|Newspaper Title||Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (NSW : 1851 - 1904)|
|Trove Title||Bride's Promise|
It was winter again, and the giant trees of Haughton were once more naked and bare, rearing their black branches against the wintry sky, while underneath their withered leaves lay crisp and brown, blown hither and thither by' the wild winds.
Bride had been Lady Haughton for nearly a year, and Sir Gerald was as fond and proud of his beautiful young wife as ever. She was indeed, as he had said, an old man's darling, ever just and foremost in his thoughts,' and Bride buried the dead past in her own heart, and turned. a fair smiling face to' the world ; so none guessed that that the beautiful Lady Haughton,' so sought after and admired by all, carried a sad and heavy heart ; and that all the joy had gone out of her life for ever when she laid her hand in Sir Gerald's and promised to be his wife ; and her husband never knew that she had given herself to him in payment of the debt that had saved her brother from ruin and disgrace, for Bride tried hard to make him a feood wife, and to return a little of the love that he showed for her in every word and action. Nevertheless Sir Gerald wondered a little sometimes when his wife, sitting on a low stool at his feet, rested her fair head against his knee and pressed her lips to his hand while tears filled her eyes. 'Why are you unhappy, Bride?' he would say in a tone of Joying concern. ' Is there anything you wish for, little wife? Is Haughton dull? You know I live only for your happiness.' Tell me, darling, do you wish for anything ?' And then the pale, sweet face and sad, serious eyes would be lifted to him. ' No, Gerald, I wish for nothing.' ' Then why those tears ?' ' It is because you love me so much. Gerald, you have given me everything, and I can do so little ior'you in return.' ' Hush, child !' he would say, laying his hand gently on, her. head. . .'You gaye^ me all I wanted, all 'I 'asked for — your own self. You have made old Haughton a very paradise for me, Bride.' * * ? \ ' * * . * It was a cold, bleak winter evening, dark and gloomy, and Bride shuddered as she drew aside, the heavy. . curtains and looked dtit into the darkness, listening for the tramp of horses' hoofs that would an nounce Sir Gerald's return. He had gone oft early that morniag to a ' meet ' and had not yet returned. Sir Gerald was a keen sportsman, and -often put many a young man to shame in the hunting-field ; but there were some who shook their heads and. prophesied that Sir Gerald Haughtpa's reckless courage would some day bring him to grief. Bride listened for a time, and then went back to the fire, looking thoughtfully down at it, and wondering that her hus band did not come home ; it was past the dinner hour, and he was later than usual. She was dressed for the evening, well and richly, as Sir Gerald always liked to see his wife, and wore a long dress of purple velvet, open at ' the neck, and trimmed
round the throat and sleeves with swans down. Rich jewelled bracelets gleamed upon her bare arms, and her fair hair was caught up and fastened by a diamond buckle. ' Look your best, darling,' Sir Gerald had said as he rode on that morning — 11 1 may bring a friend or two home to dinner.' , . ? ' Bride had everything a fond, indulgent husband. could give ; her slightest wish was gratified. Surrounded by all that wealth could procure or luxury dictate, her lot was one to be envied. Young, rich, loved, and idolised, and the most beautiful woman 'in the county, what more could human heart desire ? And yet the eyes now looking from under .their dark lashes were very sad ; for money cannot «ive some things, and happiness i6 not to _-e purchased.' Suddenly there was the sound of a borse galloping furiously up the avenue ; and a minute afterwards a gentle man splashed with mud, pale and breath less from hard and fast riding, came into the room. Bride started, and turned very pale. (To be continued.)