|Newspaper Title||Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (NSW : 1851 - 1904)|
|Trove Title||Bride's Promise|
BRIDE'S PROMISE. ? * ?
By the Author of 'Penklwk,' &c.
Chapter IV. — (Continued).
Alone,, and weeping as if: her- -heart ? would break, Bride read, and blistered with bitter tears, a letter from Jack. ? He; was coming, was on his way alreadyvun- ] changed, loving her as fondly as ever- — j coming after waiting for n»ore: fhan-ca year— rcoming in faith and hope to claim ? her as his own. There was no struggle! as to what she ought to do ; her path was ; as clfar as the day, and that path must i
De iouoweo. xsui, ureauiug jcoi one | should be made to yield in spite of herself, j and not daring to trust her own heart I when she should stand face to face with Jack, Bride knelt down, bowed'her tear stained face on her hands, and prayed for help to enable her to dp »ight ; and then, struggling to be calm — an outward calm ness that broke down when most it was needed — she went slowly down-stairs to meet him, her head bent, her eyes cast down. After a moment's pause at the drawing room door, she went in, and, looking up, saw Jack coming hastily forward, hope and joy in his eyes. ' At last !' he said, his whole face lighting up with happiness ss he caught botli her hands in his, 'Oil, Jack, why have you come ?' ' At her tone and look of such hopeless anguish and misery, he paused a moment, and then, looking down at her, said re proachfully — ' Does not your own heart answer that question? Bride, I have waited long, and I have come for my reward at last.' ' Stop !' she cried imploringly. ' Oh, if you knew how I have prayed Heaven . night and day that you might have for- 1 gotten me !' ] 'What do you mean?' he exclaimed, j a suspicion of the truth sendiug all the light and joy out of his eyes. Bride turned away her face, and spoke in a low, pained voice. ..-,.,. ] 'What am I to say? How can I tell : you ?' . ., : . , . ! ' That you no longer care for me ?' he interrupted. — . ? , j -? No—oh, no !' she said earnestly, j 'But, Jack, oh, bear with me, and hear me patiently !' 'What is all this?' demanded Jack, j speaking in a strange hard voice. ' Bride, j what can come between us now ?' i With a despairing gesture she clasped ! her hands tightly together, and Jack bent ', his head to catch her low tremulous ; words. ' I will tell you,' she said. ; ' We can never, never be anything to each other again! I have to send you away, Jack, though I think it will break my heart j' She was almost speechless with emotion. He laid his hand upon her shouldwr. ' Bride, what can separate us ?' The moment had come — she must tell ? ? him now; and with a gasping sob the ? , truth was spoken at last. : ' He was dying, and he made me promise never to marry again. It was ' his last wish. Oh, why don't you speak ? Say you don't care much, Jack.- He was ' '- dying, and he had loved me so.' i Her last words loosed Jack's tongue. i ' Loved you,' he exclaimed, 'and made you promise that ?' . - . . 'He was dying,' she repeated. 'It was his last wish.' :' And you ??' gasped poor Jack. . ' I promised.' ??-. ... j 'Bride, are you mad?' he said pas 1 sionately. 'Such a promise cannot be' binding. Speak! Why do you turn J away your face ? Surely you cannot ' mean to keep such a promise as that ?' 'I must.' ' . It was such a sad, hopeless voicei. Jack spoke again. ??? | 'If he had loved you truly, he would' have cared only for your happiness. It! shameful, cruel to ask such a thing from j you-' ??'..? I 'Hush, Jack! He is dead.' ' j ?Bride's tears were falling fast; her - voice was almost heart-broken in its sorrow. Yearning for 'love' and sympathy, ' ? it was hard to send away both for ever.- - Jack walked up and down .the'! room ; there were tears in his eyes, but he dashed j them away passion afely, scor»ing to show j an emotion he deemed discreditable to his manhood. . .. ;, if? V. 'And youyare determined,' he said at, ? last, 'to gratify the selfish wishes of a ' dying man, who I dare-,say at the timej scarcely knew what i lie. r was saying?.-' .Bride, if you cared for me, you would never let ' such a thing stand - in the i way.' .....'.'?' | ' I do care for you, Jack, but I cannot'. ? break a promise to the dead.' ?'.-?? | . ' The living are more to be considered 'than the dead. -He has .gone; are we, who are so much to each other, to. , be '?- separated by such an ??« unreasonable' ;. , promise ? Bride darling, let your own. . ?-? heart decide.' . . - I ? ? ' Jack, If you love me, say no more,' , !?.. wailed Bride, her eyes full of unspeakable ! .' . grief. ?-.?-?' , ;- ?- ? ??' j | ' ' Jack however, perhaps selfish in his own; misery', used every argument he could '? s think of to induce her to break the almost sacred promise made to the dying man ; but all his entreaties' were 'unavailing. Bride was firm, and at last he began to see that his hope was vain. ? i ', Tell me, at least,'5 ha said, ' why you ';'.'? married Sir Gerald.Haughton ?' ... j Her pale face slowly crimsoned beneath j .iis gaze. There could be no harm in his knowing the .truth now, and in a low, tremulous voice, she told him all, just as it had happened. Jack drew a long regretful sigh. ' Why did you not come to me?'. he '??'? said reproachfully- 'It would all have ended differently then. Bride had you known what he would have asked as the price of bis help would you have gone to Sir Gerald Haughton ?' _ V
' I , don't know ; 1 thought only of Aleck. It was for his sake. Tell me, don't you think I did; right?' ?-?? 'Yes,, and no,' said jack, sairowfully regarding her — ' yes, when you look at the matter from your side ; no, .when. -you knew that* your' marriage- woul'd;:.. wreck both- our HvesV 'Tt^^was 'noble '6f 'you* to. sacrifice your life's happiness for your brother, but I don't think you considered me, Bride.' v --?.:,- y: .;- ? ' I. thought )'ou would forget' me,' were the low whispered words.-£ '.-. .Z - ?. ? (Tc be continued.)