|Newspaper Title||Mercury and Weekly Courier (Vic. : 1878 - 1903)|
|Trove Title||A Golden Dawn|
At GOLDEN DAWN. [FAMILY HERALD] CHAPTER VI. Most of the. guests were assembled in the breakfastroom when Hyacinth Vane went down, wild sweet. music rising from her heart to her lips in snatches of song. It was a morning to make even the old feel young, and the young delirious with their own youth iand happiness. As she entered the room, Lady Rosedene looked up "vith a sinile. "I :have news that will please you, Miss Vane," she said, "'although the people are strangers to you. Elms. thorpe Grange is near Dunwold, is it not ?" " Yes," answered Hyacinth; "it is four miles from the village, with lovely woods between. But the Grange is empty now, and shut up." "Not now," said Lady Rosedene. "'Elmsthorpe Grange, with all the magnificent estate belonging to it, has become the property of a young friend of mine, Alan Branston. He is the next of kin to the late Squire, who spent the latter part of his life in the South of France. The old Squire was a wealthy man, and he has left the whole of his fortune to Alan Branston." SHyacinth repeated the name to her self. The sound of it pleased her, there were music and freshness in it something that seemed to stir her heart and soul. Lady Rosedene went on - " You have heard of the old Squire, of course, Miss Vane ?" " I have heard him i spoken of," she 'replied. ?"My father saw hiin once, many years ago, since then the Grange has been desolate and solitary." "It will not be so any longer," replied Lady Rosedene. "Alan Bra. ston takes possession of it at once. A whole army of workpeople are on the way to it. He will spend a fortune on it, and it will be one of the most superb homes in England. The young Squire has arranged to stay a month with me, so that he can personally superintend the most important altera. tions. I expect him this morning." There were a few comments from the guests, and then the subject changed. But Hyacinth seemed to have something worth thinking about. It had been her custom after break fast to put on her hat and go out into the grounds, and she was generally at tended by a little court of admirers, but on this morning a longing for soli tude seized her, and she looked with pleading eyes at the gallant soldier who drew near to her. "Let me gather my roses alone this morning, Major Tarne," she said, and he was compelled to retreat. Sir Harry was received with a charming pout, and a look which said so plainly, "Pray do not trouble me," that he bowed, discomfited, and went away. She laughed to herself a sweet, girlish laugh, and went down the great avenue of limes, wondering why' she cared so much for being alone, wondering what was hidden in the summer morning. And then she be gan to think of Alan Branston and Elmsthorpe Woods. She had loved them with a wonderful love. She had been accustomed to spend long hours in those green solitudes, and she won dered if he would be willing to allow strangers there. "Alan Branston, of Elmsthorpe" she liked the sound of the name-it had a great attraction for her. She went on walking gently until she came to the end of the great avenue. At that point the green undolating park began. The grass was thick and beautiful, she sat down to rest, and in the music of rippling leaves she seemed to hear the young Squire's name. Suddenly a tall sha'low fell across the grass, and, raising her eyes, she saw the face that was her doom. Two dark clear bright eyes met her own, and seemed to hold her spellbound until the gentleman recovered himself, and with a low bow drew a step nearer. She.rose hurriedly and stood before him, the lovliest picture on which a man's eye could rest, the sun light falling -on her golden head and flower-like face. "Do not let me disturb you," he said, and again the wonderful power in his eyes seemed to hold her captive. "I am unfortunate enough to have lost my way, I walked through the park. Can you tell me which path leads to the Hall ?" "The one through the avenue of limes," she said. "I am going-but, no, you will easily find it." " If you are going in that direction," he cried eagerly, "I- assure you I should be most grateful for your guidance." He looked so eager, so handsome, so imploring, that she said to herself there could be no harm in going a few steps at least in the sEame direction. Hyacinth walked towards the lime avenue with him, and then in some strange manner it came out that he was Alan Branston, of Elmsthorpe. While she lived she remembered the little patch of yellow flowers at her feet, the tall trees overhead, the fox gloves swaying as she passed them, every little detail impressed itself on her memory, to remain there while life lasted. She raised her face to his. "Are you the new Squire ?"; she said. He smiled, wondering how she had discovered who he was. They had reached the end of the avenue long be fore he had finished his eager questions about Dunwold. The picturesque old Hall stood before them. " Why, I have brought you all the way !" said. Hyacinth, in dismay. "There is the house, Lady Rosedene is on the lawti." : flHe tdokid, aind before he could say aiotiber..word shie was gone-gone back to the park where he had found her half-an-hour since.,- But all the world was~ ch'angon d to heir; there was new brightness in the sunshine, new colonur on the grass. Nothing zppalrently had happened, ye thej world seemed quite different,~ and was never to-be the same to her again. - ..
She was half shy when the hour of luncheon came. As -sbe crossea the Slawn, she saw the Major waiting for her, and Sir Harry hovering in the distance. They both looked somewhat curiously at her ; there was a new light on her face. It was no longer the face of a child ; the dawn of passion and womanhood was on it. There was much talking and laugh ing in the dining-room.- In the midst of a group, she saw Alan .Branston talking to Lady Rosedene, who tdrned quickly to her. "This young lady is one .ofiyour nearest neighbors, Mr. Branston," she said; "let me introduce you to Piss Vane," The lovely blushing face dropped before the sudden fire of admiration that she saw in his eyes. Neither of them said a word as to the prev'ious meeting. Lady Rosedene, with' her quick eyes, noted the girl's blush and a sudden idea came to her ; with her usual impetnosily she would have spoken, but she restrained herself; one word would liave spoiled. the- 'hole .scheme that had suddedly shaped itself in her mind. A'aan Branstoui Must marry Hyacinth. He had we?l!h, a fine old Manor-house, and everything that was luxurious ;she had beauty, and gentle training. " It is the very thing." said the lady to herself. '' Providence must have arranged it; .there could be no more suitable marriage than this." For the first time in her life Lady Rosedene paused -for quiet reflection, and then turned away lest by one word she should mar, what seemed to her, -the finest idea she had ever had. " Are you staying here for any time?" asked Alan when they were alone. "Lady" Rosedene invited me for a .month,' Hyacinth: answered ; " I may remain .;longer. If my father wants me, I shall of course go at once." " I hope your:;father will not want you," said he. ._"If: you were to go now, I should feel. that I had been deprived of all the pleksire I anticipated from my visit. I did not mention to Lady Rosedene that I had met you." A lovely flush of color came over her face. " Why not ?" she asked, with down dropt eyes. "I thought I read in your eyes that you would rather I did not name it." Her heart beat faster at the words. " I did not know that my eyes told such stories ; I must keep them closed," she replied laughingly. " If you do, it will be to me as though the sun had set," he said ; and the words did not seem liketfluttery, to her. There was some strange attraction to her in the handsome young Squire; a glamour such as had never fallen over her fell over her now. In some vague curious way that she could hardly understand the world seemed suddenly to concentrate itself in that spot where he stood-so much so that when the dressing-bell rang a thrill of im patience passed over her ; she felt grieved to be disturbed. His eyes lingered on her until she had quitted the room, and then he roused himself with a deep sigh,. like one who comes suddenly to himself after a dream. This dainty delicate girl, with the tender eyes of a child and a woman's sweet mouth, with a voice sweet as music and a laugh like the chime of silver bells-he had seen no one like her ; while Hyacinth went to her room with a new world open to her. The pretty pale silk, the clear white muslins, the delicate wonders of lace, were all set before her ; and she who laughed on the proceeding day at the number of her dresses now sighed because not one was pretty enough. Hortense was very patient. "You could have no prettier dress than this, Miss Vane," she said; the blue is very pale, and the white lace looks rich and elegant.' So Hyacinth sat with sweet dreamy ayes, while Hortense brushed out the golden waves of hair, and arranged the pretty dress. She looked like some bLautifulpicture cut from a frame, with her .flower-like face-a lovely smile parting the fresh lips-her white neck and bare rounded arms, so fair, so tender-with all the halo of youth around her, the first faint dawning of love giving to :her a beauty that nothing else on earth could give. CHAPTER VII. It all seemed so strange to Alan Branston. He had seen a hundred fair women, with love in their eyes and on their lips-none of them had moved him. He had seen Court beauties, the fair women of great cities-not one had lived in his heart. But this gJhad looked with the sweet tender eyes of a child into his own, and his soul. had gone to her. After that first glance, she stood apart from the whole ivordl to him. Whatever might happen through his fancy, the one great love of his life was for her, and no other should have it. " - He waited impatiently- until she came down into the drawing-room. No matter what Lady Rosedene said he should take her into dinner and sit by her side. He felt already an im patient kind of jealously lest any one should be before him. He stood near the door so that he should be able to join her at once. The door opened and she came in lovely, golden, bright, and like a rose, as fair, so dainty. And as he drew near she gave him one of the most coy glances that ever made a man's heart beat-one of the most delicious smiles that ever thrilled a man's heart. There was an attraction, a something, that drew them together; neither knew what it was, neither understood it, save that it was sweeter and stronger than they had imagined anything in life, to be. Lady Rosedene gratified the desire of his heart. She asked him to taka Miss Vane in to dinner. Neither .of. them saw the corridors or the doors. They sat at the sumptuously-spread dinner table, almost without an idea of what was on it. Thei WholE- world was glorified to them. They ate ambroia from golden plates ; they sippiednei8ar from golden cups. : :: o Long before the dinner was over, Alan Brauston had lost himielf biltbhe light of Hyacinth's eyes. - MorafLau one present smiled to see how com. ... ,::.. .i -.? , " i!? : ?..: " '-,5.. .
pletely they had forgotten the world in each other. Some sighed as they smiled ; for the golden hours of youth and love fly so quickly. It was pretty to see. He was so handsome, so gallant, so brave, with a careless laugh a happy smile in his dark eyes ; he had a rich ringing voice, and a chivalrous easily manner. He was the beau ideal of a lover-ardent, poetical, pleasant in every word and look, with a lordly protecting air that was irresistable. She was so dainty in colour and shape, so perfect in her fresh girlish loveliness, that she looked more like one of the sweet flowers she was named after than anything else. It was pretty to see the light in her eyes and the flush of expectation on her face when the ladies in the drawing room awaited the coming of the gentle men. Some subtle attraction drew Alan at once to her side. He took the chair nearest to her, and, as Lady Rosedene expressed it to herself, re mained there "a fixture," all the evening. Some "charitable lady," as Alan metally called her, sat down at the piano, and under cover of the music he was able to talk. "I have been trying to think," he said, " what it is of which youreyes re mind me. The blue of them recalls something to my memory, and I hardly know what it is. I have it !" he cried suddenly. "They are the same colour as the deep blue cornflower that grow in France." "They grow in England too," answered Hyacinth. "Yes; but they look poor when compared with the blue ones that bloom under the warm skies of France. I shall take the cornflower for my favourite flower, as Napoloen took the violet, and the Bourbons the lily. I will alter the arms of our family, and add cornflower to them. "All because my eyes are blue? she said laughingly. "I begin to think that everything most beautiful is blue," he said. " It is the colour of the heavens, of the Southern seas, of the cornflower, of your eyes." She laughed. "That sounds like flattery," she told him. "Oh, no," he replied I " It is sweetest truth. What a strange thing that I should have come just now while you are here ; If I had missed this visit, I might never have seen you." "And then ?" she said, with a sudden paling of her lovely face. To be continued. ! i ll? 't l I HIlm