|Chapter Number||IV - VI|
|Newspaper Title||The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)|
By the author of " Lady Hutton's Ward," &c., (Reprint from "Family Herald."
EVERY morning brought the young heir of Earleseourt to the bright sunny gardens, where Dora worked amongst the strawberries. As the
days passed she began to lose something of her
shy, startled manner, and laughed and talked to bim as she would have done to her own brother. His vanity was gratified by the sweetest homage of all, the unconscious, unspoken love and ad miration of the young girL He hiked to watch the blushes on her face, and the quivering on her lipi when the caught the firtt sound of bis coming footsteps. He like to see the dark eyes droop, and then to see them raised to his with a beautiful startled light. Insensibly his own heart became interested. At first he had merely thought of passing a pleasant hour; then he admired Dora, and tried to believe that reading to her was an act of pure benevolence; but as the days passed on, some thing stronger and sweeter brought him there. He began to love her, and ahe was his first love. Wonderful to relate, theae long titeatitee had not attracted observation. No rumor of them escaped, so that no thorn appeared in this path of roses, which led to the brink of a pre cipice. It wanted three days until the time settled for the return of Lord and Lady Earle. Sir Harry Lawrence, of Holtham Hall, asked Bonald to spend a day with him; and having no valid ex cuse, he oonsented. " I shall not see you to-morrow, Dora," he said. "I am going away for the day." She looked np at him with a startled face, — one whole day without him!—then, with a sudden, deadly pain, came the thought that these golden days must end; the time must come when she should see bim no more. The I pretty dimpled face grew pale, and a dark sha dow came into the clear eyes, j " Dora," cried Bonald, " why do you look so frightened P What is it P" She gave him no answer, but turned away. He caught ber hands in his own. " Are you grieved that I am going away for one whole day P" he asked. But she looked so piteous, and so startled, that he waited for no reply. " I shall continue to see you," he re sumed. "I could not bt a day pass without that" "And afterwards,'' she said, simply raising her eyes to his, full of tears." Then Bonald paused abruptly,—he had never given one thought to the " afterwards." Why, of course strawberries would not grow for ever, •it would not always be summer. Lord Eerie would soon be back again, and then he must go abroad. Where would Dora be then P He did not like the thought,—it perplexed him. Short as was tbe time he had known her, Dora had, in some mysterious way, grown to be a part of himself. He could not think of a day wherein he should not see her blushing, pretty face, and hear the music of her words. He was startled, and clasped her little hands more tightly in his own. "You would not like to lose me, Dora P" he said, gently. " No," she replied; and then tears fell from her dark eyet. Poor Bonald, had he been wise he would have flown then, but he bent his head over her and kissed the tears away. The pretty rounded cheek, to soft and childlike, he kissed it again and then clasped the slight, girlish figure in hit arms. "Do not thed another tear, Dora," he whispered; "we will not lose each other. I love you, and you shall be my wife." One minute before he spoke, the idea had not even crossed his mind; it seemed to bim, after wards, that another voice had spoken by his hps. "Your wife!" she cried, looking at bim in some alarm; " ah, no: you are very kind and good, but that could never be." "Why notP" he asked. " Because you are so far above me," replied the girl. " I and mine are servants and depen dants of yours. We are not equal; I must learn to forgef you," sobbed Dora, " and break my own heart." She oould not have touched Bonald more deeply; in a moment he had poured forth a torrent of words that amazed her. Fraternity and equality, caste and folly, his mission and belief, his love and devotion, were all mingled in one torrent of eloquence that simply alarmed her. " Never say that again, Dora," he continued, bis fair, boyish face flushing. " You are the equal of a queen upon a throne; you are fair and true, sweet and good. What is a queen more than that ?" I "A queen knows more," sighed Dora. "I know nothing in all the wide world." "Then I will teach you," he said. "Ah, Dora, you know enough. You have beautiful thoughts, and you clothe tbem in beautiful words. Do not torn from me; say you love me, and will be my wife. I love you, Dora; do not make me unhappy." " I would not make you unhappy," she said, v for the whole world, if yon wish me to love you—oh, you know I love you! If yon wish me to go away and forget you, I will do my best." But the very thought of it brought tears again. She looked so pretty, so bewildered, between sorrow and joy, so dazzled by great happiness, and yet so piteously uncertain, that Bonald was more charmed than ever. "My darling Dora," he taid," you do love me. Your eyet speak, if your lips do not tell me. Will yon be my wife P I cannot live with out you." It was the prettiest picture in the world to see the color return to the tweet face. Bonald bent his head, and heard the gentle whisper. "You shall never rue your trust, Dora," he said, proudly; but she interrupted him. " What will Lord Earle say ?" she asked; and Bonald was startled by the question. "My father can say nothing," he replied. "I am old enough to please myself, and this is a free country. I shall introduce you to him, Dora, and tell him you have promised to be my wife. No more tears, love. There is nothing but happiness before ns." And so he believed. He oould think of nothing, care for nothing but Dora—her pretty face, her artiest, simple wayt, her undisguised love for him. There wat but one excuse. He was young, and it wat hit firtt love ; yet de spite his happiness, his pride, and independence, he did often wonder in what words he should tell his father that he had pronused to marry the lodgekeeper*s daughter. There were even
times when he shivered, as one seised with sud den cold, at the thought The four dayt passed like a long, bright dream. It was a pretty romance, but sadly mis placed—a pretty snmmer idyll. They were but boy and girL Dora met Bonald in the park, by the brook side, and in the green meadows where the white hawthorn grew. They talked but of one thing, their love. Bonald never tired of watching Dora's fair face and pretty ways; she never wearied of tolling bim, over and over again, in a hundred different ways, how grand and how kind he was, and how dearly she loved him. Lord Earle wrote to say that he should be home on Thursday evening, and that they were bringing back a party of guests with them. " There will be no time to tell my father just at present," taid Bonald; " so, Dora, we must keep our secret. It will not do to tell your father before I tell mine." They arranged to keep the secret until Lord Earle should be alone again. They were to meet twice a day,—in the early morning, while the dew lay on the grass, and in the evening, when the Hall would be full of bustle and gaiety. Bonald felt guilty—he hardly knew how or why—when his father oommiserated bim for the two lonely weeks be had spent Lonely!—he had not felt them so; they had paesed all too quickly for him. How many destinies were i settled in tbat short time! [ There was little time for telling his secret to Lord Earle. The few guests who had returned to Earleseourt were men of note, and their host devoted himself to their entertainment Lady Earle saw some great change in her ton. She fancied that he spent a great deal of time out of doors. She ssked him about it, wondering if he had taken to study botany, for late and early he never tired of rambling in the park. She wondered again at tbe flush that covered his face; but the time was coming when she would understand it aIL The chances are great, that if Bonald at that time bad been allowed as much of Dora's so ciety as he liked, he would soon have discovered his mistake, and no great mistake would have been done; but the foolish romance of the stolen meetings had a charm for him. In those hurried interviews he had only time to think of Dora's love, —he never noted her deficiencies; he was charmed (with her tenderness and grace; her artless affection told so prettily; the diSex enoe between her and those with whom he was accustomed to talk was so great; her very igno rance had a piquant charm for him. So they went on to their fate. One by one Lord Earie's guests departed, yet Bonald bad not told his secret. Anew element crept into bis lore, and urged him on. Walking one day through the park with his father, they overtook Dora't father. A young man wat with him, and the two were talking earnestly to gether, so earnestly that they never heard the two gentlemen; and in passing by, Bonald dis tinguished the words, "You give me your daughter, Mr. Thome, and trust me for making her happy." Bonald Earle turned quickly to look at tbe speaker. He aaw before bim a young man, evi dently a well-to-do farmer from his appearance, with a calm, kind face, and dear honest eyes; and he was asking for Dora, —Dora who was to be his wife, and live at Earleseourt He could hardly control bis impatienoe • it seemed to bim that evening would never come. Dinner was over at hut Lord Earle eat with Sir Harry Lawrence over a bottle of claret, and Lady Earle was in the drawing-room and had taken up her book. Bonald hastened to the favorite trysting-plaoe, the brook tide; Dora was there already, and he saw that her face was atill wet with tears. She refuted at first to tell bim her sorrow. Then she whispered a pitiful little ttory, that made her lover resolve upon some rash deed. Balph Holt had been speaking to her father, and had asked her to marry bim. She said "No;" but her mother wept, and her father grew angry, and said she should obey him. " He has a large farm," said Dora, with bitter sighs. "He says I should live like a great lady, and have nothing to do. He would be kind to my father and mother; but Ido not love him," ahe added. Clasping ber tender little hands around Bo nald'i arm," Ido not love him," she sobbed; " and, Bonald, I do love you." He bent down and kissed her pretty weeping face, all the chivalry of bis nature aroused by her words. "You shall be my wife, Dora," be said, proudly, " and not his. This very evening I will tell my father, and ask his consent to our marriage. My mother is sure to love yon, she is so kind and gracious to every one. Do not tremble, my darling ; neither Balph Holt nor any one else shall take you from me." She was soon comforted; there was no bound or limit to her faith in Bonald Earle. "Go home now," he said, " and to-morrow my father himself shall see yon. I will teach that young farmer his place; no mere tears, Dora; our troubles will end to-night." He went with her down the broad walk, where every footstep crushed the sweet wild flowers, and then returned to the HalL He walked very proudly with his gallant head erect, saying to himself this was a tree country, and he could do what he liked; but for all that, his heart beat loudly when he entered the drawing-room and found Lord and Lady Barb. They looked up smiling at him, all unconscious that the be loved son, the heir of Earleseourt, was there to ask permission to marry the lodgekeeper't daughter. Chaftbb Y. Bonald Eabxb had plenty of oourage—no young hero ever led a forlorn hope with more bravery than he displayed in the interview with his parents, which might have daunted a stronger man. As he approached, Lady Earle raised her eyea with a languid smile. " Ont again, Bonald!" she said. " Sir Harry Laurence left his adieux for you. I think the park possesses some peculiar fascination. Have you been walking quickly ?—your face is flushed." He made no reply, but drew near to bit mother; he bent over her, and raited her hand to bit lipi. " I am oome to tell you something," he said. " Father, will you listen to me ? I ask your permission to marry Dora Thome, the fairest, sweetest girl in England." His voice never faltered, and the brave young face never quailed. Lord Earle looked at bim in utter amazement. "To marry"—he said—"Dora Thome! And who, in the name of reason, is Dora Thome ?" "The lodgekeeper's daughter," replied Bo nald, stoutly. " I love her, father, and she loves me."
He was somewhat discosxerted when Lord Earle, for all reply, broke into an uncontrollable fit of laughter. - He had expected a atorm,— something of high tragedy,—expostulations, perhaps, and reproaches,—anything but this. "You cannot be serious, Bonald," said bis mother, emiling. "I am so much in earnest,**he replied, "that I would give up all I have in the world my life itself, for Dora.'* Then Lord Eerie ceased laughing, and looked earnestly at tbe handsome, flushed face. - " No," said he, "you cannot be serious. You dare not ask your mother to receive a servant's daughter as her own child. Your jest is in bad taste, Ronald." "It is no jest," he replied. "We Earles are always terribly in earnest. I hare promised to marry Dora Thome, and, with your permission, I intend to keep my word." An angry flush rose to Lord Earie's face, but he controlled hie impatience. " In any case," be replied, quietly, "you are too young to think of marriage yet If you bad chosen the daughter of a duke, I ahould, for tbe present, refuse.'* "I shall be twenty-one m afewnMnthe/*said Bonald, "and I am willing to wait until then." Lady Earle hud her white jewelled hand on her eon's shoulder, and said gently, MMy dear Bonald, have yon lost your ttntttf Tell me, who is Dora Thome f** Bhe saw team shining in his eyea, bis brave young foce touched her heart. "TeD me," she eontmued, "whoiseheP —where bave you seen her*—what is the like P" "She is so beautiful, mother," he said," lam sure you would love her, she is fair and sweet as she is modest and true. I met her in ths gardens some weeks ago, and bave met her every day since." Lord and Lady Earle exchanged a glance of dismay, which did not escape Bonald. "Why have you not told ue of this before P** asked his father, angrily. "I asked her to be my wife while you were from home," replied Bonald. " She pronused, and I bave only been waiting until our guests left as and you bad more time." "IsittoseeDotaThornethatyouhavebeen out so constantly P" asked Lady Earle. "Yet,l could not lea a day pass without seeing ber,** he replied i «it would be like a day without sunshine." "Does any one este know of this foOyP** asked Lord Earle, angrily. "No | you n»y be qoito sure,father, I should toD you before I told any one else," replied Bo nald. They looked at him in silent dismay, vexed and amazed at what he bad done—irritated at his utter folly, yet forced to admire hia honor, hit oourage, and hit truth. Both felt that some sons would have carefully concealed such a love anair from them. They were proud of his can dour and integrity, though deploring its cause. "Tell us all about it, Bonald," said Lady Earle. Without the least hesitation, Bonald told them every word ; and, deepite their vexation, neither oould help smiling, it was snob a pretty love story a little romance, all made np of sunshine, smiles, tears, and flowers. Lord Earie's face cleared as he listened} and he hud one hand on tbe gallant boyish figure. "Bonald," said he,« we shall disagree about your love; but, remember, I do full justice to your truth. After all, the fault is my own. I might have known that a young fellow of your age, left all atone, was sure to get into inisehief ; you have done so. Say no more now ; I clearly and distinctly refuse my consent. I appeal to your honor that you meet this young girl no more. We will talk of it another time.** When the door closed behind him Lord and Lady Earle looked at each other. The lady*t face waa pale and agitated. "Oh, Rupert," she aaid, "how brave and noble be is! Poor foolish boy, bow proud be looked of his absurd mistake! We shall have trouble with him. I foresee it." "I do not think so," replied her husband. "Valentine Charteris will be here soon, and when Bonald sees her he wfll forget this rustic beauty." "It will be better not to thwart bim,** inter rupted Lady Earle. "Let me manage the matter, Bupert I will go down to the lodge to-morrow, and persuade them to send the girl away; then we will take Bonald abroad, and he will forget all about it in a few months." AU night long the gentle lady of Earleseourt was troubled by strange dreams—by vague, dark fears, thst haunted her and would not be laid to rest. "Evil will come of it," she said to her self, " evil and sorrow. The distant shadow saddens me now." The next day she went to the lodge, and asked for Dora. She half pardoned her son's folly when she saw the pretty dimpled face, the rings of dark hair lying on the white neck. She was charming and modest, bnt unfitted—oh, so unfitted—ever to be Lady Earle. She was graceful as a wild flower is graceful; bnt she had no manner, no dignity, no cultivation. She stood, blushing and confused, before tbe " great lady," unable to find aay words. " You know what I want you for, Dora," said Lady Earle, kindly. "My son hss told us of the acquaintance between you. lam oome to say that it must be stopped. Ido not wish to hurt you or wound you. Your own sense must tell you that you can never be received either by Lord Earle or myself as our daughter. We will not speak of your inferiority in birth or position. You are not my son's equal in re finement and education; he would soon discover tbat, and tire of you." Dora had no words, the tears fell from her bright eyes; this time there was no young lover to kiss them away. She made no reply, and when Lady Earle sent for her father, Dora ran away, she would hear no more. " I know nothing of it, my lady," said the worthy lodgekeeper, who was even more sur prised than his master had been. "Young Balpb Holt wants to marry my daughter, and I have said that she shall be bis wife. I never dreamed that she knew the young master; she has not mentioned his name." Lady Earie's diplomacy succeeded beyond j her most sanguine expectations. Stephen! Thome and his wife, although rather daisied by the fact that their daughter had captivated the future Lord of Earleseourt, let common sense and reason prevail, aud they saw the dis parity and misery such a marriage would cause. They pronused to be gentle and kind to Dora, — not to scold or reproach her, and to allow some little time to elapse before urging Balph Holt's claims. When Lady Earle rose, she placed a twenty* pound bank-note in the hands of Stephen Thome, taring, " You are sending Dora to East* ham; that will cover the expenses." " I could not do that) my lady," laid Stephen, refusing at first to take the money. " I cannot sell poor Dora's love." '
I Then Lady Earle held out her deucate wbi to hand, and the man bowed low over it. Before the sun set that evening Stephen Thorite bad taken Dora to Basthsm, where she was to re main until Bonald had gone abroad. For a few days it seemed as though the storm bad blown over. There waa an angry interview between father and son, when Bonald declared that tending Dora away was a breach of faith, and that he would find her out and marry her how and when he could. Lord Eerie thought bis words were but tbe wild folly of a boy de prived of a much-desired toy. He did not give them serious heed. ' The story of Earieseourt might have been different had not Bonald, while still amazed and irritated by bis father's cool contempt, en countered Balph Holt They met at the gate leading from the fields to the high road; it was closed between them, and neither would make way. "I have a little account to settle with you, my young krdhng," aaid Balph, angrily. " Doves never mate with eagles; if you want to marry, choose one of your own class, and leave Dora Thome to me." *• Dora Thorae is mine," said Bonald, grandly. " She never will be,** waa tbe quick reply. * See, young master, I have loved Dora Thome since she was a pretty, bright-eyed child. Her father b>ed near my father's farm then. I have cared for her all my life—l do not know that I have ever looked at another woman's face. Do not step in between me and my love. The world is wide, and you can choose where you will—do not rob me of Dora Thome." There was a mournful dignity in the man's face that touched Ronald. " I am sorry for you," he said, "if you love Dora; for she will be my wife.*' " Never!" cried Balph. « Since yon will not listen to fair words, I defy you. I will go to Eastham, and never leave Dora again until she is my own." High angry words passed between them, but Balph in bis passion had told tbe secret Bonald longed to know—Dora was at Etrthsm It was a sad story, and yet no rare one. Love and jealousy robbed the boy of bis better sense, duty and honor were forgotten. Under pretence of visiting one of his college friends, Bonald went to Eastham. Lord and Lady Eerie aaw bim depart without any apprehension; they never suspected that he knew where Dora waa. It was a sad story, and bitter sorrow came | from it Word by word it cannot be written, but when tbe heir of Earsstconrt saw Dora again, ber artless delight her pretty joy and sorrow mixed, her fear and dislike of Balph, ber love for himself, drove all thought of duty and honor from hia mind. He prayed her to become bis wife secretly. He said that once married, his father would forgive him, and all would be welL She believed what be aaid., Dora had no will but bis. She forgot all Lady Earie's warnings; she nsnemberedonry Bonald and his love. So they wero married in the quiet parish church of Helmsmeer, twenty miles from Eastham, and no human being either knew or There was no excuse, no palhation of an act that was undutifuL dishonorable, and deceitful, —there was nothing to plead for him, save that | ha was young, and had never known a wish re fused. They were nwrried; Dora Thorns became Dora Earle. Bonald parted from his pretty wife immediately. He arranged all his plans with what he considered consummate wisdom. He waa to return home, and try by every argu ment in his power to soften bis father, and win his consent. If he still refused, then time would show him the beet course. Come what might Dora was his; nothing on earth could part them. He cared for very little else. Even if the very worst came, and his father sent him from home, it would only be for a time, and there waa Dora to comfort him. He returned to Earleseourt, and though his eyes were never raised in dear, true honesty to bis face, Lord Earle saw his son looked happy, and believed the cloud bad passed away. Dora was to remain at Eastham until she heard from him. He could not write to her, nor could she send one line to him; but he promised and believed tbat very soon he ahould take her in all honor to Earleseourt. Cbaptbb YL It was a beautiful morning, towards the end of August; the balmy sweetness of the spring had given way to the glowing radiance of sum mer. The golden corn waved in the fields, the hedgerows were filled with wild flowers, the fruit hung ripe in the orchards. Nature wore her brightest smiles. The breakfast-room at Earles eourt was a pretty apartment; it opened onto a flower garden, and through the long French windows came the tweet perfume of rose blos soms. It was a pretty scene—the sunbeams fell upon the rich silver, tbe delicate china, the vases of flowers, and recherche' dishes. Lord Earle sat at the head of the table, busily engaged with his letters. Lady Earle, in the daintiest of morning toilettes, was smiling over pretty pink notes, full of fashionable gossip. Her delicate patrician face looked clear and pure in the fresh morning light. But there was no smile on Ro nald's face. He was wondering, for the hun dredth time, how he was to tell his father what he had done. He longed to be with his pretty Dora; and yet there was a severe itorm to en oounter before he could hope to bring her home. "Ah," said Lady Earle, suddenly, "here is good news, —Lady Charteris is positively coming, Bupert. Sir Hugh will join her in a few days. She wfll be here with Valentine to-morrow." " I am very glad," said Lord Earle, looking up with pleasure and surprise. "We must ask Lady Laurence to meet them." Bonald sighed; his parents busily discussed the hospitalities and pleasures to be offered to their guettt. A grand dinner-party was planned, and a ball, to which half the country-side were to be invited. "Valentine loves gaity," said Lady Earie, "and we must give her plenty of it." " I shall have all this to go through," sighed Boland, —"fine ladies, grand parties, dinners and balls, while my heart longs to be with my darling; and, in the midst of it all, how shall I find time to talk to my father ? I will begin this very day." When dinner was over, Bonald proposed to Lord Earle that they should go out upon the terrace, and smoke a cigar there. Then took place the conversation with which our ttory opened, when the master of Earieseourt declared bis final resolve. Bonald was more disturbed than he cared to own even to himself. Onoe the words hovered upon bit lips that it wst all too late, —be had married Dora. Had Lord Earle been angry or contemptuous, he would have uttered them j but in the presence of that oalm, dignified wis- J
dom, be was abashed, and uncertain. For the first time he feU tbe truth of all bis father said. Not that he loved Dora leas, or repented of that rash private nmrriage; bnt Lord Earie's appeal to his sense of tho "fit new of things" touched him. There was little time for reflection. Lady Charteris and her daughter were coming on the morrow. Again Lady Earie entered the field as. a diplomatist aad came off victorious. " Bonald," said bis mother, as they parted that evening, " I know tbat at a rule young men of your age do not care for the society of elderly ladies; I must ask yon to make an exception in favor of Lady Charteris. They were very kind to me at Greenoke, and you must help me to re turn it. I shall consider every attention shown to the lady and her daughter as shown to my. self." Bonald smiled si his mother's words, and told her he would never fail in her service. "If he sess much of Valentine," thought his mother, "he cannot help loving her; then aU will be weU." Bonald was not in the house when the guests arrived; tbey came rather before tbe appointed time. Hbnaother and Lady Charteris bad gone to tbe library together, leaving Valentine in the drawing-room alone. Bonald found ber there. Opening the door, he saw tbe sleeve of a white dress; believing Lady Earie waa there, he went carelessly into the room, then started with as tonishment at the vision before bim. Once in a century, perhaps, one sees a woman like Valen tine Charteris, of the purest and loveliest Greek type, a calm, grand, magnificent blonde, with dear, straight brows, fair hair that shone like polished satin, and lay in thick folds around her queenly head; tall and stately, with a finished ease and grace of manner that could only result from long and careful training. She rote when Bonald entered the room; and her beautiful eyes were lifted calmly to hit face. Suddenly a rush of color dyed the white brow. Valentine remembered what Lady Earie had said of her son. She knew that both his mother and hers wished that she should be Bonald's wife. "I beg your pardon," he said, hastily; " I thought Lady Earie was here.** "She is in the library,*' aaid Valentine, with a smile that deeded him. He bowed and withdrew. This, then, was Valentine Charteris, the fine lady whose coming he had dreaded. She was very beautiful; he had never teen a face hae here. No thought of love, or of comparing this magnificent woman with simple, pretty Dora, ever entered his mind. But Bonald was a true artist and one of no mean skilL He thought of that pure Grecian face as he would have done of a beautiful pic ture, or an exquisite statue. He never thought of tbe loving sensitive woman's heart hidden under it It was not so dUßcult when dinner wst over to open the grand piano for Valentine, to fetch her music, and listen while she talked of operas he bad never heard. It was pleasant to watch her, as she sat in the evening gloaming, her su perb beauty enhanced by the delicate evening dress of fine white lace; the shandy shoulders 1 were so polished and white, the exquisite arms' rounded and clasped by a bracdet of pearls. She wore a rose in the bodice of ber dress, and aa Bonald bent over tbe music she was showing him, the sweet tubtle perfume came to bim like a message from Dora. Valentine Charteris had one charm even greater than her beauty. She talked well and gracefully—the play of her features, the move ment of her lips, were something not to be for gotten ; and her smile seemed to break like a sunbeam over her whole face—it was irresistible. Poor Bonald stood by her, watching the ex pression that seemed to change with every word; listening to pretty, polished language, that was in itself a charm. The two mothers, looking on, smiled at each other; and Lord Earle felt him self relieved from a heavy weight of care. Then Lady Earle asked Valentine to sing. Bhe.was quite free from all affectation. " What kind of music do you prefer P" she j asked, looking at Bonald. ! " Simple old ballads," he replied, thinking of Dora, and how prettily she would simg them. He started when the first notes of that mag nificent voice rang dear and sweet in the quiet gloaming. She sang some quaint old ttory of a knight who loved a maiden—loved and rode away, returning after long years to find a green grave. Bonald tat thinking of Dora. Ah! perhaps had he forgotten her, the pretty, dimpled face would have faded away. He felt pleased that he had been true. Then the music ceased. "Is that what you like?" asked Valentine Charteris;" it it of the ttrongly sentimental school." Simple, honest Bonald wondered if sentiment were a sin against etiquette, or why fashionable ladies generally spoke of it with a sneer. " Do you laugh at sentiment P" he asked, and Valentine opened her fine eyes in wonder at the question. Lady Earle half overheard the question, and smiled in great satisfaction. Matters mutt be going on well, the thought, if Bondd bad already begun to ipeak of sentiment. She never thought that his heart and mind were with Dora while he spoke—pretty Dora, who cried over bis poetry, and devoutly believed in the language of flowers. The evening passed rapidly, and Bondd felt ; something like regret when it ended. Lady Earle was too wise to make any comments; she never asked her son if he liked Valentine, or what he thought of her. "Ism afraid you are tired," she said with a charming smile; " thank you for helping to amuse my friends." When Bondd thought over what he had done, bis share seemed very small; still his mother was pleased, snd he went to rest, resolved that on the morrow he would be doubly attentive to Miss Charteris. Three days pasted, and Bondd had grown quite at his ease with Valentine. They read and disputed over the same books. Bondd brought out bis large folio of drawings, and Valentine i wondered at their skill.* He bent over her ex ' plaining the sketches, laughing and talking at though there was no dark background to bis j life. " You are an accomplished artist," sdd Miss Charteris; " you must have given much time to the study." "I am fond of it" said Bonald; "if fate had not made me an only son, I should have ohoten painting as my profession." In after years those words came back to them like a sad prophecy. Bonald liked Miss Charteris. Apart from her grand beauty, she had the charm, too, of a kindly heart and affectionate nature. He saw how much Lady Earle loved her, and he formed a grand resolve, —it was, that he would tell Valentine all about Dora, aad ask her to try to influence his mother. With that end and aim in view, he talked continually to the young lady;
he accompanied her in all her walkt and drives, and they sang and sketched together. Bondd, knowing himself so safely bound to Dora, forgot in what light bis conduct must seem to others, Lady Earle had forgotten her fears; the be lieved that her son was leaning to love Valen tine, and her husband shared her belief. All things just then were couleur de rose at Earleseourt Bonald looked and fdt happy: he had great faith in Valentine's persuasive powers. Days passed by rapidly; the time for the grand ball was drawing near. Lady Earie half wondered when her son would speak of Mist Char teris, and Valentine wondered why be lingered near her, why oftentimes he was on the point of speaking, and then drew back. She quite be lieved he cared for her, and she liked bim, in return, as much as she vu capable of liking any one. She was no tragedy queen, but a lov ing, affectionate girl, unable to reach the height of love, or the depth of demur. She was well dispoeed towards Bonald,—Lady Earle spoke so much of him at Greenoke: she knew, too, that a marriage with him would delight her mother. Vdentine's favorite impression of Bonald was deepened when she saw bim. Despite the one great act of duplicity which shadowed his whole life, Bondd was true and honorable. Vdentine admired his clear Saxon face and firm lips ; she admired his bright deep eyes, that darkened with every passing emotion; she liked bis gentle, chivalrous manner, his earnest words, his de ferential attention to herself,his affectionate de votion to Lady Earle. There was not a braver or more gallant man in England than this young heir of Earleseourt He inherited the persond beauty and oourage of bis race. He gave promise of a splendid man hood ; and no one knew how proudly Lord Earle had rejoiced in that promise. In her edm, stately way, Vdentine liked him; she even loved him, and would have been happy as his wife. She enjoyed bis keen mtoUectud powers and his originality of thought. Even the« dreadful polities " that scared and shocked his father amused her. Bonald, whose heart was full of the pretty little wife he dared neither see nor write to, gave no heed to Valentine's manner; it never occurred to him that any other construction could be put upon his friendly Using for her. The day came for the grand ball, and during breakfast the ladies discussed the important question of bouquets; from tbat the conversa tion turned to dowers. " There are so many of them," tdd Valentine, " and they are all so beautiful, I am dways at a loss whioh to choose." " I should never hesitate a moment," said Bo nald, laughingly ; " you will accuse me perhaps of being sentimental, but I must give the pre ference to the white lily bells. Lilies of the valley are the fairest flowers that grow." Lady Earle overheard the remark; no one else appeared to notice it, and she was not much , surprised when Vdentine entered the bdl-room to see white lilies in her fair hair, and a bouquet of the same flowers half-shrouded by green leaves in her hand. Many eyes turned admiringly npon the calm, I stately beauty, and ber white flowers. Bondd aaw them. He could not bdp remarking the ex quisite toilette, marred by no obtrusive colors, the pretty lily-wreath and fragrant bouquet. It never occurred to him that Vdentine had chosen those deucate blossoms out of compli* ment to bim. He thought he had never seen a fairer picture than tbit magnificent blonde, — then the faded from bis mind. He looked round on those fair and noble ladies, thinking that Dora's shy, sweet face was far lovelier than any there. He looked at the costly jewels, the waving plumes, the sweeping satins, and thought of Dora's plain, pretty drees. A softened look came in bis eyes as be pictured his shy, graceful wife. Some day she, too, would wdk through these gorgeout rooms,— then all would admire the wisdom of his choice. So the heir of Earleseourt dreamed, as he watched the brilliant crowd tbat began to fill the ball-room; but his reverie wae abruptly broken by a summons from Lady Earie. "Bonald," aud she, looking slightly impa tient, " have you forgotten that it is your place to open the ball P You must ask Miss Charteris to dance with you." " That will be no hardship,'' he replied, smif ing at his mother's earnest manner. " I would rather dance with Miss Charteris than any one else." Lady Earle wisely kept silence; her son went up to Vdentine, and made his request He danced with her agrin and again,—not, as Lady Earle fondly hoped, from any unusual prefer ence, but because it gave him lest trouble than seeking partners among strange young ladies. Vdentine understood bim; they talked easily, and without restraint. He pdd her no compli ments, and she did not seem to expect any. With other ladies, Bondd was dways thinking, " What would they say if they knew of tbat fair young wife at Eastham P" With Vdentine no tuoh idea haunted him,—be had an instinc tive belief in her true and firm friendship. Lady Earle overheard a few whispered com ments, and they filled her heart with delight. Old friends whispered to her that " it would be a splendid match for her son," and "how happy she would be with such a daughter-in-law as Miss Charteris, so beautiful and dignified ;" and all this because Bondd wanted to secure Vden tine's friendship, so that she might intercede for Dora! When, for the fourth time, Bondd asked Miss Charteris M for the next dance," she looked np at him with a smile. " Do you know how often we have danced to gether this evening P" she asked. " What does it matter P" he replied, wonder ing at the flash that crimsoned her face. " For* give me, Mitt Charteris, if I say that you redise my idea of the poetry of motion." " Is that why yoa ask me so frequently?" she said, archly. " Yes," replied honest Bondd; "itis a great pleasure. For one good dancer there are fifty bad ones." He did not qnite understand the pretty, piqued expression of her face. " You have not told me," said Valentine, " whether you like my flowers." " They are very beautiful," he replied • but the compliment of her selection was all lost upon him. Mm Charteris did not know whether he was simply indifferent or timid. " You told me these lilies were your favorite flowers," she sdd. "Yes," replied Bondd; " but they are not the flowers that resemble you." He was think ing how much simple, loving Dora was like the pretty, soft blossoms. " You are like the tall, queenly lilies." He paused, for Vdentine was looking at him with a wondering smile. " Do you know you have paid me two com* pliments in less than five minutes P" she said.
"And yesterday we agreed that between time friends they were quite unnecessary." "I—l did not intend paying idle oompli* mente," he replied. "I merely taid what I thought You are like a tall, grand, white lily, Miss Charteris. I have often thought so. If you will not dance with me again, will you walk through the roomt P" Many admiring glances followed them,—a handsomer pair were sddom seen. They passed, through the long suite of rooms and on to tho conservatory, where lamps gleamed like stars between the green plants and rare exotics. "Will you rest hereP" sdd Bondd. "The ball-room is so crowded one cannot speak there." "Ah," thought Mist Chsrterii, "then he really hat something to say to me!" Despite her edm dignity and serene manner, Valentine's heart beat high. She loved the gallant yeung heir,—his honest, kindly nature bad a great charm for her. She saw that tho handsome mot bending over the flowers was agitated and pde. Miss Charteris looked down at the hues in ber hand. He came nearer to her, and looked anxiously at her beautiful face. "I am not eloquent," sdd Bondd: "I have no great gift of speech; but Hiss Charteris, I should like to find some words that would reach your heart and dwell there." He wanted to tell her of Dora, to desoribe ber sweet face with its dimples and blushes, her graceful manner, her timid, sensitive dispo sition. He wanted to make her love Dora, to j help him to soften his mother's prejudioes and his father's anger j no wonder his lips quivered and hit voice faltered. " For tome dayt past I have been longing to speak to you," continued Bonald; " now my oourage dmott fails me. Miss Charteris, say something that will give me confidence." Jh She looked up at him, and any other man would have read the love in her face. " The simplest words you can use will dways interest me," she sdd, gently. His face cleared, and he began. " You are kind and generous ——" Then came an interruption) Sir Harry Laurenoe, with a lady, entered theoonservatory. " This is refreshing," he said to Bondd. " I have been ten minutes trying to get here, the rooms are so full." Miss Charteris smiled in reply, wishing Bur Harry had wdted ten minutes longer. " Promise me," said Bondd, detaining her, as Sir Harry passed on, " that you will give me on* half-hour to-morrow." " I will do so," she replied. " And you will listen to me, Miss Charteris P '* he continued,—" you will hear dl I hays to sayP" Vdentine made no reply; several other people came, some to admire the alcove filled with ferns which drooped from the wall by whioh she was standing, others to breathe the fragrant air. She oould not tpeak without being overheard; but with a charming smile, she took a beautiful lily from her bouquet and held it out to him* Tbey then went back to the ballroom. "He loves me," thought Vdentine; and as far as her edm, serene nature was capable of passionate delight she felt it. "She will befriend me," thought Bonald ; " but why did she give me this flower P" The mott remote suspicion that Vdentine had mistaken him—that she loved him—neve 7 crossed the mind of Bondd Earle. He was singularly free from vanity. Perhaps if he had had a little more oonfidenoe in himself, the story of the Earles might have been different. Lady Charterit looked at her daughter's oal m, proud face. She had noticed, the little inter - view in the conservatory, and drew her own con • dutions from it. Valentine's face confirmed them, —there was a delicate flush upon it and a new light shone in her lustrous eyes. "You like Earleseourt?' said Lady Char teris to her daughter that evening, aa they sat in her dressing-room done. "Yet, mamma, I like it very much," said Valentine. " And, from what I ace," continued the elder lady, " I think it it likely to be your home." " Yet, I believe so," sdd Vdentine, bending over her mother, and kissing her. "Bondd has asked me to give bim one half-hour to* morrow, and I am very happy, mamma." .* For one to calm and ttately, it was admission enough. Lady Charteris knew, from the tons ot her daughter's voice, that the loved Bonald Earle. Bonald slept odmly, half hoping tbat .ties end of bit troubles was drawing nigh. Vdentine, whom bis mother loved so well, would intersede for Dora. Lord Earle would be sure to relent; the** he could bring Dora home, and dl would be well. If ever and anon a cold fear crept into his heart thst simple, pretty Dora would be sadly out of place in that magnificent home, he dashed it from him. Miss Charteris slept oalmly too, but her dreams were different from Bonald't. She thought of the time when tbe should be mistress of that fair domain, and the wife of its brave young lord. Bhe loved him welL No one had ever pleased her as he had, —no one would ever charm her agdn. Valentine had made the grand mistake of her life. [to aa ooinmnrKD.)
A BBsfSBNtBTiB number of famous men era just now engaged in writing. Mr. Disraeli is rumored to be at work on a new tale. A fresh Jbovel by Lord Lytton is announced, with the •title of "Kenelm Chillingby, his Adventures and Opinions." Victor Hugo has a new drama on the stocks. M. Guizot, at 86, is Manemg, himself with preparing for publication bis cor respondence with eminent men, whioh wUI occupy tix large volumes. M. Thiers, weary neither of the task of reorganising France nor of his threescore years and fifteen, is very anxious to complete a work which he hat in hand, and in whioh he attempts to confute materidiim by evidence drawn from aoienoe. " George Sand " it engaged on a " Life of Christ," and Louis Blanc on a work of great interest. Bismarck is writing his auto biography. Mr. Gladstone, at hit blue books, may well envy some of these authors, snd sigh for the time when, instead of poring over figures, he wat writing hit " Commentary on Homer." These are by no means tbe only literary announcements of tbe day. Mr. Tenny son is to make one more last appearance aa laureate to King Arthur, and Messrs. Strahan and Co. have a new volume of " Arthurian Legends" in hand. Msjor Dwyer is writing a " Life of Charles Lever," whioh will oontain selections from bis correspondence. Mr. Stratum's " Memoir of Norman M'Leod " is to be published by Mr. King. Mr. Jeffreson is revising the proofs of his new book on " Brides and Bridals," which will be another contribu tion to the socid history of England, whereof the three books about doctors, lawyers, and theclergy were portions. Mr. Hepworth Dixon is writing a book on " Spain," at a companion volume to "Free Russia" and "The Switxers." Mite Yonge commenoes a new tale, " P's and Q's." Mr. Knatchbull-Huggesson, Under-Secretary for tbe Colonies, will shortly bave ont " Tdet at Tea-time." Tub.—Though we seem grieved st the short nets of life in general, we are wishing every period of it at an end. Tho minor longs to be of age; then to be a man of business $ then to make up an estate; then to arrive at
then to retire.—