|Newspaper Title||Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (NSW : 1851 - 1904)|
|Trove Title||Bride's Promise|
By the Author o£ 'PexkIiOpe,' Jce.
Chapter' II.— (Continued). ? ' I do not care to waltz,' she faltered at last. ? . ' Yes, do,' Sir Gerald interposed; and then . Bnde laid her hand upon Jack's arm, and, glancing for a second up into his face, wished she. had..nqt left , Sir Gerald Haughton. 4 . They danced toge ther, and neither spoke till the waltz was over ; and then Jack, very pale and stern, looked down at Bride and said — ' I have waited long for this opportu nity. It has come at last. You shall now give me the answer you would not give me before.' He was in earnest, and Bride trembled from head to loot as he led her unresist ingly away, and then stood before her waiting in silence for the answer to his question. He was in uniform, and it be came him well. A fine handsome young fellow he looked as he stpod erect, deter mined, one hand resting upon his hip ; and, as Bride glanced at his face, and at the dark earnest eyes that' demanded the i truth, and listened to the- voice that found an echo in her own heart, the tears crowded to her eyes, and her face was as hopelessly sad as his own. ' What is your reason ?' he urged. ?' Are you marrying him for his money ?' 'No,' answered Bride, with crimson cheeks. . ' His title then?' 'No,' she replied again very sorrow fully, with tears trembling on her eye lashes. ,. ?'. ' Then in Heaven's name what do, you mean ?' he burst out passionately. ' If you care neither for him, nor his money, nor his title, why do you make us both miserable for life. You must, you shall tell me !'. ' I cannot, I cannot !' Her voice was choked with . weeping. Poor Jack felt that he could cry too ; he took a couple of hast}' turns uj- and down, and then, sitting down, possessed himself
of her hand. ' You have treated me very unkindly,'! lie said. ' You knew I Joved you, and, Bride, 1 must have been blind had I not seen you did care for me — and yet you throw me over without any reason, any explanation. Oh, my darling, life is' not worth having without you ! It is hot too late yet. . Why make us both unhappy ? Sir Gerald is an old man. He cannot
love you as 1 do. Bride listened in silence, and then lifted her pale face sadly to him. 'I have no right to listen to you, Jack ; in three weeks I shall be Sir Gerald Haughton's wife — please say no more. I must not, I cannot give you any other answer.' .... . . , ' '?' Have you no heart,' he said bitterly. ' I wish I had not,' was the low heart broken response. ' Oh, Jack, please say no morel I cannot bear it.- [ ' ' Then I am to understand that this is final ?' he said, rising to his feet and looking down at her agitated face, the sweetest and most beautiful face on earth for Him. ? 'Yes, it must be all over between us, iack ; how I wish for your sake that we ad never met.!' ' Bride,' he said impetuously, 'I won't give you up till you say you wish it with your own lips.' '..'?' v' ' I do wish it.' The words were spoken verv slowk. verv distinctlv.
-; Jack, turned away. ^ ? ; ; . . 'Then' thank Heaven we -leave this next week, and ' — turning suddenly, with passion in his eyes and voice — ' may I never look upon your face again !' ; In sad silence, her lips closed tightly, Bride listened to his angry words and to the bitter reproaches that followed. 'I Jon't care what becomes of me,' he said — 'and 1 don't suppose you do cither; but, when you hear that. Jack Beresford has gone to the dogs,' you will have the consolation, of kno.ving that it wasallyour doing. Do you wish to re turn to Sir Gerald Haughton now? He will be . wondering at your long absence.' ? Bride stood up and laid her hand upon Iris arm ; her voice was trembling. : ? ? ' Jack, we cannot part like this. I de serve your reproaches; but, oh, won't 3'puforgive. me before, you go, and then try to i forget that there 'was ever such a person as Bride Levison ?' \, He looked down into her. uplifted sorr rowful eyes, his face softening in spite of liimcplf_ . .' .
'I never can forget you, and to say 1 forgive you now would not be true ; per haps I may do so later on. Bride, give me one' little flower to keep.' ? : She was taking one out of her bouquet when he stopped her. ?' No, those were his flowers. Give me something he has never had anything to do with.' ..' . ??...,.??_ Bride smile a sad, weary smile. ' ' What can I give you ?.' Then, draw ing a little pearl ring from off her finger, she handed it to him. ' Keep it, Jack, till you have forgiven , me ; send it back when you can look life in the face and say I am forgotten. ;.' Promise to^do so.' ' I promise, but that time will .never come.- I shall keep this till I die.' He kissed the hand that gave him the ' ring, and, with a wistful look at the sweet face with its golden hair and dark fringed eyes— the face he could ner forget — -'One more dance,' he whispered; and hone knew, as those two kept time to the merry music, that they were both bidding good-bye to the love-story of their . youth ; and ..Sir Gerald, as he watched Bride's light figure gliding by, wondered why the blue eyes that met his for a moment were so heavy and sad. ?' ' *,, * ?'??' *'!' .' ?*'.?:* s|: -The winter sun shone down brightly and cheerily upon a gay, busy scene. The —th Dragoons were falling; in ; horses were prancing, officers shouting orders, the trumpet was sounding ; . and then the ^regiment formed into column.. The band struck up 'The Girl I Left Behind Me,' 'and the Dragoons rode slowly up the street, looking up at the many faces smiling . a farewell at the windows. ^; .', ' i (To be continued.)