Chapter 65654314

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Chapter NumberIII.-(Continued.)
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Full Date1891-05-15
Page Number3
Word Count1882
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleFitzroy City Press (Vic. : 1881 - 1920)
Trove TitleThe Rival Claimants
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f1ovelfst. The Rival Claimants. By MRS. HARRIET LEWIS. Author of " The Sundered ITearr.s'? " ?h Bailiff Scheme,." " The Double Life," Eec.,Eltc. CHAPTER II.--(Continued.)' 'Don't take it so hard, Kathleen 1" said Bassanntyne, with a triumphant smile. "I might not have announced myself in this theatrical manner, but I called on you at Kildare Castle, and was told that you were in the garden. I fol lowed you out on the rocks, and chanced to overhear Lord Tresham's declaration of love and proposition for an imme diate marriage. I knew why you dared not marry him openly, with altthe pomp andglory of a fashionable wedding. You feared, in that case, that some ghost of the past would arise to confront you. There are two or three to whom your secret is known, and you feared that they would hasten to reveal that secret to Lord Tresham, and so cover you with shame and ignominyl You were right . .The pritvnteomarriagge wasthe m.ratt bte, folr.,or. you .r'follawjd you. ovr proper momentand stop your marriage. Lord Tresham's brief absence from the church suggested a better course. I took his place-with what effect 'you nave seen I" He laughed softly to himself, gloating over his triumpli and her anguish. " There was a brief silence. Lord Tres. ham stood apart, strange 'suspicions struggling in his soul. He began to comprehend that this sinister intruder was connected with the Lady Kathleen's secret, and he vaguely felt that she was in some way in this man's power. But not a doubt of her found lodging in. his mind. His trust in her remained un shak.'n. "My little ruse was fair enough," said. lanssantyne, watching her.ladyship fur-. tively. '! 'All is fair in lore and wrar,' says the old proverb. There is no use in fretting, Kathleen. If you haven't changed greatly in the last five years; you will soon compel your proud spirit to submit to circumstances. It is true that by my inopportune return I have cheated you of a brilliant title, but I am rich and honorable, and I have love. Lot these facts reconcile you to your fate." He moved nearer to her. his eyes fixed gloatingly on her drooping head and de spairing face. "Stand back!" cried Lord Tresham; interposing. "Do not insult the Lady !Kathleen by your professions of love. Whoever you are. Mr. Nicol Bassantyne, do not think that your vile fraud of this nlight has given you any authority':over her.- She has too many friends to be ;in nup to a cheating adventurer who .sully p.nrsutah's another man at the I;sar. Ste shall hbe freed, it we lhave to. ;o through the Divorce Court to effect lhr froedorm. Any publicity must be preferable to the chains y,- have placed upon her. The Lady Kathleen is still under my protection, sir, and you must answer to me for your cowardly crime." "Very well," said Bassantyne coolly; " I am willing to fight you now, if that's what you. want. But before we proceed to blows, letus understand what v.e are to fight for. . ou conceive .the Lady' ..Kathldeooltohbe:.groaalyJ, jred by adyp,, taking ~o~trtplic, at ihe marriare altii. Now, if sue is satisfied. yvn cant have no: renasoi to fintd fault. Isn,,t that so l" " But I am tnot satisfiedl!" cried the Lady Kathleen, passionaterly. "Not satistied. Ksshleent?" and Bas snntyne arched his black brows: in seem ingly astonished inquiry. "You wish, then, that I had permitted you to marry Lor? Tresham-" "No--nol" moaned the Lady Kath leen. shuddering. "I thought you could not be so in 'atunted as that I You hope for a divorce/ perhaps1' . "I hope for ,nothing," returned the Lady Kathleen. wringing her hands de ~sairingly.- "-I must do as I have done uar years-aubmit to my fate. Barry," sie added, turning-to Lord Tresham,' sho still, stood a little apart, dark, glomy and stern, yet with a great agony. s,preased in his dark eyes, "there nuat be no.fighting :for mot If you ster loved me, spare .me that great " If L ever loved you!l Oh, Kath een 1" Itis anguished voice aroused the Lady atltlren from the depths of her de spair. The sight of his auffering lent her: Sfatitious strength, and she moved to-' card Lard Tr' sham, saving : "I must have a fewe words with you ,alone, my lord-for the las tim... Come 'vir. ito to the beach." He gave he- his arm, ana they walked

down toward the sands, on which the ..hoatlay.ockingjnJhe.moonlight. - - - The Lady Kathleen was the first to speak. "Barry," she said, "if I had adhered to my first resolves, this would never have happened. Would to Heaven that I had refused to come here to-night! Would that I had refused you, as I have done so often before I But do not let the events of to-night have any blighting influence on your life. You must go away and forget me-" "And leave you to the persecutions of that scoundre'1 Never I' Never t" "It will he best, Barry. For my sake. you must go. It cannotbe wrong for me to tell you, now that this great gulf has opened between its, that I love you more than I love my life. I have loved you for years"-and her passionate voice trem bled-"but for years I dared not ac knowledee to you that love, because I have always had that fearful expectancy of something terrible in the future. For years I have lired in a very terror of dread. Only a few'months since that terror was dissipated by a report that he-this man-was dead. Yet, even then, when I read the notice of his death in a foreign paper, I dared not dream of marriage. I should never have dared to marry you openly, with the pomp of a fashionable weddling. as hlie said. I should have been afraid that something might have come between us to. prevent the marriage, even at the last minute. :1 have enemles who trade upi'nmv secret, "' T ionighiij have choseon-loreeal "!it to'you at any molnlent" * ' My lpir Kathleen 1" said Lord Treshanm, in a yearning tenderness. '. And this man--this Bausantyne-knows your secret 7" " Yea-yes !" "Tell it to te, Kathleen.. You need a true friend.. Let me hear the whole story, and judge how much of terror there is in it. Perhaps these enemies of yours magnify the importance of the secret. Ican help yon-'" "'It is too lute-too late! No one can help me now. I cannot tell you the story, tiy lord, but I can say"-and she lifted her head proudly while a scarlet flu -i st.ained the whiteness of her cheeks-" that my worst crimes consisted in girlish filly and imprudence! The name of Kathleen Conner is as unsullied as on the day I received it atmybap tism I" ' "IJs it necessary to say that to me, Kathleen " demanded Lord Tresham. "Do I not know your pure soul, your glorious, untainted nature a It is because I know them so wellthat I entreat to be taken into your confidence. Your enemies may be magnifying the import ance of the secret-" "No-no! I comprehend its import ance only t,, well l' "You will have to tell the whole story, will you not, when you sue for a divorce ?" " I shall never sue for a divorce '" " Kathleen !" " We are parted forever, Barry. It was fortunate-even providential-that our marriage was interrupted. to-night. So long as Nicol Buassntyne lives, I must not see you again. 0, Barry I this night holds our parting." " You mean to acknowledge this mar riage, then ? To live with this scoundrel as his wife-" The Lady Kathleen flushed again. "No, I do not!" she said. "I would die first! He may proclaim our marriage, if he chooses. I shall not deny it. But I will never live with him-never! I can not tell you how much I loathe this man, Smy lord, and yet, strange as it may seem, this astrange. marriage of 'tehtsight is , relief to me." Lord Tresham uttered an eiclamation of astonishment - " It puts an end to all my terror and dread!' murmured the Lady Kathleen. " It is well for you and me that this has happened. You must forget me, and find someone more worthy of your proud old name than Kathleep Connor. You are a proud man, lmy lord, as you have the sight to be, and it is better that your mad marriage with me was interrupted. And now a last word, my lord. I beg you not to provoke ahostile meeting with Nicol Bassantyne. For my sake, do nothing to peril your life-that life which is dearer than all the world to me I And though we are separated forever, Barry, always remember that I loved you!" "And alast word withyon, Kathleen I" cried Lord Tresham, impatiently. "You have denied me a knowledge of your secret. which it seems you share with two or three blackmailing wretches. Now hear me ! There is no obstacle between us which I cannot surmount I I swear to break the bonds yonder wretch has fixed upon you I swear to discover your secret, to scatter its terrors, to re leve you from your hideous thralldom to make you my wife ! Unless these things are accomplished. I will know no peace, no joy ! From this monment I set myself to the task of freeing you from the cuili of your enemies." Hu caught ler to his hboonm. kissing hr. with ayearinin,. passionate fervor. They were strill lihg ring in that em. brace, when steps were heard behind them. and B:aaaantyne's sneering voice broke in u.ion them. "lluroph!?" he said. "This in a pleasant eight for the 'yes 'if a newly. made husband. Cote, my Lolv Ka:th. lean Bn'ratntyne. My~ hboa is waiting; and yonder ctoes yisur tolnit. We must be fT. itf yt d.o't wt rn Kildare Castle in a terriibla on,,,tio,,t I" The Lsly Kal:tho.n gen:ly loosened herseif f'?,ti Lord Tre.hatu'sa frenzied clasp. You will g" back with too " his lord= ship aoked. Andiyou wtil. s - - r. Sihetuiied Iront hsi with a bhrekkiig heart. Mr. and lBiss Cowan, with tier lady ship's tusid, were appri.aclhit.- the beach. The Lady Kiatldeet adrvaned to niene theni. l:ntenic g to their exnreaiinn of pity sand sympathy, and then bade them farewell. DasUantyne then led Iis bride to his bos?, the Ia?y K?atihleens acnid following. Thelady and her attendstant took their seats; Buassantyte plushed sift the little craft and pruang in. Then he set his sail, and thb beat went skimmtin over the moonlit channiel toward Point .Kildsre. Lord Treshnm followed closely in their wake, his anguisledglances seldomwaver lng framthe slender, irlish figure which driipedd lw it the stern of Basnantyie's boat. The ehergyman and his sister lingered long -n the asnds, watching the receding seops, and speculating upon the future of thie three whlore forsunes had so strangely be,.ome eitangled. ' Hleaven guide them!" sighed Mr. 'j ?owan . Th're'a a idlrk future befose - 'tin ile.e-ny' La) li K-thlein-ia dark, daok ur (To ho coinul i