Chapter 195881866

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Chapter NumberXVI
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article195881866
Full Date1886-12-03
Page Number1
Corrections0
Word Count7767
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Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitlePort Adelaide News and Lefevre's Peninsula Advertiser (SA : 1883 - 1897)
Trove TitleDora Dunbar. An Australian Story
article text

IftoveUst.

AH AUSTRALIAN STORY.

CHAPTER XVl-s-(Continued.)

BY M ON A."

Sometimes, in a forgetful frame, we torn to her room as in days of yore, ^r advice «nd encouragement, only to be confronted by her vacant couoh. 4 . „ • ? And,in the wet cold night? that follow,tow hard it seems to shut her out in the rain and darkness, while we gather round the hearth, even though we know it is but the shell ana the casket lying there—that the pearl, the precious gem, it held xB Bale m God's keeping. CHAPTEB XVI.

It.is little more than forty-eight houra after burying our dead, that the final blow falls * I am sitting beside the dining-room fire, listlessly looking into its depths, and thinking half-bitterly, half regretfully of Norton Fowler's share, in my past, thipjnng what comfort I might have derived from hijklove during these dark, dark days, had he been true to his better nature, when the chief suddenly enters, his face ghastly and horrorstricken, and tosses to Ag, whose presence I had been almost oblivious of, a telegram • "Misfortunes never come singly 1" he groans, striding out of the room, without another wcrd (<tnd shutting bimBelf into the den, as a dam of the door proclaims. _ f« What is it, Ag?" I ask apprehensively, noting tbe sudden awful horror that dilates her eyes, and blanches her cheeks,," Whatjs it ?" 1 repeat in impatient agony, hau-fnghtened by her .stony anguish.^ Onoe, iirice, die tries to speak, but in vain. The third time the one word "Freddie' makes itself heard. Its utterance seems to break the spell, and meohanioally she hands me the paper, but I turn from it with a shudder, remembering the one I_got at Bun- - nysideT _ " No, tell me,—iB she 01 ?" I cry, fearing I . know not ~what. s ^ a "HI?—worse!" shudders Ag, bowed and broken-looking. . » Worse ?—not dying ? oh, not dying! It cannot be 1" „ „ " Dead I" and with the word she falls on her knees beside me, and, with her arms around me and her head in my lap, die breaks ratoa«torm of sobs that terrify, and, taken in -conjunction with her terrible news, bewilder me totally.,. - • . - Deadl oan it bepossible ?—she, our bright, beautiful, beloved sister—dead/ I could laugh aloud at the thought, in my disbelief. Shat young, vigorous, beautihume cut Bhort 1 that-gay, sweet Toioe nusned, those sunny eyes sealed for ever! and all her new-born wealth of mother-love and wifely-worship daadwithherl ... jO, baby Bfuoe; poor, httle motherless ff'aifi I oould almost hate you in the first heat of our new fire of affliction 1 Ib it any wonder that he, your sorely-striken sire, should shrink, for a time from the flight of your sweet innocent face, knowing that your birth has cost his darling's life ? God oomi fort him, and guide thee, poor babe—so onconscious of thy loss I • .. . For nearly twenty minutes Ag clings, weeping wildly, to me, deal to my soothing ' words, insensible to all my caresses, then gradually she grows calm, and turns comforter for the benefit'of the rest of db; first telling "me the substance of the telegram. It is yery brief, amply conveying the Bad , and promising particulars by the first • i'aken away from the evil to coma, Mrs. Sutherland's words recur to as both, and gratefully*re thank God that she was spared this crushing blow. ^ , Even as we dwell upon those Btrangely prophetic syllables, Mra. Sutherland arnveB, her own grief swallowed<ap in the greatness of her sympathy for us.

- But why dwdl nptfn the long weary hours of ead waiting that follow ? or even upon the contents of poor Lex's heart-broken letter ?— they.indeed, are too sacred to be lightly exposed to everyeye. Enough tot' it is too true,—that dreadful telegram,-tot die, the flower of the family, the pride and joy of her huBband'B heart is truly under the sod— . hidden from our earthly eyes for ever. She had never recovered her strength after her baby's birth, seeming at first to do well, then, gradually, fading away, wasting to » skeleton almost, eo thin and weak, but to the last, sweetand nnielfisb, cheering him with confident assurances of their future meet- ^°Last messages she sent us all, bidding ns specially he good to her "boys," for hex Bake, 2nd advising Lex to leave New Zealand, where hehad neither kith nor kin, and retom-to his old home. _ Bat that neither duty nor inclination wiu eaiibtion at present. The land that holds her durt, is dearer to him than even the land of nafentSj home, and friends, and for her little one'B eake he must not lightly resign the poflt that meanB independence, and eat the bread of idleness; for there ib no opening lor him in fl—, nor much prtspeot of there bring one. , Besides, in work, he cm best iorMthifl low, hetells ns, andwoifr he does ^ hard tot lie knocks himself up most

pronouncedly, and threg- pr.iour months later finds feimVsU.crdsredfeoineon siok leave for threemonais^.i-;;7Jr;fi6LJ-':!ri;. <•'. \ ' ' "There'l/fia&him looking .the ghPBtot the old-timelifif,poorf41pwl.whenlretttrnfor the Christmas vacation", lor'I Md insisted on going (bask to my<work: JCamboroUgh, despite tiier mute entreaties of Ag's wistfnl eyeSjandthejObief 8 e^gestjpn^o^elinquiBh it. --"j oi ?f«T<nq«r " •>>.--' r -T'-. Therew&s nothingfor me to ao ^jat home monr'diminiBbedhpUBehal^ and Ir my thon^ts^andHtafej ma oj^flf ^mjraelf. fialuatantly, ^hey-^^nsentedjit last to my continuing; it r for another year, .hoping then,-1; mightrjeaign it oj o wn accord. Mv.Bunnyeida friends had.metme on my return witi^geiiai|»c-symp«to that tried my control t»r$ly, and wed with Leach other intheicJrindoMB$Orin%;? ; Kance I find quite recovered, ap>d looking health;and-the^Qfer^pB^onififid, She has at length;jcoaisentednamp iEie> day,' and, rather to Mr. Alexand^'fl aiBg^i has fixed it for no iess; distant^ Ji»te. toi^|.;:T«leiitine?8day, tot hdng^l^ ^r hjttpday. Slewly the weeks paas by^ despite all I can do to . make them fly—working hard during echool hours, and harder still studying for matriculation in my spare time, for in study now I find forgetfalnesa and calm. :t '.f-.,... Twice a week I go into C—_ Ior lessons and it ia on -one of these oocasions that, on leaving iriy- tutor's -residence, tand calling for letters at the post, I xeceive the following pr^cious^epistle. .. .....Fernlea, ' Tuesday evening, MT dza&MISS PDMB&Bj . Let my anxiety to render you the full explanation that 'is your dne plead -for my presumption in thus addressing you, and in iustic^ td yonrself do not act upon what will moBt probably be your first impulse/and retorri^Wfl iuitead.' . Do not think for a moment I mean to make excuses for myrolf, or try to gloss over my vile conduct. . Let that stand in «J1 its black,cowardly treachery, ' it will the sooner quench the last spark of ybur. regard, supposing that even one remains, and to forget me is the wisest thing you'ean

do now. Aye, forget me, forget tot I ever entered'yotilife, though, tiU my dying day, I Bhall cheriBh a fond rememborance of your every worfi tind looks: >1 iove^au too well to wish you to preserve even the-faintest meir ory of me, fpr remembrance^must .mean anght but happiness or pleasure in this case, and you have had ypur Bhare of sorrow and pain of late—may Stie hiture reoompense you amply lor. the, past, ' . • .... Bat ta come to the point, a deem it only right to tell jou Jhat ,.^ Heeply^ as ' I loved you when I aakedjroa to become mjr wife, I love you stilly more diSeply , {he principle that forbidden fruit gains an s weetness; the unattainable, becomes r^'qesirablgl From the first hour Imet you ahd Jfelllunaer the spell of your loveliness, till, tm present nJoment,;my paaaion-haB beeai a part of ihy life, and will be-till I cease to exist. DpeB this horrify your flenseof r«bi? lOyihg one woman with all my; soul, and perj uring myself to gain another's gold." "^Ehe love of money iB the root of all evU," truly, now-adays as of old. and, with N. F., especially.

Picturesque poverty I can fopn no conception of.. f enury is my, pet antipathy, and to be hard np with others ^ depending on me— the tibionght is enpugh l .* I, should desert them or commit suicide. Am I painting myself plainly enough J : It -is npt a sweet picture, is it?. -!-••• . No, the change is;not in you, but in my altered circumstances. , Ae the, manager of Fernlea, I had a comfortable -home, if not a luxurious one, to offer my wife, but as Norton Fowler, minus position and prospects, existence on a pound.a week, perhaps, to share. My marriage will be purely.® bargain the rent-roll of Lillica for my yohth and good looks, my bride elect telk me. I may flatter myself on the possession of the latter without vanity, and for youth—I am only twenty-eight Sifl years* but thrice that in worldly-wise foresight, eh? Have I said enough to make you loathe and despise me even as I despise myself 1 In one way I hope so, but despise me, forget me if you will, yet pity me a little, too, for, villain and coward as I-am, my punishment is hard to bear. Tied for life to a woman I do not even profess to love, who bores and irritates me every hour of the day, thrice her wealth could not reconcile me to my loss of your sweet eelf. Who would envy me? Perhaps the—" ' Bat here contempt and disgust get the better of me, and crunohing the paper into a ball, I thraot it into my pocket with angry vehemence. " Miserable wretch 1" I mutter to myself, " it would Berve him right to send it to his • bride elect' as he oalls her, bat between her infatuation and his lack o 1 conscience, he'd convince her it was a forgery." • "What's the matter, Dot? something has upaet your serenity," Nonce's voice breaks in on my soliloquy, as I near the gate of her mother's cottage. Drawing her into her own room I give her" the letter with a curt— "Riad that." Puzzled, but* obedient, she does so, and 1 watch her face with its lightning changes of expression while she reads. v Surprise, contempt, indignation, disgu i chase each other across it, andoonfirm my own opinion. "Well?" I say sharply, as Bhe silently hands it back. " Don't spsak of him, Dot, he's beneath your notice," she advises gently, then, curiosity proving stronger than her resolve, " When did he propose, dear?" " The day he drove me £own in his dogcart." " And you—" Said • yes,' after a week's consideration. But enough of him Nanoe. I widi the widow joy of her bargain." "Tou are well rid of him, dear; don't regret him." "I don't how. -That letter anted me," I laugh, bitterly. " When does the wedding take place, Nanoe?"

J' Next Thursday, I heard jMerday." . "fc^C—?!' " Yes, at the English church." " Thursday—that iB/efe day, is it not V' 41 Yes, or to"quote the 0— News, our Annual Athletic Sports.'" " And a school holiday I Nance, I most get in for it." "The/etc?" «' No, the wedding." " Dot, do you mean to make a death's head of the feast?" " I mean to make Norton Fowler see my mania is over." "As you please, ma ehere. The church will be crowded, I think, for it's to be a grand affair as dresB goes, though only intimate friends are invited. He wanted a private wedding, Mrs. Btynor told me, but she insisted cn asking her hundred and one particular friends, and being married in the church." " Wise woman, after paying so much for. him; why shouldn't she exhibit him?" " Cynic 1 are we to be present then?'' " And witness the sacrifice—yes." Can you calmly look on it ?" " Wait and Bee—I think bo." *• Be up in good time then, we piusta't be

— ^•.--••.•iSnrj TTJtn v 16C!<TIG,5 SOD* • , late,"«he> sayf;«3 ^ffeg&fgoiMj ^HJR* to thcr gste.i-r. K!8}Jf ~ S30BU1 arjpul H; Sic n " Ali iigbit^3iI t>roBaiae, as , Arcrift-datitbr it," Stopping ^fflkoment; to Bay good-bye to Mrs. Stair. " In -6nie trs for' «&», Ufatt?' ymHu^SSs^. h i oualy. Yes, and ^Kant yon to driveme into see it," I say, coaraigly. J , "Goldwon tbe day^terall, Dot? she ventures, in half-tender, half-Barcastic tones, "I hopeiw rn^y, bw.iv&m as M^vea- It's a pity, for his Eake, yon hada t a hot" not. it beloved for«fny fl^trfte;worth:'"; _ . , earnestly,, " l^hp^mm ^^.-SJfS I thought. thatby;rtoaki^ Km Bb wdcomb always, I had helped hi^, to.;aeceiv6 ^n at alL" ' - •• . ....••• "Never think that, dear Mrs. Arcroft. I was deceived in him for a time, I candidly confess, but my,, eyes are ^ W ^ J M I resign him to the widow without a regret. " That's good news ttfrneiand ingratitude for it, I promise to drive you in to see the knot tied, if all's well." 1 HP* : ^ She is as gogd as heT l^ord, TJmrsdafr morning finds UB, bn the stroke^ of e»TOn, simmering in the crowded churflh.' wasting for the weddingparty. - Three, fout?^ve minutes pa^ thoiUie carriages d S up to^'the church, andj- a moment later the bride, eatos on her brother's arm, his faoe expressing the disapprobation he feels. She is fearfully and wonderfully resplendent in ruby brooade, the bodioq fitting her substantial figure wifti a tichtneaa saggeetive of an ejplosion, with a blaze of diamonds at her throat, oars and wrists, and in her hair.- Entering by another door hex bridegrom advances, and meets her at to communroo, in front of-the old clergyman, -^^some and seU-possessed, hSgptethlpu^ ^ of the solemn service With outward indiHerence. . . -j «• Till ueath do ns part." , %±Sahe*-words fall on my efkK Jrac^U his wnttmjiaei-i- «• Tied for fife to a woman l uO not -even professto love/'afltfl wonder if heremembers them t o o . . . r _ . , The ceremony .ever. he makes no'-fffbrtto foil the "best man's"determiira^b^ldpb^B -the first kiss, but..coolly^"drawing his srii Ibrocgb bis,lea£s hPifto ? "^he Thenthe crowd slowly files,out so slowly thai ( Naroa apd.l, are only emerging'from ourpew as the -j bridal party re-appi?ar,^' and. my funereal'figurejn it'^ deep iaowhjng"fa'the first thing they Bee. Zhat.fcesepW'U'thie' aatit; lei flush that dyes hisfaoe declares; and h'fi eyes fall before. mine, but only for a moment then, bowing slightlyj'he hurries on.:V '- c^ . After the breakfast tbe "Tbappy - start for Sydney, where they spend the honey, 'moon. ... - . , , " , . - And thus ends that chapter of'my'5iie>

CHAPTER XVII. .. Christmaa Eve beholds jny return to S— for three weeks."' Vio, a taD, slenSer, geriflemanlv youth " of sixteen nbw, :: is the station to meet me, and Ag'a sweet face gleams radiantly from the cab he leads me to." • " 1 couldn't rooms any further^ dear/; she eays, : 6oItly, glaticing down at a spiall^flhubbj figure in her arms—a bright, bonny ^t of humanity,; Whose; big blue -eyes and aiinnj curls proclaim him Freddie's eon. "Bruce(?, - Agl give him ^o mp," I cry,, hastily,'returning' her' kiss as f benc^io'take him. _ _ _ " Isn't" hs= liK t: Sef,~ i Agf 1J » :: 3 >^Bur£n u r, alternately, kissing him and staring him out of countenance, "What a splendid little fellow 1 Is he as good as this always ?" A question Master Bruce answers himself; by setting np a lusty roar, and shrinking shyly from my strange face. " Oh, hushl Here take him, Ag," bundling him into her arms in dismay, "etoi him if you oan." That she does speedily, the mite seemalready to know and love her, then eh< applies herself to answering my mas} questions till we reaoh home. Home I It scarcely seems that with out the all-prevading influence of our sweet invalid mother. And the worn, altered face of Lax at the drawing-room window adds to its Btrangenes8, as, with drooping frame and feeble step he comes to meet ns, I recall mj last glimpse of him On his Wedding-day, ami tl e contrast moves me to tears. j" Dora 1" he says, with forced cheerfulness, "ia it .really yon?—really the little palt student of two years ago ? Time has been a generous friend to you, as far aa beauty and bloom are concerned, ma chere" "Ay, but how bitterly, how hardly thaf same, time had dealt with me in . the mattci" of my dear ones 1"-1 remind myself, returning his salutation, and at .the thought mylipY quiver painfully, forbidding speech.. ' Altogether it is a sad home-coming, and (be days thatiollow are dreary and j'oyless— full of memories of the missing faces that leave such gaps'in our circle. Lex we see little of, but baby Bruce almost lives with us—Ag and he being inseparable; lives with ns entirely, indeed, lor a fortnight of my visit, owing to a sudden relapse that almost leaves him doubly-orphaned. The chief takes a wonderful fancy -to the little sprite, and spends minutes at a time playing and romping with him, as I am sure he sever did with us, and Ag and Via vie with each other in their efforts to spoil him, and I must plead guilty to aiding them. Uneventfully my holidays pass, and a week after the. New Year X s$t out on my * return to Camborough, accompanied by Vic, whose delight at the prospect of a month's hunting, etc., at Sunnyside, is boundless. f Mrs. Arcroft had taken a great; liking to his frank, laughing face, in my album, and enjoyed my stories of his quips and pranks so muoh, that I had strict orders to bring

him back with me if only for a month. The chief had hesitated a little before consenting, plunging poor Tic into unfathomable dispair, and transporting him thence, to the seventh heaven of delight, by finally granting him a month's holiday. At our journey's, end, we find Mr. Arcroft and his better half, with the drag awaiting us, and, after a hearty welcome, I bundle in at the baok with the latter,. while Vic finds himself in his dement, perched at Mr. Ar-' croft's side behind Pysche and Hebe. "Andhow is Nanoe?" iB my first -question. "Well," laughs her sister," in health, but who oan 'minister to a mind diseased?' Nanoe is a victim to the green-eyed monster." "NonsenBel" - "It's the truth, Dot." "' Maybe, but I dinna think bo,' " I quote merrily. " Who is she ?" "That's the b.est of it—it isn't a the at all." "Who then ?"' "Mr. Langdon—W<ity Langdon." "Who is he?" " Dot,' do you mean to aay that, knowing Gilbert the last eix months, you don't know who Watty Langdon—" "Stayl" laughingly interrupting her, "I remember, Mr. Langdon is Gilbert's 'own

f^plfiar friend,' is'he not"?—hia VoluihiSS^ Que&elaiid correspondent ?" ' " Ybitf tieis fack ^gtiba^ahd Gm^tj in hS dSigfit, ne^eoted "Nance Jfiw twb^ whole hoSE' and so Ewon Watty a plaoe in her jJaffiM^^21 '!''' ^ ptE?-- r,t fie—Sib^ SBflSible=^fid'attBelifllif forihatf ^^Mt^MrPL&gdfifi me^. *m /X^if^ITg^t^raiiher melanoholy-Iook- -M'has th'e J fineffdark^yeTI etepeaxJ,' ihe sweetest emQe—it quite alters his Mi'which &"%sually ^tf^s tosfprjjg, ,fsijes!c;u. r,r*l!,e' Vh/sr.£ j?G ^^^niisday week. We are going to have a Wbn^i ^^a-r^e^idec. p 5r>!.i ! r-c-i?c if fsu *WSoub^ got , SfhlB htihW, K^^o ffife; ^ofSWainK-Se otfflj m a h a M ? ^fs'cnci ?n cues too^Bobh^: «• cSi^'ftuak eojbiftillafc • .,.;pn:o Wttit&te*® »«£ ntideretand you, dear/' «he says, «eowy as I- IMter and finally break' do jmj: V hut a- fliink not. There's only Mr. Langdon and Gilbert coming, besides ourselves, and you and I are to drive over, «fter thehuntmg party, Vic musn't go home without seeing p little life ih the West, - i ' «"cc D tiring ihe following week,; V« lsrthe cpn with lhe latter, that eaioh day; cementB mors firinly. The^xercise agrees with =him j ;«nd improves hitf appearance ';WoriderfnilyrtoanBiorttinfe'Km'into a -"positively handsome youth," as I condescendipgly inform [him, my reward for the information being a fillip, in to eaifj snd a brotherly injunction , io be "oivil to my euperiors." . .: •• The fatcM Saturday dawns at length, bright and breezy, and, after an early breakfast, we Bet off for Mt. Trewan, Nance,i n her blue habit and shady hat, looking grace and happiness personified, rides ofi with Gilbert, closely followed by Mrjjangdon, his hoBt and Vic, after whom come the boundary Tidere and'all the station doge, Mrs. Arcroft and I bringing up the rear with a $qggf toad Sif gOod: things In. <the • eatable j^ic.-.Tsiq lit. • psu-i iifj>t • ~' ^ffie flrive 5a a-' delioious; pner op hill inhd dowii : dale, ; ilong eoft sandy: roads, tbat^wind, white ^and eool, through dqsty wattle groves, itid^acrosB brbadbrownheaths, ithsprtoong^ ja f^ifla-carpeted •forest of etriagy-baik, j^Olfitfi^de'- -eiofertjft !»>«hebft»ofrtof baWMC.^^Wwari. 1 ^aide ia :splendai spring at^ifeSoot' Sre! "pictoib'for- =an 'hpnr "or: bo, ^dia- !cHssifig c cSoli% , hiok6n and cream cakes, and 'ChriBtmas festivities; %nd ka^garoo-hnnta •klternlfltel^. 1^ : Then' the"- hnntera; aide;:of£, l^i^^Mfi Arcroft'.Wd; ^e>to ^«pack ^ths 'batnpef^-'after whifcti wfe'pile the buggy«ag a'nH Wifihitffis'bn the grotmd,'an& lffizilylonnge and taK^e'Iiihe with;-f^ Tatrie^yS "site, Slittle reading from " Romola." and fading not W appred-- ^te^Eofibla/ means a .deficiency in one's HaiSrSt nature^" a gentlemad" ; ^isitBr had av£trea' ' a r week hefo^ anar Naa'ee hwl Straightway obtained a copy, read it, and rra*Mjpver it : since, "proof pofitive'of^ao 'iiiek 1; m her moral nature," she gravely as- - ,1 e1irea - - c ii> 'fttibngh' I'-'wan&tiS^Shtf''skipped

' It is late in the afternoon when the hunters return^'tited;.'bat' : welT pleafiei- With their iwrt.^ife-'-especially elated, having been ^n^Smented; by oil his ftatfna *fiSfa§? '"^ii'—'s wre v , Tyhat p db yon think'"of' "to r -«wabyt VJc?" -BBiB'MrB. ArcoSK- 1 ' , r:! -t'.'rrr.poj/.-jocjr- "i ? never Saw ian^thing liid itf-it's 'wild Australia*, wltha ^gSoia^^ftN^^lt remuids me of Gordon's ride after the bush- '• n fowl- ~ &T<we i« pfii about- _ Hard behind them "through the "timber, harder Btill acroBB the hpath, Bight behind them, through the scrub we dashed, _ And the golden-tinted femleaves, rustled underneath, And the honeysuckle osiers, how they craBhedl ,' " Sfap him, some one, please.' 1 ; Not need," he answers lugubriously, « Heawng Gordon murdered in that'fashion has subdued me." " That's a rap for your reciting powers," laughs Nance, who shares his mania for Gordon. " A well-merited one," gravely asserts Gilbert, while Mr. Langdon puts in— s " Miss Dnnbar, have you the courage to condemn Gordon in present company? Don't you know we Western district folks take & particular pride in him, and are all his ardent admirers 1" " I know, but, Mr. Langdon, let me quarter you for a month with one of his devotees— Vio, for^example—wbo is raving about «The Wreok' etc., from dawn to dark, and I'll warrant you'll wish Gordon had died young." '^Ckrafetgkrik your , might remember mercy, toy,''cries Vic. .'; ' Can't you tirn the taUes on her, Vic?'? laughs jGilbert." "' Tell us whose poems she pestero y6u with?" ' ' ' T M Don't know his name 1 ," eaya Vic, his eyes sparkling wickedly, "but I reinember a verse or two ehe made our lives miserable with," and assuming a Bentimental air he drawls— Tort may forget the woman, I may forget the man, But the perfume off Forget it if you can. A shout of laughter rewards hia mimicry. " Go on, Vic, give ue some more," cries Nance; " it is Dot seen under new circumstances to us. What ia the name of that ^'•"Day lilies,' I think. I don't know any more of it, but there's another favourite of here makes me wish I was afflicted with deafness, though its such a happy blending of the earth earthy with the celestial, that I suppose I should admire it. It runs— You require that your .mutton should always be hot, That your Books and your shirta should be whole, „ I require that your heart should be true as

God's stars, And pure as His heaven your Botd. " Mutton and heaven, humph!" comments Mr. Langdon whimsically, surveying toy scarlet cheeks. " I must say I'm with Vic on Gordon's ride, Miss Dunbar." "And I! andII" laughingly chorus the rest. "Come, good people," cries Mrs. Arcroft from the buggy, "if you wint ^"mo^to inner man before we start for home, hurry np; there's no time to waste." Scrambling np, we make our way to her, and hastily " snatch a mouthful," as Mr. Arcrolt calls the meal we make. Thenthe dishes are packed, the ponies harnesses and the hunters' horses led round. "Are you ready, Martha?" cries Mr. Arcroft, looking on, with an indiference born of ten yeaia' matrimony, at Gilbert tucking her into the buggy. * " In one moment," the latter replies. " You 'ban start—Nance and I'll see the ladies ofi." "' " All right, come on Langdon I come, Vic I' and ofi they canter, followed by the pair of us into buggy, with the lovers m the I 0 piceBehtly they paes us for " a race on the heath," as Gilbert informs us, and in a minute are oat of Bight.

njdSaBily we howlaskingsflrtough the timber cAzatting idly.over;tiieudpings ^of^the day^sud UiSnidfy-ignoEahtiol to tragedy t o scon -to takgjdaoe. ips.-.-^- . v Th^imn is low&^thrwgat, as weemsrge fromahe timber <0tt'to4h£heathl ^nd/shSniiig into bar eyes ^dazzles ,thbra go that we are the shelter, or shade rather of on ihfc'fafc-ttide otthe heath.- • •":- : - s f i f a r ' ^ a y , windh& s in: and^Bi amongth^taH^SonB ofiih&'fOrBst," SD irtrdering it, tiU wfeM&kne suddenly on a little a' group Tt , e ; 4ii3 n8€SBticed aotljiefi'^H ; a6ibrbad had wa heeh in Wearing iolear Stihl^jiiahy tre^B on 'eaoh mm-Wftk mhfHtR' traok lies GilfcrS, iflotidrfless. hiB b&ad' G pillowed on Nance's bread^Whileshb Mrft&tb stanch the blood, ataining wlth its xedstrsam the dear tace alreadysetiniihejiBltotiO&death. -- " Ghi6d Arcroft, throwuSg me^tiibecdhs and springing down to them, V. Wlhatis wrongrSanee?" 5, -Nanoe—is it'Nance's -face that confront as? thai gray, Btony, expressionleas mask? is it ber-voioe that in hara, monotonous tones explains: ' " Wildfire bolted and ran into that tree." "Great HeaTOnB Lis he much hurt,Nanoe ?" "Hurt? No—h|„dpean't suSer—^killed on fheisjpbt," she'woi-same strange mer ghanioal way, brnsM?® ^ac^wkh hecblopd- ^^^ndBj'as^^^uas^,.-. 'ip'i ^«Dot,Dot, it has inafe^hfer-hrain 1 What are jra to do?" waila Mrs. Arcroft, wringing Serihartdsin agonyV^iishe tums to mo -siJ- .""We must get help," I return Inanely. "Yes, buthow? IdaTBht^eaveher/and yonean'tdrive." "No,bat 1 canride," pointing to Nance's horse near by—a horBe tbat, nnder less desperate circumstances, nothhi^ would tempt me to mount "-Will the pomes stand?" : "I thiriTflo, I"don't know—never mind them. Oh; be quick I" With teembling haste she assists me to mount, and hurries me oS, tying the ponies loosely to-a tree, then flying to Nance, to minyfter to her,- for eyen l ean see Gilbert is paat aidt .,.•. u^l-,. • -v-H'.. . ^ijhj»alpitating ^eart ltt€^t along the b^h, 4cack and out again. .to the heath, across whioh I strain my eyes, ip eearoh of aid^Jh vaia. • app^aohing swiftly is abuggy and pliir.^ritht^omen In it. The relifcfis so greafihatX'bAraV into tears that i^^teown'voiea^^li^if^Bj: ^ "Mibs Danbarl IteanytbHigihappcared^-' Slipping to the. ground; dinging to-ihe saa^iefor Bupport, I eobbingly explain. I - « Gilbert thrown^ari^-feilled you thinfe 5 ! Good' God 1 Baton f you're -i fist - the" taari -that's wanted herej- ories the owher of 'fhtft welcome, voices turning to .his companion, a young doctor who islsiuting G—. ti? " he' eaysH 1 ®^ -"and'Bell-poflseBs^ #^lB it»traight;ahead oii this road, the accideiriiibappenediryonpg lady?'I •. ^ 2i<"®fes, 4 ' is^U'I cihtrtter. .--^i' jump-up^her^jrpfi'are twO'uh^ nAv&lo ride fl^ ^rote. - ! &sb it go; Ttll ®0ke its way home and give the alarm." 3

' ^ Gfitdly •. I t ob^itedfiBsiftMj&^.'eottbn, • ...-.-I" .•ji-rru^QiDbirqij^jji-^^jf and.'iearning you ^ at^he^Mootiir^aeter a»inM to join yoa'tfcWS} <lhBfefea«0f»waiting %(Mr»etttni. M '/P« ppqief oi Bjirve, o; s'roDMLyoumeafMif^AISi^jftf? jioreYgg; hesaidtttatcw#^d ; fi«iyOu > aUttltf futflier on wlthGilbert^pdor Mlowl" : cffpfaename recalls the awful scene, and again :ligi£e,'way, bnrrying mjr faastfin my iwrda, iW^shuddering^pteptlycgsA :few^ nunutes^ mare brings ns 40:0ttr jonmey^B•end;:;i r Nance's awful composure-has given way at -last, and jshe.lies pale^d.cteath-lik^ in Jsor '8iBter'sarms. Qae«lance at.Gilhert!sjtifismng..lorm.is. ' ' enough — ——~ — - . .. 7 , „ show of seeking for the " vital spark. """Silled instantaneously," is his verdiot, and* he turns-his attention to Nanoe, over -whbin he is bendinggifcvely, when at a b$ak-| gallop, Mr. Arcroft and Watty Langdon; join ns. - -' ' . ,. " What is it?" cries to former, in his fussy, kindly, way, " has—" The words die on hie lips, as he espies the still figure with a' handkerchief thrown over its face, and with a shuddering groan he turns away, while Mr, Langdon throwing himself on his knees beside it,- weeps for a moment or two like a woman, " How did it happen?" asks Mr. Arcroft a hushed tone, but that none of us I m <" You muflt wait for particulars till this young lady is herself again," says the doctor, adding with grim significance, "and that won't be for some time. Now," he goes on briskly, "we must get her home at onoe. How are we to do it ?" outting short all enquiries. • - "In to boggy, I suppose, answers Mrs. Arcroft, who, palej-and trembling still with horror, is yet the only one Bdf-posseesed enough to suggest anytMng.: .? c; • > ^ • "In onrs, then—it will hold tlyee most comfortably," motionihgiMr. Cotton to help himto.liftherlnto.it. ^ow. Mra. Arcrolt, yon get in, too, and I'11; drive; you— loan do no more -tot poor Alexander, and this young lady wants immediate attention." And.what of— How oan we get Gilbert home 7" jjheaskvfalteringly. " The wagonette will be here soon," answers her husband huskily, "Wildfire tore past us at the black gate, splashed with blood, and gave me a hint to prepare for the worst, so l eent Via on to tell them to bring it to-meet as. If it wasn't needed, then all the better; I thought—there'd be no harm done."- , . . "Come,'VcrieB Dr.Bilton, "every moment is precious.-*- "AndDot?" asks Mrs. Aroroft, "howls ahe to come ?'.' ., , . " Oxib of ns mil drive her," answers Mr. Arcroft,. " here, Cotton, will you, as the wife's takenyour seat." " Withjpleasure," ana in another minute wie are ofT ui to wake o! the first buggy, leaving tbe other two to guard the dead. " "How came Wildfire to bolt, I wonder?" I find voice to e&y at last.

-" | cant imagine, took fright in some way I suppose. He was always a nervous, irritable, brnte. Gilbert was often warned about him. Poor fellow 1 what an awful smashl" "He w'bb killed at once, you think?" Must have been—brains dashed out. It was a terrible shock for poor Hiss Stair." " Yeff, ehe seemed quite dazed at first." " No wonder^ It was enough to turn her brain ! .They wwe to be married in less than a month, too." » Yes," I; reply, ahd reoalling all poor Nanoe'fl pretty preparations for the event, hermany little plans and happy anticipations connected therewith, I buret into tears again, despite my efforts at self-control, and sob convulsively till we get to Sunnyside. ' CHAPIEB XVIII. It iB the iay ol tbe faneral. The inquiry is over—-adjourned .-till Nance is able to give her evidence. . - When that will be, if ever, it iBhard to say, for she lies .at death's dpor, the shbok having afieoted her brain. Alohe at to window of my room I stand, watching ihe sombre procession winding slowly past, i^nd ^reat tears dim my eyes as I look myla^t on to flower-covered casket tot

fjic. ^^.whq, had. proved a.tiiie a fsuthful lover onfi," j awl m : ^thaS". .to rwn falls ing.,oaaob,; paases, 7ayie^syr shower, begins, [t^^^an^i^z^jOid; ^ poon hiding ^jffij resttiuBe^G4b^« l-W^e an early Ind^^Jpi^^ljimW^oai, ,i%"isrindpw ko'encbqh^^ffr" Arcrbf^wha, .^niui^ith ( *)>9<i.3iQw( aa.ol XJX. VSPto-rTJa^ s ju9t( ,two;years e^,|eafl»,TilJim fijtting -ooe-wet, rday-^afteriioon -oyer, the parlor at=J$pnnyside—JEor. I am still teaching at Camborough, having succeeded, by dint of arguments and entreaties, in gaining a feeble assent to my doing bo from .the Home folks— reading my share of the contents of the mail bag. ,. i f ,. Opposite,fits,Nance, not the gay, smiling, jsanoy girl ol Old, J?ut a. pale, grave,-apd-ej?ed woman in deep4mourning ; lovelier, and more loveable than ever* in my opinion—reminding me strongly, ofrAg, our-VJSome Sunahiiie," as mamma , :loved to call her, in her sweet, steadfast self-denisL. "That's a nig budget, Dot," she says, smilingly, pointing to a bulky epistle in my lap. ' - • ' - •• ' - " Yes, one pf Ag's newspapers," I laugh, tearing it open. " She sands me fifteen pages sometimes, and not five lines of news in it all. Afraid X may feel lonely perhaps.''' " And that's her thanks—a oanstio criticism." SQenee, I am deep In Ag's didaojio paragraphs. No news in her letters, did I say? Well,'there ia a pieoe in this that makes up for all past deficienoies. It " brings me up standing,"- aa Vio would say, in a moment, luid not till I read it twice do I take it in. ' " What-iB itj deaf, not bad hews, I hope ?!'- styr Nance, gently, but I only shake my head, and, gathering up my. letters, rush oil to my . Tfeflfo I rc&a it igjobi and again, and ask myself fifty Ume3 over, oan. it be true ? * Thci runs iho bxtract - that bewilders nie-Sr:- f^-.i -. •<• •••:• -M-- i " Ah ; aow( !dear Dora, I have something : tr^tell gpu thaL I &m sure wlll surprisej but I though,- knowing ypar views on such matters, 1 feel yeiy uni^riafn «bf»nt i^and shall .eagarly^wait your replV ^cdtihg1t<nay he favorable. ; ..^t .lewfc^Si ;wfll no * i ud 8 e : mo Ms^OyVi^ot; pwiehtly hear me through, andTfiap^ron^y Jake ' jpto , jE»nsidfiration : to •.j£«f Jfajg&lowix. guarded till now) i that^loyeaffini longbefp^e hisengagement = ^XzgM^'^I^P^^mjfnafe, 4atoiii!»iKnd, in ; indignation, I can : Bee your astonished face. Yes, dear Bister^p-briejly state what, doubtless, yon alrea&y gaesB, Lex has, asked me to marry him, and I h&ve said " Yes." It was only last night he spoke, so I am losing no long.fof mot sympathy, ana areaa tnat,

- ^ antipathy to a man , s"mariyglstermay. deprive ms Ihp^'it.l-^hall'.be miserable, ;6he,iyVP^,. yDnr chief pb- FirBt^.with, yps^^^ohg'^tecti^n^iqjt ^por Freddie and prdndjee?;agaim3t" Bnch-,mamage^ .it,may Bjssmmyou.jiiatjJ l^j^elfislfly supplanting hiatmLjtt'B i l9ve!.'L Tnat* -ieareat, I pari never dd^^^^^w^yflh^^-The'^fiist', hea^plaasin his' hmjIiiefddBS, ^sa.sura ^ihe, loved., hyn, top'TOeQ^hBr ',^0. ^^w-^spea Jfflm to , read {ou£pi.&vi?tipi»^p to.' wrelicligd homi^eiB^fWj.iAjihBj tnigrt,, fiw<3eiest sense of the wordrhometess" he has been the last two years—life he haB been leading. It's unnatural, and, granting that if a man marries again, who can so well supply their dear sister ? Remember how dear we were to each other, Dora; how inseparable always, and you cannot for a moment think that J would deliberately treacherous «r onsjsterly part towards her, ^especially seeing that in death she is d^arer even jto us all than ever. Ah no! mj dear sister, I am sure there is no one she would chpose before me to fill her place in the lives of her dear ones. Now, to oomis to your Beoond objection— the nearness of the relationship already existing; but, Doll, dear, it is only relationship by marriage, and therefore, far less objectionable than the tie between, first and second cousins, and how many of them marry ? But, already, I have trespassed on your patience too far, so must deal with minor objections again. How long have I known of Lex's intentions? you mil ask. Not till last night. I loved him long ago.as I told you, but, on Freddie's becoming his wife, looked on my love as a Bin, and buried it deep in my heart, flattering myself that I had stifled it, but Ids first words nndeoeived me. I love -him as deeply and truly as£e\p^arid ftlM^ cannot ooheider ^BSy' love a crime or a sin, gifted me with,auoha capa- «ity {or.toring'fb^alterably § ^?Wajr as Burprified asyoja^fian be',; :^en .xrix ^poxe, cannot yet ioi&fihe why%e itiaileijme mS choic^, unless, perhaps, little Brucs'saSecti on: lor me suggested it; the little fellow is 'very lond of me, and X of him, as you know. God help me to do him justioe? Mr. and Mrs. S— both seem pleased with the idea of my beooming their Beoond daughter.- Papa commends it, and Vic is deb'ghted, so dear Dora, only your approbation is wanted to fill my cup of happiness to the brim. Let me hear it, sister, if you conscientiously can. I covet your loving -sympathy. Hoping to hear from you soon, with fondest love and best wishes—your anxious sister, Aa. P.S. No "outsiders" know of our engagement yet—no one I mean out of our two families, nor will they till I win you over to my side—supposing you will not enlist on it at once, but that I hope and pray you mil. A. ; 7 ' Laying my head on the letter at last, after puzzling over it vainly till I am tired, I burst into bitter unreasonable tears. Yet are they so unreasonable? To me such marriages have always seemed so objectionable, tbat is

it any wonder I cannot reconcile myself to Ag's ? Presently the door openB and Nance softly enters. Slipping her arm round me,she whispers: " Sharing a trouble with a true friend lightens it of half its load, Dot. Let me help you to bear this, dear." " Bsad that then," pointing out the paragraph. "Well what is your opinion?"I aBk as she concludes. "That^Dora Dunbar is the greatest little goose I ever came across," she smiles. " Why are you grieving over this ?" '".There is something so repugnant about it—" " And because of your foolish prejudice," Bhe interrupts, " tlpee lives must be made miserable—Ag condemned to a misorable old maidenhood—for she'll never marry anyone else—Lex doomed to lead his present lonely, loveless life, and poor little Bruoe deprived of the best substitute for hiB mother's lore he eouldhave." " But Nance—" '"But me no bate,'" to quotes, half, laughingly, half-eerioua, "I second all Ag Bays,-and shall insist on your Bending her the wannest sisterly congratulations by next post. What, still hesitating?" B O O

"I can't help itl fancy marrying one's brother-in-law." "Itf Booner do that than marry my cousin," declares Nance, "Besides, she loved him before be became that. He is the -one man in the world for her—her fate—her Beoond self, or missing half, and you must not come between, them; She deserves every happiness for. her brave eelf-deniaL Think how hard it must have been .for her .to hide her pain; for she must have sugared keenly, during thp days -previous, to his i marrying Freddie. Did you-never suspect?" . " Ngver j though,-after toy left ns, I found her crying bitterly, but I thought it was over losing Freddie. They were bo dear to each other always. 1 ,' . . : / "AH, the more in favor of her marrying Lex. ./Freddie would sooner that than a stranger, and by-and-by, Dot, it would most likely cozse to that, for the majority of widowed ones re-marry sooner or later," Bhe asserts, sagely. Some, as a,sort of compliment to No. 1, a tribute to the memory of their past happy matrimonial essay ; others to make up for not looking before leading, hoping to do better the second time." " I shouldn't like Lex to marry a stranger for Brace's sake," I admit, reluctantly. "No, of course not, Now set to, and write to Ag," settling my,writing table before to fire, V and give herJny fondest love, and very best wishes," vanishing. "Mind, Det, 1 '.reappearing for a moment, " a nice, Jong, loving, sympathetic letter." / - .. And I meekly obey, as far as possible, her orders, re&piag mj reward in a sense.of contentment that possesses me aa I proceed- "Any admission?'' cries Nance, an hour, pr more later, peeping in. "Yes. Tell me, will this do? :> handing her my letter. • *' . " First-rate, your bark's worse than your bite, Dot ? Now put on your best bib and 'tucker. Gas?s why 7" - . • • "Np good at conundrums," evasively," *' " Nor sn j thing else;" with a "gleam of her " old gaiety. " Well,'Job's'here." " Who's' Job' ?" " Mr.^Cotton. Is it a good name lor him ? his patience;is pathetic. Perhaps 'Jacob 1 would Be better ? Wasn't it ' Jaeob'.served seven years for Baohel? my memory is defective." ^ " Where does the connection come in ?" . • "B»h 1 you deserve—but I'm wasting breath. Are you going to beautify?" "For Mr. Cattpp's benefit—no," indifferently, conscious that the dark blue dreas.I'am *wearing becomes me~adnii^ably. .. . .„.. To be jpontinued. B I G j i H. ; " He's a bully !" "Ha'sacowardl" . ' " He's go*, to kang !" " That's his third man!" ' ' ..' i The one narrow street of the frontier-town was filled with a 8urgisg crowd of excited men. There were Indian fighters,- sebnts; - gamfclars, tramps, miners, speculators—everything and everybody. Every tpwa -haa its-bully—every-frontier town. Big-Jim was the bully of Hill City. He could drink more, curse louder, shootquicker 'and*start- a row sooner than any

other man. When ha«hot Limber Joa it was a stand-off. It was rough; against rough. Whoever went under, the town would be. roie gainer. The death of his second victim brought him a. certain respect, for he had giyen the man a fair show. ; There was a limit to the number of men sne might shoot in Hill City. It was three times and ;0ufcr Big Jim hswd killed his third; -/ , • . Two hundred men—all excited—some.halfc crazed—all indignant—some terribly aroused; ' eurged down the street to thelted Star saloon bent on vengeance. Big Jim and the man be had killed were alone in the place. ' "Bring him out 1" "He'sgot to hang 1" ' " Bring out the bully and coward!" . There was. a rush, but it was checked. Men had pistols and knives ia 'their hands, but the sight of Big Jim with a "navy" in each hand cooled their ardor. A life for a life is not revenge. They lied when they called/him a bully. Bailies strike and run or bluster and dare not strike. They-.lied • when they called him a coward. Cowards do not remain to face death. Big Jim advanced a little. The crowd fell bask. He stood in the door and snr- * veyed the mob as coolly as another man might have looked*up at the pine-covered crest of Carter's Peak. The mob grevrquiet. There were 200 right hands clutching deadly weapons, but not a band moved. Two hundred to one is appalling odds, but the one was master. Seeming to face every man of them—seeming to cover every breast with the black- muzzles of his revolvers—the man backed away up the road<nto the darkness, out of their sight and heaiing.. He said not - a word. There wasn't a whisper from the crowd until hs had disappeared. Then men drew long breaths of relief. A terrible menace had passed away. ^ OatninfaKfcbe darkness—down the rongh _ road—over. thB rude bridge, and there.-Big' Jim jpat np; his revolvers/ turned his face. ^squar^i'to thjrWest, and stepped out without a look <$uap. It was ten miles- \q Men driven from the bfre^camp; ;tpofc/idfuge in the otiier, The half way landmark WAS a bit of a valley . skirted by a creek. Wayfarers who were . journeying by team many times halted here. On this night there was a lone wegg sn. Under the canvas cover slept a mother and four children. Itssticg against a wheel was the husband and father, his eyes peering into . the darkness—his eyes drinking in every sound. Big Jim had not reached - the valley yet when the atill night air wa3 rent with war- ^boops—the crack ef rifles—the screams ol ygvoman and her children. Indians had P^iorered the lane and almost defenceless family. There was five scalps to adorn their lodges. The bally and the coward had not been discovered. He could find a safe hiding place. Did he? A half-dozen screaming, yelling fiends were daneing about the waggon—shooting— striking—dodging—closing in on to' onewhite man who somehow escaped their blows and bullets, frhen there was a . cheer and a rush, and the Navys began to to craok. Sixty seconds later, dead silence had fallen npon the-valley. ' -

One—two—three dead Indians. The immigrant leaned against the waggon, faint with ft wound in the head. The wife looked out with ah awful terror at her heart. -Bullets had chipped and. splintered wheel and body. . "Who are you?" arsked theimmigeant, as a figure , approached him from the darkness. "Big Jim." " Ton have saved us from a'massaore." " YcB. it -was well that I happened^long 1 Bouse tip the fire, for there is no farther danger." . • When the blaze caught the fresh fagots ahd ligbted hp the little valley,the immigraBt counted the dead Indians again—one^--two— three. He turned with extended hiMid, but Big|Jim had departed. Next day, when me* from Hills and Harney's found vhiB- dead: body beside the recks a nule away, withftva wounds whieh had let his life-hlooa oat, they whispered to ea<Ai other:' "We thought we- knowed him, hut we. didn't." Ckbtaw people keep tt aU day long full of vexation befa Iorehand, tor aoma coming event or etor. Ii ia no point of wisdom for ^ aan't* beat his braips about things impossible, 476