|Chapter Number||I - III|
|Newspaper Title||The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)|
BY THE AUTHOR OF "LADY HUTTON'S WARD," ETC.
He cares for neither right nor reason, And only asks—his own way.—OLD SONG. "THE consequences of folly seldom end with
its originator," said Lord Earle to his son.
"Rely upon it, Bonald, if you were to take this moat foolish and unadvisable step, you would bring misery upon yourself and every one connected with yon. Listen to realbn." " There is no reason in prejudice," replied the young man, haughtily. "You cannot bring forward one Talid reason against my marriage." Despite his annoyance, a smile came on Lord Sarle's grave face. "I can bring a thousand reasons, if neces sary," he replied. " I grant everything you say. Dora Thome is Tery pretty; but, remember, she is quite a rustic and unformed beauty,— and I almost doubt whether she can read or spell properly. She is modest and good, I grant, and I never heard one syllable against her; but, Bonald,—let me appeal to your better judgment,—are a moderate amount of pretti ness and shy modesty sufficient qualifications for your wife, who will have to take your mother's place?" "They are quite sufficient to satisfy me," re plied the young man. "You have others to consider," said Lord Earle, quickly. "I love her," interrupted his son; and again the father smiled. "We know what it means," he said, w when boys of nineteen talk about love. Believe me, Bonald, if I were to consent to your request, you would be the first in after year* to re proach me for weak compliance with your youth ful folly." "You would not call it folly," retorted Bo nald, his face flushing hotly, "if Dora were an heiress, or the daughter of some——" "Spare me a long discourse," again inter rupted Lord Earle. "You are quite right) if the young girl in question belonged to your own station, or even if she were near it, that would be quite a different matter. I am not annoyed that you have, as you think, fallen in love, or that you wish to marry, although you are young. lam annoyed that you should dream of wishing to marry a simple rustic, the daugh ter of my lodgekeeper. It is so supremely ridiculous, that I can hardly treat the matter seriously." "It is serious enough for me," replied his ion, with a long, deep sigh. Mlf I do not marry Dora Thorne, I shall never marry at aIL" " Better that than a mitdlliance," said Lord Earle, shortly. "She is good," cried Bonald,—"good and fair, modest and graceful. Her heart is pure as her face is fair. What mStalliance can there be, father P I never hare and never shall be lieve in the cruel laws of caste. In what is one man better than another, or superior to another, save that-he be more intelligent or more virtu ous?" "I shall never interfere in your polities, Bonald," said Lord Earle, laughing quietly. " Before you are twenty-one you will have gone through many stages of that fever. Youth is almost invariably liberal, age eonserrative. Adopt what line of politics you will, but do not bring theory into praotioe in this instance." " I should consider myself a hero," continued the younger man, "if I could be the first to break through the trammel* ef custom, and the absurd laws of caste." "You would not be the first," aaid Lord Earle, quietly. " Many before yon have made unequal marriages; many will do so after you; but in every case I believe regret and disappoint ment followed." " They wonld not in my case," said Bonald, eagerly; " and, with Dora Thorne by my side, I oonld do anything; without her, I can do nothing." Lord Earle looked grieved at the pertinacity of his son. "Most fathers would refuse to hear all this nonsense, Bonald," he said, gently. " I listen, and try to oonvince you by reasonable argu ments that the step you seem bent upon taking is one that will entail nothing but misery. I have said no angry word to you, nor shall I do 10. I tell you simply it cannot be. Dora Thorne, my lodgekeeper's daughter, is no fitting wife for my sop, the heir of Earlescourt. Come with me, Bonald; I will show you farther what I mean." They went together, the father and son, so like in face, yet so dissimilar in mind. They had been walking up and down the broad ter race, one of the chief beauties of Earlesoourt. The park and pleasure grounds, flushed with Summer beauty, lay smiling arjund them. The song of hundreds of birds thrilled through the sweet summer air, the water of the pretty foun tains rippled musically, rare and gorgeous flowers charmed the eye, and sent perfumed messages from their beautiful leaves; but neither song of birds nor fragrance of flowers— neither sunshine nor musio—brought any brightness to the grave faces of father and son. With slow steps they quitted the broad ter race, and entered the hall. They passed through a long suite of magnificent apartments, up the broad marble stairoase, through long oorrodors, until they reached the picture gallery, one of the finest in England. Every great master was represented there; Murillo's dark Spanish scenes, Guido's fair angels, Baphael's iweet Madonnas, Claude Loraine's bright land scapes, Salvator Bosa's grand designs, Correg gio's marvellous tints, and one of Tintoretto's finest paintings. The lords of Earlescourt had all loved pictures, and each of them had added to the treasures of that wonderful gallery. One portion of the gallery was set aside for the portraits of the members of the family. Grim old warriors and fair ladies *hung side by aide; faces of marvellous beauty, bearing the signs of noble descent, shone out dearly from their gilded frames. Lord Earle took his son there. "Look, Bonald," he said, laying one hand upon his shoulder; "you stand before your an cestors now. Yours is a grand old race. Eng land knows, and honors it. Look at these pic tured faces of the wives our fathers chose. There is Lady Sybella Earle: when one of Cromwell's soldier* drew his dagger to slay her husband, the truest friend King Charles ever had, she flung herself before him, and received the blow in bis stead. She died, and he lived: noble and beautiful, is she not ? Now look at the Lady Alicia—this fair patrician lady, smiling by the side of her grim lord; she, at the risk of her life, helped him to fly from prison, where he lay condemned to death for some great poli tical wrong. She saved him, and for her sake
he received pardon. Here is the Lady Helena —not beautiful; bat look at the intellect, the queenly brow, the soul-lit eyes! She, I need not tell you, was a poetess. Wherever the English language was spoken, her verses were read: men were nobler and better for reading them. The ladies of our race were such that brave men may be proud of them. Is it not so, Ronald?" " Yes," he replied, calmly, " they were grand women." Lord Earle then led his son to a huge paint ing, upon which the western sunbeams lingered, brightening the fair face they shone upon, until it seemed living and smiling. A deep and tender reverence stole into Lord Earle's voice as he spoke. " No fairer or more noble lady ever ruled at Earlesoourt than your mother, Bonald. Bhe is the daughter of * a hundred earls,' high-bred, beautiful, and refined. Wow, let me ask you, in the name of common sense, do you wish to place my lodgekeeper's daughter by your mother's side ? Admit that she is pretty and good—is it in the fitting order of things that she should be here ?" For the first time, in the heedless fiery course of his love, Bonald Earle paused. He looked at the serene and noble face before him, the broad brow, the sweet arched lips, the refined patrician features, and there came to him the memory of another face, charming, shy, and blushing, with a graceful beauty, different .from the one before him as sunlight compared to moonlight. The words faltered upon his lips— instinctively he felt that pretty, blushing Dora had no place there. Lord Earle looked relieved as he saw the doubt upon his son's face. " You see it, Bonald," he cried. " Your idea of the 'fusion' of races is well enough in theory, but it will not do brought into practice. I have been patient with you—l have treated you, not as a schoolboy whose head is half turned by his first love, but as a sensible man endowed with reason and thought. Now give me a reward.- Promise me here that you will make a brave effort, give up all foolish thoughts of Dora Thorne, and not see her again. Go abroad for a year or two—you will soon forget this boyish folly, and bless the good sense that has saved you from it. Will yon promise me, Bonald?" "I cannot,father," he replied,«for I have promised Dora to make her my wife. I cannot break my word. You yourself could never counsel that." "In this case I can," said Lord Earle, eagerly; "that promise is not binding, not even in honor; the girl herself, if she has any reason, tfannot and does not expect it." "She believed me," said Bonald, simply; " besides, I love her, father." " Hush," replied Lord Earle, angrily, " I will listen to no more nonsense. There is a limit to my patience. Once and for all, Bonald, I tell you that I decidedly forbid any mention of such : a marriage; it is degrading and ridiculous. I forbid you to marry Dora Thorne; if you dis obey me, you must bear the penalty." " And what would the penalty be ?" asked the heir of Earlescourt, with a coolness and calm ness that irritated his father. " One you would hardly wish to pay," replied the earl. " If, in spite of my prayers, entreaties and commands, yon persist in marrying the girl, I will never look upon your face again. My home shall be no longer your home. I will take from you my love, my esteem, and what perhaps those who hare lured you to ruin may value still more, my wealth. I cannot disinherit you; you i will, some djy, be Lord Earle, of Earlescourt; but, if you persist in this folly, I will not allow you one farthing. You shall be to me as one dead until I die myself." " X have three hundred a year," said Bonald, calmly, " that my godfather left me." Lord Earle's face grew now white with anger. " Yes," he replied, " you have that; it wonld not find you in gloves and cigars, now. But Bonald, you cannot be serious, my boy. I have loved you—l have been so proud of you—you cannot mean to defy and wound me.* His voice faltered, and his son looked up quickly, touched to the heart by his father's emotion. " Give me your consent, father," he cried passionately. "You know I love you, and I love Dora; I cannot give up Dora." "Enough," said Lord Earle; "words seem useless. You hear my final resolve; I shall never change it,—no after repentance, no en treaties, will move me. Choose between your parents, your home, your position, and the love of this fair, foolish girl, of whom, in a few months, you will be tired add weary. Choose between us. I ask for no promise; you have refused to give it. I appeal no more to your affection; I leave you to decide for yourself. I might coerce-and force you, but I will not do so. Obey me, and I will make your happiness my study. Defy me, and marry the girl,—then, in life, I will never look upon your face again. Henceforth I will have no son; you will not be worthy of the name. There is no appeal. I leave you now to make your choice; this is my final resolve." With firm, proud steps Lord Earle quitted the gallery, leaving his son to reflect upon what he had said. Chapibb EL Thb Earles, of Earlescourt, were one of the oldest families in England. The " Barony of Eyrie" is mentioned in the early reigns of the Tudor kings. They never appear to have taken any great part either in politics or warfare. The annals of the family told of simple virtu ous lives; they contained, too, some few ro mantic incidents. Some of the older barons had been brave soldiers ; and there were stories of hairbreadth escapes and great exploits. Two or three had taken to politics, and had come to grief through their eagerness and zeal; but, as a rule, the barons of Earle had been simple, kindly gentlemen, contented to live at home upon their own estate, satisfied with the duties they found there, careful in the alliances they contracted, and equally careful in the bringing up and establishment of their children. One and all they had been zealous cultivators of the fine arts. Earlescourt was almost over crowded with pictures, statues, and works of art. Son succeeded father, inheriting with title and estate the same kindly, simple disposition, and the same tastes, until Rupert Earle, nine teenth baron, with whom our story opens, be came Lord Earle. Simplicity and kindness were not his characteristics. He was proud, ambitious, and inflexibleJ» he longed for the time when the Earles should become famous, when their name should be one of weight in council. In early life his ambitious desires seemed about to be realised. He was but twenty when he succeeded his father, and was an only child, clever, keen and ambitious. In his twenty-first year he married Lady Helena
Brooklyn, the daughter of one of the proudest peers in Britain. There lay before him • fair and useful life. His wife was an elegant, ac complished woman, who knew the world and its ways—who had, from her earliest childhood, been accustomed to the highest and best society. Lord Earle often told her, laughingly, that she would have made an excellent ambassadress, — her manners were so bland and gracious; she had the rare gift of appearing interested in every one and everything. With such a wife at the head of his establish ment, Lord Earle hoped for great things. He looked to a prosperous career as a statesman} ao honors seemed to him too high, no ambition too great. Bat a hard fate lay before him. He made one brilliant and successful speech in Par liament,—* speech never forgotten by those who heard it, for its astonishing eloquence, He keen wit, its bjtter satire. Fever again did his voice rouse alike friend and foe. Ha was seized with a sudden acd dangerous illness which brought him to the brink of the grave. After a long and desperate straggle with the "grim enemy," he slowly recoveied, but all hope of public Kfe was mar for him. The doctors said he might live to be a hale old man if be took proper precautions; he must live quietly, avoid all excitement, and sever dream again of politics. To Lord Barle this seemed like a sentence of exile or death. His wife tried her utmost to comfort and console him, but for some years he lived only to repine at his lot. Lady Helena devoted herself to him. Earleseourt became the centre and home of elegant hospitality; men of letters, great artists, and men of note visited there, and in time Lord Earle became reconciled to his fate. All his hopes and ambi tion were now centered in his only son, Bonald, a fine noble boy, unlike his father in every respect save one. He had the same clear-cut Saxon face, with dear honest eyes, and proud lips, the same fair hair and stately carriage; bat in one respect they differed: Lord Earle looked firm and inflexible; no one ever thought of ap pealing against his decision or trying to change his resolution. If "my lord had said it" the matter was settled. Evea Lady Helena knew that any attempt to influence him was vain. Bonald, on the contrary, could be stubborn, but not firm. He was more easily influenced: ap peal to the better part of his nature, to his affection or sense of duty, was seldom made in vain. Ho other children gladdened Lord Earle's heart, and all his hopes were centered in bis son. For the second time in his life great hopes and ambition rose within him. What he had not achieved his son would do; the honor he could no longer seek might one day be bis. There was something almost pitiful in the love of the stern, disappointed man for his child. He longed for the time when Bonald would be of age to commence his public career. He planned for his son as he had never planned for h""tf>*. Time passed on, and the heir of Barlesoourt went to Oxford, as his father had done before him. Then came the second bitter disappoint ment of Lord Sarle's life. He himself was a Tory of the old school; Liberal principles were an abomination to him; be hated and detested everything connected with Liberalism. It was a great shook to him when Bonald returned from college a "full-fledged Liberal" With his usual keenness, he saw that all discussion was I useless. " Let the Liberal fever wesr Hself out," said one of bis friends; " you will find, Lord Earle, that all young men favor it. Conservatism is the result of age and experience. By the time your son takes a position in the world, he will have passed through many stages of liberalism." Lord Earle devoutly believed it. When the first shook of his disappointment was over, Bonald's political zeal began to amuse him. He liked to see the boy earnest in everything. He smiled when Bonald, in his clear young voice,' read out the speeches of the chief of his party. He smiled when the yoang man, eager to bring theory into praotioe, fraternised with the tenant farmers, and visited families from whom his father shrank in aristocratic dread. There was little doubt that in those days Bonald Earle believed himtelf called to a great mission. He dreamed of the time when the barriers of caste would be thrown down, when men would have equal rights and privileges, when the aristocracy of intellect and virtue would take precedency of noble birth, when wealth would be more equally distributed, and the days when one man perishes of hunger while another revels in luxury should cease to be. His dreams were neither exactly Liberal nor Badical; they were simply Utopian. Even then, when he was most zealous, had any one proposed to him that he should inaugurate the new state of things, and be the first to divide his fortune, the futility ef his theories would have struck him more plainly. Mingling in good society, the influence of clever men and beautiful wo men would, Lord Earle believed, convert his son in time. He did not oppose him, knowing that all opposition would but increase his zeaL It was a bitter disappointment to him; he bore it bravely, for he never ceased to hope. A new trouble was dawning for Lord Earle, one far more serious than the Utopian dreams of his son; of all his sorrows it was the keenest and the longest felt. Bonald fell in love, and persisted in marrying a simple rustic beauty, the lodgekeeper's daughter. Earlescourt was one of the fairest spots in fair and tranquil England. It stood in the deep green heart of the land, in the midst of the bonny fertile midland counties. The Hall was surrounded by a large park, where the deer browsed under the stately spreading trees, where there were flowery dells and knolls that would charm an artist; a wide brook, almost broad and deep enough to be called a river, rippled through it. Earlescourt was noted for its trees; a grand old cedar stood in the middle of the park, the shivering aspen, the graceful elm, the majestic oak, the tall, flowering chest nut were all seen to greatest perfection there. Art had done much, nature more, to beautify the home of the Earles. Gorgeous pleasure gardens were laid out with unrivalled skill; the broad deep lake was half screened by the drooping willows bending over it, and the white water-lilies that lay on its tranquil breast. The Hall itself was a picturesque gray old building; the turrets covered with ivy, the square towers of modern build; there were deep oriel windows, statgly old rooms that told of the ancient race, and cheerful modern apart ments replete with modern luxuries. One of the great beauties of Earlescourt was the broad terrace that ran along one side of the house; the view from it was unequalled for quiet loveli ness. The lake shone in the distance from be tween the trees; the perfume from the haw thorn hedges filled the air, the fountains rippled merrily in the sunshine, and the flowers sfeomed in sweet summer beauty. ? Lord Earle loved his bejtiful home; he spared no expense in improvemema, and the time came
when Barleseourt was known as a model estate. One thing he did, of which he repented until the hour of his death. On the western side of the park he built a new lodge, and installed there Btephen Thorne and his wife, little dream ing as he did so that the first link in what was to be a fatal tragedy was forged. Bonald was nineteen, and Lord Earle thought, his college career ended, his son should travel for two or three years. He could not go with him, but he hoped that surveillance would not be needed, that his boy would be wise enough and manly enough to take his first steps in life alone. He left oollege with all honors; he had won a double first. His compeers spoke well of him, his masters praised him; great things were prophesied for Bonald Earle. They might have been accomplished but for the unfortunate event that darkened Barleseourt with a cloud of shame and sorrow. Lord and Lady Earle had gone to pay a visit to an old friend, Sir Hugh Oharteris, of Green oka. Thinking Bonald would not reach home until the third week in June, they aoeepted Bir Hugh's invitation, and promised to spend the first two weeks in June with him. But Bonald altered his plans, the visit he was making did not prove to be a very pleasant one, and he returned to Earlescourt two days after Lord and Lady Earle had left it. Hit father wrote immediately, pressing him to join the party at Oreenoke. He declined, saying that after the hard study of the few last months* he longed for quiet, rest, and nothing to do. Knowing that every attention would be paid to his son's comfort, Lord Earle thought but little of the matter. In after years he bitterly regretted that he had not insisted upon his son's going to Oreenoke. 80 it happened that Bo nald Earle, his oollege career ended, his future lying like a bright, unrufflsd dream before him, had two weeks to spend alone at Earlescourt. The first day was pleasant enough. Bonald went to see the horses, inspected the kennels, gladdened the gamekeeper's heart by his keen appreciation of good sport, rowed on the lake, played a solitary game at billiards, dined in great state, read three chapters of "Mill on Liberalism," four of a sensational novel, and fell asleep satisfied with that day, but rather at a loss to know what he should do. on the next. It was a beautiful June day, no cloud in the smiling heavens, the sun was bright; and warm nature looked so fair and tempting that it was impossible to remain indoors. Out in the gardens the summer air seemed to thrill with the song of the birds. Butterflies spread their bright wings and coquetted with the fragrant blossoms; busy humming bees buried them selves in the white leaves of the lily and the crimson heart of the rose. It was a morning for youth and love and beauty; the perfumed breese whispered sweet stories, and the fountains rippled as though the water had been set to music. Bonald wandered through the gardens, the delicate golden laburnum blossoms fell under his feet, and he sat down under the shade of a large acacia. The sun was warm, and Bonald thought a dish of strawberries would be very acceptable. He debated within himself for some time whether he should return to the house and order them, or walk down to the fruit-garden and.gather them for himself. What impulse was it that sent him on that fair June morning, when all nature sang of love and happiness, to the spot where he met his fate? OHAPin HL Tn strawberry gardens at Earleeoourt were very extensive. Far down amongst the green beds Bonald Earle saw a young girl kneeling, gathering the ripe fruit, which she placed in a large basket lined with leaves, and he went down to her. "I should like a few of those strawberries," he said, gently, and she lifted to his a face he never forgot. Involuntarily he raised his hat, in homage to her youth and shy, sweet beauty. "For whom are you gathering these?" he asked, ! wondering who she was, and whence she came. In a moment the young girl stood up, and made the prettiest and most graceful of curtseys.' " They are for the housekeeper, sir," she re plied ; and her voice was musical and clear as a silver bell. " Then may I ask who you are ?" continued Bonald. "I am Don Thorne," the replied, "the lodgekeeper's daughter." " Why have I never seen you before ?" he atked. "Because I have lived always with my aunt at Dale," she replied. " I only came home last year." "I see," said Bonald. "Dora," be asked, " will you give me some of those strawberries ? They look so ripe and tempting." He sat down on one of the garden chairs and watched her. The pretty white fingers looked so fair, contrasted with the crimson fruit and green leaves. Deftly and quickly she contrived a small basket of leaves, and filled it with fruit. She brought it to kirn, and then for the first time Bonald saw her dearly, and that one glance* was fatal to him. She was no calm, grand beauty. She had a shy, sweet, blushing face, resembling nothing so much as a rosebud with fresh, ripe lips; pretty little teeth, that gleamed like white jewels; large dark eyes, bright as stars, and veiled by long lashes; dark hair, soft and sbin ing. She was indeed so fair, so modest and graceful, that Bonald Earle was charmed. "It must be because you gathered them,— they are so nice," he said, taking the little bas ket from her hands. " Best awhile, Dora,—you must be tired with this hot sun shining full upon you. Sit here under the shade of this apple tree." He watched the crimson blushes that dyed her fair young face. She never once raised her dark eyes to his. He had seen beautiful and stately ladies, but nothing so coy or bewitching ss this pretty maiden. The more he looked at her, the more he admired her. Bhe had no delicate patrician loveliness, no refined grace; but for glowing, shy, freth beauty, who could equal her ? So the young heir of Earlescourt sat, pretend ing to enjoy the strawberries, but, in reality, en grossed by the charming figure before him. She neither stirred nor spoke. Under the boughs of the apple tree, with the sunbeams falling upon her, she made a fair picture, and his eyes were riveted upon it. It was all very delightful, and very wrong. Bonald should not have talked to the lodge keeper's daughter; and sweet, rustic Dora Thorne should have known better. But the sun shone, and the birds sang ; the perfumed breeze and the fragrant flowers surrounded them. They were young,—youth, love, and happiness, sunshine and flowers. Ah, well, such days oome but seldom, and pass all too quickly.
"Dor* Thorny" said Bonald, musingly,— M what a pretty name! How well it mitt yon! It is quite a little song in itself." She •miled with delight at his words; then her shy dark eyes were raised for a moment, and quickly dropped again. "Hare you read Tennyson's 'Dora?'" be asked. . " No," she replied,—" I have little time for reading. 1' "I will tell yon the story," he said, grandly. "Ever sines I read it I hare made an ideal ' Dora,' and you realise my dream." She had not the least idea what he meant; but when he recited the musical words, her fancy and imagination were stirred; she saw the wheat field, the golden corn, the little child and its anxious mother. When Bonald osased speaking, he saw her hands were duped and her lips qoiTSring. " Did yon like that?" he asked, with uncon scious patronage. "So much!" she replied. "Ah, he must be a great man who wrote those words | and you remember them all!" Her simple admiration flattered and charmed him. He recited other verses for her, and the girl listened in a tranoe of delight. The sun shine and western wind brought no warning to the heir of Barleseourt that he was forging the first link of a dreadful tragedy; he thought only of the shy blushing beauty and coy grace of the young girL Suddenly from orer the trees there (came the sound of the great bell at the halL Then Dora started. "Itis 1 o'clock!" she cried; "whatshaUl do? Mrs. Morton wfll be angry with me." 2Z "Angry!" said Bonald, annoyed at this sud den break up of his Arcadian dream; *' angry with yon!—for what ?" " Bbc is waiting for the strawberries," replied conscious Dora, "and my basket is not half fulL" , It was a new idea to him that any one should dare to be angry with this pretty gentle Dora. " I will help you," he said. In lets than a minute the heir of Barleseourt was kneeling by Dora Thome, gathering quickly the ripe strawberries, and the basset was soon filled. "There," said Bonald, "you need not fear Mrs. Morton now, Dora. You must go, I sup* pose; it seems hard to leave this bright sun shine to go indoors." " I—l would rather stay," said Dora, frankly; "but I hare much to do." "Shall you be here to-morrow?" he asked. "Yes," she replied; "it will take me all the week to gather strawberries for the housekeeper." -Good-bye, Dora," he said j " I shall see you again." He held out his hand, and her little fingers trembled and fluttered in his grasp. She looked so happy, yet so frightened, so charming, and yet so shy. He could hare clasped her in hi* arms that moment, and have said he loved her; but Bonald was a gentleman. He bowed over the little hand, and then relinquished it. He watched the pretty, fairy figure, as the young girl tripped away. "Shame on all artificial training!" said Bo nald to himself. " What would our fine ladies gire for such a face ? Imagine beauty without coquetry or affectation. That girl's heart is as pure as a stainless lily $ she never heard of a * grand match' or a ' good parti.' If Tenny ion's Dora was like her, I do not wonder at anything that happened." Instead of thinking to himself that he had done a foolish thing that bright morning, and that his plain duty was to forget all about the girl, RonakTlighted his cigar, and began to dream of the face that had charmed him. Dora took the fruit to Mrs. Morton, and re wired no reprimand ; then she was sent home to the cottage, her work for the day ended. She had to pass through the park. Was it the same road she had trodden that morning ? What caused the new and shining glory that had fallen on every leaf and tree? The blue heavens seemed to smQe upon her,—every flower, every song of the bright birds had a new meaning. What was it ? Then she came to the brook-tide and sat down on the violet bank. The rippling water was singing a new song, something of love and youth, of beauty and happiness; some thing of a new and fairy-like life; and with the faint ripple and fall of the water, came baok to her the voice that had filled her ears ani touched her heart. Would she ever again forget the handsome face that had smiled so kindly upon her ? Surely he was a king amongst men, and he had praised her, said her name was like a song, and that she was like the Dora of the beautiful poem. This grand gentleman, with the dear handsome face and dainty white hands, actually admired her! So Dora dreamed by the brook side, and she was to see him again and again; she gave no thought to a cold, dark time when she should see him no more. To-morrow the sun would shine, the birds sing, and she should see him once more. Dora never remembered how that happy day passed. Good Mrs. Thorne looked at her child, aod sighed to think how pretty she was, and how soon that sweet dimpled face would be worn with care. Dora's first proceeding waa characteristic enough. She went to her own room and locked the door; then the pnt the cracked little mirror in the sunshine, and proceeded to examine her face. She wanted to see why Bonald Earle ad mired her; she wondered mucn at this new power she seemed possessed of; she placed the glass on the table, and sat down to study her own face. She saw that it was very fair ; the coloring was delicate and vivid, like the folded leaves in the heart of a rose; the freth red lips were arched and smiling; the dark, shy eyes, with their long silken lashes, were bright and clear; a pretty, dimpled, smiling face that told of a sweet, simple, loving nature—that was all; there was no intellect, no soul, no high bred re finement, nothing but the charm of the bright, half-startled beauty. Dora was half puzzled. She hsd never thought much of her own appearance. Living always with sensible, simple people, the per nicious language of flattery was unknown to her. It was with a half-guilty thrill of delight that she for the first time realised the charm of her own sweet face. The sunny hours flew by. Dora never noted them; she thought only of the morning past and the morning to come, while Bonald dreamed of her almost unconsciously. She had been a bright feature in a bright day; his artistic taste had been gratified, his eyes had been charmed. The pretty picture haunted him, and he remem bered with pleasure that on the morrow he should see the shy sweet face again. No thought of harm or wrong even entered his mind. He did not think that he had been imprudent. He had recited a beautiful poem to a pretty coy
girl, and in a grand lordly way he believed him* •elf to hare performed a kind action. * The morning came, and it brought bright, blushing Dora to her work; again the little white fingers glistened amidst the crimson berries. Dora heard him coming. She heard his footsteps, and her face grew " rnbj red." He made no pretence of finding her accidentally. " Good morning, Dora," he said i M yon look as bright as the sunshine and as fair as the flowers. Pat away the basket; I hare brought a book of poems, and mean to read some to yon. I will help yon with your work afterwards. Dora, nothing loath, sat down, and straight* way they were both in fairyland. He read in dustriously, stealing erery now and then a gtanee at his pretty companion. Bhe knew nothing of wtiat he was reading, but bis roiee made sweeter music than she had erer heard before. At length the book was closed, and Bonald wondered what thoughts were running through that simple artless mind. So he talked to her of her daily life, her work, her pleasures, her friends. As he talked he grew more and more oharmed j she had no great amount of intellect, no wit or keen powers of repartee, but the girl's lore of nature made her a poetess. She seemed to know all the secrets of the trees and the flowers ; no beauty escaped her; the rustle of green leaves, the sighs of the western wind, the solemn hush of the deep green woods, the changing tints of the summer sky delighted her. Beau* tiful words, embodying beautiful thoughts, rippled orer the fresh ripe lips. She knew nothing else. She had seen no pictures, read no books, knew nothing of the fine arts, was totally ignorant of all scholarly lor*, but deep in her heart lay the passionate love for the fair (ace of nature. It was new to Bonald. He had heard fa* shionable ladies speak of everything they de* lighted in. He had never heard before of "mnsio in the fall of rain-drops," or character in flowers. Once Dora forgot her shyness; and when Bo* nald said something, she laughed in reply. How sweet and pure that laughter was!—like a soft peal of silver bells. When Bonald Earle went to sleep that night, the sound haunted his dreams. [to be ooHTnruro.]