|Chapter Title||TINY'S FORTUNE.|
|Newspaper Title||The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893)|
|Trove Title||Love and Passion|
" And now that you are better, my dear Tiny, I think you may venture down stairs. And do not worry about your future, my child. Mrs. Vandeleur baa decided to retain you as her companion, pro- vided you agree ; and as she is a kind-hearted woman -though somewhat capricious-I thiuk you had better accept the position ?
" Ab though I could refuse I" cried Tiny the great tears rolling like silvery dew-drops down her pale cheeks, " Oh, Mrs. Dal.elle, how can I ever repay you for your kindness to me, a homeless child, a 'waif and stray.' And you have not asked me con- cerning my history, though I am a perfect stranger to you and came to you under such peculiar circum- stances. You have not asked me any questions."
" Ah, my dear, there is no need, surely I We know that you have suffered wrong at the bands of some cruel person ; that you are an orphan, and your, name is Tiny Rosf."
Tiny started, and her pale face flushed slightly.
> "Not exactly, Mrs, Balzelle," she said, slowly, " That is not quite the name ; but if it is all the same to you"-with a bitter ping at memory oEEäsica "Iwillba called Tiny Ross; and some day, dear madam, I may be able to explain my reason. Please may I see Mrs. Vandeleur soon P I would be glad to
know if I suit her."
Mrs, Dalzelle arose, and rang the bell. Tiny bad beeD installed in a neat chamber, far enough removed from the apartments of the fastidious Miss Pearl, to prevent frequent encounters. For a constant battle was being fought between that young lady and the balance of the household, relative to the young stranger who bad come within their gates A battle in which, no doubt the long suffering Mrs. Dalzelle would have been ignominlously vanquished as ububI, bad not Edith come to the rescue. For Edith-Mrs. Vandeleur-was for the present under the Dazelle roof; from thence, in company with her husband, she wBs soon to start for their home in California,
She hud kindly assisted in nursing poor Tiny through her serious illness and as the girl bad been delirious most of the time. Edith had drawn enough from her incoherrent ravings, etudying the beautiful, pathetic face meanwhile, to form quite a correct opinion of the girl, the result of which bad been a determination to offer her the position of companion
when she ehuuld set out on he; journey homeward, j
And now in response to the summons Edith entered the room where Tiny sat with her kind friend and benefactress, Mr«. Dazelle, Not the lovely Edith Dorrington any more. A pole, fretful, weary-looking woman, richly dresse', but wearing a discontented expression. Poor Edith! She had sown tares, and the harvest had been bitter. " Whatsoever ye sow, that shall ya also reap,"
She had been John Vnndeleur's wife for all these long years-his loving, true, and feithfuljwife. But sheghad known the truth always. Ever since that dreadful .day when, hidden in j the curtained bay window, she bad been an unsuspected listener to the interview between her busband and Ruth Carroll, she had known that she could never possess his heart, And the thought waa anguish unutterable. It seemed to her in those dark, dreary hours of bitter, intense suffering, as though there were no depths of misery to which her tooul had not descended. But she bad hidden the secret away in her tortured heart, and no one was the wiser. John Vandeleur had never apoken upon tbejsubject-had never once referred to Ruth in| the most distant] way : and Edith, with a desperate determination to win.bim or perieh, clung to bim with all the madness of¡ des- pair. But he felt that it would]be wiser tojmake no reference to the subject-to say nothing at all. He bad been a fool, let him suffer for it now. He was not the first man who has sold his birthright for a mess of pottage.
He strove to be a good husband to the woman who had done him this deadly wrong. Faithful and true he had certainly ever been ; kind, and outwardly at- tentive ; but there was no love, and she knew it. Bo tbey bad dragged out their weary lives-their lives of bondage, chained, he writhing under his fetters, she wearing her life out in unavailing efforts to win bis heart, and feelingljall the time what a miserable failure it was. And now, at last, after this long in- terval, she bad given over the battle and rested upon her arms. There was no hope, and she knew it. There was not the slightest fault to be found with her husband, only he did not love her ! And ehe knew that his heart was in the keeping of another woman ; she knew, too, that ho bad never changed-never
, All this time Edith has been standing on the thres- hold of Tiny's pretty room, her weary eyes upon the girl's waxen face-such mournful, dissatisfied eyes. She put out both her small, jewelled hands, as Tiny attempted to arise.
"Keep your seat, my child !" she said, kindly. " I have called to see you in regard to your future ?"
She drew a velvet easy-chair close to Tiny's aide, and seating herself, gazed earnestly into the girl's
" I want you to go borne with me to Los Angelos," she said, impetuously. " Tiny, I like you 1 I believe in you and" (with a little, mirthless laugh) " that is a great deal for me to say, I assure you, for I have little faith in anybody !"
Tiny's large eyes were raised to her face ; eyes full of grave, earnest wonder.
" Oh don't say that I" she cried. " It mult he dreadful not to trust anybody, Mre. Vandeleur, I am so sorry for you."
Edith's eyes grew moist ; then she turned away
with a bitter s stile.
"You are very young, and utterly inexperienced, Tiny," she said, slowly. When you hove grown older you will look b^ck upon your present wild de- lusions as something to smile at,'
" I hope not !" cried Tiny, earnestly. " I hope and pray to the good god if I ever have to give up my faith in my fellow-creatures, that I moy die I"
Edith laid her band upon the golden head.
"Poor baby!" she said, softly,"I wish that the awakening had not to come, I wish for your sake, my dear, that you might go c n dreaming forever 1"
An hour later Mrs. Vandeleur went down (stairs with a softened light in her eyes, and a strange ex- pression of interest upon her dusky face. Her hus- band was in the drawingrosm with the other mem- bers] of the family when she entered, John Van- deleur had not ehanged materially. It was .upon his heart that the sear lay ¡'¡healed over now,? it is true, for the long, dreary years have power to harden, and time bears healing upon its wings, and a wound cannot always remain open and gaping or one could not long servi ve. So, save for a graver aspect, sadder eyes, and a few lines upon his brow, John Vandeleur had not materially altered. He glanced up ob his wife entered the roem.
" Well he queried, briefly.
She drew a long breath as she sank into a seat at
at his side.
" Well," she repeated * I have seen the girl. John, she is wonderful ! A perfect little 'daughter of Bo- hemia'-a wait and stray from home or friends! yet thoroughly educated, cultivated, A flue musician, reads French and German as well as she does Eng- lish, is 'up' ia many abstruse studies, and quotes Carlyle end Lecky, Now what do you think of that for a little nobody ?"
" Tbink I" interpolated Pearl Dazelle, spiinging to her feet with a savage glitt er in her pale-blue eyes ; " she ii'a dangerous person to have about the house. -Tiny Ross as she calls herself, I believe to be an adventuress aa well as an interloper, 8be is some low creature, doubtless, who is deceiving mamma and Aunt Edith. I believe her to be throughly bad,
-and bold as à- "
The words were panted rather than spoken. They all turned in confusion to see Tiny, pale as a spirit, standing in the doorway, her eyes blazing, one small, thin hand uplifted commandingly.
" Stop !" she repeated ; '. every word that you have uttered is a base and cruel falsehood ! Miss Dalzelle, I demand an apology for this insult-now-at once !"
(To le Continued.)