|Chapter Number||I. (Continued)|
|Newspaper Title||Mercury and Weekly Courier (Vic. : 1878 - 1903)|
|Trove Title||A Golden Dawn|
A GOLDEN DAWN. [FAMILY HERALD CHAPTER I. (Continued) He found that she was the child of an English father and an Alsatian mother. From her father she had in herited an Engish face and simple honest English mind-from her mother, a soul filled with music and dreams. She was an orphan, and gained her livelihood by her musical talents. She had answered the Rector's advertise ment for an organist, and had resided for some months in Dunwold. She was a genius. The Rector saw that at once, and was only too pleased to engage her to instruct the children ; so that, with her different occupations, Elsie Redfern lived in comfort, and found her life very pleasant. Francis Vane asked her to marry him, and she consented. Their love story was an idyll; they lived in the midst of sunshine and music. Elsie was shy of speech. Sometimes, when he asked her to tell him how much she loved him, she would answer "I cannot tell you in words, but I will in music." And then her love would find ex pression in music that was inspired. It was a love so pure, so calm, so re fined, that it seemed to have nothing of earth in it. They were married, and went to the quiet pretty cottage Francis Vane called home. He had made his house a wonder of artistic beauty, with its choice books, rare pictures, pretty statuettes; it was an artistic home. He took special pride in his garden an old-fashioned sweet-smelling place such as poets might haunt-and the choicest of it was the beautiful bed of white hyacinths which became poor Elsie's pride. For four year they lived together, a life such as is rarely granted to mortals, a life that was all poetry. The student spent it with his books, the wife with her music-marriage for once no fiction -two hearts, two souls, made one. But the day came when the white hyacinths drooped for want of care, and the notes of the grand old organ were still. Never more were the white hands to linger over the keys; never more was the gentle face to shine with the beauty of the soul within. Elsie Vane lay dying, with the baby she had longed for in her arms. It was not like dying ; her heart seemed to have always been in heaven. She had expressed her feelings more by music than by words ; there had always been something unearthly and spiritual about her ; and now as she lay dying, there was a light on her face which made those who saw it wonder. Her mind wandered at times during those last hours; and her husband noticed how often she spoke of her favourite flowers, the white hyacinths. When she died, he took some of them from the garden and planted them on her grave. He said very little of his sorrow ; he spoke only of his loss; but the best part of him died with her-he half buried himself in her grave. He made no promise; but he knew that no one would ever take her place in his heart and home. His life appeared like something to be borne, because there was the hope of meeting her at the end of it. Long years before Francis Vane went to live at the pretty cottage outside Dunwold, it had received the name of Sweetbriars, from the simpe fact that the whole of the garden was surrounded by a splendid hedge of sweetbriar, and the air for a great distance around was perfumed by it. Francis Vane made up his mind to spend the remainder of his life at the cottage. From the window of his study he could see one of the lime-trees under the shade of which his wife slept her last long sleep. He devoted himself to his books, and, when his child grew older, to her. With his wife he had lost the half of his income; but, with the aid of his pen, he had sufficient to live upon, with great care and economy, though nothing to spare or waste. He kept one maid-servant, and gave up visiting, as well as receiving visitors. Until Hyacinth was eleven years old, he taught her himself; and it was a most peculiar education. Had she been a boy, it might have fitted her for the world; as it was it simply made her unpractical in every way. He was a visionary himself; he had superb theories and beautiful dreams, but he had not the least knowledge of human nature. He believed in the power of love, the constancy of men, the honor of women, the earnestness of life in general; he had no knowledge of the light of loves, the fleeting friend ships, the want of care, thought, or interest that distinguish the children of this generation-he was a wise, simple, kindly scholar, who feared Heaven, honoured the sovereign, and believed in the power of know ledge. Admirable, estimable, worthy of all respect and esteem, he was never theless not the teacher to train an im aginative impressionable child. For some years he made no difference in his mode of life; the child was tended by the faithful servant who had watched her mother die-Mirian Claye. And to Mirian the girl was dearer than the light of her eyes. She had a large old-fashioned room to play in. She had a household of dolls, a library of children's books, a number of toys, and she lived in dreamland. Francis Vane began to teach his daughter Latin when she was old enough to learn it. He provided her with the best authors, with old-world poets. It was a curious education; but it was the only one that he knew how to give her. His love for her was as dreamy as hislife; he was seldom alive to any practical needs. He never gave a thought to dress or anything of that kind. Heordered books, music, draw ings; he would talk to her at times for an hour with calm mild wisdom. He loved her with a great love-but he was most unfitted to train a child. He seemed to wake up from a dream when Hyacinth was sixteen; his child was gone, and in her place stood a tall beautiful girl, who looked at him with hermother's eyes and seemed to ask what was her position in this world and what had she to do .
Francis Vane thought long and solemnly about what he was to do with his beautiful daughter. Sixteen, beautiful as a poet's dream, accomplished, better educated than half the girls in England, graceful, and im aginative, with a face like a. flower, life was full of fairest, sweetest promise to Hyacinth Vane. It was an unread book, every page of which seemed to her full of poetry and unknown delight. Her world was a very small one; It consisted of the little household at Sweetbriars. She had had no com panions, no playfellows. Francis Vane would not let her play with the village children, and she had no opportunity of knowing any other. She was healthy and strong. She loved the fresh air, the early morning breeze ; she had the natural high spirits and vivacity of a young girl ; she was charming in every, respect. The Rector's wife, Mrs. Morley, meeting her one day, was struck with her wonderful beauty. She stopped to speak to her, and invited her to the Vicarage. Up till that time Hyacinth had held no well-defined position in society. She had always been considered far above the people in the village. How ever small her father's income was, still he was a gentleman of independent means. But the country people had not recognised him. He cared nothing himself for visitors or visiting. This invitation from Mrs. Morley however opened his eyes to the fact that he must think for his daughter as he had not for himself. Hyacinth was almost dazed with de light. To visit the Vicarage, with its charming mistress, the lovely children, the well-selected guests always to be found there, was a prospect so full of unbounded delight that she could hardly hope it might be realised. (To be continued.)