stately home of the Earles. Ono Bultry morn mc in August Lord Earle went out into tho carden, paying no heed to the oxcessivo heat As ho did not return to lunch, the butler went m seatch of him, and found his master lying as one dead on the ground. He was carried to his owu room, doctors were summoned in hot haste from far* and near ; everything that ECience or love, skill, or wisdom, could suggest was done for him, but all in vain. The hour baa come when ho must leave home, rank, wealth, position, all and everything he valued moat-y,hea ho muBt Btand before tho Great Jud"e, to answer for his life and what he had done with it,-when hu must account for wealth, talent, for tho Bon given to him,-when human likings, human passions, would seem so mfi uitely little.
But while Lord Earle lay upon the bed palo and uncousciou», Lady Earle, who knelt by lum, and never loft him, felt sure that his mind and heort »ero both at work. Ho could not speak , ho did not seem to understand Who knows what parses in those dread moments of silonco, when the light of eternity BbowB so clearly all that wo have dono in the past' It may bo that while ho lay there, hovering as it wore between two worlds, the remembrance of his sou struck lum like a two edged sword,-his son, his only child, given him to train, not only for earth but for hoavon,-tho boy ho had loved und idolised, then east off, and allowed to become a wanderer on tho face of the earth. It may bo that hiB stern, sullen pride, his imperious solf will, his resoluto trampling upon tho voices of Nature and duty, confronted him in the now light shiumg upon him. Perhaps his own words roturned to him, that until ho lay dead Ronald should never seo Earloscourl again, for suddenly tho,voice they thought hushed for over sounded strangely m the silenco of that death
" My 6on '" cried tho dying man, clasping his hands, " my son !"
Thev who saw it nover forgot the blank awful terror that carno upon tho dying face as he uttered his last words.
They boro his weeping wife from tho room. Lady Earle, strong and resolute though she was, could not drivo that scene from hor mina. 3bo was ill for many doys, and so it happonod that the lord wof Earlesoourt was laid in the family vault long ero the family at " Tho Elms " knew of the change awuiting them.
Ronald was summoned home in all haste, but months passed oro letters roachod him, and many moro beforo ho roturned'to England.
Lord Earlo's will was brief, there was no mention of hiB son's namo There was a hand-
some provision', for Lady Karlo, the pretty little estate of Roslyn was settled upon her, tho servants rccoived numerous legacies, Sir Harry Lawrenco^and Sir Hugh Charteris were each to receivo a magnificent mourning ring , but there was no uiontion.of the once loved son and heir.
As hcir-at law, everything was Ronald's, the large amount of money the luto lord had saved, title, estates, evorjthing reverted to him, but Ronald¡would have exchanged all for one lino of foigivenoss,Sfor one word of pardon from the
father he bad never ceased io loio.
It was arranged tboÇuntU Ronald's rotumhis mother should continuo toroBide atEarloscourt, ana tho management of the estates was in- trusted to Mi. Burt, the.family solicitor.
Lady Earle resolved ,to go to " The Elms " herself, great changes must bo mudo there. Ronala's wife and children must toko their plaeo ni tho world, and sho felt a proud Eatisfac lio i in thinking that, thanks to hor sonsiblo and judicious managcmont¿Dora would HU her future position with credit Sho anticipated Ronald's delight when ho should seo his boauti
ful accomplished daughters. Despite hor grout sorrow, tho lady of EarloBcourt felt somo degree of hope for the future. Sho «roto to "Tho Eliot," telling Dora of her husband's death, aud announcing her own coming; then the little household understood that thoir quiet and
solitude had ended for over.
The first thing was to provide handsome mourning Dora was strangely quiet and sad through it all The girls 0"ked a hundrod questions about their fathor, whom they longed to see Thoy know that he had loft homo m consequence of touio quanel with his father, that much Lady Earle told thom-but thoy never dreamed that hiB marriage had caused tho fatal disagreement ¡ they never knew that, for their mother's sake, Lady Earle carefully con- cealed all knowledge of it from them
Ladv Earle reached " Tho Elms" ono ovening in the beginning of Boptembor. She BBkod first to seo Dora alone.
During those long years Dora had grown to ¡ova the stately, gentle lady, who was Ronald's mother Sho could not rosisther sweet, gracious dignity and winning" manner. So,* when Lady Earle, beforo seeing her grand-daughters, went to Dora's room, wishing for a long consul- tation with her, Dora received her with gentle,
" I wish to «ee you firEt," said Lady Helena Earle, " BO that wo may arrange our planB beforo the children know anything of them. Ronald will return to Ei gland in a fow months. Dora, what course shall you adopt?"
" None," she rophed. " Your son's return has nothing whatever to do with me."
"But surely," Bald Lady Helena, "for the children's sake you will not refuse at least an out- ward show of reconciliation ?"
" Mr Earle has not asked for it," said Dora, -" he never will do so, Lady Hiena It is as far from his thoughts as from mino "
Lady Earle sat for some moments too much »'tounded for speech.
" I never enquired the cause of your separa- tion, Dora," Bho said, gently, " and I nover wish to know it My Bon told mo you could live to gether no longer. I loved my own husband , I was a devoted and affectionate wife to him I bore with his faults, and loved his virtues, so that I cannot imagine what I should do were I ?a your place. I say to you what I shall say to Ronald-they are solemn words, ' What thore
fore God hath joined together let no man put munder.' Now let me tell you my opinion. It .a this that once married, nothing can justify «uch a seporation as yours,-nothing but the mon outrageous offences, or the most barbarouB cruelty. TatB tjj0 rlgut courBej jjora > 5UDmit to your husband. Believe me, women's rights »fe all fancy and nonsense ¡ loving, gentle sub mission is the fairest ornament of woman.
Even should Ronald be in the wrong, trample «pon all pride and temper, and make the first
»avanoes to him.
" I cannot," said Dora, gravely.
"Ronald was always gonerous and chival- rous," continued Lady Earle. " Oh, Dora, have youforgotton how my boy gavo up all tho world for you?"
"No," sho replied, bitterly; "nor has ho forgotten it, Lady Earle."
Tho remembrance of what BIIO thought her wrongs roso visibly boforo her. She saw again the magnificent face of Valentine Charteris, with its calm, high-bred wonder. She saw hor hus- band's white, angry, indignant countonanco, his gestures BO full of unuttorablo contempt. Ah, no, never again; nothing could heal that quarrol.
" You must take your placo in tho world," continued Lady Helena. " You aro no longor simply Mrs. Earle, of ' The Elms ¡' you aro Lady Eurie, of Earloscourt ; wife of its lord, and mother of his children. You have duties too numerous for mo to mention, and you muBt not shrink from thom."
" I refuse all," sho replied, calmly ; " I rofuso to mako any advances towards a reconciliation ;
I refuse to be roooncilod."
" And why?" asked Lady Helena, gravoly.
A proud flush rose to Dora's face-hot anger
stirred in hor hoare.
" Because your Bon Baid words to mo that I nover con and never will forgot," she criod. " I did wrong-Lady Holona, I was mad, j'ealous, blind-I did wrong-I did what I now know to be dishonorable and degrading. I had not been well taught, und ho might huvo pardoned mc, remembering that. But before tho woman I believed to^bo my rival-in bor prosonco, ho begged heaven to pardon him for making mo
" Thoy were hard w ords," said Lady Eurie.
"Very hard," replied Dora j " thoy broke my heart-they slow mo in my youth ; I have nover
lived since then."
"Can you never forgive and forget thom, Dora ?" UBkod Lady Holona.
" Nevor," sho replied ; " they aro burned iuto my heart and on my brain. I shall nover forgot thom ; your son and I must be strangers, Ludy Earle, whilo wo livo."
" I cun say no moro," sighed Lady Earle ; " porhops a mightier voice will call to you, Dora, and then you will obey."
A deep silence foil upon hor. Lady Helena was more grioved and disconcerted than she cured to own ; she had thought of taking her son's wife and childron homo in triumph, but it
was not to be.
" Shall wo spook of tho children now ?" BIIO asked at length ; " sonio arrangements must bo made for them."
" Yes," said Dora, " thoir father has olaime upon thom. I am ready to yield to thom. I do not believe he will over love and caro for thom, bocauBO they aro mino. At tho sumo time I givo them up to him and to you, Lady Earle. The sweetest and best years of their lives havo been spent with me ; I must not thoreforo repine. I huvo but one stipulation to make, and it is that my children shall never hear ono word against mo."
" You know little of me," Baid Lady Holona, " if you think such a thing is possible. You would rather part with your childron than ac- company them ?"
" Far rathor," she repliod. " I know you will allow thom to visit mo, Lady Earlo. I huvo known for many yoarB that such a time must como, and I am prepared for it."
"But-my dear Dora," said Lady Earlo, warmly, " havo you oonsiderod what parting with your ohildron implios-tho solitude, tho
" I know it all," replied Dora ; " it will bo hard, but not BO hard or so bitter as living undor
the same roof with thoir father."
Carefully and quietly Dora listened to Lady Eurle's plans and arrangements,-how hor children woro to go to Earlesconrt, and tuko tho position belonging to them, Mrs. Vyvian was to go with thom and remain until Lord Earlo returned. Until then they woro not to bo in- troduced into Bocioty ; it would toko somo timo to accustom them to so great a chango. When Lord Earle returned ho could pursuo what
courso ho would.
"Ho will bo so proud of thom," said Lady Earle. " I have never soon a girl BO spirited and beautiful as Beatrice; Lillian is just UB fair and gentle. Oh, Dora, I should be happy if you woro going with us."
Novor once during the fow days of buBy pre- paration did Doro's proud courage give way. The girls at first refused to leave hor ; they ex- hausted thomsolves in conjectures as to her con- tinued residonce at " Tho Elms," and woro forced tobo satisfied with LadyEarlo's off-hand declaration that thoir mother could not enduro any but a quiet life.
"Mamma has a title now," said Beatrico, wonderingly ; "why will she not use it ?"
" Your mother's tastes aro simple and plain,'
replied Lady Earle. " Her wishes must bo treated with respect."
Dora did not give woy until the two facoB that had brightened her house vanished. When they were gono, and a Btrange, hushed silenco fell upon tbe place, pride and courage gave way. In that hour tho very bitterness of death seemed to be upon her.
IT was a proud moment for Lady Eorle when sho led the two young girlB through the long line of BervuutB assembled to receivo thom. Tboy were both silent from Bhccr wonder. Thoy left Florence at so early an oge that they had not tho faintest remembrance of the protty villa on the banks of the Arno. All their ideas wore centered iu " The Elms ;" they had never seon any other horne.
Lady Earle wotched tho different effects pro- duced upon thom by the first glimpse of Earlos- court, Lillian grew palo ; she trembled ; and her wondering eyes filled with tears. Beatrice, on the contrary, seemed instantly to take in the spirit of the place. Her face Hushed ; a proud light oame into her glorious eyes ; her haughty head was carried more regally than ever. There was no timidity, no shyly expressed wonder, no sensitive shrinking from new and unaccustomed splendour.
They were deeply impressed with the magni- ficence of their new home. For many long days Lady Earle employed herself in showing them the numerous treasures of art and virtu the house contained. The picture gallery pleased Beatrice most ; she gloried in the por- traits of those grund old ancestors, " each with a story to his name." One morning she stood before Lady Helena's portrait, admiring the beautiful likeness. Suddenly turning to tho stately lady by her side, she said, "All the Ladies Earle are here; where is my own mamma ?-her face is sweet and fair as any of these. Why is there no portrait of her?"
" There will bo one some day," said Lady Helena. " When your father returns all those things will bo seen to."
" Wo have no brother," continuod Beatrice ; " every baron boro seems to havo boon succeeded by WB son,-who will suooood my father?"
" His next of kin," replied Lady Earle, sadly, " Liouol Dacro ; ho is a third cousin of Lord Earlo's. He will havo both title and estate."
Sho sighed deeply ; it was a real trouble to Lady Helena that sho should nover ECO hor son's son, nover love and nurso, nover bless tho heir of
Lillian delighted most in tho magnificent gardens, the thickly wooded park, whero overy doll was filled with flowers and ferns, every knoll crownod with tufted trees. The lake, w ith whito lilies Bleoping on its tranquil bosom, una weeping willowB touohiug its clear Burfaeo,
pleased her most of all. As thoy stood on tho | banks, Beatrice, looking into tho transparent depths, shuddered, and turned quickly away.
" I am tired of water," BIIO said ; " nothing wearied me so much at Knutsford as the wide, restlose soa. I must havo been bom with a natural antipathy to water."
Muny days passed boforo tboy wero familiar with EarleBoourt. Evory day brought its now
A pretty Buito of rooms had been prepared for both sisters ; thoy woro in the wostern wing,
and eommuuioatod with oaoh other. Tho Italian nurso who carno with thom from Flo renco had preferred remaining with Dora. Lady Earlo had engaged two fashionublo ladies'
maids to attend thom. She had also ordered for each a wardrobe suitable to the daughtors of
Mrs. Vyviun had two rooms near her charges. Knowing that some mouths might olupso beforo Ronald returned, Lady Holona sottled upon a course of uotion. The young girls wore to bo kept in seclusion, not introduced to tho guy world, knowing only n few old friends of the family j thoy wsre to continuo to study for a fow hours overy morning, to drive or walk with Lady Earlo after lunch, to join hor ot tho 7 o'clock dinnor, and to pass tho evening in the drawing-room.
It wiis a now and beautiful life. Beatrieo revelled in tho luxury and grandeur that sur- rounded hor. Sho amused Lady Earlo by hor vivacious description of tho quiet homo of
" Tho Elms."
"I fool at homo hore," sho said, "and Inovor did thore. At times I woko up, half dreading to hear the rustling of the tall elm trcos, and old Mrs. Thorno's voico asking about tho COWB. Poor mamma I I cannot understand hor tusto,"
Whon they became moro accustomed to tho now lifo, the strange incongruity in thoir family struck them both. On ono sido a grand old race, intermarried with soma of the noblost families in England,-u stately house, title, woalth, rank, and position ; on tho othor, a simple former and his homoly wifo, tho plain old homestead, and complote isolation from ull thoy now considered sooioty.
How could it be? How como it that thoir father was lord of Eorleseourt, and their mother tho daughter of a plain country farmer ? For
tho first timo it struok them both that there was Bomo mystery in tho life of tho parents. Both grow moro shy of Bpoaking of " Tho Elms," fooling with tho koon instinct peculiar to youth that there was something almost un- natural in their position.
Visitors carno occasionally to EavlcBcourt : Sir Harry and Lady Lawronco, of Holtham, often oallcd ; Lady Charturis carno from Greonoko ; and all warmly udinirod the beauti- ful daughtors of Lord Earlo,
Beatrioo, with her brilliant beauty, hor mag- nificent voico, and goy, graceful manner, was cortainly tho favorito. Sir Harry declurod she was the finest rider in tho oountry.
Thore was an unusual stir of preparation whon Lady Earlo told thom that Lady Char- teris, the duughtor of her devoted friend, «as coming to spend a fow dayB at Earlesoourt. Thon, for the first time, they Baw the beautiful and stately lady whoso fate was so strangely
interwoven with theirs.
Valentino Charteris was no longor " the quoon of the county." Princo Borgezi had won tho boautiful English woman. Ho followed hor to Grocnoko, and ropoatcd his question. There wat neither coquetry nor affectation in Valen- tine,-eba had thought over it, and decided that sho was nevor likely to moot with any ona elso sho liked and respected so much as her Italian lover. Ho had tho virtues (without the faults) of the children of the South, a lavishly gener- ous, princoly disposition, well-cultivated artistic tastes, good principios, and a Bonse of ohiyalrous honor. Pcrhups the thing that touchod hor most was his grout love for hor. In many re- spects ho roscmbled Ronald Earlo moro nearly than any one else sho had ever mot.
To the intonBO delight of both parents. Miss Charteris accepted him. For hor Boko the prince consented to spend evory alternate your in England.
Tho wedding was a magnificent ono, and throo times had the wholo country sido welcomed the stately Italian and his beautiful wife. This was thoir fourth visit to England, und when the princess heard from Lady Charteris that Ro- nald's two daughtere, whomvho romomberod as little babies, were at Earlesoourt, nothing would satisfy her but a vhit there.
The young girls looked in admiring wondor at tho lady. They had nover scon anything BO dazzling or so bright. The calm grand Grecian face had gained in beauty, the magnificent hoad with its wealth of golden hair, tbo tall stately figure, charmed thom. And when Valentino took them in her arms and kissed thom, ber thoughts went back to the white wild faco in the garden, and the dark eyes that had flamed in hot anger upon her.
" I knew your mother years ago," she Baid ; " has she never mentioned my name ? I usod to nurse yon both in the little villa at Florence I was one of your father's oldest friendB."
No, they had never heard her name, and Bea- trice wondered that her mother could have known and forgotten one so beautiful OB tho princess.
The week she remained passed like a long bright dream. Beatrice almost worshipped Valentino ; this was what she had droamed of long ago ; this was one of the ideal ladies living in the bright gay world Bhe was loaming to
When the princo and princess left Earlesoourt they made Lady Helena promise that Beatrice and Lillian should visit them at Florence. They spoke of the fair and coquettish Countess Rosali, still a roigning belle, and said how warmly Bhe would welcome them for their
" You talk so much of Italy," said Valentino to Beatrice. " it is just the land for the romaneo
you love You Bhall BOO bluo skies and sunny seas, vines and myrtles and orango treos in bloom, you shall see such luxunanco and beauty that you will novor wish to return to this cold, dreary England "
It was thus arrangod that whon Lord Earlo returned, tho visit should be paid, and the oven mg after their guosts' departuro scorned long
" I will write to mamma," said Beatrico , " it is Btrango sho novor told us anything of hor friend I muBt toll hor all about tho visit "
Not dunug to wish tho girls to keep any secret from Dora, Lady Earle was obliged to lot tho letter go Tho passionate, lonely heart brooded over ovory word Beatnco dwelt with loving admiration on tho calm, grand beauty of the princess, hor swoot and gracious mannor, hor kindly rocollootion of Dora, and hoi urgent invitation to thom Doia read it through calmly, each word stabbing hor with cruol pum The old, fierce jealousy roso strong ni hor hoart, crushing oiory goptlo thought She toro tho lottor, so full of Valentine, into a thousand
" She took my husbaud from mo, ' sho criod, " with tho misorablo beauty of her fair facoond now sho will win my children "
Then across tho fierce tempest of joalous anger carno ono thought like a ray of light Vulentino wus married , sho had married the woalthy, powerful prinoo who bad boen Ronald's patron , so thou, ovon if sho had lured Ronald from hor, ho had not cured for hor, or sho bad soon coascd to caro for him
Beatrico thought it Btill more Btrango whon hor mother's roply to that long, outhiiBiastio letter carno Dora Bald, simply, that sho had never named the Princass Borgczi bocauso sho was a porson whom sho did not cuio to i einem
Fifteen months passed, and at lougth carne a lot ter from Lord Earlo, saying that ho hopod to roach England boforo Christmas, and, m any caso, would bo with thom by Christmas Day It « as a short lottor, writtou in the hurrj of travelling , tho words that touched his children most woro, "I am glad you hmo the girls at Lailoscourt, I um anxious to seo what thoy aro like Muko thom happy, mother, lot thom havo ull thoy want, and if it bo possiblo, after my long noglect, teach thom to love mo "
Tho letter eontauiod no mention of thoir mother, no allusion was raado to hor The girU watched tho wooks go by vtith Borne little trepidation What if, after all, this futhor, whom thoy did not remember, should not liko thom 1 Beatrice did not think such a thing very probablo, but Lillian spont niuny an bom in nervous, funoiful alarms
It was Btrango how completely oil the old life had diod away Both hud folt a kind of affoo tion for tho old farmor and his wife-thoy sont many presents to thom-but Beatrice would curl her proud lips in scorn whon sho road aloud that "Mi undMis Thorno desired their humblo duty to Lady Earle "
Lady Earlo felt no anxiety about her son's return , looking at his daughtors sho could seo uo fault in them Beautiful, accomplished, and gracoful whut moro could ho dosiro ? She in wurdly thanked Providence that noithoi of thom boro tho leiiBt resemblance to tho Thornes Beatnco looked like ano of tho Ludios Lalla past dosconded from a pioturo framo, Lilion, m hor fuir, dovo like lovohnoBs wus, quito as charming What would Lady Earle-so truth ful, BO honorable-havo thought or said had sho
known that hor brilliant favorite with tho Earlo
face had phghtod hor troth, unknown to uti y one, to tho captain of a small trading vessol, who was to oluim her m two years time for his
Lady Earlo had formod hor own plans for Boatnco, BIIO hoped tho timo would como when she would bo Lidj Earlo, of Eorleseourt, nothing could bo raoiodolicjitfu), nothing easier, provided Boatnco would marry tho young hoir,
Ono morning, as the sisters sat m Lillian's room, Lady Earlo entered with un unusual ex pression of emotion on hor fair, high bred faoo, sho held an open lottcr in hor hands
" My door childron," BIIO said, " ring for Sim mons, and consult her about jour droseos You must oach look your very host this evening I hove a noto boro,-your father will bo homo to night "
The calm, proud voice faltorod then, and the Btutoly mistress of Eorleseourt wopt at tho thought of hor son's return as she bad never wopt since ho loft hor
ONCE moro Ronald, Lord Earlo, stood upon English shores, once again he hcurd his mother tongue Bpokon by all around him, onco again ho felt tho charm of quiet, sweet English scenery Sovontoon years bud passed sinoo ho had taken Dora's hand in his, and told her ha cared nothing for all he was leaving behind him, nothing for anyono m tho world sayo herself, seventeen yours, and his lovo dream hud lasted but two ' Then carno tho cruel shock that blinded him with anger and shume , then carno tho rude awakening from his dream, when, look ing his life bravoly in tho faco, ho found it nothing but a burden , hope und ambition gono, the grand political mission ho had onco be lioved to bo his own, ímpossiblo, nothing loft to him of hiB glonoUB dreams but existence,- and all for what? For the mad, foolish love of a pretty faco Ho hated himself for biB weakness and folly For that,-for the fair, foolish woman, who had shamed him so sorely,-ho had half broken hiB mother's heart, and had em bittored his fathor'B life For thiB ho had mado
himself an eulo, old in his youth, worn and weary, when life Bhould have been all smiling
Thcso thoughts flashed through bis mind as tho express train whirlod through the quiet EngliBh landscape Winter snows had fallen, the great bare branches of the tall trees were gaunt and snow laden, the fields looked hko hard wolds covered with snow, the frost had hardened tho icicles hanging from hedges and trees It soomed strange to him, this cold, quiet white, after so many years of the tropical sun. Yot every breath of tho sharp, frosty air invigorated him, and brought him new life and
At length the little Btation was reached, and he saw tbe carriage with its liveried servants awaiting him. A warm flush roso to Lord Earle'B foco, for a moment ho felt almost ashamed of meeting his own domestics They must all know now why he had left homo His own valet, Morton, was there Lord Earlo bad kept bim, and tho man asked permission to go and meet his old master.
Ronald was pleased to see him, there wire a few words of courteous greeting from Lord
Earlo to his attendants, and a fow still kinder
words to Morton
Onco again Ronald BOW tho old trees of which ho had dreamed so often, tho stately cedars, tho grund spreading oaks, tho tall aspons, the " lady boeeh," tho gro\os of poplars,-ovory spot wa* familiar to bim In tho distanco ho saw tho laka shining through tho trees, ho dravo past the magnificent gardons, tho orchards now bare and empty He was not ashamod of the toars that rushed warmly to his oyes when tho toners sud turrets of Earlesoourt camem sight
A sharp sonso of pain filled his heart, keon regret, bitter remorse, a longing for power to undo all that had been done, to rocall tho lost, miserable j ears-tho best of hit life He might return, he might do his best to ntono for his error, but neither ropoutaiioonoi atonement eould give bim back tho fathor whoso pudo ho
had humbled to the dust.
As tho carn igo rollod up the broad drivo, n hundred instances of his fathor's lovo and ludtil
genoe flushed aorosB him,-ho had uevor ro fuBod but one request Ho had used wisdom and tenderness to dissundo him fiom tho fuleo stop that could novor bo retraced,-but ull lu
He romomboied his father's faco on that morning, whon, with outstrotohod hunde, ho bado bun leave his presence, and novor seek it moro, whon ho told bun, thut whonovoi ho looked upon his doud face, ho was to romombei that doath itsolf was loss bittor than the hour in which ho bud boon docoived
Sod, bitter inomoncs filled hiB heait, whon tho eui ringo stopped at tho door and Ronuld caught Bight of old familiar faces, some in
smiles some m toats
Tho library dooi wus thrown open Hardly knowing where he went, Lord Earlo ontorod, and it was closed bohiud lum His oyes, dimmed « ith teurs, suw ii tull, stately lady, who ueh anted to moot lum with opon tu ms
Tho fuco ho remembered so fair and calm, boio deep marks of sorrow , tho pioud, tender oyes were shadowed, tho glossy hair was threaded with silvor , but it was Ins mothor's voico that cried to him, " Mj Bon, my son ' thank God you oro roturnod '"
Ho no>er rcinouiborod how long Ina mother bold lum oln«pod in hor arms Earth has no other \OMS hko a mothoi's lovo-nono BO tondm, so true, BO full of swcot wisdom, so repleto with pity mid pardon It was hor own son »horn Lady Lui lo hold m hot arms Sho forirot thut ho was a man who hud incurred piBt displeasure Ho was hor boy, her own ti casino, uud so it wus that her woids of greeting woro all of loy mg welcome
" How ohunged you aro '" BIIO said, drawing bim neui lo tho fast fading light " Your fuco is quite broiuod, you look so many j oui a older, -so sod, so worn ' Oh, Ronald, I must teach y ou to grow j oung and happy agam '
Ho sighed dccpl}, and his mother's heart grow Bad us Bhe watched his restless faco
"Old fashioned copy books say, mother, that ' to bo happy ono must be good ' I huvo not beun good," ho euid, with u slight Birnie, " und I Bhull novoi be happy "
By the faint wauing light, through winch tho snow gie uned strangely, mothoi and eon sut talking Lady Earlo told Ronald of his fathoi's doath, of that last yearning ory, when all the pout up lovo of yoars Boomod to rush forth and oveipowor him with its forco It wus somo comfort to bim, aftor all, that his fathor's laBt thoughts uud last words bad boon for him
His heart wus strangoly Boftonod , anew hope carno to lum Gruntod that tho boBtpartof his life »us wasted, ho would do his best with Iho
" And my children," ho said, "im poor httlo gula I I will not seo thom until I um calm and rofioshcd I know thoy uro well and happy with you "
Ho smiled at hor warm praisos, and Ilion, taking advantage of IHB mood, Lady Eurlo suid what sho hud boon longing to iay
" Ronald," sho bogan, " I havo had much to suffer You will novor know how my houit has been torn bolweon my husband and my son Lot my fow last yoars bo spout in poaco "
' " ihey shall, mothor," ho Bald " Your hap
pincBB shall bo my study "
" lhere can bo no rest for me," continued his mother, unless all division in our fumily onds Ronald, I, who novor asked you a favor boforo, ask one now Seek Dora, and bring her homo, roconoilod and happy "
A dark angry frown, such as elie had never Boon boforo came on Lord Larlo's fuco
" Anything but that," ho replied, hastily , " I cannot do it, mothor I could not, if I lay upon my deathbed "
" And why ?" asked Lady Holona, simply, as
she hud asked Dora
1 For u hundred reasons, tho first and greatest of which is that sho has outrngod nil my notions of honor, shutnod and degraded mo in the presonco of one I OBteomed und revered, sho has-, but no, I will not speak of my wife's errors, it IB not manly I cannot forgivo her, mothor I wish hor no harm , lot hor havo o\ory luxury my woalth can procure, but do not natno her to mo I should bo utterly dovoid of all prido if I oould pardon hor "
" Prido on your Bido," said Lady Earle», sudly, " and temper on hors Oh, Ronald, how will it ond ? Bo wiso in timo, tho most honest and tho nob'ost mon is ho who conquers himsolf Conquor yourself, my son, and pardon Dora "
" I could moro ooBily die," ho rep led, bitterly
"Thon," said Lady Earle, sorrowfully, "I must Bay to you as Isold to Dora-bowaro, pride and temper muBt bond and break Bo
warned in time."
" Mother," mtorrupted Ronald, bending over tho palo face BO full of emotion, " let this bo tho last timo You distress yourself and mo, do not renew tho Bubjoot I may forgivo her in tbo hour of death, not boforo "
Lady Helena's last hopo died away , sho had thought that in the first hour of his return, when old memories had softonod his heart, she should prevail on him to Book his wife whom he had ceased to love, and for their children's sako to take hor home. She little dreamed that the coming home, the recollection of his father, the ghost of his lost youth and blighted hopes rising every instant, had hardened him against
the wife for whom he had lost all
" You will like to Beo tho ohildren now," said Lady Helena, " I will ung for lights You will bo charmed with both. Beatrice is much hko you,-she has tho Earlo face, and, unless I am mistaken, the Earlo spirit too "
" Beatrice," said Lillian, OB thoy descended the broad staircase, " I am frightened I wish I could romombcr something of papa-his voico or his smile, it is like going to seo a stranger And suppose, after all, he does not like UB '"
" Supposo-what is of greater importance," said Boatnco, proudly-" that wo do not hko
But, foi all hor high spirits and houtour, Boa trico almost trcmblod as the library door openod, and Lady Eurie carno forward to meet thom She raised her eyos dauntlessly, and saw boforo hor a tall, stately gontloman, with a hnndsomo face, tho saddest and the noblest sho had ovor seen,-cloar, keon oyos, that seomod to picrco through oil disguiso nud road all thoughts
" Ilioro is Boatnco," said Lady Holona, as sho took her hnnd gontly, and Ronald looked in sturtlod wonder at tho suporb beauty of tho faco and figure beforo bun.
" Beatnco," ho enid, kissing the proud, bright faoo, " can it bo possiblo ? When I saw y ou laBt you woro a little helpless ohild."
" I am not holpless now," sho replied, with a Bindo, " and I hopo you aro going to love mo >ory much, pu pu. You havo to mako up for fifteen years' absenco I tlnuk it will not bo vory diihoult to lovo you "
Ho seomod dazzled by her beauty,-hor frank, high spu it, mid fearless words Then ho saw a golden bond, and swoot, do\o hko oyos, rai'ed
"I mu Lillian, papa," said a cloar, musical voice " Look ut me, ploaso , mid love mo too "
Ho did both, churmod with tho gontlo giaco of hor mnnner, and tho fair, puro fuco Thon Lord Ein lo took both his ohildion lu Inn nuns
" I wish," ho saul in a broken voico, mid with tenrs in his eyos, " that I had soon you boforo lhoy told mo my httlo twin childron bud grown into beautiful girls, but I did not roaliso it.
And again, when she BOW his proud happiness, T ndy Holona longed to plead foi tho mother of his el lldron, that sho might also shut o in his loio, but she dured not His nords haunted hoi Dom would ouly bo forglen m tho horn
THAI ovonmg of Ina roturn wus ono of the bappioBt of Lord Eorlo's life Ho «as oharmod with his daughters Ladj Holona thought w iib, a smile, that it was diflioult to milloo tho relationship bctwoon thom Although hor sou lookod end and oaroworn, ho soomod moro hko un oidor bruthen than tho father of tho Ino young girls
There was sonio httlo restraint between thom at first. Lord Earlo scorned at a loss w hat to talk nbout, then Linly Hclona's gracious tact camu into play abo would not huvo dinner in tho lurgo dmmg room, she ordoiod it to bo scried m the pretty morning room, whore tho Uro burned chcorfully, and the InmpB gavo a Hood of mollow light It was tho picture of warm, cosy EngliBh comfort, und Lord Earle looked plousod whon ho saw it
llicn, whon dinner was ovor, sho nskod Boatnco to sing , and sho, only too pleased to BIIOW Lord Eurie tho extont of her accomplish monte, obojed Hor mngmficont voiao, with ita eleni, ringing tones, amazed lum Boatnco sang Bong after song with pasBion und Uro, that told how dcop tho musio lay m hor eoul
'Ilion Ludy Holona bado Lillian bring out her folio of draw inga, and nguiu Loi d Earlo was ploaBod and surprised by the Bkill and tnloiit ho hail not looked for Ho praieod tho drawings highly Ono ospociiilly attracted Ina attention, -ii wus tho pretty scono Lillian hud sketched on tho May day now so long passed,-Iho Bun shining upon tho distant white sails, lind tho broad, beautiful swoop of Boa at Kmitsfoid
" Hint is nu oxcollont picture," ho said,-" it ought to bo framed It is too good lo bo hidden in a folio You havo pist caught the right coloring, Lillian , ono can almost seo tho sun sparkling on tho water Whero is this noa <, low
talton from ?"
"Do you not knew it?" eho UBkod, looking at lum with wonder m her oyos "It is from Knutsford-mamma's home "
Ronald looked up in euddon, painful surpriso "Mamma's homo'" Iho wordB omolo lum like a blow
Ho bud forgotten all this part of tho sub|oct. Ho rorcomborcd Dora's olloneo , hor cold lottor, hor hurriod flight, his own firm resolve novor to recoivo hor in his homo again ; but ho bud not romemborod thut tho childron must lovo lioi
thut sho wus puit of fhoir livos Ho could not soparato thom from hor Thoro bofoio linn loy tho pretty picture of " mamma's homo "
" HUB," Baid Lillian, " is ' Tho Elms.' Soo
thoBO grund old trees, papa' This IB tho win- I dow of mamma's room, and this was our study " I Ho lookod with wonder. This, thon, wus
| Dora's homo,-tho pretty, quaint homoBtead
Btauding in tho midst of gioon moadows Ae ho garod, ho half wotidorod what thoDoia, who for fifteen years had lived there, could bo hko ? Did the curling miks of duik hair full as graoo fully as ever ? Had tho blushing, dimpled fuco grown palo and still? And thon, abasing away all softened thought, eumo tho romombranco of that hateful garden scene Ah, no, ho oould novor forgivo ; ho oould not spoak of hor oven to those, ho>* children Tho two pictures woro laid aside, and no moro was Bald of framing
Lord Earle said to himsolf, after his daughtors had rotirod, that both wcro charming, but, though he hardly ownod it to himself, if lie had a proforenco, it was for brilliant, beautiful Bea- trico Ho bad novor aeon any ono to surpass hor. After Lady Holona had loft him, ho sat by the flro dreaming, as his father long years ago had dono boforo him, and ho resolved that ho would bogm at onoo to rotnovo tbo fatal mistako
of his hfo.
During breakfast on tbo morning following his return Lady Holona nskod what woro his planB for tbo day
' I wish to havo a long conversation with my daughters," said Lord Earle, " long and unin-
terrupted " I
Ronald, Lord Earle, had made up his mind In tho Bamo placo whoro his father had warned lum, and mado tho strongest improsBion upon him, ho would wara his obildron, and m tho samo way, so ho took thom to tho picturo gallory, whoro ho lost stood with his fathor*.
With gentío flrmnosBho said, " I havo brought you hore, as I bavo something to say to you which is bcBt said boro
" Y'ears ngo, obildron, my fathor brought mo, as I bring you, to warn and udvise mo, I warn and advise you Wo are, though so cloaoly re- lated, almost stranger». I am ready to love you, and do lovo you. I intend to make your happiness my chief study But thoro IB one thing I must have-that is, perfect openness ; one thing I mutt forbid-that is, deceit of any kind, on any subject If either of you huvo in your short lives a secret, tell it to mo now ; if oitbor of you love any one, even though it bo one unworthy, toll me now. 1 will pardon any im- prudence, any folly, any want of caution everything save deceit. Trust me, and I wdl be
gontlo as a tender woman ; decoive me, and I will never forgivo you, nevor pardon you "
Both fair faces had grown palo, Beatrice, from sudden and deadly fear, Lillian, norn strong omotion
"The mon of our lace," snid Lord Earle, " have erred at times , tho women nover You bolong to ii long lino of noble, pure, and high- bred ladies, thoro must bo nothing m your lives loss noblo than in thom , but if there has been,-if from want of vigilonco of trainipg mid of caution, thora should bo, anything m this short past, toll it to mo now, and I will for- got it "
Neither spoko to him ono word, and a strange pathos carno into his voice as ho continued
"I committed ono act of deceit in my life," continued Lord Earlo , " it drove mo from homo, it made mo an oxilo during tho best years of my life It matters little what it was, you will nover know, but it hua mudo me moroiloss to nil deooit I will novor spare it, it has muda mo harsh and bittor You will both find in me tbo truest, the host of frionds, if in ovorything you uro struightfoiward and honorable, bat, childron, dearly as I lovo yon, I will novor par.
don n ho or an oct of docoit "
" I novor told a he m my hfo," said Lillian, pioudly "Mymothor taught us to lovo truth "
"And you, my Bontrico?" ho nskod, gently, as ho turned to the beautiful faco, half avorted
" I cuu Bay with my sistei," was the haughty reply, " I have nover told a ho "
Evon as BIIO spoko her lips grow palo with foar, ns she roinemborod the fatal secret of her ongiigomout to Hugh Furnoly
" I boliovo it," replied Lord Earlo, " I can road truth in oaoh faeo Now tell mo-havo no four-huvo you any soorot m that past life P Rouiombci, no matten what you have doue, I shall freely pardon it If vou should be m any tioublo or difficulty, ns young pi opio aro at tunos, I will help you , I will do anything for you, if you «ill trust mo "
And nguiu Lilli m raised hor swoot fuco to his. " I lim o no Boorot," BIIO said, simply " I do not think I know u Boorot, or anything hko one. My past hfo is an open book, pupa, und y ou can rcivd ovoiy pne,o of it "
"Thank God," said Lord Earlo, as ho plaood his limul caressingly upon tho fair hoad
It wus sttungo, and ho remembered the omis- sion afterwards, thut bo did not repeat tho ques- tion to Bontrico,-ho seomod to consider that Lillum's unan01 included hors Ho did not know hot boult was boating high with fear
" I know " ho continued, goutly, " thut soma young girls huvo thou lovo secrets You toll mo you huvo nono I boliovo you I havo but ono word moio to say Yan will bo out in the great world soon, and you Mill both havo plonty of lovers 'ilion will como the hour of trial and temptation , remember my woids, thero is no cu so so gi eut as ti clandestine love, no orror BO groat or so degrading Ono of on- raco was so cursed, and his punishment was grout No mut tor whom you lovo, or »ho lovos you, lot all bo fun, honorable, und opon us the day Trust ino , do not doeoivo mu. Lot mo in justice Bay, I will novel oppose nny reasonable mai migo, but I will nevor purdon u clandestine attuchmont
" Howovor doiuly I might lovo tho ono who so trunsgicBBod," continued Lord Earlo, " oveu if it bi olio my heart to purt with hor, I should send hor fiom mo utonce, sho should nevor moto bo child of mino Do not think rae harsh oi unkind, I have weighty reasons for every word I have uttorod I um half ashamed to epoak of such things to you but it must bo dono You ore Binding, Lillian ¡ what IB it?"
"I should lough, pupa," BIIO replied, " if yon did not look so very gruyo Wo miiBt soo people m ordoi to lovo I lie ni Beatrice, how many do wo know m tho world P Furmor Loigh, tho dootor at Soubny, Dr Goodo, who eamo to ' The Elms ' whon mamma was ill, two furm laborers, and the shepherd ¡ that was the extent of our acquaintance until wo carno to Earlesoourt I may now add Sir Harry Holta and Punco Borgczi to my list You forgot, papa, wo havo lived out of the world "
"I huvo no son," he said, "und you, my dnughtorB, will not inherit title or oatuto-both go to Lionel Huero , and if ever tho timo should come, whon Lionol UBks either of you to bo his wife, my duurost wish will be accomplished And now, as my long kuturu is IhiiBhed, and tho hall has rung, wo will propuro for a long, gay visit to Sir Hurry Holte and Lidy Luwronoo '
Thoro wns not much timo foi thought during the rest of tho day , hut when night oamo, and Beatrice wiiB alono, sho looked tho soorot of her
hfo in tho fuco
Sho had boon strongly tomptod vi lion Lo-d Eurlo spoko so kindly to toll lum all Sho now wished BIIO bud dono so, all would bo ovor. Ho would huvo, perhaps, ohidod hor simpl i, girlish folly, and havo forgivon her He would novor foigivo hor now that she had deliberately concealed the fact, tho timo of forgivoness wus past
She would havo to loavo tho magnificent und luxurious homo, the splendour that dohghtcd hor, the glorious prospocts opening to her, and roturn to "Hie Elms," porhopB never to loavo it again Ah, no, tbo secret must bo kopf She did not fool muob alarmed, many things might happen Perhaps tho Seagull might bo lost, Bho thought without pain or sorrow of the pro hablo death of tho man who lovod her as fow uro lovod
Evon if ho returned bo might havo forgotten hor or novor find her. Bho did not feel vory unhappy or ill at ease,-tho chances, sho thought, woro many m her favor Sho had but ono thing to do, to koop all knowledge of her soorot from
[TO HE C0N1INOKD ]
AMBBICAN MUSICAL CBITIOISIT - Some 1 oboico specimens " of musical onticisu. have lately appeared in tho American papers Hero aro u fow Speaking of Signor Mario's recent appeorunco in opera in tho United States, ono Now York critio writes -' Tho perfection of his method romains, but his voice, like tho momory of a buried ]oy, may be imagined but hardly admits of description," another, how ever, wishing to bo moro oonoieo simply compares tho artist to " an oged nightingale with a cold " Of the style " highfolution " the ontiquo on Madamo Rudersdorff affords a rich cxumple -this ulso IB from a Now York paper -" To tell you how sho sang would bo impossible , but if one moy compare an object of sight to one of sound, wo would say that ber voice is hko a rocket, which from tbo first bursts upon tho Bight with a magnificonco that claims undivided attontion,andin an in Btant carries your nttentlou from earth to heaven, when it bursts into ten thousand orbs oí glory that scintillate, eaoh a soporato gem upon the blue ompyroon, and burn, each with a varied hue of beauty that at onco distracts and commands utteniion, until thoy burst into a flotcy trail of stare that float) down tho vaulted sky softly and slowly, unhl the earth seems over arched by a lacework of lire, that drops earthward as it falls, growing thinner, finer, until, like the lost expiring breath of » sigh, it is lost in the ovonmg air,"