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Chapter NumberVII
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Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27263879
Full Date1870-12-17
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Newspaper TitleThe Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)
Trove TitleVicissitudes of an Orphan
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The Storyteller.

Vicissitudes of an Orphan.

CHAPTER VII.

BY THE AUTHOR OF "ALICE VERNON."

PAUL SIDNEY was once more on his way to scenes of classic renown and romantic legend— Italy, Greece, and Germany, the gay Loire, and

the castle-crowned Rhine! Again, before the

tombs of the French Kings at St. Dennis, he stood reverent and uncovered; for he saw in those storied monuments, the history of a thou- sand years of glory. He knelt, at midnight, on the arena of the Coliseum, awed not merely by the majesty of the ruins, but by the mighty re- collections of the place; for there eighteen cen- turies before, a hundred thousand spectators had applauded—there emperors had triumphed— there Christian martyrs had died. He passed over to Egypt, and stood beneath the Pyramids, on the very plain, perhaps—such was his reflec- tion—where the children of Israel had defiled, when they went forth out of Egypt. He wandered amid the ruins of Memphis, where Abraham had conversed face to face with Pha- raoh. He lived, in fact, in the world of the past, seeking there to find relief for the present; for, when sorrows overpower us, we flee either to memory or to hope—blessed comforters both! Paul, however, was not weak in his repinings. He regarded Dora as lost to him for ever; yet,   as she had been lost in a way that did not lessen his love, he mourned for her with keener pangs than even if she had been dead. This was nature. He believed she despised him for his desertion, which to her must seem without cause; and to be misjudged by one we love, to a right character, is the severest of all pains. Then, too, he was uncertain as to her fate; and this added indescribably to his anguish. "Oh, spirits of the blest!" he exclaimed, one   summer night, as he watched the stars shining on the bay of Naples, "if, indeed, as wise men   have asserted, ye watch over mortals here below, be my messenger to her, and tell her that I am still true. Sainted father of my Dora! bear to her the deep woe of my soul, whisper to her how I love and suffer!" Paul, as we have said, was highly imaginative;   and on this evening he was especially so. His words came from his heart, like drops of blood wrung by agony. For a few minutes he was silent; then an inexpressible calm stole over his   spirit. The sensation of woe had passed, and one of delicious pleasure succeeded. It seemed to him, in this mood, as if a voice spoke to him, out of the depths of his heart, assuring him that Dora yet lived, and that, notwithstanding all, she loved him. Have not others had similar experiences?   That summer loitering, in storied lands, bore rich fruit. To occupy his leisure, and find ali- ment for a mind, which otherwise would have devoured itself, Paul flew to composition. His book was a record of travel and a revelation of the heart. When he returned to London, in the autumn, it was published; and the sensa-   tion it made was great. The critics saw in it the traces of a mind equally powerful and deli- cate. The public beheld in it freshness, origina- lity, enthusiasm—qualities which the people ap- preciate far better than critics. Everywhere, from all classes, it met with a warm welcome; and Paul suddenly found himself famous. He had made engagements, in the spring, to spend a portion of the autumn at Henley Abbey. When he reached England, Lord Henley's family had already left town, so he followed them im- mediately. An unusually brilliant circle had assembled to participate in the noble earl's hos- pitalities;—statesmen, orators, warriors, savans   —each distinguished in his peculiar walk, each with a world-wide fame; yet Paul was not the   least striking of them. The events of the last year had transformed him from the idle student to the energetic thinker; and, though his taste led him towards the ideal, he was fully compe- tent to grapple with the most abstruse questions of government and science. The old liked him for his vigorous and clear intellect; the young were fascinated by his lofty conceptions and eloquent words. It was a dangerous trial for a young man, to be thus treated as an equal by the wise, and caressed as a favorite by the beautiful. Paul had retained the image of Dora sacredly in his breast, while wandering alone, and in classic realms. But would he continue faithful to a vision—for the lost Dora was no more—when flattered by rank, wit, loveliness, and, most peril- ous of all, female sympathy? Could he with-   stand the ordeal? He would have been more   than human if he could. We are writing no silly, romantic tale, but narrating a story of the heart; the heart, with all its lofty impulses and sacred memories, but alas! its unknown weaknesses also. The per- fect are not of this world. The tempter is ever at hand, not as "a roaring lion" always, but   disguised often as an angel of light. It is to the subtle, unsuspected foe, not to the open enemy, that the good fall victims. Yet, do not utterly condemn Paul till you have heard all. The Lady Alicia was the youngest daughter of the Earl of Henley, and first arrested Paul's attention by her fine voice. The day after his arrival, it was a Sunday evening, as he wandered through the rooms, he surprised her at an organ, where she was accompanying herself to the anthem which Paul had heard Dora sing in the little country church. He stood enraptured. The fair vocalist either did not, or pretended not to see him, until she had concluded the piece, when she gave a start of surprise, blushed, and rose in confusion. Paul had been profoundly affected. The anthem had vividly recalled the past, and opened anew his wounds. The Lady Alicia, with a woman's fine tact, and few women had tact like the Lady Alicia, saw that some- thing was on his mind; and accordingly she spoke of subjects that she thought would soothe him, raising her eyes to his with frequent glances of sympathy; for the Lady Alicia had fine eyes, and managed them superbly. Paul was beguiled into being interested. His companion, by her enthusiasm, reminded him of Dora. She really cared but little for music, yet she discoursed of it with an affectation of feeling, which completely misled him. It was no imputation on Paul's sagacity that he was deceived. The Lady Alicia was a born flirt, and so accustomed to simulating a part, that she might easily have deluded those more suspicious than Paul."   "I told you," she said to her elder sister, as they chatted a while in her dressing-room that night, "that I would bring the handsome young gentleman to my feet. I knew, from the dash of melancholy in his look, that he loved music, and, as one can't play opera airs on Sunday, I thought I would try the organ and a bit of Handel. He has the air of a man, you see, that couldn't resist a St. Cecilia." And she laughed

as she spoke, her eyes sparkling with mischief and vanity. "So, perceiving he had set forth on a tour through the apartments, I slipped round into the organ-room, to which I knew he   must come, and, as soon as I heard his grand   seignor footsteps, I began my anthem. You don't know how it took," she exclaimed, jump- ing up, and clapping her hands with glee. "He   was at my side in an instant: and, when I had done, of course we talked of music, and also of chanting; and then of the solemn awe of a cathedral; and at this I did quite a pretty little bit of religious sentiment—you should have seen it, Anne—and told him of my charity scholars—" "Your charity scholars!" said her sister,   laughing. "Mamma's, you mean!"   The Lady Alicia pouted her pretty lip, and looked demure. "I go there sometimes, you know," she said, "and expect to be constant   in my attendance hereafter; for Mr. Sidney is an adorer of Lady Bountifuls, and, to tell the truth, he is a catch worth having." And this was the creature who had resolved to enthral Paul, and whom he thought not un- like Dora! The artful, coquetting Lady Alicia like the true-hearted Dora! Yet, when an un- principled, scheming woman, and one of tact too, sets out to deceive a frank and noble nature, the task is not so difficult as might be supposed. From this time forth Paul, without being aware of it, was the mark for the Lady Alicia's attractions. She besieged him with all the wea- pons of an art in which she was an adept. Love of admiration was her ruling foible. In the very nursery the Lady Alicia had been a flirt, coquetting with her boy-cousins in turn, or rather with all at once. Later in life, but still early in girlhood, it had been her boast to have three young Master Honorables dying for her; and nothing filled her with such glee as to bring them together, and watch their mutual jealousy and rage, which she managed to feed by a dozen little coquettish tricks. Since her coming out, she had spent one season in London, running, according to her private opinion, the most bril- liant career of any beauty of the day; for she   flirted with all, whether elder sons or younger guardsmen, and this, in spite of her mother's Argus eyes and constant rebukes; and when ad- mirers were diffident, or dancing partners seemed careless of being admirers, she had always an irresistible glance or smile that was always sure to bring them to her side, each fancying that no lady could bestow such a look unless where her heart was touched. Ah! they little knew the Lady Alicia. At Henley Abbey there was no one to put Paul upon his guard. The few young gentlemen visiting there were either ignorant of the co- quette's arts, or were willing enough to see an- other become her victim. The Lady Alicia managed her arsenal of smiles, glances, whis- pered words, almost imperceptible pressures of the arm, and other weapons of assault all the more adroitly now, because her heart, so far as she had a heart, was really interested in what she called Paul's grand seigneur air. She was not without talent; and, with an instinct of her sex, she wished some one to look up to as an admirer. There was nothing obtrusive, however, in her attentions. Paul did not suspect her purpose. As she could counterfeit a love for music, so she could also imitate deep feeling; she was one of   those extraordinary moral montrosities indeed who can assume the appearance of profound emo- tion without even experiencing it, and pretend to a fervour of religious sentiment, with souls aban-   doned entirely to selfishness, vanity, and conceit. As she had talked of her charity children, so she spoke of all that was good and noble. Thus, those who did not know her well, and few except her own family did, were enraptured with her enthusiasm. A few days passed. One morning most of the gentlemen went out shooting; but Paul pre-   ferred to accompany Lady Henley, with a party, on a visit to a remarkable ruin in the neighbor- hood. It had been the Lady Alicia's intention to drive the pony phaeton; but when she heard that Paul was to be of the excursion, she sud- denly changed her mind, and appeared in her riding-dress. Though few of her sex rode more fearlessly in general than the Lady Alicia, on this occasion she was, to use her own expression, "all nerves." Never had she been known to be so timid. A herd of deer that dashed across the avenue as the gay cortège swept through the park, startled her into a half suppressed shriek; and her eyes on the instant, sought Paul with an appealing glance, followed by a deep blush, as if fear only had surprised her into seeking his aid, and as if her modesty already dreaded the interpretation he might put upon it. Once at her bridle-rein, Paul somehow forgot to leave it. Her occasional starts of timidity, indeed, forbade this; but her conversation, in which so much poetic feeling was mixed with historical and traditional lore in reference to the places they passed, left her cavalier no wish to desert her side. He found himself, long before they reached the ruin, won- dering not less at the knowledge of this fasci- nating young creature, than at her delicate taste and her enthusiasm for the beautiful. The ruin was that of an old castle, perched on a rocky eyrie, and the principal tower was still standing; but the stone staircase which led to the battlements was, in many places, broken; and none of the party cared to risk the difficult ascent, especially as they had all been on the top before. "What a pity," said the Lady Alicia, grace- fully gathering her riding-dress up, so as to ex- hibit the prettiest of all pretty feet, "that none   of you are going up. Mr. Sidney will ascend, of course, as the view is too fine to be lost; and, with no one to point out the various localities in the landscape, he will miss half the pleasure of the sight. Some of the gentlemen should have thought of our guest, and not have strolled off out of hearing." And she assumed an air of vexation. "Really, Mr. Sidney," she continued,   suddenly turning to him, "I feel half ashamed of   our party; so I will go with you myself; though, as I am a little timid, you must bear with me if I scream, should those tottering steps shake be- neath us. Mamma will let me go, I am sure— won't you mamma?"   "Not for the world, Lady Alicia," said Paul.   "If the staircase had a proper balustrade, in- deed, I should be glad for you to accompany me;   for you seem to know every remarkable spot in the county; but I shall remember the most pro- minent localities," he added, smiling, and it was the first time Paul had smiled on her yet, "and,   when I descend, will ask you what they are." "But I am not afraid," she replied, raising   those large dark eyes, overpoweringly to him. "There really can be no danger—is there, mamma?" And she turned to Lady Henley.   The latter had sat silently watching this little manœuvre of her daughter. She knew that the Lady Alicia had often run up those now-dreaded stairs with a laugh at their tottering condition; but it was not her business to tell this to the

rich and handsome young gentleman, who would make such a desirable match for an earl's al- most portionless daughter. So she replied, "Go, if you wish it, dearest; I am sure Mr.   Sidney will take the best care of you." Paul would have expostulated still further; but the Lady Alicia would not allow it. Play- fully taking his arm, and looking confidently up to him, she drew him forward to the foot of the staircase, and urged him up, laughingly slipping round to the side next the wall, with the pretty threat that "if they were to fall, Mr. Sidney should at least go first." They reached the battlements out of breath, the lady having behaved, as Paul thought, very heroically, never screaming, though a loose stone, displaced by his foot, went rolling to the bottom. He had supported her indeed over the most difficult places; but, as the stairs were really very dilapidated, he was astonished at her self- possession. She sank on a projecting stone, and, taking off her broad-brimmed hat, fanned herself with it. Fatigue had made her look more pensive than usual; and she seemed positively beauti-   ful; at least Paul thought so, for she now re-   sembled Dora more than ever, and Dora was still his secret standard of loveliness. At last she arose languidly, with a "Dear me,   I'm ashamed to be such a weak creature," and began to point out the different parts of the landscape to her companion. "That is Walthold Castle," she said, pointing   to what seemed only a pile of stones in the far distance; "it was a Saxon erection, and is now     but a shapeless mass of ruins. Yonder, on that bit of rising ground, was the village of Grus buard, which the Danes burned; and there, just beyond it, is the ancient borough of Beldane, where, as the termination of the word implies, the Danes themselves afterwards settled. Here, in the foreground, amid that dark wood, is De- lancourt Chase, on old Norman appanage; but now, alas! the Delancourts are extinct!" She sighed as she spoke; and after a pause resumed. "It is a sad thing to see an ancient name die   out; and I feel it the more acutely because such is to be the destiny of our family. Papa, you know, has no son." She leaned heavier on Paul's arm as she uttered these words in a plaintive tone, and looked up at him with eyes half humid with emotion. Her companion insensibly pressed that lovely hand to his side; for words, he felt, would have failed to convey his sympathy. "I wish I had a brother," said she, after a   silence of some moments. "I often experience   the want of one, when I do thoughtless things. Brother and sister is such a holy relation—don't you think so? Have you a sister, Mr. Sid- ney?"   Again those large, dark, dewy eyes were brought into requisition, and Paul, as they gazed up, with an almost sisterly confidence, into his, thought that the soul which they re- presented must be second in purity only to Dora's. "I have no sister," he replied, with feeling,   and a look that thrilled his hearer; "I never had; nor have I a brother. I am alone in the world, the last of my line." His companion did not reply for a moment, but, with instinctive tack, she drew closer to his side. When, at last, she spoke; it was in a low, confiding tone. "How like we are," she said, lifting her eyes, full of sympathy to his. "You are without a   sister, and I without a brother. Do you know," she continued, "that I am going to say some- thing, which I fear you will think foolish?—but   I am frank, too frank my friends tell me; and I always speak what is uppermost, silly as it may be." She paused here, for an instant, as if afraid to proceed without encouragement; while her eyes dropped before Paul's, and a blush rose to her cheek, Her companion at that moment could think only of the innocent, trusting creature at his side; he felt for her profound sympathy; and   he expressed it in few but emphatic words, spoken in a low, earnest tone. He would have been wiser than most men indeed, or more cal- lous, to have resisted that exquisitely managed appeal. "It is so short a time that I have known you," she continued, thus encouraged, "that, were you   anybody else, I should fear misconstruction. But it seems to me that I have been intimate with you, not for a few days, but for years; I feel, in your company, exactly as I have always pictured to myself I should feel with a brother; I want to be asking your adrice about my con- duct, for I know I am often a sad, sad creature, and you have seen so much of the world; in short I would have you for a brother. Oh! you don't know how I should prize your coun- sels," she continued, with a fine affectation of enthusiasm. "Men generally are either too backward or too presuming. Now you," and again those well-managed eyes poured a whole flood of coy, bashful tenderness into those of Paul, "are neither one nor the other; but seem   like an elder brother—a true, true friend." In her earnestness she clasped both hands over her companion's arm, looking up at him with a sweet, well-tutored frankness, that was alto- gether irresistible. Paul gazed down, with strange yet pleasurable feelings, on what he thought this picture of confiding innocence. Had he analysed them, they would have said to his heart that, Dora being lost to him for ever, this lovely, artless, confiding Lady Alicia was,   perhaps, destined to be to him, not what Dora might have been indeed, but something akin to   it. From this day forward the Lady Alicia be- came more and more intimate with Paul. If she rode out, it was only when Paul was of the party, and on such occasions it was remarkable how often her bridle required arranging, or her stirrup shortening; and it was equally remark-   able that these accidents always occurred when   Paul was the nearest cavalier. If she adjourned   to the library for a book, it was generally while Paul was there on the same errand; and, in such cases, she invariably consulted him on the   author most likely to be useful to her; and it   was astonishing indeed, to those who knew the   Lady Alicia, to see what a sudden taste for litera- ture she had imbibed. Her curiosity, also, re-   specting foreign countries was great, and she   was never tired of asking questions concerning   them.   On one occasion, Paul who was an early   riser, surprised her in the garden, where, with a   pair of thick gloves on, she was assiduously at   work, much to the astonishment of the gardeners,   who had never seen her little ladyship thus oc-   cupied before. Had they remembered that, only the day preceding, one of their number had   casually mentioned to her that a certain gentle-   man was accustomed to walk in the garden   every morning, and that he seemed very fond of   flowers, they would have felt less surprise. The   interview, so accidental as Paul thought, led to   a long conversation on flowers, in which the

Lady Alicia displayed equal botanical knowledge and sentiment. The next day, Paul returning from a saunter through the park, saw a light female figure in advance of him, which seemed familiar. He would have thought it the Lady Alicia's, but for the extreme plainness of the dress, and from a somewhat heavy basket carried on the arm. Suddenly, however, attracted by the sound of footsteps, the stranger looked round. It was indeed the Lady Alicia. Paul hurried forward. His first movement, on reaching her, was to extend his hand for the basket. She seemed quite embarrassed, indeed a little annoyed. "You here, and in this dress," he said, "and     carrying a basket! But I see it all—you have been on some visit of charity," and his manly face brightened with admiration.   "I did not expect to meet any of our guests,"     said she, artlessly, blushing at Paul's undisguised pleasure; "I thought the gentlemen had all     gone out shooting."   She, however, knew that one had not; and   hence her appearance in the park in this sweet little masquerade dress. "They have all gone except me," replied Paul;   "but I felt more disposed for a quiet stroll in   these fine old woods, than for slaughtering   pheasants. Had I, however known that you   were bent on a mission of charity, I should have solicited permission to accompany you. It is far better employment of time to relieve suffering than to indulge in selfish reverie."   "Mr. Sidney," she said, frankly, laying her     hand on his arm, "you flatter me, instead of telling me my faults. Indeed, you will spoil me.   I have only done my duty." "Yes, but my dear Lady Alicia," replied Paul, regarding her kindly, "in this world so   few do their duty, especially so few who are well- born, petted and wealthy like you, that your conduct really is deserving of praise." "Don't say so again," said she beseechingly, lifting her eyes. "Even if true, I would rather   not hear it; it may make me vain and self- righteous." It was on Paul's lips to say something more complimentary than ever; but he felt that this would be doing injustice to one so sensitive and pure; so he walked for a few minutes in silence. "I have never asked you if you belonged to   the Established Church?" said his companion,   suddenly. "I am an Episcopalian, like yourself," replied   Paul. "But are you what we call Evangelical or Oxford?" inquired Lady Alicia. The fact is, Paul's opinions on this point had puzzled Lady Alicia, and, at she wanted to make a demonstration on his religious tide, she was anxious to know the ground before proceeding;   if he should prove a Tractarian, it was her fixed resolution to begin embroidering an altar- cloth at once; if he was on the other side, she intended to commence the distribution of tracts on a large scale. "I am for neither party," replied Paul, in all sincerity; "I abhor all dissension, but especially   dissension in religion. As for my belief," he continued, seriously, "it conincides with Mother   Church on all cardinal points; at least as, by   the light of Scripture, I read and interpret her creed. Minor matters I trouble not myself about. If candlesticks, genuflections, or altars facing the east assist the religious sentiment in some characters, let such call in these sensuous aids. If other persons wish to worship their Maker in barn-like meeting-houses, and prefer to throw aside even the surplice, it is a matter of taste, and not my affair. Let the heart be right, that it all I ask!" The Lady Alicia had now her cue; and, ac- cordingly, coincided with him entirely. He little knew that, the year before, when there had been no one else to flirt with except a Puseyite curate, the Lady Alicia had talked of the mediæval age, as if, with it, true religion had died out, and was only being now resusci- tated in a few churches where candles were lighted on the altar. But we must leave the fair hypocrite to com- plete the enthralmont of Paul, while we return to the meek, the suffering, the true-hearted Dora. CHAPTER VIII. A CHANGE had taken place in the little house- hold of Mrs. Harper. Susan had suddenly an- nounced that some country relatives had sent for her to spend the summer with them; and, with no greater delay than was necessary to pack up her wardrobe, she departed. This was a keen blow to an admirer of hers, Mr. Butler, a young painter. " 'Tis odd, though," said Mrs. Harper, when Susan had gone, "that she did not say when she   would return. One never heard her talk of these relations before, nor has she now told us where they live; and Susan generally used to   tell all she knew, and sometimes more. I wish she had accepted Butler. I'm sure he has either been refused, or her manner has frightened him from proposing. Have you noticed how strange he has acted for the last few days?"   "I have," replied Dora.   In fact, Butler had scarcely been himself dur- ing the two days between Susan's announcing her intention and her departure. Both evenings had been spent at home; and his eyes had fol- lowed Susan continually. Sometimes she and Dora remained in the parlor; and when this was   the case, he would come and sit by them, joining a while in the conversation; but suddenly, as if   unconscious of what he was doing, he would   break off; or again, he would rise and pace the room; or he would seize his hat, go out for a while, and return as unaccountably. Sometimes he would sit in a dark corner peering at Susan   who meanwhile chatted with all, in the highest spirits. Indeed she seemed to be more gay than ever before. "Poor fellow," said Mrs. Harper, "he seems     almost distracted. If Susan had known when she was well off, she would have been glad to get a husband like him; however, I suppose this invitation from her relatives, who overlooked her so long, has set her crazy." Susan had been gone more than a week, yet Buttler did not shake off his moodiness. When- ever he was at home, he was absent-minded; and, if spoken to, answered irritable; but he   was now almost always out. He neglected his work, spending his time walking about the   streets, as if to dissipate his thoughts. The kind   landlady grew concerned for him. She feared he would take, like others, to intoxicating drinks as a relief; so she watched him narrowly, but found no confirmation of her suspicions. How- ever late the hour at which he came home, and she always managed to have some excuse for being up, he was sober, though evidently harassed at times by mental and bodily fatigue. One night, however, he did not return until long after midnight. Mrs. Harper had dozed and waked a dozen times, in her arm-chair, when suddenly the door-bell rang. Sleepy and

vexed, the rose up, snuffed her candle, and went to let Butler in, resolved to berate him roundly for his late hours. But when the door was opened, and he strode past her, there was something so haggard in his looks that she felt afraid to speak. She believed, indeed, that he was at last inebriated; but for once the landlady,   herself generally the terror of offenders, dared not say a word. Butler staggered in, his cap pushed low on his brow. By the faint candle Mrs. Harper saw a dogged, fierce, and desperate expression in his eyes, that made her blood run cold. She stood close to the wall to let him pass, expecting to see him ascend immediately to his room. But, after he had reeled forward a few steps, he stopped. By this time Mrs. Harper had closed and locked the door. "Oh! Mrs. Harper," he said, every muscle   of his face working, "I have seen her—it was   as I feared—she is lost for ever!"   His look and attitnde were so wild, his tone so heart-broken, that Mrs. Harper saw at once that her suspicions were wrong, and that some- thing, dreadful had occurred—something dread- ful to Susan apparently. Her hand, her whole frame trembled, and the candle nearly fell from her grasp. "What is it? You frighten me. Don't look so, dear, dear James." She said this with a tremulous, eager voice, for the workings of his countenance appalled her. It must be something awful, she knew, which had happened to convulse him thus. "I wish I were dead!" he exclaimed, with sudden vehemence, striking his forehead with his clenched hands; "I would die willingly if I   could kill him first—"   "James!" said the astonished landlady.   "Yes! kill him," he hissed, between his teeth, and, turning fiercely upon her—"murder   him, if that suits better." He seemed so like a madman, as he said this, that Mrs. Harper retreated from before him in affright; but he followed her up, his eyes flash- ing insanely. The landlady retreated into the parlor, and set the candle down on a table, which she inter- posed partially between her and the frenzied man; she began to have a glimmering of the truth, and was paralysed with horror. She said, her voice shaking, "Tell me what has happened?     —is it Susan?"   He glared at her for an instant, then he re- plied savagely, striking the table with his fist, "Yes!" But he had scarcely spoken, when a revulsion of feeling came over him; and he added, keeping his face in his hands, "she is   lost for ever!" "You speak too hopelessly," said the land-     lady, breathlessly, taking advantage of a pause. "Perhaps yon are mistaken—"   "No, no!" interrupted Butler, energetically, looking up again. "I have made too sure of   that. I saw him dogging her and Miss Ather- ton before—"   "What!" exclaimed Mrs. Harper, and, at the supposition, hope went out for ever, "it is not young Mr. Thomaston?"   "Yes," he answered savagely; "and may Heaven curse him!" "But where did you see her?" inquired Mrs. Harper. "You have given me no details."   "At the theatre," replied Butler. "I have suspected it ever since she went away, even be- fore she went, indeed. She spoke so vaguely of her relations that I pressed her on the subject— some secret instinct prompted me to it, I believe, for I can account for it in no other way—and she evaded, contradicted, grew embarrassed— till, finally I told her that I thought she was uttering falsehoods. Then she grew angry, and would scarcely speak to me. To satisfy myself, I spent most of my time, day and night, in pub- lic places, where, if my fears were true, I should be likely to meet her—in the fashionable streets, at places of public amusement, on the accus- tomed roads for persons who drive out of town. But, till to-night, I never once saw her. I was beginning to think my suspicions wrong, to feel easier in mind, when, at the theatre this evening, she entered a private box with this profligate. She was dressed magnificently; all laces and silks; and he, the double-dyed scoundrel, temp-   ter, destroyer, how he smiled, and whispered, and leaned over her—oh! I could strike him dead, if I had the power!" "There—don't take it to to heart," said Mrs. Harper. " 'Tis done, and can't be mended. You are not to blame, believe me, dear James. If anything could have saved her, it would have been your love." "No, no," replied Butler, "it was this cruel   life; the miserable wages, and incessant toil." "Heaven forgive them," said the landlady, "that keep the poor weak creatures at the point   of starvation, and finally force too many of them, who are not upheld by religion, into evil ways! But," she quickly added, "it was Susan's fault, in part, also. She was vain, foolish, cre- dulous, indolent; it was this that made her fall. I have no doubt she looks back with scorn on her laborious life here; but she will yet find, deluded girl, that the wages of sin is death." "Pray for me, Mrs. Harper—pray for Susan   —pray that she may repent even on a death- bed," said Butler, seizing her hand in both of his, and looking imploringly into her eyes. "I will," she replied, almost choked for utter- ance, the tears blinding her sight. "Heaven bless you!" he ejaculated, passion-   ately, and wrong her hand; the next instant he   had fled the room. Butler's chamber was directly above Mrs. Harper's, and when she ascended, she heard him walking overhead. All through the night as often as she awoke, she heard still that heavy and sorrowful tread. "Alas! poor Susan!" said Dora, when she heard of Susan's guilt, and she burst into tears. "Poor, weak Susan!" said Mrs. Harper.   "Ah! Mrs. Harper," replied Dora, "don't be too severe upon her. Perhaps, if she had been born to ease and luxury, this would not have happened." "Every lot in life hat its temptation, and   poverty was hers," replied the landlady. "You are right," said Dora, after a pause,   with a heavy sigh. "It was slothfulness and vanity that ruined her," said Mrs. Harper, "as I often feared; yet better had she starved than have fallen. 'Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body.' We cannot serve two masters, and Susan has made her choice." "And," said Dora, hesitatingly, after a pause,   "you think it would be visionary to seek Susan's reformation?"   "Since we could not keep her from going astray, we cannot recall her to the path of duty; at least not yet," said Mrs. Harper. "She would only laugh at us. "You cannot 'gather grapes of thorns, or figs from thistles.' Susan must first discover how hollow are the vows of the profligate, and how hard are the

wages of sin; and that, poor girl, she will find   soon enough. Verily, the way of the trans- gressor is hard; but the path Susan has chosen   is hardest of all." "Oh!" cried Dora, with generous enthusiasm,   "I wish that I was rich, that I might do some-   thing to save, from this horrible pit, weak crea- tures like our poor Susan." The knowledge of young Thomaston's agency in Susan's disappearance rendered Dora's con- nexion with the clothing establishment even more disagreeable than before, especially as the son had lately become associated with the father in business. Since Susan's departure, Dora had been compelled to visit the shop alone. Fearful of meeting the profligate, she sought employment from other establishments; but   work was now scarce, and she could find no encouragement. Necessity, therefore, com- pelled her to return to her old employer's. For some time she saw nothing of young Thomaston. But one day, late in October, when she carried back some work, he confronted her at the door of the establishment. Her heart beat fast. She, however, summoned all her self-command, and advanced up the shop, taking no notice of the insolent smile with which he greeted her. When she had concluded her business, and turned to depart, she saw that   her persecutor had disappeared; and with a lightened heart she left the establishment. As usual, Dora had chosen for her walk that   part of the day when, it being yet too light for candles, and too dark to sew, she could go out with the greater economy of time. Her heart fluttered a little as she left the shop, fearing the profligate might be waiting for her; but it was   not with fear. Loathing, detestation, even hate —if one like Dora could be said to hate—were her sensations towards this bad vulgar man; but as she would have shuddered at a foul snake, so she shrunk now from the presence of this detestable betrayer. The evening was beautiful, and Mr. Thomas-   ton not making his appearance, Dora, re-assured, enjoyed the loveliness with a zest, all the greater for her confinement during the day. A slight shower, just before she started, had passed over the city, and the air was full of the fragrance of flowers and wet grass, which, at such a time, impregnates even the atmosphere of a town, bringing up visions of mossy brooks, scented violets, and new-mown hay. Dora was walking leisurely along, her spirits rising even to buoyancy, when, on turning into a by-street, a sharp, quick tread sounded behind her. She knew instinctively whose it was. In fact, Susan's betrayer had been dogging her on the opposite side of the street, all the way from his shop. With a sudden resolution, as he ad- dressed her, she turned boldly upon him. "Sir," she said, "if you don't cease this insol-   ence, I'll call the police." As on the former occasion, he rallied after a moment's astonishment; and, as then, rage suc- ceeded to his late feelings; only now the rage was so intolerable that it almost smothered him. "You have rejected me," he said, before Dora   could utter a word; "but I will have my re-     venge!"   He had advanced his face almost to hers, his- sing the words between his teeth, like a serpent in its rage. But Dora's lofty spirit was now fairly roused to the utmost; she threw back her head, her fine eyes darting lightnings, and, with her small hand, in which was now concentrated the strength of a man, she struck her insulter a blow, full in the face, that sent him reeling from her. And that was her only answer! For an in- stant, like an enraged lioness, she stood motion- less, regarding him steadfastly; then, with a   proud, defying curl of the lip, she turned and walked away. He did not dare to follow her. He was cowed completely. He even might have rallied and followed her, but that, when he first saw clearly, after the blinding flash was over that followed the blow, he beheld her several yards before him, and, close by her, a policeman sauntering to- wards him. This man, as he passed Dora, eyed her curiously, which the defeated profligate saw. Alarmed lest the officer might have seen the interview, and might choose to arrest him, the libertine turned quickly, darted round the cor- ner, and sought refuge in a cigar-shop, two doors off, where a snug back room, used for smoking, afforded, he knew, an unsuspected re- treat. Little, however, did even he imagine the con- sequences that were to flow from that night's work. Little did Dora either. She also had noticed the policeman, and at first thought to ask his protection, but finally, in the fearlessness of her spirit, decided that it was unnecessary. Better, oh! better if she had. On reaching home, Dora at once made Mrs. Harper her confidant. "The villain!" said the landlady. "Not satisfied with destroying Susan, he must perse- cute and insult you! My dear child, it will not do for you to go near the shop any more." "I fear not," said Dora.   "The base scoundrel!" exclaimed the land-   ady, her anger rising. "He thinks, because he is rich, that he can do what he pleases. But, though he may triumph in this world, there is one coming where he will get his reward." "I suppose," said Dora, with some anxiety,   "I shall have no more work from the establish-   ment." "Never mind, dear," replied the landlady, "you will not suffer. Why can't you, indeed, give up this sewing at once, and help me about the house? You are not very strong, but we'll   manage to do. You confine yourself too much, you are pale; and your health fails you, I know—"   "No," interrupted Dora, "I will go on, at least for a while. Thank you kindly, Mrs. Harper." She knew that the good landlady was little able to support her in comparative idleness; and,   though she felt her health failing, and feared further insult, she resolved heroically to perse-   vere. "Well," said Mrs. Harper, "you must not go   to the shop any more." "I am not rich, and can't keep a servant,"   said Dora, with a smile.   "But you can send," said Mrs. Harper, "there's s little lad here, who runs on errands,   we'll get him to go for you." And so it was arranged.   Meantime the autumn months came and went.   Butler continued as unsettled, as reserved, as irritable as ever. His was one of those natures which trouble hardens for the time, instead of softens. "I cannot endure this any longer," he one day said to Mrs. Harper; "this place has be-   come hateful to me, and I must leave it." Mrs. Harper did not discourage Butler from leaving the city; but said what she could to   hasten his departure. So the day was fixed; and, as he was to go by the evening train, he devoted the morning to calling on his few

friends. He had promised to return to dinner, but did not come—of which, however, Mrs. Harper thought little. After a week's almost incessant labor, Dora had set apart that afternoon for a ramble in the country; and, when she started, she left her adieux for Butler, in case she did not return be- fore he departed. "Tell him," she said to Mrs.     Harper, "that I hope to see him come back, in   a few years, a famous artist." All that afternoon Mrs. Harper waited in vain for Butler. As evening drew on she began to be alarmed; but about half an hour before the train departed he made his appearance. He seemed heated and excited, as if he had walked fast and far. There was barely time to get down his luggage, and call a porter, before it be- came necessary for him to depart. "Good-bye," he said to Mrs. Harper. "You     will not see me for years, if ever again. Here- after I shall have no love but for my art." He moved away a step; then came back; and, tak-     ing the landlady's hand, added with emotion, "Pray for me—you don't know how much I want your prayers—perhaps, after all, I am an outcast, predestinated," and he smiled grimly, "to eternal ruin. Heaven help me!" He spoke incoherently, and was again going, when Mrs. Harper, remembering Dora's message, detained him to mention it. She thought its praise might soothe him. "Miss Atherton is an angel," he said. "But     I saw her at—," and he mentioned a public promenade on the outskirts of the city. "She told me I should be a great artist. We walked together in the fields and woods. Ask her, too, to pray for me. Surely prayers from one so pure as she will be heard." His broken sentences and wild looks alarmed   Mrs. Harper. Could he be intoxicated? No,   she knew he was not; his very earnestness for-   bade the idea. Before, howerer, she could ex- press her thoughts he wrung her hand, and darted away on a run, without once looking back. But the events of the day were not over. Two hours had passed since Butler's departure, and Mrs. Harper had long been alarmed, in turn at Dora's non-appearance, when the parlor door was pushed rudely open, and a neighbor rushed in breathlessly. "Oh! Mrs. Harper," she said, "what does     all this mean? Young Mr. Thomaston has been   carried home dead—murdered, and Miss Ather- ton has confessed to the deed. My son saw the crowd at the station-house, as they were taking her in. They caught her in the act." Mrs. Harper rose to her feet, excessively pale, but with an inflexible face. "I don't believe it," she said, indignantly. "Yet," she added,   bursting into tears, "what if he has been insult-   ing her again!"   [TO BE CONTINUED.]

THe ancient inhabitants of Europe regarded the tropics as the most sterile region ot the world. Proceeding southward from the Medi- terranean coast, they saw vegetation rapidly decreasing; and not unnaturally they attri-   buted to the heat of the sun, an aridity and desolation which were due to different causes, since on other parts of globe, in a similar lati- tude, were tracts, as yet unkown, of most bounteous richness and fertility. A THREE-TAILED fish was lately presented to the French Academy of Sciences. M. Pouchet stated, on the occasion, that many three-tailed fish are offered for sale at Canton, China; they   are exceedingly delicate, and rarely survive long. Out of thirty-six embarked at Canton on the French frigate Imperatrice, only two lived to reach Paris. These fish are said to be nothing but gold-fish born deformed. THE NEWEST WAY OF DESTROYING LIFE. —Some interesting experiments were made re- cently in London, as to the explosive effect of the Pertuiset powder when used with revolvers. They were conducted in a shed attached to the yard of Messrs. Winkley and Shaw, horse slaughterers, at 35, Green-street, Blackfriars- road, in the presenoe of several officers and others interested, the arrangements being under the direction of Mr. Shaw; Mr. Adams, the   managing director of Adams' Patent Small Arms Company, 391, Strand, was present with one of his revolvers, and fired all the shots. As soon as the party were fairly assembled a horse was led into the shed—a beast with wicked eyes, and hind legs showing unmistakable marks of contact with splinter bars. He had been con- demned as irreclaimably vicious. As he faced Mr Adams, he stood quietly enough watching the tiny weapon. The pistol is aimed at the forehead, right between the eyes; there is a tiny report —only one; the effect of the shock is   shown to check every vital function in the frame of the animal; he sinks instantly upon his   knees, and then comes lumbering down to the ground in a heap. A thin wreath of grey smoke curls from his forehead. Three or four convul- sive kicks, and then complete stillness. The whole appears simple enough, and nothing more than would have happened with any bullet sent into the brain. Wait a little. That head must be examined. The grey smoke still curls from the wound as skin and muscle are removed from the skull, and then it becomes apparent that the skull is split. On handling it large pieces of bone come away easily. The surface bones are removed, and the brain beneath in found to be utterly destroyed—a mass of grey and white matter devoid of consistency. When the loose material is lifted out there is a hole like the   crater of a mine, 7 inches long by 6 broad. Part of the bullet had been driven up to the back of the head. And this work was done by a weapon that a man can carry in his pooket! The second shot was intended for comparison, and this time the pistol was loaded with an ordinary bullet. Another horse was brought in —a poor lame atnmal, not vicious, only nervous, but his eyes had to be bound before he would face the pistol. Again the murderous weapon is fired; again the victim falls on his knees, his   head, and then prone on the ground. Dead, surely, but yet, if we may say so, not so dead as the one which fell before him. There is less convulsive kicking, but certain quivers run through the flesh for some minutes, long after the life stream has ceased to flow from the heart. The only wound was a small round hole in the forhead. No bone otherwise broken.   It was now determined to ascertain the effect of an explosive bullet fired at a fleshy part of the body—and for this purpose a dead carcass was as good as a living creature—so the feet of the animal just slain were lifted up by ropes thrown over a beam, and the shoulder fairly ex- posed to a side shot. The spot chosen was clear of the bone. There was no smoke from the wound, but after a moment plenty of the same grey vapor issued from the gash in the chest made by the knife after the horse's fall. Search was made scientifically. First the wound was probed, then the shoulder removed, and it became perceptible that the bullet had passed through the third rib into the cavity of the chest. The rib was removed and the hole enlarged so that the eager gazers could pry into that wonderful hollow where the heart and the lungs are laid so curiously and perfectly by nature. There is a mark on the opposite wall of the cavity. We must go further, but not much further, before a blackened place is found, and in it the exploded bullet. The gas had mostly sprung out into the hollow space, and so found its way through the gaping wound in the chest. One more—the fourth—shot was fired at the leg bone, and the bullet, without explo- sive composition, gave a compound fracture. We have heard lately that the French have been astonished by the strong shooting and long range of the Adams' revolver, fair practice having been made with it at 300 metres, and certainly no one who saw that broken bone could accuse the little weapon of being, as re- volvers used to be, unable to drop an adversary.

Times, August 4, 1870.