|Newspaper Title||Mercury and Weekly Courier (Vic. : 1878 - 1903)|
|Trove Title||A Golden Dawn|
A GOLDEN DAWN. CH?ATER VII. "Then ?" he said. "Why the world would have been different, as it is different now ;" and the evening was over before-to them-it had seemed to begin. "Is your name really Hyacinth ?" he asked her a few days afterwards. "I heard Lady Rosedene call you so." " Yes. It was my mother's choice," she answered simply; and she told him how proud her young mother had been of the beautiful white hyacinths, and how in dying she had asked that their name might be given to her. A sudden gleam of tenderness came into his eyes, as she told him of her quiet home, and the solitary man whose only happiness consisted in watching over his wife's grave. "How real everything must be to you," he said-" how real all love and all sorrow !" "Are they not real to you ?" she asked. "I fancy that contact with the world in some measure takes the earnestness and the reality from most things. Men try to glide away from sorrow in the world, and look upon love as a jest ; to you they are both sacred and solemn." "They are part of heaven," she answered simply. "My father says that love is a tree-the roots are on earth, the flowers are in heaven. He says sorrow is the fire that prepares us for heaven." He looked at the lovely guileless young face. " And you believe what your father teaches, no doubt ?" he said. " Certainly. I think my father is one of the wisest as he is one of the simplest men on earth." It was pretty to watch how they liked to steal off into the grounds, be lieving that no one noticed them. When Lady Rosedene saw them in the avenue of limes, she would say jestingly " Do not go down by the lime-trees our young lovers are there." Major Tarne and Sir Harry gave up hope. Every one in the household seemed to have a kindly interest in Miss Vane and Mr. Branston. Those who were old renewed their youth in watching this pretty love-poem, It was pleasant to watch Hyacinth's face when her lover was near. Its fitful flushes, happy smiles, love-lit eyes, the sunshine that seemed to emanate from her, made everything around her appear bright. Lady Rosedene was delighted. She had planned, what the world was pleased to call many good matches ; but this was different from any of them. This was a case of true love, such as she seldom had to deal with, and her ladyship grew young again as she watched it. It was pleasant to see Hyacinth's fair face looking like a rose that hafd been bathed in dew. Repeatedly she wore a flower in her breast that had been gathered by her young lover. The old, old story ran its length here were lovers' quarrels, half hours when to both of them the lovely bright world was only a funeral vault, when every hope seemed ended, caused perhaps by one word misunderstood. There were hours when she felt sure he did not care for her, and he feared it was all a mistake to imagine that she loved him. They were due to pretty lovers' quarrels that had in them pathos enough to make one weep, and comedy enough to make ane laugh ; and the old story was told over and over again by them to the same rhythm, the same music, the same smiles and tears, as accompany it evreywhere. Alan Branston was happy as a man could be-brave, quick, energetic, ardent, hopeful; while Hyacinth gave herself up to a passionate happiness that was almost pitiful to see. The day came when Alan sought his fair young love and asked her to be his wife-neither of them ever forgot it in the dark hours of the future they both had before them. One afternoon Alan had grown dersperate, and had said to himself that he must speak to her that same evening, that he must have her promise to become his wife. Under cover of a song, he whispered to her "Hyacinth, the stars are shining; do you think you could steal out into the lime-avenue for five minutes? I have something Imust say to you ; the words are burning my heart away. Will you come?" She looked at him with a shy hurried sweet glance. " What have you to say that is so important ?" she asked coyly. "Can you not guess, my darling? Oh Hyacinth, do try to manage it! I must speak to you." "You are speaking to me now," she said with a happy smile. "Iknow it-with forty eyes looking on I Come out under the stars, my darling; I want to see you alone, where I may whisper something to you, and touch that sweet white hand of yours. Will you come my darling? you will not be missed for five minutes, and I can say all I have to say in that time." Her heart beat fast, her eyes fell before the fire of his. The passion of his words moved her strangely. "I will come," she said. She' was almost puzzled how to manage it, but a few minutes after wards some of the visitors became greatly excited over some glees, and during the performance of them found a chance of going away without at tracting attention. It was the work of a moment to cover her golden head and white neck with her favourite blue-and-white shawl; then passing quickly through one of the side doors, she was soon in the lime-avenue. Quick as she had been he was there before her. " My darling," he cried, "we have but five minutes. I want to tell you how much Ilove you, and ask you if you will be my wife ?" He drew her to him and clasped his arms around her ; he seemed as though he had not patience to wait until the words fell from his lips. He said over and over I love you, my darling ; I wrant to give all my life to you. I will love you until I die. Say you will be my wife uweet,"
She raised her head from his breast and looked at him. " Do you really wish me to be your wife ?" she asked in trembling loving wonder. " More than that," he replied, kissing her sweet lips ; "I pray you to be my wife; and I swear that if you refuse, I shall not care to live another moment. Do you love me Hyacinth ? " Yes," she whispered. " Will you be my wife ?" he asked; and her answer, but one word, was sweet as the sweetest whisper of a summer wind over a bed of lilies Then followed for them a few minntes that were like minutes passed in Elysium. CHAPTER VIII. It was all settled, to the intense de light of the whole country-side. Alan Branston, the young Squire of Elms thorpe Grange, was to marry Hyacinth Vane, the daughter of the silent solitary man whose heart had been broken by his wife's death. The ladies of the country, who would have been pleased to have secured the prize for their own daughters, said it was a very fortunate thing for Miss Vane, but that they had yet to see how it would end. True, Miss Vane was a lady; but there was a vast difference between the position of the two. Alan Branston was a wealthy Squire. Hyacinth Vane, although her father was both a gentleman and a scholar, had no fortune-had nothing, in short, but her beautiful face for a dowry. Yet, although worldly matrons shrugged their shoulders, the world in general smiled and approved. Lady Rosedene was delighted. No engagement had given her half such satisfaction; it was the most fortunate thing that had ever happened. She smiled with the blandest!satisfaction as she thought how peopi ould talk of Lady Rosedene and her wonderful social tact. She had never been so pleased. When Hyacinth, with flushed face and beating heart, had gone to her own room, Alan went bravely to Lady Rosedene and told his story. "I shall go to see Mr. Vane to morrow," he said, "and in the mean time I wished to tell you." She was so delighted that she almost embraced him on the spot. " I cannot tell you how pleased I am," said her ladyship. " I have seen few who I thought worthy of Hyacinth Vane. You have chosen wisely Mr. Branston, and yon will never repent your choice." " Hyacinth," said the young lover, "I am going over to Dunwold this morning to see your father-you know what about." She flushed crimson, even to the tips of her pretty ears. " About me ?" she questioned shyly. "Yes-about you, my darling. I must tell him you have promised to be my wife." He smiled at the serious fashion in which she folded her hands and said quietly " I am quite sure my father will not be willing for me to be married, Alan. He will say I am too young." " We will persuade him he is wrong," laughed Alan. " What can a father do against two lovers ? You will see how quickly we shall induce him to change his mind." It was something of a surprise to the solitary student, poring over his books, when the handsome young lover was announced, and suddenly entered his studio ; he seemed to bring the fresh air and sunlight of the outer world with him. Francis Vane could not believe that somebody wanted to marry Elsie's child, and that the little golden haired Hyacinth whom, in his own deadened mind, he had always associated with the beautiful white flowers should be loved and asked in marriage. It was too wonderful. He looked at the brigbt face of the young lover. "'Hyacinth is a child," "quite a child. I understand that you are Squire Branston of Elmsthorpe Grange -that you are rich. But my Hyacinth is a child-quite a child." " I beg your pardon," returned Alan; " She may be a child, but she has the love, the soul, the beauty of a woman." "Marry Hyacinth ?" interrogated the scholar musingly. "What would her mother say ?" And then Alan was silent for a short time; he was accustomed to appeals made to the living, but not to the dead. In a low gentle voice that won for him the love of Francis Vane he answered "I am sure her mother's wish would be that her daughter should be blessed with the love of a loving husband, as she herself was." "But the child is so young," said Francis Vane. "It is a fault that every day will amend," laughed the happy young lover. Come sir, every bird has its mate. Be good to us and give your consent." "True, true," said the unworldly single-minded gentleman. "I loved her mother, and I married her. She seemed to me to be part of the sweet summer evening as she came walking through the soft shadows. The gray calm evenings bring her back, and I see her walking in them still." The startled look on Alan's face re called him to himself. "So you want to marry Hyacinth ?" he resumed. "What does the child say ? She was a child when she left me, and had no thought more serious than oneabout a bow of ribbon, or a flower in her hair. And you tell me that in this short time she has grown from a child into a woman ? What does she say ?" " She is here, sir," said the young lover. "I brought her with Lady Rosedene. I wished to see you alone before you saw them. Lady Rosedene has driven on into the village, but Hyacinth is in the garden. Shall I bring her to you ?" A wonderful light came over the scholar's worn gentle face when he saw the young girl enter the room. She went up to him quickly, and, kissing his face, hid her own on his breast. With his hands he raised it in all its blushing ]ovliness, He held it up to the light, and looked at it with keen tender eyes. "My darling," he said, "I see it is tmrue. You left me a child, you have returned to me a woman. A woman's love shines in those dear eyes and
trembles on those pretty lips. Is it true you love him, Hyacinth-this bonnie young lover of yours ?" "I do not want to leave you, father," she replied; and both gentlemen smiled at the naive admission made in those words. "Do you love this gentleman who wishes to marry you, Hyacinth ?" he asked gently, and smiled again half sadly as he saw the red flush mounting even to her hair. " Yes ; I do love him," was the quiet answer ; and then Francis Vane was silent. " You see, sir, that it is as I said, I will take the greatest care of Hyacinth. I will not take her away from you. I will be a son to you my self. " You are very good," said the scholar. And then they saw him turn his gentle eyes, as he always did when he needed counsel, towards the green grave under the trees. They heard him say something about Elsie. After a time he looked down at the fair young face lying on his breast. "My darling," he said, " you are so young, so many things might happen; you might change your mind ; you might repent; and so you ought to give me time to see that this is really love and not fancy. At your age, child, it is difficult to tell one from the other. I will agree to the marriage; but it must not take place until the end of next year. I am not unreasonable in asking this delay." After long argument it was decided; and Alan was forced to be content. After all, it was not unreasonable. She was very young, and the months would pass quickly. How happy they would be ! He would spend nearly all his time with her. Lady Rosedene came in, and they had luncheon together ; and then while she rested in the quiet pretty parlour where fair Elsie had made such brief sunshine, and Alan went to see that the horses had been fed, Francis Vane and his daughter walked across the garden into the churchyard, and stood by the green grave. He laid his hand on the fair bright head. "Hyacinth, your mother lies here. I often fancy that I see a soft white cloud above the grass, and that she rests upon it. Tell me, do you love Alan Branston ?" " With all my heart, father," she said. And he knew, from the quiet self-contained tone, how intense that love was. "I should like to give you one warning, child. You have experienced no love save mine; and mine has been true. Iloved your mother while living, and have loved her quite as dearly dead. The grave in which she lies is more to me than the living beating heart of any other woman. But, Hyacinth, my dear child, you mnst not expect such a love-neither so deep, so true, nor so strong. It does not often fall to a woman's lot." "It is mine, father," she declared, in a tone of quiet conviction. He looked sadly at her. "You must not expect too much," he said. "The love we give and receive on earth is not like the love of Heaven. Do not set all the hope of your life, child, on your love." "Did you do that, father ?" she asked. And he answered "Yes; it is because I did it that I warn you." She smiled as she rejoined " Some great poet has written that 'no warning avails in love.' No warning will avail. Whether my love makes or mars my life matters little. I have given my life to it. A sunbeam fell on the grave as she spoke. It was as though the dead would fain have warned the living. And then father and daughter re turned to the house. (To be continned.) • . ,1 4? =?-.? -.,,?,?.. .? .? ?