|Newspaper Title||Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (NSW : 1851 - 1904)|
|Trove Title||Bride's Promise|
By the Author of ' Pesklopk,' tx.
Chapter I.— (Continued).
' Bride, look at me. Why do you marry Sir Generald Haughton when you say1 yourself you care only for me ? An swer — I will have the truth !' His eyes were very stern. Bride met them for one brief se cond ; her courage was almost: cone. She had verv nearlv
given in, when the recollection of the debt she owed Sir Gerald flashed upon her, and when she spoke Jack knew his cause was lost. ' You have no right to ask that ques tion,' she said almost proudly, ' nor I to answer it. Jack, if you were to speak for ever, I could give you no other answer. Let it be good-bye between up now.' He threw her hands from him with a passionate exclamation, and an angry flush rose to his face. ' Lady Haughton ! I see. I might have known any woman would sell herself for a title. I was a fool to imagine you would marry a simple captain in a Galway regi.nent.' Bride did not answer — she only lowered her white face ; and Jack, feeling hurt, grieved, and indignant, stood for a moment regarding her in silence. The door opened — 'Sir Gerald Haughton.' Bride turned, and her dark sad eyes met those of Jack. He snatched up his hat, and dashed from the house as Sir Gerald, his face lighting up with pleasute, came forward and took Bride's hand in his. ' I have heard from Aleck,' she said, looking up into his face with a little smile as they sat talking together. ' Here is his letter. He fills three whole sheets with expressions of surprise and delight, showering blessings on his unknown bene factor.- I can never, never thank you enough.' Sir Gerald laughed. 'Never mind the letter, child. Your face, when you talk of Aleck, more than re-pays me for the trifling service I was able to do him. And now I want to have a talk. When will you come to Haugh ton ? I am very lonely, Bride.' A frightened look came over foce, her heart beat fast. To Haughton! Sir Gerald spoke as if she belonged to him already. His kind blue eyes were watch ing her a little anxiously. . ' Do you regret your promise, Bride ?' There was a moment's struggle with herself. Should she tell him the truth and let him decide? While she argued the question in her mind, Sir Gerald laid his hand upon hers. ??' Are you sorry what you said, Bride? Do you not care enough for your old friend to be his wife?' He spoke very gently, but there was anxiety in the quiet tones as he added, ' Will you not try to love me a little, Bride? I will do my very best to make you happy, for indeed your are most dear to me.' And Bride sealed her fate with her own lips and then burst into bitter weeping. ' I am notgood enough to be your ' wife,' she sobbed ; and he took her in his arms, kissing her gravely and tenderly as he said fondly — ' 'I am the best judge of that, I think. And now when will vou come to Hauirh
ton ?' ' When you wish,' was the low whis pered reply : and Bride knew there, was no drawing back now. And so the day was fixed for the wedding. Sir Gerald Haughton loaded his future wife with presents, and. she smiled and thanked him for each proof of his love, and he looked into the blue unclouded eyes that smiled tip into his, and never guessed of the sad bitter tears that dimmed those eyes in secret when, in the stillness of the night, her face hidden in the pillow, Bride fought with herself, trying hard to banish; Jack's face from her heart and memory, while the scalding tears ran down her ch'oeks as'she pictured her life —the life of duty she had chosen and mapped out for 'herself— and the thought was ever present, that Jack must never know the truth.' He must always think tioi-siitr nf hot* an/3 manvanri manir'a tftiiA
Bride had'opehed her lips to tell all to Sir George Haughton, and then, as she lifted her eyes and looked up into his face, the unspoken words died away upon her lips; and the opportunity was lost.