Chapter 27274347

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Chapter NumberVII - IX
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1873-01-18
Page Number8
Word Count8707
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)
Trove TitleDisobedience
article text

The Storyteller.



By the Author of "Lady Hutton's Ward," &c.

IT was a fair, bright day, this morrow, so eagerly looked for. The sun shone warm and bright, the air was soft and fragrant, the sky

blue and cloudless. Lady Charteris did not

leave her room for breakfast, and Valantine re mained with her mother. When breakfast was ended Ronald lingered about, hoping to see Valentine. He had not waited long before he saw the glimmer of her white dress and blue ribbons. He met her in the hall. " Will you come out in the gardens, Miss CharterisP" he asked, eagerly; "the morning is so beautiful, and you promised me one half hour. Do not take that book with you. I shall want all jour attention, for I have a story to tell you." He walked by her side through the pleasure gardens, where the lake glesmed in the sun shine, the water lilies sleeping on its quiet bosom; through the fragrant flower beds, where the bees hummed and the butterflies made lov« to the fairest blossoms. "Let us go on to the park," said Valentine; " the sun is too warm here." "I know a little spot, just fitted for a fairy's bower," said Bonald. " Let me show it to you. I can tell my story better there." They went through the broad gates of the park, across which the chequered sunbeams fell, where the deer browsed, and king-cups and tall foxgloves grew—on to the brook side, where Dora had rested so short a time since to think of her new-found happiness. The pale primroses had all died away, the violets were gone; but in their place the deep green bank was covered with other flowers of bright and sunny hue. The shade of tall trees covered the bank, the little brook sang merrily, the birds obimed in with the rippling waters, the summer air was filled with the faint sweet summer music " It is a pretty spot," said Miss Charteris. The green grass seemed to dance in thebreexe, and Bonald made something like a throne ?midst it. 11 You shall be queen, and I your suppliant," he Mid. " You promised to listen; I will tell you my story." They sat a few minutes in deep silence, broken only by the singing brook and the music of the birds; a solemn hush seemed to have fallen on them, the leaves rustled in the wind, and the flowers sent perfumed messages. If Bonald Earle's heart and mind hacLpot been filled with another and very different image, he must have seen how fair and calm Valentine looked; the sunlight, filtered through the dense green foliage, fell upon her face, the white dress and blue ribbons, the fair floating hair, against the dark background of the bank and the trees, made so charming a picture; but Bonald never saw it. After long years the memory of it came back to him, and he won dered at his own blindness. He never saw tho trembling of the white fingers that played care lessly with sprays of purple fox-glove; he never ?aw the faint flash upon her face, the quiver of her proud, beautiful lips, or the love-light in her •yes. He only saw and thought of Dora. " I told you, Miss Charteris, last evening, that I was not eloquent," began Bonald. *• When anything lies deep in my heart, I find great difficulty in telling it in words." " All sacred and deep feeling is quiet," said Valentine. "A torrent of words does not always show an earnest nature. I have many thoughts that I could never express." "If I could only be sure that you would understand me, Miss Charteris," said Ronald— " that you would see and comprehend motives that I can hardly explain myself! Sitting here in the summer sunshine, I can scarcely realise how dark the cloud is that hangs over me. Ton are so kind and patient, I will tell you my ?tory in my own way." She gathered a rich duster of blue-bells, and bent over them, pulling the pretty flowers into pieces, and throwing leaf after leaf into the stream. "Three months since," continued Ronald, " I oame home to Earlesoourt; Lord and Lady Earle were both at G-reenoke; I, tired, and not quite myself, preferred remaining here alone ?ad quiet. One morning I went out in the gardens, listless for want of something to do. I saw there—ah, now I want words, Miss Char teris—the fairest girl the sun ever shone upon." He saw the flowers fall from Valentine's grasp; she put her hand to her brow, as though to shield her face. " Does the light annoy you P" he asked. "No," she replied, steadily; "go on with your story." "A olever man," said Ronald, " might paint for you the pretty face, all smiles and dimples, the dark shining rings of hair that fell upon a white brow, the sweet shy eyes fringed by long lashes, seldom raised, but full of wonderful light when once you could look into their depths. I can only tell you how in a few days I grew to love the fair young face, and how she, Dora Thorne—is not the name a song, Miss Charteris P—how she loved me." Valentine never moved or spoke; Ronald oould not see the bright flush die away, and the proud lip quiver. "I must tell you all quickly," said Ronald, f She is not what people call a lady, this beauti ful wild flower of mine. Her father lives at the lodge; he is Lord Earle's lodgekeeper, and she knows nothing of the world and its ways. She has never been taught or trained, though her voice is as sweet as music, like the chime of silver bells. She is like a bright April day, ?miles) and tears, sunshine and rain—so near together, that I never know whether I love her best weeping or laughing." "He paused, but Valentine did not speak; her hand still shaded her face. " I loved her very much," said Ronald," and I told her so. I asked her to be my wife, and ?he promised. When my father came home from Greenoke I asked his consent, and he laughed at me. He would not believe me ?erioua, I need not tell you the details. They ?ent my pretty Dora away, and some one who loved her—who wanted to make her his wife— came, and quarrelled with ( me. He—my rival •—•wore that Dora should be his. In his pas ?ion he betrayed the secret so well kept from me. He told me where she was, and I went to MO her." There was no movement in the quiet figure, no words from the white lips. *' I went to see her," he continued; " she was •0 unhappy, so pretty in her sorrow and love, so innocent, so fond of me, that I forgot all I should hare remembered, and married her."

Valentine started then, and uttered a low cry. "You are shocked," said Bonald; "but oh, Miss Charteris, think of her so young and gentle. They would have forced her to marry the farmer, and she disliked him. What else could I do to save her ?" Even then, in the midst of that sharp sorrow, Valentine could not help admiring Ronald's brave simplicity, his ohivalry, and honor. "I married her," he said, " and I mean to be true to her. I thought my father would relent and forgive us, but I fear I was too sanguine. Since my marriage my father has told me if I do nol give np Dora he will never see me again. Every day I resolve to tell him what I have done, but something interferes to prevent it. I have not seen my wife since our wedding day. She i 1 still at Eastham. Now, Miss Charteris, be my friend and help me." Bravely enough Valentine put away her sor row ; another time she would look it in the face ; all her thoughts must now be for him. " I will do any thing to serve you," she said, gently. " What can Ido P" " My mother loves you very muoh," said Bonald; " she will listen to you. When I have told her, will you, inyonr sweet, persuasive way interfere for DoraP Lady Earle will be iuflu enced by what you say." A quiver of pain passed over the proud, calm face of Valentine Charteris. " If you think it wise for a stranger to inter fere in so delicate a matter, I will do so cheer* fully," she said; " but let me counsel one thing. Tell Lord and Lady Earle at once. Do not delay; every hour is of consequence." " What do you think of my story P" asked Ronald, anxiously. Have I done right or wrong P" " Do not ask me," replied Valentine. " Yes," he urged, «I will ask you again; you are my friend,—tell me, have I done right or wrong?" "I can speak nothing but truth," replied Valentine, " and I think you have done wrong. Do not be angry. Honor is everything; it ranks before life or love. In some degree you have tarnished yours by an underhand proceed ing, a private marriage, one forbidden by your parents, and most distasteful to them. Ronald's face foil as her words came to him slowly and dearly. " I thought," said he, " I was doing a brave deed in marrying Dora. She had no one to take her part but me." "It was a brave deed in one sense," said Valentine. "You have proved yourself gener ous and disinterested. Heaven grant you may be happy!" " She is young and impressionable," said Ro nald ; " I can easily mould her to my way of thinking. You look very grave, Miss Char teris." "I am thinking of you," she said, gently j "it seems to me a grave matter. Pardon me, but did you reflect well—were you quite convinced that the whole happiness of your life was at stake P If so, I need say no more. It is an unequal marriage, one not at all in the fitting order of things." Strange that she should use his father's words. " Tell your father at once, Roaald," she con tinued. "You can never retrace the step you have taken. You may never wish to do so, but you can and must retrieve the error of duplicity and concealment." "You will try to make my mother love DoraP" said Ronald. "That I will," replied Valentine. "You sketched her portrait well. I can almost see her. I will speak of her beauty, her grace, and tenderness." "You are a true friend," said Ronald, grate fully. " Do not over-rate my influence," said Valen tine. " You must learn to look your life boldly in the faoe. Candidly and honestly, I think from mistaken notions of honor and chivalry, you have done wrong. A man must be brave. Perhaps one of the hardest lessons in life is to bear, un flinchingly, the effects and consequences of one's own deeds. You must do that; you must not flinch; you must bear what follows like a man and a hero." " I will," said Ronald, looking at the magni ficent face, and half wishing that little Dora could talk to him grandly, as this noble girl did; suoh words as hers made men heroes. Then he remembered how Dora would weep if he were in trouble, and olasp her arms round his neck. "We shall still be friends, Miss Charteris P" he said, pleadingly; " whatever comes, you will not give me up P" " I will be your friend, Ronald, while I live," said Valentine, holding out her white hand, and I her voice never faltered. " You have trusted me, I shall never forget that. lam your friend, and Dora's also." The words came so prettily from her lips that Bonald smiled. " Dora would be quite alarmed at you," he said; " she is so timid and shy." Then he told Valentine of Dora's pretty, art less ways, of her love for all things beautiful in Nature, always returning to one theme—her great love for him. He little dreamed that the calm, stately beauty listened as on the rack— that while he was talking of Dora, she was trying to realise the cold, dreary blank that had suddenly fallen over her life, trying to think what the future would be, passed without him; owning to herself that, for this rash, chivalrous marriage, for his generous love, she admired him more than ever. The hand that played carelessly among the wild flowers had ceased to tremble, the proud lips bad regained their color, and then Valentine arose, saying it was time for them to return, as she was going out with Lady Earle, after lunch. A feeling of something like blank despair seixed Valentine when she thought of what she must say to her mother. Remembering their few words last evening, her face flushed hotly. " I can never th^ank you enough for your kind patience," said Ronald, as they walked back through the shady park and the bright flower gardens. Valentine smiled, and raised her face to the summer sky, thinking of the hope that had been hers a few short hours ago. " You will go at once, and see your father, will you not?" she said to Ronald, as they parted. vI am going now," he replied; but, at the very moment, Lady Earle came up to him. " Ronald," she said, " come into my boudoir. Your father is there, —he wants to see you before he goes to Holtham." Valentine went straight to her mother's room. Lady Charteris sat waiting for her, beguiling the time with a book. She smiled as her daughter entered. " I hope you have had a pleasant walk," she said; but both smile and words died away as she saw the expression of that beautiful face.

Valentin*, to little given to eareeses, bent over her mother again. " Mamma," the said, gently, "iU I itid to 70a last night about Earleeeonrt was a great mistake, —it will nerer be my home. My vanity muled me." " Hare you quarrelled with Mr. Earle P" asked Lady Charteris, quickly. "No," was the calm reply. "We are excel lent friends; but, mamma, I was mistaken. He did want to tell me something, but it was his lore for some one else, —not for me." " Ihen he has behaved shamefully to yon!" cried Lady Charteris. "Hash, mamma!" said Valentine. "You forget how such words humiliate me. I have refuted men of far better position than Ronald Earle. Never let it be imagined that I have mistaken his intentions." "Of course not," said her mother. « I only say it to yourself, Valentine: he seemed unable to live out of your sight—morning, noon, and night he was always by your side." "He only wanted me to be hi* friend," said Valentine. "Ah, selfish, like all men," said Lady Char teris. " With whom has he fallen in lore, my dear?" "Do not ask me," replied Valentine. *' He is in a terrible dilemma. Do not talk to me about it, mamma. I made a foolish mistake, and do not wish to be reminded of it." Lady Charteris detested the suppressed pain of that voice, and instantly formed her plans. " I think of returning to-morrow," she said. "Your father is getting impatient to have us with him. He cannot come to Earlesooort him self. You say Mr. Earle is in a terrible dilemma, Valentine. I hope there will be no scandalous expotS while we are here. I detest scenes." " Lord Earle is far too proud for anything of that kind," said Valentine. "If there should be any unpleasantness, it will not appear on the surface. Mamma, you will not mention this to me again P" Valentine threw off her kee shawl and pretty hat} she then took up the book her mother had laid down. "My walk has tired me," she said 1 «the mm is very warm." She lay down upon the sofa and turned her face to the window, where the roses came nod* ding in. Lady Charteris had plenty of delicate tact. " Stay here and rest," she said. "I am going to write my letters." Valentine lay still, looking at the summer beauty outside. No one knew of the tears that gathered slowly in those proud eyes j no one knew of the passionate weeping that could not be stilled. When Lady Charteris returned in two hours time Valentine had regained her calm, and there was no trace of tears in the smiles which wel comed her. Proudly and calmly she bore the great disappointment of her hie. She was no tragedy queen 1 she never said to herself that her life was blighted, or useless, or burdensome. But she did say that she would never marry until she found some one with Ronald's simple ohivalry, his loyal true nature, and without the weakness which had and would cause so much suffering. Chaptbs Vm. LadtEabu'B boudoir was always considered. one of the prettiest rooms at Barlesooort. Few but rare pictures adorned its walls,—a gem of Claude Lorraine's, a masterpiece of Turner's, one of Murillo's saucy Spanish boys, and one of Onido's fairest faces. The long French win dows opened on to the prettiest part of the gardens, where a large fountain rippled merrily in the sunshine. Groups of flowers, in rare and costly vases, perfumed the room. Lord Earle had drawn a pretty lounging chair to the window, and sat there, looking happier than he had done for some months. Lady Earle went on with her task, arranging some delicate leaves and blossems ready for sketching. "Bonald," said his father, "I have been waiting here some time. Have you been out P" " I have been in the park with Miss Char teris," replied Ranald. Lord Earle smiled again, evidently wetf pleased to hear that intelligence. " A pleasant and sensible method of spending your time," he continued; " and, strange to say, it is on that very subject I wish to speak to you. Your attentions to Miss Charteris-^" "My attentions!" cried Bonald} "you are mistaken. I never paid any." " You need have no fear this time," said Lord Earle. " Your mother tells me of the numer ous comments made last evening upon your long Hte-a-tite in the conservatory. I know some of your secrets. There can be no doubt that Miss Charteris has a great regard for you. I sent for you to say that, far from again offering any opposition to your marriage, the dearest wish of my heart will be gratified when I can call Valen tine Charteris my daughter." He paused for a reply, but none came. Ro nald's face had grown strangely pale. "We never named our wish to you," con* tinned Lord Earle, " but years ago your mother and I hoped you would some day love Miss Charteris. She is very beautiful; she is the truest, the noblest, and best woman I know. I am proud of your choice, Ronald—more proud than words can express." Still Ronald made no reply, and Lady Earle looked up at him quickly. " You need not fear for Valentine," she said. " I must not betray any secrets; she likes you, Ronald; I will say no more. If you ask her to be your wife, I do not think you will ask in vain." " There is some great mistake," said Ronald, his pale lips quivering. " Miss Charteris has no thought for me." " She has no thought for any one else," re joined Lady Earle, quickly. " And I," continued Ronald," never dreamed of making her my wife. Ido not love her. I can never marry Valentine Charteris." The smiles died from Lord Earle's face, and \ his wife dropped the pretty blossoms from her jewelled fingers. " Then why have you paid the young lady so muoh attention?" asked his father, gravely. " Every one has remarked your manner; you never seemed happy away from her." " I wished to make her my friend," said Bo nald ; " I never thought of anything else." He stood aghast when he remembered why he had tried so hard to win her friendship j what if Valentine had misunderstood him P " Others thought for you," ssid Lord Earle, drily. "Of course, if I am mistaken, there is no more to be said ; I merely intended to say how happy such a marriage would make me. If you do not love the young lady the matter ends, I suppose." " Why do you not love her, Ronald ?" asked his mother, gently. "Fair, and good, so weV

fitted to be mistress of Earlescourt when I shall be old and tired. Why can you not love her?" "Nothing was further from my thoughts,"he replied. " Surely," interrupted Lady Earle, " you have forgotten the idle, boyish folly that angered your father some time ago—that cannot be your reason P" "Hush, mother," said Bonald, standing erect and dauntless; "I was coming to tell you my secret when you met me. Father, I deceived and disobeyed you. I followed Dora to Eastham, and married her there." j A low cry came from Lady Earle's lips. Bo nald taw his father's face grow white—livid— with anger; but no word" broke the awful silence that fell upon them. The sun shone | and the birds sang, the flowers bloomed and the waters rippled merrily. Hours seemed to pass in the silence of those few minutes. " You married her," said Lord Earle, in a low, hoarse voice, " remembering what I said ?" "I married her," replied Bonald, "hoping' you would retract hard, cruel words that you never meant. I oould'not help it, father; she hag no one but me; they would have forced her to marry some one she did not like." "Enough," interrupted Lord Eerie; Mtell me when and where. Let me understand whether the deed be irrevokable or not" Calmly, but with trembling lips, Bonald gave him every particular. " Yes, the marriage is legal enough," said the master of Earlesoourt. " You had to choose between duty, honor, home, position, — and Dora Thome. You preferred Dora; you must leave the rest." " Father, you win forgive me," cried Bonald. " I am your only son." | "Yes," said Lord Earle, drearily, "you are my only son. Heaven grant no other child may ever pierce his father's heart as you have done mine! Years ago, Bonald, my life was blighted; my hopes, wishes, ambitions and plans all melted; they lived again in you. I longed with wicked impatience for the time when you should carry out my dreams, and add fresh lustre to a grand old name. I have lived in your life; and now, for a simple, pretty, foolish girl, you have forsaken me, — you have deliberately trampled upon every hope I had." | " Let me atone for it," cried Bonald. " I never thought of these things." "You cannot atone," said Lord Earle, gravely. " I can never trust you again. From this time forth I have no son. My heir you must be, when the life you have darkened ends. My son is dead to me." There was no anger in the stern grave face turned towards the unhappy young man. "I never broke my word," he continued, j " and never shalL You have chosen your own path; take it. You preferred this Dora to me; go to her. I told you if you persisted in your folly I would never look upon your face again, \ and I never will." "Oh Bupert," cried Lady Earle," be merci ful; he is my only child. I shall die if you send him from me." " He preferred this Dora to you or to me," said Lord Earle. "I am sorry for you, Helena —Heaven knows it wrings my heart—but I shall not break my word! I will not reproach you,'* he continued, turning to his son ; " it would be • waste of time and of words; you know the alternative, and are doubtless prepared for it" "I must bear it, father; the deed was my own," said Bonald. " We will end this scene," said Lord Earle, tuning from his unhappy wife, whose pas sionate weeping sounded strangely in the summer oalm. "Look at your mother, Bonald; kiss her for the last time, and go from her; bear with you the memory of her love and of her tenderness, and of how you have repaid them. Take your last look at me. I have loved you— I have been proud of you, hopeful for you; now I dismiss you from my presence, un worthy son of a noble race. The same roof will never shelter us again. Make what arrange ments you will. You have some little fortune; it must maintain you. I will never contribute one farthing to the support of my lodgekeeper*s daughter. Go where you like—do as you like. You have chosen your own path. Some day yon must return to Earlescourt as its master. I thank heaven it will be when the degradation of my home and tha dishonor of my race can not touch me. Go now; I shall expect you to have quitted the Hallbeforeto-morrow morning.*' " You cannot mean it, father!" cried Bonald. " Send me from you—punish me—l deserve it; but let me see you again." "Never in life," said Lord Earle, calmly. " Bemember, when you see me lying dead, that death itself was less bitter than the hour in which I learned that you had deoeived me." " Mother," cried the unhappy youth* " plead forme!" "It is useless," replied his father; "your choice has been made deliberately. lam not crueL If you write to me I shall return your letters unopened. I shall refuse to see or hear from you, or to allow you to come near Earles court ; but you can write to your mother, I do not forbid that, —she can see you under any roof save mine. Now, farewell; the sunshine, the hope, the happiness of my life go with you> but I shall keep my word. Bee my solicitor, Mr. Burt, about your money, and he will ar range everything in my place." "Father," cried Bonald,with tears in his eyes, " say one kind word, touch my hand once again." " No," said Lord Earle, turning from the out stretched hand. " That is not the hand of an honorable man; I cannot hold it in my own." Then Bonald bent down to kiss his mother; her face was white and still, she was not con ?oious of his tears or bis passionate pleading. Lord Earle raised her face. " Go," said he, calmly; "do not let my wife find you here when she recovers." He never forgot the pleading of those sorrow* ful eyes, the anguish of the brave young face, as Bonald turned from him and left the room. When Lady Earle awoke to the consciousness of her misery, her son had left her. No one would have called Lord Earle hard or stern who saw him clasp his weeping wife in his arms and console her by every kind and tender word he could use. Lord Earle did not know that in his wife's heart there was a hope that in time he would relent; it was hard to lose her brave boy for a few months or even years, but he would return, his father must forgive him, her sorrow would be but for a time. But Lord Earle, inflexible and unflinohing, knew that he should never in life see his ton again. No one knew what Lord Earle suffered,—as Valentine Charteris said, he was too proud for scenes. He dined with Lady Charteris and her daughter, excusing his wife, and sever naming his son. After dinner he shut himself in his own room, and suffered his agony alone. • ••••••

' Eariescourt ww fall of battle and activity. 1 The young heir was leaving suddenly; bozei and trankf had to be packed. He did not My where he wu going; indeed, those who helped him said afterwards that his face was fixed and pale, and that he moved about like one in a dream. Everything was arranged for Bonald's depar ture by the night mail from Greenfield, the nearest station to Earlesoonrt. He took with him neither hones nor serf ants; eren his valet, Morton, was left behind. "My lady "' was ill, and shut np in her room all day. Valentine Charteris sat alone in the drawing room when Bonald came in to bid her farewell. She was amazed at the unhappy termination of the interview. She would hare gone instantly to Lord Earle, but Bonald told her it was use less,—no prayers, no pleadings could change his determination. As Bonald stood there, looking in Valentine's beautiful face, he remembered his mother's words, that she cared for him as she eared for no other. Could it be possible that this magni ficent girl, with her serene, queenly dignity, loved him P She looked distressed for his sor row. When he spoke of his mother, and she saw the quivering lips he vainly tried to still, tears filled her eyes. "Where shall you go?" she asked; "and what shall you do P" " I shall go to my wife at once," he replied, " and take her abroad. Do not look so pained and grieved for me, Miss Charteris,—l must do the best I can. If my income will not support me, I must work; a few months' study will make me a tolerable artist. Do not forget my mother, Valentine; and bid me < God speed.'" Her heart yearned to him,—so young, so simple, and brave. She longed to tell him how much she admired him—how she wanted to help him, and would be bis friend while she lived. But Miss Charteris rarely yielded to any emotion; she laid her hand in his and said, " Good-bye, Bonald—God bless you. Be brave; it is not one great deed that makes a hero. The man who bears trouble well is the greatest hero of aIL" As he left his home in the quiet starlit night, Bonald little thought that while his mother lay weeping as though her heart would break, a beautiful face, wet with bitter tears, watched him from one of the upper windows, and his father shut up alone listened to every sound, and heard the door closed behind his son as he would bar* heard his own death-knell. The next day Lady Charteris and her daugh ter left Barleseourt. Lord Earle gave no sign of the heavy blow which had struck him. He was their attentive host while they remained; he escorted them to their carriage, and parted from them with smiling words. He went back to the house, where he was never more to hear the sound of the voioe he loved best on earth. As days and months passed by, and the young | heir did not return, wonder and surprise reigned at Earlescourt. Lord Earle never men tioned his son's name. People said he had gone abroad, and was living somewhere in Italy. To Lord Earle it seemed that his life was ended; he had no more hope; he formed no more plans; ambition died away; the grand pur* pose of his life would never be fulfilled. Lady Earle said nothing of the trouble that had fallen upon her. She hoped against hope that the time would come when her husband would pardon their only son. Valentine Char teris bore her disappointment welL She never foregot the simple chivalrous man who had | dung to her friendship and relied so vainly upon her isflaenoe. Many lovers sighed round Valentine. One after another she dismissed them. She was waiting until she saw some one like Bonald Earle, in all things save the weakness whiohhad so fatally shadowed his life. Chaptkb IX. I* a small, pretty villa, on the banks of the Arno, Bonald Earle established himself with bis young wife. He had gone direct to Eastham after leaving Earlescourt, his heart aching with sorrow for horns and all that he left there, and beating high with joy at the thought that now nothing stood between him and Dora. He told her of the quarrel,—of his father's stem words; and Dora, as he had foreseen, clung round his neck, and wept. "She would love him all the more," she said. " She must love him enough to make up for home and every one else." Yet, strange to say, when Bonald told his pretty, weeping wife all that happened, he made no mention of Valentine Charteris, —he did not even utter her name. I Bonald's arrangements were soon made; he sent for Stephen Thome and his wife, and told them how and when he had married Dora. "I am sorry for it," said Stephen. "No good will ever come of such an unequal match. My girl had better have stayed at home, or married the young farmer, who loved her. The dis tance between you is too great, Mr. Earle, and I fear you will find it out." Bonald laughed at the idea that he should ever tire of Dora! How little these prosaic, commonplace people knew of love 1 The good lodgekeeper and his wife parted from Dora with many tears. She was never to brighten their pretty home again with her sweet face and gay voice. She was going away to strange lands over the sea. Many dark fore bodings haunted them,—but it was too late for advice and interference now. The first news that came to the villa on the banks of the Arno was that Stephen Thome and his wife had left the lodge and taken a small farm somewhere in the county of Kent. Lady Earle had found them the means, and they had left without one word or look from Lord Earle. He never even asked where they had gone. Despite his father's anger and his mother's sorrow, despite his poverty and loss of position, Bonald for some months was very happy with his young wife. It was so pleasant to teach Dora, to watch her sweet dimpled face and the dark eyes grow large with wonder, to hear her simple naive remarks, her original ideas, to see her pretty artless ways ; above all it was plea sant to be so dearly loved. He often thought that there never had been, never could be, a wife so loving as Dora. He could not teach her muoh, although he tried hard. She sang simple little ballads sweetly and clearly; but although master after master tried his best, she could never be taught to play, not even so much as the easy accompaniments of her own songs. Bonald hoped that with time and attention she would be able to sketch, but Dora never managed it. Obediently enough she took pencil and paper in her hand, and tried, but the strokes would never come straight. Sometimes the drawing she made resembled something so comical that both Dora and Bonald laughed heartily; and again the consciousness of her own inferiority grieved her, and large bright tears would frequently fall upon the paper,

making smear* and blots-^Tben Bonald would take tbe pencil* away, and Dora wonld cling round hi* neck and ask him if he would not have been happier with a cleverer wife. "Xo, a thousand times no," he would say ; " he loved Dora better in her artless simplicity than be could have loved the cleverest woman in all the world." " And you are quite rare," said Dora," that you will never repent marrying me f "No, again," was the reply. «• You are the crowning joy of my life." It was pleasant to sit amidst the groves of orange trees and green myrtles, reading the great poems of the world to Dora. Even if she did not understand them, her face lighted with pleasure a* the grand word* came from Bonald'* lips. It was pleasant, too, to sit on the banks of the Arno, watching the blue water* gleaming in the sun. Dora wac at home there. She could say little of books, of pictures, or musio; but she could talk of beautiful Nature, and never tire. She knew the changing color* of the sky, the different hue of the waves, the different voices of the winds, the songs of the bird*. All these had a separate and distinct meaning for her. Bonald could not teach her much more. She liked the beautiful poem*, but never could re member who had written them. She forgot the name* of great author*, or mixed them cp so terribly that Bonald, in despair, told her it would be bettor not to talk of boo\s just yet,— not until she was more familiar with them. But he soon found out that Dora could not read many minute* together. She would open her book, and make a desperate attempt; then her dark eyes would wander away to the orange tree*, with their golden fruit and silver blossoms, or to the broad river and the sunlit ware*. She could never read while the ran shone, or the bird* tang. Seeing that, Bonald gare up all attempt* at literature in the daytime j when the lamps were lighted in the erening, and the fair face of nature we* shut out, he tried again, and suc ceeded for ton minutes; then Dora's dark eye* drooped, the white lid* with their jetty fringe cloeed; and with great dismay he found that over the masterpieoe* of the world Dora had fallen asleep. Two long bright year* had passed away befere Bonald began to perceive that he could educate hi* pretty wife no further. She was a strange mixture of ignorance and uncultivated poetry. She could speak well; her voice was sweet, her accent, caught from him, good; alone he never noticed any deficiencies, bat if he met an English friend in Florence and brought him home to dine, then Bonald began to wish that Dora would leave off blushing and grow lea* shy, that she could talk a little more, and that he might lose all fear of her making some terrible blunder. The third year of their married life dawned ; Dora was just twenty, Bonald twenty-three. There had been no rejoicing when he attained hi* majority; it passed orer unnoticed and un« remarked. News came to them from England, letter* from the little farm in Kent, telling of •imple home intelligence, and letter* from Lady Earle, always sad and stained with tear*. She had no good new* to toll them. Lord Earle wa* well, but he would nerer allow hi* son's name to be mentioned before him, and she longed to see her son. In all her letter* Lady Earle said, " Give my love to Dora." In this the third year of their married life Bonald began to feel the pressure of poverty. His income was not more than three hundred a year; to Dora this seemed boundlei* riches; but the heir of Earlesoourt had spent more in dress and cigar*. Now debt* began to press upon him • writing home he knew wa* useless. He would not ask Lady Earle, although he knew that she wou'.d have parted with the la«t jewel in her case for him." Bonald gave himself up to the study of paint ing. A pretty little studio was built, and Dora spent long hoars in admiring both her husband and hi* work. He gare promise of being some day a good artist—not a genius. The world would never rave of his pictures; but in time he would be a conscientious, painstaking artist. Among hi* small coterie of friend* some ap proved, other* laughed. " Why not go to tbe Jews ?" asked fashion* able young men. " Earlescourt will be yours ?ome time; you can borrow money if you like." Bonald steadily refused to entertain the idea. He wondered at modern ideas of honor, that men aaw no shame in borrowing upon the lives of their nearest and dearest, yet thought it a disgrace to be a follower of one of the grandest of arts. He made one compromise, that wa* for his father's sake. A* an artist he was known by Dora's name of Thorne, and, before long, Bonald Thome's picture* were in great request. There was no dash of genius about them ; but they were careful studies. Some few were sold, and the price realised proved no unwelcome ad* dition to a small income. Bonald became known in Florence. People who had not thought much of Mr. Earle, were eager to know the clever artist and his pretty, shy wife. Then the trial of Bonald Earle began in earnest. Had he lived always away from the world, out of society, the ohanoes are that his story would hare been different; but invi tations began to pour in upon him and Dora, and Ronald, half tired of hi* solitude, although he never suspected it, accepted them eagerly. Dora did not like the change; she felt lonely and lost where Bonald was so popular and so much at home. Amongst others who eagerly sought Ronald's society was the pretty coquette, the Countess Boaali, an English lady, who had married the Count Bosali, a Florentine noble of great wealth. No one in Florence was half so popular a* the fair countess. Amongst the dark, glowing beauties of sunny Italy she was like a bright sunbeam. Her fair, piquant faoe was charming in its delicate bright coloring and gay smiles ; her hair of the rare color painted by the old masters, yet so seldom seen, was of a pure golden hue, looking always a* though the sun •hone upon it. Countess Rosali, there was no denying the fact, certainly did enjoy a little flirtation. Her grare, serious husband knew it, and looked on quite calmly. To his grare mind the countess resembled a butterfly far more than a rational being. He knew, though she might laugh and talk to others, though she might seek admiration and enjoy delicate flattery, yet in her heart she was true as steel. She lored beautiful colors and everything else that was gay and smiling. In all her life Countess Bosali had never known one trouble. She had gathered tbe roses j per haps some one else had her share of thorns. The fair, dainty lady had a great desire to see Mr. Thorne. She had seen one of hi* picture* at the house of one of her friend*,—a simple ' little thing, but it had charmed her. It was ' merely a bouquet of English wild flowers • but then they were so beautifully painted! The

bluebell* looked as though they had that mo ment been gathered, and strewn, there. One almost fancied dewdrops on the delicate wild roses t a spray of pink hawthorn told sweet stories of English meadows* daises and golden buttercups, mingled with woodbine and meadow sweet. "Whoever painted that," said the fair oountess, " loves flowers, and knows what Eng lish flowers mean." The countess did not rest until Bonald had been introduced to her, and then she would know his wife. Her grave, silent husband smiled at her evident admiration of the hand* somo yonng Englishman. She liked his dear, Saxon face and fair hair; she liked his simple, kindly manner, so full of chivalry and truth. She liked pretty Dora, too; but there were time* when the dainty, fastidious countees looked at the young wife in wonder, for, as she said one evening to her hnsband, "Thereis something in Mrs. Thome that puzzles me,— she does not always apeak or look like a. lady." Few day* passed without bringing Ronald and Dora to the Villa Boaali. It wonld bare been better for Bonald had he never left hit pretty home on the banks of the Arno. [to bi oojrrnrcTO.]

Matrimonial oouples in Miohigan are said to get diTorced jutt in order to hare the pleMure of freih oonrting and a new honeymoon* A oohtejtpobaby, speaking of a mammoth egg, askt " What hen can beat that! 1" We give it up. We never heard of a hen beating an egg at all. The St. Alban'a Messenger thinks that iky blue is a pretty color for ceilings, but not to tasty for oountry milk at eight cents a quart. Whbh Coleridge was asked by somebody what was the use of a certain new scientific dis* oorery, he retorted by asking, " What U the om of a new-born child ?" The following notice is posted oonspionously. in a newspaper offioe out west:—" Shut the door, and as soon as you hare done tailing business, senre your mouth the same way." A bachelor stys if you hand a lady a newt* paper with a scrap out out of it, not a Una of it will be read, but every bit of interest the paper possesses is centred in finding out what the , missing scrap oontained. 1 Last spring an intelligent jury worked on • Mr. Deberg, of lowa, and sent him to the Pent* tentiary for five years. He ha* just been set at liberty, the Tague rumors of his innooenoe having been confirmed. While a Waterbury farmer was mowing hii dooryard, a sly puppy hid in the grass and then jumped out to take the toy the by surprise. Bat the puppy turned out to be more surprised than the scythe, for he found himself in two placet at the same time. Has Forgotts* SoxxTHura. —" I say, oap'n," said a little-eyed man as he landed from the steamboat at Natchez—" I say, cap'n, thia 'ere ain't all." " That's all the baggage you brought on board, air," replied the captain. " Well, see now, its according to list—four boxee, three chests, two ban' boxes, portmanty, two hams (one part cut), three ropes of inyons, and and a teakettle; but I'm dubersum. I feel there's something short, though Ire counted 'em nine times, and never took my eyes off or em while on board; there's something not right somehow." "Well, stranger, the time'e up. There's all I know of; so bring your wife and fire children oat of the cabin, and we're off." " Them's um!—them's urn!" he exclaimed. "I knowed I'd forgot something." TxAOHnra Birds to Siva Tithes —This if done in the town of Fulda, where they keep regular eduoational institutions for bullfinches. They plaoe the young birds into classes 6t six to ten each, and keep them in the dark, turning a little hand-organ for them when they are fed! Finally, the birds oommenoe to associate the musio with the feeding, and when hungry they oommenoe to sing a few notes of the tunes they hear daily. Those who do this are at onoe placed in a more cheerful room, when some lijht is admitted. This enoourages them and makes them more lively. Ihen they like to sing and are soon taught more. The most difficult part is the first starting of the birds, some of which hare to be kept a long time in the dark, and on starvation rations, before their obati* nicy is overcome. In order to teach them several tunes, they receive (after being thai first taught in classei) private instruction from the little boys of Fulda, each of whom has a few private pupils of this sort. Their education, lasts nine months, when it is completed, and the birds sent into the world as accomplished per* formers. How to Start ah Aqvariuic.—One of the most attractive of sitting-room ornament* is an aquarium. They need not neoessarily be ex pensive, as common window glass set in a wooden frame will suffioe, though one with an iron frame will be better. Of course it must be made water-tight. When this is done put in rain or river water—probably any soft water will answer; then get a piece of rook large enough to oome nearly to the top, and the more holes, and cavities, and projections it has, the better it will suit the fish. Put this in the middle, and then cover the bottom with clean sand or gravel two inches deep or more. You are ready then for aquatio plants, which may consist of American Star wort, Mermaid-weed, Oalla, Eeelgrass, 4c. When these have been planted three or four days it will be ready for the fish. Minnows, water-newts, perch, mussels, tadpoles, snails, and a few gold fish are com* monly used. Snails are said to keep both the water and the glass clean. Some other kindi will do equally well, but pike and trout are ob* jectionable on account of a weakness for eating up the other members of the family. Care most be used so m not to overstook the vessel, or all will die. With a proper proportion of plant* and fish the water will remain pure a number of weeks. When it has stood some time it can be improved by dipping out, and pouring back from a little height. The fish may be fed with bread orumbs and minute bits of meat, bat what is not eiten by them must be removed, or it will taint the water. These directions are not the results of experience, but are borrowed in the hope that suoh attractive additions to a pleasant home may beoome more common. Some varieties of small fish will become very tame, allowing themselves even to be handled, and an aquarium in a well-regulated family of children is a source of a great deal of amuse* ment and instruction.—S. P. While the question of broad and narrow gauge railways and of street tramways is ooou pying attention a remarkable innovation on both is being carried into effeo' in France, where the Council General of the Department of Yonne ha* authorised the construction of a line upon the system invented by and bearing the name of M. Laraanjat. This differs from all its pre decessors in that it only requires a single rail, and that a very light one, and is applicable to very steep gradients and to equally abrupt curves. With an engine weighing only fire tons the inventor is enabled to obtain the same adhesion as is arrived at on the ordinary line* of railroad with one of forty tons, and can ascend an incline of 1 in 20 witha load of fifteen tons, exclusive of the looomotire. Tbe latter, it should be explained, has four wheels, two of which—tbe directing wheels—run on the rail, and the other two—the motive wheels—on an ordinary metalled road, parallel with the single rail. By a very simple me chanical contrivanoe the whole weight of the engine can be thrown either upon the direoting or the motive wheels, according to circum* stances ; the minimum ot adherence being ob tained in the former ana the maximum in the latter case. As the directing wheel* are mounted on a pivot, the train can pass round a ourve with so limited a radius as to admit of its turn ing into a street at right angles with that from whioh it ha* issued. According tJ the report of M. Belgrand, the engineer who was con* suited by the Council General of Yonne before it authorised the adoption of the system of M. Larmanjat, that system " is the only one which permit* the use of locomotives of a light weight upon a railway with steep gradient* and sharp curvet," r