|Chapter Number||I (CONTINUED)|
|Newspaper Title||Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (NSW : 1851 - 1904)|
|Trove Title||Bride's Promise|
? ^ ? By tho Author of ' Penelope,' See.
Chapter I.— (Continued^.
,rSir Geraid.laid his hand on thebell; ? ?? It is raining ; I will take you home in the carriage.'1 ' ': ' Oh, no f I can walk quite well.'
' Nay,' he said, smiling, ''you are mine now;'it is new to have some one to, take care of.' i:UBride shuddered. She had sold herself indeed — a sacrifice for her favorite brother —and yet, as she heard Sir Gerald's kind' voice, she thought she might have been happy as his wife if it had not been— — - Oh,'that time-worn refrain 'what might have been !''??? ? ',-: Sir Gerald took her face in his hands, pushing back the bright fair hair,- and looking down at the deep blue eyes with ; their eyelashes still wet. it ''You -must not look so sad, little Bride,' he said tenderly, 'I will do my best to make you happy. You will be an old man's darling, Bride.' And he never knew what it cost her to smile an answer, up into his face. ' Bride drove home very 'silently by Sir Gerald Haughton, letting her hand lie passive in his. He had known her since she was a tiny child in white frocks and blue shoes, with rings ot silky gold hair ronnd her baby face^Tand wondering child like eyes ; she had been ;very fond of him always, and now he was going to have her for his wife. But he never knew that the tears were running down her face like rain, nor that her heart beat hard and fast with a dull foreboding, as he talked of the future— their future together ! ? * * * ? ..* * ? Bride Levison remained pale and silent with tightly-compressed lips, while her sisters .discussed and rediscussed her engagement with Sir Gerald Haughton, which was a matter of no small surprise to all of them. ' How grand you will be, 'Pride,' said one, ' with your carriage and everything you could wish 1' . . . , 'A carriage doesn't constitute happi ness,' returned Bride, y/itlr a sigh.' ' And it will be so nice living so near,' said another. ??,;?? ' 'Oh; Bride, fancy being Lady Haugh ton 1 ' How grand it sounds !' And so the girls rattled on, never noticing . how utterly miserable Bride looked, as they chatted away about the wedding, until suddenly one of them, glancing out of the window, exclaimed — 'Here comes Jack Beresford 1 How surprised he will be to hear the news ! What a nice face he has! Bride, I wonder at your choosing Sir Gerald when you might have had Captain Beresford,' Bride stood up, the color rushing hotly over her face, her breath coming quickly. ' I have a headache,' she said hurriedly. 'I think I will t go up-stairs and lie down;' and Bride' went away and shut her door, and the family saw her no more that day. Jack Berestord did not however come up to Doctor Levison's doorstep, but passed on his way down the' street, raising his hat with a nod and a smile up towards the window, where the girls were sitting with their work ; and Bride, as ' she caught the glance from his brown eyes, and saw the face and figure she | knew so well, pressed her hands tightly together and wished that she was dead. ; Jack Beresford, the gay, handsome Dra- j goon, sauntered on, humming a lively air, I and dreaming of a bright and not far- ! distant future, with Bride's blue eyes to : smile on him always. Down the street he' went, intent on his own pleasant thoughts, glancing over the house-tops at the bare ' trees and -tall chimneys of Haughton,1! little, thinking that the owner of that old and many-gabled house had already* dashed his castle in the air to the ground, or that Bride Levison was at that moment weeping' passionately in Her own room weeping for him and herself, Poor Jack ! 'He was disenchanted soon enough. Ill news flies apace. He came suddenly upon two of his brother-officers standing upon the bridge and gazing down .at the river, and presently one of them, I looking him full in the face, said— ' I say, Beresford, have you. heard the news ? Miss Levison is going to marry Haughton.' ? I Jack's heart gave a 'great thump, and; the color mounted to his forehead ; but he said cjuietly— so quietly'/ that the others' never knew how much hung upon the: answer— ? ? . . ? : ' There are four Miss Levisons — which' of them do you mean ?' 1 ' The baauty, of course— Bride. I sup pose she is marrying him for his money, as Dr. .Levison is poor. I'm. awfully sorry for you, Jack.'' . : Jack 'set his teeth under his moustache, and a sudden light came into his brown eyes ; but he was man enough to conquer the indignant words that rose to his lips. As he went away however he no longer, planned a bright future , or' hummed* anatches of songs. His two friends stood and looked after him. 'You should have broken' it to him gently, Stuait. Poor fellow, he Is awfully hard hit in that quarter.' . ' He'll get over it,' wa6 .Major Stuart's easy reply. ' I've done so lots of times myself.' .???'? ' v Get over it 1 Jack Berdsford did not think; so, when he met Bride alone; for the first time, and saw how she turned away and dared not meet his eyes. 'It is not, it canaot be true!' And then Bride looked him in the face, and answered slowly — . , .: ' It is true— I have promised to marry Sir Gerald Haughton.' . That was a very painful interview for both. Jack pleaded, and pleaded well and eloquently, for he had a great deal at stake; and he little knew how nearly he liad won his cause, or how much it cost hts pale, agitated .listener to keep to her resolution. How hard it was to close iier trembling lips with the same unshaken decision — to answer ' No' when her heart said 'Yes 1' Love and duty fought hard as Jack forced the confession irom the unwilling lips .that she did care for him and him only ; and, when she entreated him to go, fearful of wavering, even for a moment, in her reso ution. Jack caught her hand. (To be continued.)