|Chapter Title||THE LADY NORA KILDARE.|
|Newspaper Title||Fitzroy City Press (Vic. : 1881 - 1920)|
|Trove Title||The Rival Claimants|
1. oveIeit. -: The Rival: Claimants. By MIRS. IHARRIET LEWIS. Authoar of " Te Sendered Hearts:." T e Balif:s Shescr?." " The Double-Life," t., Etc. . CHAPTER L m S NOL R KIL-DARE. Point Kildare, on the coast of county Antrimn, in the north of Ireland, had been forsiany generations the home of the Earls of Kildare. As its name im plies, it was. a point of land jutting out into the North Channel, but it was also an island, being divided from the main land by a deep and narrow stream with high and rocky hanks. This stream, known as the Kildare Cut-off, was panned bjy a massive draw-bridge, which was tended"byan old retainer, whose .picturesiue lodge nestled amid a foiest of greenery on the Kildare shore. The Point or Island, thus watered on its four sides, inclosed within its boun daries, a princely estate of over two thousand .. acres, " comprising ' farms, hills, glens, and woods, in picturesque and, charming arrangem.rt A 'wide drive, shaded by magnificent arching trees, completely encircled the island, and stately avenues traversed the woods and parks and 'wound among-the well cultured farms, while sunny. lanes and secluded' footpaths led to the glens and more retired portions of the domain. The chief .feature of the island was, of coourse. the, residence of'its:owners' Kildare Castlee,. It. stood. high, up opn e"i rocky bluff-overlooking the Channel, and preaented.a grand combinationnof towers and turrets and immense win dows which glittered in the sunlight like glorious jewels. The waters alternately played and dashed against' the sea-wall at the base of the castle, while on the three remainilng sides of the hoary old structure extended terrace and lawns and gardens, losingt themselves in the ether features'of the.island which we have described. ,The present'owner of Point Kildare. and the last representative of the grand old line of Kildare,.was a woman. The death of her father, the late earl, a few months previous to the opening date of our story,-had left 'the young Lady Nora absolute 'mntress of her small principaliy, :her .guardian, an easy. ,attred, idelent old gentleman, residing on his own estates in England,.and con tenting himself with a semi-annual visit to his ward, . And no' queen was ever loved more tenderly than was the Lady Nora by her island tenantry and her servants, the faithful old retainers who had spent their lives in the service of her family. L?nt one stnny afternoon in Septem ber. 1869. a bIrseman approached Point Kildar,., caninte from the direction of the :mall wa:er:sti--place of Glenarm. He was we'l dre..' d and well mounted, and his appelar'o differed in no important teort.clar from that of the ordinary falhi ,.?ti. t ,u.o.a man of the day. He was celtet 'live-and-twenty years of age. dark of hair and eye, and handsome of feature, but there was a sinister ex pression on his face and a mocking steer on his full, sensual lips, that bLtokktned a citheming and uuncrupnlous sotl. ' Well, l1am almost there!'" he mut :errd aloud, coming to a halt on the brow af a hill and lookingt off upln the island of Kildare, its magnificenr. castle and the shining waters beyond. "That's a fine sight spre.d ott there!" And his dark eyes kindled with a gnredy gleam. *"The owner of all this weahlt hai, eno need 'to envy a king. It's a prize worth my best eff?rtr: it' is ar bet known tI dv Nom-erawr to the knife! In the dendly struggle before 'us which slhnall win? . " - Hos face darkened with a look 'of the keenest, deadly recslve. It was evident that in the strigglo which lie appreheiid ed he would not be' hatnpered by any sense of chivalry or honor. He was about to 'mre onward, when the silence around hint wans suddnly broken by a full, rich huagle pel. .The sountd was' followed by the haying of hounds and the tread of horne a feet in the distance, the latter sound growing louder with eachl instant. With the instinct of a cautions and secretive natire. and perhaps with a n impulse of curiosity, the hcrsemtn "drew back into the olhadow of a spreading oak tree at one side of the road, and, halfing there, waited. The sound of beating hoofs grew yet louder, and presently a. horse and rider dash.d part, followed by a pack ofhounds in full cry.' Tile rider, unattended save by ,the honnds, we,ýtee omn. . - The watcher, hending forward ac elr in his sitddie. caught a brief glimpse of e unnty, witehinar : ice, bright with' youth
ann nealti, and all aglow With spirit ean animation,_ofamass ofloating, dusky hair under a trailing plume, and Ihen the glowing vision swept on, a?d a 'cloud of dust vailed her from his view. The horseman thrilled with a sudden excitement. "It must be the Lady Nora herself l' he ejaculated. " How beautiful she is the glorious little Amazon I I am inr patient to learn` how she will take the news I have to tell her." He rode on at a gallop, following in the lady's wake. A few minutes later he arrived at the draw.bridge over the Cut-off, and rode leisurely over it. The horsewoman, with her hour.ds, had hisappeared up the avenue. As the stranger reached the Kildare shore, the 'old bridge-keeper, whose post was merely nominal, yet who faithfully adhered to ancient customs, came forward, touching his hat to the new-comer. "I have business at the castle," said the horseman, tossing then old man a shilling. "-Which turu shall I take I" "To the right," responded the biidge keeper, with a look of keen curiosity, for visitorsat Kildare Castle were rare.' "The Lady Nora has just come in." The stranger touched his horse, and galloped along the broad avenue, while the bid bridge-keeper looked after him, muttering: " I don't like the looks of him I It's the eye of aanake lie ie has And yet' he has the Kildare features, as sure's I'm born ! Who can he be ?" Unconscious of the interest he had excited in: the old:bridge-keeper'a' breast, -the.horsenian"rode along the.tree-arched avenue, -following-ita curves along the shore of the island,' coming at last 'upon the broad sweep leading to the chief door of the castle. By this time the sun had set, and the shadows of the twilight were gathering. The doors and windows of the castle were all open, to give free play to the pleasant evening breeze, but the lawn was de serted, and no one was visible about the premises. The stranger rode up to the portico and slowly alighted, and at the same .moment a led came running from the direction of the stables to take his horse. Resigning the animal to the lad's charge, the stranger ascended the tall and stat.ly flight of steps, and sounded the massive burnished knocker after an imperious, authorative fashion. The summons was speedily answered by an old servitor, who gave him admit tance into -a grand old entrance-hall, demanding his business. "I wish to see the Lady Nora Kil dare," said the new-comer. "Be kind enough to tell her that a gentleman from London wishes to see her a few moments on business." " What name, air ?" " No matter about the name," returned the stranger, giving the old man a hall crown. "I wish to surprise her lady ship." The servitor nodded sagely, and con ducted the guest down the length of the' magnificent hall, past stately drawing rooms, into a pleasant, breezy parlor, at the further end, then went to execute his errand. In the course of a few minutes he re turned with a message that her' lady ship would see the visitor presently, and the stranger was then left to him self. The low twilight was now deepeuing. The shadows began to gather thickly with in the parlor. A servant came in and lighted the lamps and drew the fluttering lace curtains. The sinister guest began to grow annoyed and impatient, and mut terd': ' , J":' Thisis gttink tireosme. Ahl there she comes now 1" The next moment the door was pushed wide open, and a young girl entered the room. At the first glance the stranger re cognised her as the gay and airy little vision hehad seen anhour before onhorse back on the road. With an involuntary look of admiration he arose and bent his head lowly before her. If she had looked beautiful when mounted on her horse, she was absolutely bewitching now, in her trailing robe of white muslin, and with her wide scarlet ash tied about her slender waist. She was about twenty years of age, slender and graceful, with a half-haughty car riage of her swaying figure and a half haughty poise of her small head that were infiuitelybecoming to her. Her eyes were of a bronze-brown hue, shaded by black lashes; her complexion was dark and clear, and her hair, of a deep, dark hue, fell over her shoulders in ripples and waves. The face was exquisitely piquant, bright, arch and sunny. 'You wished to see me, air I" she asked, in a high, clear, sweet voice, and with a doubtful glance at the stranger. "I thought it was a neigh bor. The servant did not give me your name. ." You are, then, the Lady Nora Kil dare T' The young girl bowed gravely. "And you 1" she asked. "Permit me. to retain my name from your ladyship until I have unfolded my errand," said the stranger, politely. " I have travelled expre-s firom London to see yu, and have letters with mefroii friends of yours, wllich I will presentin due time. You will listen to me 1" The LadyNe-oa hesitated, the stranger's maneir aild words striking her unpleaa ,ntly. But site weas in her own castle, with a soure of retainers within call, and witi a hun.ghty little bund of' her small head she ciguniied her assent to her singu lar propositiion, qiuiecly took posse-rssion if sn aria-c:lalr, anu piniting out another to -herasiuistrngues;',signified her?re.dinene' to listen to him; - '"This is a grand old place !" 'said the stran.uer, with a glance around him .* " No duuubt you hlove it, my lady, more than you love your life." L' Love it!" repeated the Lady Nora, in a haughty surprise. " Love Kilda-e, the home of nvi ancestors, the spot whore I was borin ! Bu:."oshe added, coldly,check. ing h,-rself abruptly, " what have my sentiments in rega,rd to my home to do with.you, sir" - Astrange gleam came intothe tranger's eyes. A curious amile gathered aeluout thle cornuera of his -thin lips, as he re sponded: "?'3iuch - everything I wime her to toll your ladyship that your pos sessians, of this cherished spot is me naced-" " Menaced." '" Yis, iLy lady There is another claim ant to Point]ildare ". The Lady LNora uttered an exclamation of incredulity. "You hlare.been imposed upon," bsh r-d, haulhtily. '"I am? the only child.! and, con'sauently, the hiresa of the late E trl auf Hildars I"+': Aain 'the :istranger smiled, and theml wa;s -omethin nys ? siu his smile that struck a soge chll to othe Lady Nora'u heart.
Personal Preaching.-" Sir," said', a lady, one fine Sunday, to a clergyman; just after the morning serviece was concluded, sir I hope that you will not preach that sermon again." SWhy not, madam ?" "It was very personal." "Indeed? What partof it?" "Oh, that part about worldly.mindednesc and covetousness." "But bow could that be personal-the re marks were general enough ?" " Yooumay not have intended to apply it persnaoolly, hot the congregation will "To whom, madam?" "Why, to me." The lady and clergyman parted, but not very cordially, as she could not extort from him promise never to preach against worldly.mindednesu any more. A week passed, and on the Sunday following the same clergyman preached on the subject of "providing all things honest," etc.; his text occurring in the service of the day, which generally guided him in the seleotion of sub jeots. in this sermon -thought he-there is surely nothing to arouse the feelings of the lady who complained of the former discourse; but on the morning following, as he was fetching his letters from the post-office, he met the lady's coachman. - "If you please," said John, touchinmgohis hat, "if you please, sir, I can explain all ibout the hats." Explain all about the hate, John I I don understand you." - " Vhy, sir, the hate as you preached about yoestedty." S""'.n, hats I preached about?" Yese. I quite understood youo." e"That's more than I can do as to you, John; pray explain yourselLt i ".' Why; sir, ynou see, mietires and me has hada:roew about the liveryohats; and me,-sir, c.atp?i te gtler and the footman, ir, felt quite sena as ho mistress had set you to pr?aoh to Well, Joihe call at my place on youeway home." John did so, and the sermon was produced and read to him." ' ' 'Yes; that's it, sir." "Well, now look at the outside of that sermon, and you will see that it was:written twelve years ago; and the reason that it was preached yesterday was.i because the text came in coursi of the service. "I knew noth. tig about your quarrel, and yourmistrecshac not spoken to me sines the Sunday before last." John professed himself satisfied. "I see, John, that hats will sometiees fit as well at caps. Good morning to you." - The Hnuma Eye-The eye tea very sen sitive subject to touch upon, as you discover when it is switched with a whisk broom or punched with the end of an umbrella. Noah Webster, who spells it with but one letter, says I is a personal proouno, and personal matters should be treated with great deli cacy. -The eye was held in sunoh great esteem by the ancients that they elevated it to the rank of a deity aod " My eye I" was a favorite ex. clamation of profane Soman youths. Demosthenes placed great confidence in the power of the eye. Being asked one day how it was that he contrived to subdue tu multoous assemblies so easily, he replied, with a cunning wink: "It's all in my eye." It will thus be seen that this peculiar ex. presscion of the eye can boast a classic orin gin. It has puzzled mortals a good deal to de termine who Betty Martin was, but the most rational conclusion was that she was a female oculist who astonished the ancieot mariners byrher successfol manner of treat. ing an inflammation in the eye of the wind, hence sailors expressed their astonishment by exclaiming: "My eye and Betty Martin I" The eye is of varied shape, color and- ex presion. It is most prominent with egotis. tical people, which does not include the blind, beoause with them the "I" is hootine all out of sight, It is a peculiarity of the eye that it can look a variety of colors,' no matter what its own individual color may belaukoyten latckbles.blu.e w.as lokqO dark, brown eyes look green, and bright eyes look blank it necessary. Even very dull syes may learn by experience to "look sharp" e It Drew all the Same. - A hard. ware man was setting up a coal= stove. He had figured for twelve feet of pipe going straight up, and for forty more to ron to the bark end of the store, then a turn and twelve feet additional would take it into the chimney. I want a ho's cut in the floor and the pipe to drop down and run into a basement flue," said the merchant. . "But it won't draw," "But it will 1" "It ean't I" "It must l" " Hunmph I" "We'll see." " well, I've been in thin butinuas twenty years, and I know." "Can't help that; I want it as i told you.". "Smoke must ascend." " You go ahead." "Well, don't blame me." SThe hole wasl'ent, the pipe put down and rab to a fine, taking only five or six feet, and the result was astonishing. -There is a. better draught and more heat to that coal stove than can be duplicated in the city. In fact, dampers must be put in the pipe to lessen the draught. " Travels Like Pisen."-Not long since an old lady entered the telegraph office, and said she had a message to Albury. In a few minutes her note was deposiled in a dumb waiter, and ascended in a myeterious manner throngh the ceiling. "Does that go to Albury 1" inquired the old lady. " ea, ma'am," answered the clerk. "I never was there," continued she, "but it hardly seems possible that there town lies in that direction. BHow soon shall I get an answer, lMr. Telegraph." "I can scarcely tell, ma'am; it may be two or three houms." Theold lady went away, and returned in exactly two hours. Just as she entered the door, the dumb waiter came down through the ceiling. "There is the answer, ma'am," said the clerk., "-Th-:old lady took the neat yellow envelope' Sin her bands, with a smile of mingled gratifi cation and astonishment. "NOw that beats all," exclaimed she. Bless my heart; all the way from Albury and the wafer still wet. That's an awk. ward- looking box, but it can travel like pisen.'" Love Tactics--A certain young and beautifol lady of Brisbane received among her many Christmas presents a handsome diamond bracelet which was the gift of an old admirer. Now the young lady is engaged to be married, and when her best ynoug man saw the bracelet he strenouosly objectod to her retaining it and demanded that it be sent back, She, like the rest of her sex, loves diamoiids and hated to part with her pretty present. Finally a happy thought strnokher, and when her young man next appeared sho greeted him with the remark that the braoelet would not trouble him any more. "Why," he asked, smiling, "have yuu scot it back?" "No," she replied; "I took it down to them all made into a ring. It is not his present any more." I Theastohiehedy ,n gave one ga? ,= ,...