|Chapter Title||MARRIAGE VOWS|
|Newspaper Title||The North Eastern Ensign (Benalla, Vic. : 1872 - 1938)|
|Trove Title||Put Asunder; or, Lady Castlemaine's Divorce|
1Rodivc t. PUT ASUNDER: on - -, LADY CASTLEMAINE'S DIVORCE. By BERTHA'M.'OLAY, AUTnol O " nso00Nd u STA?EB," "T1TO0WN ON TOE nWOunD," "A sTnoaOnLE 0l0 A nI0," "A DrrTEI ATONEMENT," ETO,. E "CHAPTER I. 5AO O VOnn W.EVO W OCIlh twenty'ftrstof May was celebrated S.at Sf: George's, BHativer Square, the marriage of the Earl of Caetlemaine, with Gertrude, only daughter and heiress of the late Sir ' . Chilvers Craven, of Eastdale Park. The six bridesmaids were Miss Mabel and Miss Agnes oeourton, Lady Jane Westry, Miss Isabel Hyde, and the Misses Allorton; they were dressed in rich white silk, with tulle veils. Each wore a bracelet of diamonds and rabies, the gift of the bridegroom, and each carried a superb bouquet of white lilacs. "The wedding-dress was of the richest white satin, and the long and graceful train was borderud with rich embroidery of pearl. The bride wore a wreath of orange blossoms, and her veil of most exquisite lace was fan. toned with a diamond star. 'The marriage service was performed by His Lordship the Bishop of Trent. assisted by the Rev. G. Mnrsall and the Rev. Arthur ydeo. There was a full ohoral service. The dejeeser was given at Lady Craven's beautiful house in Portman Square. "The wedding presents were numerous ahd costly, including a magnifieoont parure of die. muids presented by the bridegroom, an Indian shawl of trro beauty given by the Queen, and a suito of fine pearls by Lady Craven. After the dejesnser the happy-pair started for Italy, where they intend to spend the honey.moon." So read the artiole that told of the mar. riage in all the fashionable papers. Every. one who read it agreed that it was one of the beet matches of the reason-that it was suit able'in every reepect, and promised to be a most happy one." "Evidently madein heaven," said one oynt. cal old dowager.to another, '"as all good mar. riages are." "Lady. Craven is a clever woman," said an other; " althougih this is her daughter's fiet eouon, she has carried offtho beat match of thl day." go it seemed. Gertrudo Craven was one of the loveliest girls in England, besides which ahewas heiress to a very large fortune. She had no great antiquity of birth, neither was she descended from any very noble family. Her father, Sir Chilvers Craven, was a olty knight, while Lord Castlemaine, the bride. groom, belonged to one of the oldest families in the United Kingdom. A fair exchange, beauty andgold for an ancient title and a noble name, yet in this case no exchange, as they had married entirely for love. On the wedding day the sun shonclustrona and clear, with a golden warmth thas foretold the coming of June. "Thevery day for a wedding," was the gone raloomment. "Happy the bride the sun shines on," said one to another. From early morning the household in Port. man square was astir-all the preparations culminated in the magnificent ceremonial which made Gertrude Craven and Rudolph, Earl of Castlemaine one. Outside the church was the familiar eight of d long string of carriages-of horses long ing forhollon--of coachmen and footmen in costly liveries, each wearing a wedding favour -of a crowd of idlers-men, women, and children-and they discussed the wedding, the carriages, the costumes ; they enjoyed the eunlight and the hour's respite from the bur dens of the day. Inside, the scene was of great beauty and splendour, the variety and richness of colour, the jewels, the beauty of many of the young faces combining to make apicturonever to be forgotteh. The bridal fair are standing before the altar now. His ordship the Bishop of Trent, has addressed the startling question to them, " Rudol ? Caetlemaine, wilt thou take this woman to e thy lawful wedded wife ? " and the answer in a clear, musical low tone cameu "I will." There could be no more beautiful or solemn pectanole. All eyes were fixed on the lovely y?aug bride never to be known as Gertrude Craven again. The sunshine falls on a tall, graceful figure--slender as a young palm tree, with a certainproud yet graceful bearing, that was most attractive. No girl over looks so beau. tilul as in her wedding.dress. The royal robes of white satin and priceless lace fell in weeping folds to the ground, the wedding. veil hal hid one of the loveliest faces ever 'een-a face that was like a flower in its ainty, delicate loveliness-even that were of the darkest, deepest blue, wvth long fringed lathes, hair of the sunniest gold that was
like a crown to t?u i.auctul lnrad-ire b.eaty was :increased by tle natural ripple that formed the-most' exquisite contour round the white brow-the little shell like care, and thei -white neak-a face so fair that it might well hlatnt one who gazed upon it-the daintiest and most delicate of bloom, the inner leaf of a rose had no fairer hl--but -the boauty of the whole face retsed in the mouth, the proud, sweet lips; so perfectly moulded, that whether they smiled or curved in scorn, they 1were perfcot. -The chief characteristic of this exquisite ,face was certainly pride; there was a sweet ness about it and a grand serenity, but oer. tainly pride was dominant; the curves and contour of the lips cxpres?ert it, Ithe fne, seeneitivo nostrils, the arhl of the necl, the carriage of the head ; one seeking from her face to judge of her cbaracter would have Sfound it difficult to judge in what that pride consisted. It was not vanity, it was not be. cause she was fair of face, or bhcause she was attired with the megnifloenoi of a royal princess. It was not pride of weslth-this face was far too noble for that. Wase it force of charnater-great strength of resolution was it that the daring, resolute spirit within her never failed? 'No one knew; but the im pression made upon every one was' the same -after their admiration of her beauty came a wonder over her pride. Such was the bride, and all eyes lingered upon her. The bridegroom-the Earl of Castlemaine was in every respect worthy of the boautiful bride. A tall, handsome man, with the figurd of a well-trained soldier and the face of a Spanish king-dark, chivalros, .noble, and proud. He was passionately in love with the fair young bride at hie side. The sun shone on the group of brides.' maids, all young and fair-one, Isabel Hyde, pre-eminently beantiful. Yes, the queen of the group was Isabel Hyde. And Isabel Hyde stood calm and queenly, listening to the solemn words uttered, with a smile on her face, while in her heart raged the fire and the fury of the everlasting flames. Her hands clasped a beautiful bouquet of white lilacs; every now and then she buried. her beautiful face in them., When shedid so, it would seem to bystanders as though she were inhaling the fragrance of the sweet white blossom:s. Yet the perfome was all lost upon her; when she covered her face with the flowers, she whispered to the leaves, and the words she whispered were those of a solemn vow. Then she would smile at them and say : "Keep my secret, sweet-Jotoers; let no one guess it." . Then those solemn words came: " Those whom God hath joined.together let no man put asunder." They sounded clear and vivid. She smiled again, and again she buried her I face in the white flowers." " I will'part them," she said, softly. "Lise. ten, white liliacs-listen, green leavces; I will t part them.-alone and unaided. Solemn as is their vow, mine in more solemn still. Heaven may, join them-I will part them. Listen, white flowers." ' Then she toaieddh again. She was 1 the tallest oat that fair group. The wedding aeremony ,was over; Gert-. rude Craven was Countess of Castlemaine;, there was a stir in the distant throng. Bride, bridegroom, and witnesses retired to sign the register. ' " Will you come into the vestry ?" asked 1 one of the brides.maids, and Isabel Hyde I looked up with a smile. "No," she said ; " I do not care for that part of the ceremony." - Then husband and wife walked down the. aisle of the church together. The grand or.; gan pealed out the wedding-maroh.: Theo crowd outside increased; the carriages drew closer to the eburch ; the wedding was over. There was no Gertrude Oraven ; Lord, and Lady Castlemaine were one. , , Well might the sun shine-well might the wind carry sweet messages. Never was there. a fairer bride-never one so sweet or win some. As the carriages drove rapidly through the streets, peoplelonged to stop and give a hearty obeeor for the beautiful bride. A great crowd had collected round the house in Portman square, and the bride seemed to pass like a sheet of summer• lightning from the carriage to the house. Husband and wife, although alone, had said but littil during the drive from church. Once Lord Castlemaione touched the white. gloved hand which clasped the orange blose. soms. - r "Gertrude," he said gravely;l " it seems like a dream." "Yes," she answered; "but there is this difference-a dream ends, but our marriage can never and." ' -In the after years they both remembered -those words. CHAPTER II. TW 0?UIF nBnmEaAItD. SNever was there a gayer scene than the wedding-breakfast, arranged with such taste and eleganoe in the large dining-room of the great house in Portman-equare. - The tables groaned under the weight of the golden plate, which had been the great pride of the late Sir Chilvers. Thedishes were allof the best-every delicacy both in and out of season was provided; the wines wero of-the finest, and the ripe fruit delightful to see, Several guests, not invited to the wedding, were to be at the dejetner. Some half-hour elapsed between the time of the return of the wedding party and the time appointed for the dtejetner; that time was spent by the bride and bridesmaids in the drawing-room-a lofty',and superb room, decorated with bridal flowers. They rowded round her, these girls, who, fair as they were, had not her loveliness. "How curious, to think that there is now no Gertrude Craven," said Miss Allerten. The look of deep happiness that came into the bride's face showed that she had married for love, and that she was supremely content; " It seems strange," said Lady Jano Westry,: "eo completely to change identity. Mar ringe seems to me like dying and coming: back to life with a new name.". - "I do not feel much like dying,"-.said my Lady Castlemaine; and' her brideemaids; laughed in happy chorus, Lady Jane \Vestry bent forward and kissed the delicate cheek. " The best wish I cnn give you, 'Ldyi Castlemaine," she said, "is that you may, always look as bright and happy as you do to-day." The little group was joiged by Lord Castle. maine, who could not endure that his wife's attention ehould be monopoltled oven by her bridesmaids, or for five minutes together. "Are you tired, Gertrude? " he i?ked; and one heart present beat with indignant rage at the tendernesr of his voiee: . - - Yes, just a little," shebd replied; but Lady Jane Wcatry interrupted: "Tired I" ehe exlaimed. "I should thilik the novelty ofat the ceremony wetl4 prvosti anyone from growing tired. What :do your think, Mies Ilyde?' - . The tall, beautiful brunette had eot formed one of the group around the bride; she had been standing listeniog, in eileace, to the light words of others, near a tall, slender pillar; now she turned a bright, flashing face to them -she still held the white lilacs in her hand. "I," she replied, "I have not thought much about it. I should say that as a rule marrioge is an ordeal, but not inLdy Castle. maine's ease." What was there in this swetet, low voic that almost startled those that listened, as I though she wore speaking nuder the intluenon "Why not In my aso?" aseod the boautiful younsg bride. "Ileoause you married for love, and lot absorbs everythiog unto itself," replied Isabel ilet as sloe eipoe, It was not into thl blue
eyes of l?ady Oastlemaino she looked, but into the darker ones of the young earl. Something seemed to fash between them in that glance, but no one could tell what it was.. SThen Iab Ilyde, still clasping the flowers which had heard the murmured vow, went up to Lady .ostlemaino, They had been intl. mato friendd, and it was to be noticed that she addressed the young wife by her Christian -name. "Gertrude," she naid, quietly, " I have not kissed or congratulated you yet." Tighter still did she Clasp the white flowers, as she boent over Lady Castlemaine, and the two fcoaee, eo Letutiful yet so unlike touched each other; and the innocent blossoms could not cry out that it was a Judas hiaR, and that she was false; that the young? bride, receiving so shyly and so sweetly the congratulations of her bridesmaids, had no greater enemy, no flircer foee; that Isabel Hyde would have liked to beat the fair loveliness from her face, would like to have crushed under her beels the rare pearls, the bridegroom's girt; that she would gladly have seen the white beauty of the grace. ful neck marred by a crimson wound. Isabel Hyde kissed the lovely.face, her lips Swore like hot laoes. "I wish"yon; GSarudeb," she said, softly, " all the happineas that you deserve." Lady Oistlemaine smiled.:. "II I had my deserts, how mnuch would that be, Isabel ?" she asked. '! You know best, dear," was the smiling reply. The group was aoelninly a pretty'one, and Lard Castlomaine looked on with admiration. The fair ldecliinees of his wife contrasted with the dark, passionate beauty.of the brides. maiide. Each was perfect in her own way and fashion, but Lierd Castlemaine had preferred the fashion of GertrudoOraven. Just for one moment-the fair face, the dark face, the waves of golden hair and the dark hair, the lace veil ol the bride and the telle veil of the bridesmaid, seemed to mingle in one; but as ahe raised her head, it was at Lord Osstlemaino that Isabel Hyde looked, not at his wiife Some laughing words, uttered by ohe of the group, caused Isabel Hyde to turn round and .answer: T' Yes I am chief bridesmaid I am I not, Lady Osstlemaine ?" " I:foasuseyou are the tallest," laughed Lord Castlemaine. " Or because you have the largest bouquet," said Lady Jane Westry. Miss Hydelooked appealingly at the young countess. S"Lady Castlemainoe," she asked, "will you isot always think of me as your bridesmaid?" In the after'timos they both remembered how smilingly and sweetly she had uttered the words.: A brilliant banquet succeoded, after the usual routine, and at its close the gsoats roes from the tables and wandered through the beautiful rooms. Lady Osstlemaino went to chang her dress, and she was followed to her room by her motberLady Oraven. " Gertrude, my darling, I was afraid I should not have one word with you. Are you quite pleased and satisfied? Everything went off well. I was so anxious and so ner. Vous." " Evrything was perfectly delightful and beautiful, mamma; nothing could have been better," replied the young countess. - "I feel happy over you, my darling," coni tinued'Lady Oraven. '' You have a long, bright life before you, and you have made the best match of the season." The shadow of a frown came over thoe lovely - It is not that, mamma. I am happy and gladhbecause tlove my husband." - : - -"To-be sura, Gertride ; it is.most, credit. - able. There is your maid : you must change your dress quickly ; there is no time to lose." They were 'folded carefully away, the wed ding dress with its pricelesselaoe, the veil that was -a fortune in itself, the wreath of- orange blossoms. - A low tears fell from Lady Oraven's eyes upon them; then she blamed herself. Why should she weep over the daughter, who had made the best :match of- the season, oven though she was losing her. - The Countess of Castlemaine looked more beautiful than ever in the superb travelling costume; the ball and the etaicasse of the great mansion were filled with an indiscria minato. crowd, wedding guests, servants, and travellers; the horses were fretting and champ tog at the door. --In -her kindly way Lady Castlemaine said good-by to the old servants whom sho had known all her life-to the friends and guests who-bad been so deeply interested -in her marriage-to her mother, whose highest ambi tion was gratifed now that her daughter had made such a good match. Adieu to all; and she was on the point of- reaching the great hall-door where the liveried-footmen stood ready to help, when the chief bridomaid came forward again. - - ' " Good-by, Lady Caetlemaine," she said; " a pleasant journey, a happy, honey-moon. I want the last kiss before youn go. I'deserve the last, for I am chief bridesmaid. -You will always remember that." , .- - "Good-by," answered Lady Castlemaine, wondering at the great show of affection. The bhief bridemaid was the'first to throw a handful of rice and a white satin slipper after tbhe carriage. She was so anxiouethat the rice and the slipper should reach the bride, that the others smiled at her efforts. "I did not know," said the younger Miss Allerton, "that Gertrude and Isabel were such dear friends." - "Did you not?" said Lady Jane. "It is quite an open question, my dear, what con stitutese a dear friend." : - - - - And Lady Cartlomaine's youngest brides maid remembered those words as long as she remembered thbo wedding-day. - SCHAPTER III. - - wwno THEY Wo E." The world was not surprised or astounded, neither did'it make any comment, when the wealthy stockbroker, Chilvors , Graven, was .-knighted. IHe'had made so muoh money; he had spient it so wisel ; ho had given so gene rously toLondon hlartiea ; and wheonhe was Lord Mayor of London he had given snob grand entertainments, that he deserved to be knighted, and knighted he war. On that oo casion he purchased the beautiful old estate of Eastdale, and settled it on his wife. Sir Chilvers had not married young. He had been too engrossed in his stockbroking -t1 have any time in which to think of women, or love, or marriage. He wanted to make money; he wanted to feel himself on a par with the city knights who could count their hundreds of thousands, and whoso one am bition it was to own a million. He added to ,his shaores;he bought earip and share; he made excellent spesulations; everything he did was done with prudence and discretion; he was never rash-never led away by the apiri of gaopbling. He worked on steadily from day to day, spehding little, and saving Then the day oame on which he began to think of marriage. He met a beautifnl widow -Mrs. Hunstanton. She was beautiful, fashionable, ohildlee, and poor. He wooed and married her. They had one daughter, Goertrude, who oafterwarda became Lady Castle maino. SIt was some yearasa[terlhis marriage.that he was knighted. , Then bho purchased East dale Park, and became Sir Ohilvere Oraven of Enetdale. He furnished the old hall in most luxunri ons fashion; he spent a small fortune on the grounds and the woods, and flually, after spending many happy yeare in thu old house at Portman Squate, ho died there, leaving the grand old maneion to hi wife, though ahe had no power to let it or sell it, but was to be its steward dourng her lifo.
All in., ,s.I htaLnt wah to decond to his ( lan 'hIi (tiertsade, at her mother's death. A,tl. er ' began for Lady Craven. Sir C 1?,lhsn .d been somewhat old-fashioned. 1 Nw she could spread her wings, and take 3 her flight into the world of fashion which she t loved. She made for herself a certain position, and there she brought up her daughter to take one even higher. Of the world, worldly, she gave her daughter t the only training of which she knew. Religion, charity, love of neighbour, forgiveness.of in. t juries, were lelt out of it. To marry well-to make the best match t possible, to secure a place in the very beet I and most exclusive society, to secure as many as poseible of this world's gifts-this was the teaching Lady Craven gave her daughter. Etiquette, the laws and ceremonials of good eodcety, the keeping up of appearances, the I eharm of polished and refined manners, the urgent need of taking care and making the most of her beauty-all these were made the chief end and aim of her life. Lady Craven never bought her a prayer. book, or read any of the grand el. Bible stories to her; that part of her educatae'e was left entirely to the French governess, and as much of that lady's time was taken up with French novels, she left that duty to the nurse. The nurse, a handsoeme girl of twenty, had a lover, and when she did not meet him at night she wrote to him, so that the time for prayers was remarkably short, and, as a rule, they were forgotten altogether. The natural ripples of her hair, the length and colour of the eyelashes, the pearly white" of her teeth, the delicate tints of her naile, the formation of what promised to be a meg. nificent figure, the most graceful way of using thefins white hands-these were the lessons that Lady Craven gave her daughter, and no' other. The delight of the mother when she found that her daughter gave promise of being ex. ceedingly beautiful could never be told. No precious gift of heart, genius, or soul would have made her one-half so glad. "Gertrude will be a beauty," was the phrase always on her lips, and the thought always in her heart. To have her daughter a fashionable beauty was the one desire of her life, and it was gratt. fled. Everything that could add to the beauty of her person, the charm of her man. ner, the grace of her deportment, was care. fully studied. Higher and nobler things were left in oblivion. That she grew up as wellas she did was the most wonderful thing of all. Gertrude Craven made her debut and bo. came at ones a muccess. Great beauty and wonderful grace contributed no little to this, biut there was a charm about her that at first people hardly understood, and this charm was her perfectly natural manner. In spiteof her. artificial training, abshe had retained a love of truth and a setraightforward way of speaking that was charming.. She was perfeetly natu. ral; her virtues wero'.natural virtues, her. faults natural faults., Haashbe been well trained and disciplined. had religion been, brought to bear upon her. nature, abe would have been a grand and noble character. Then this story would not have been written, for it is. the story of the faults and'the sins:of a naturally :noble woman, who had never been taupht to do. right because it was right,; but to do always what was expedient, and what had the best appearannes ; whose only way of looking on eveorything was in whatlight the world beheld it ; whosoe only idea of law was the world's law and the world's judgment. There was something noble in her faults she had-many noble qualities. She -was really generous; to give; and give freely, was the one necessity of her life. She was charitable and liberal to the poor. Shenever heard of distress without the desire to relieve it. She was straightforward, and loved truth. She had a certain contempt for all that her mother valued most-appearance, etiquette, uselessceremonials,ehowsof all kinds; shbehad a complete hatred for all meanness and, dise. honesty. One excellent point in her charau. ter was, she never spoke evil of the absent. She had great faults; she was defiant, proud, wilful, and could be obstinate.: She was wedded to her own will. If she once took an idea into hermind abe seldom relinquished it.' A diflicult character, but one that, rightly guided, would have been noble enough. Her sueecess pleased, but did not bewilder' her. All the admiration and flattery lavished upon her did not cause her to lose for one moment the perfectly even balanceaof her mind. But she lost it when she fell in love with Rudolph, Earl of Castlemaine. The drawing.rooms were held early that year, and the first was the beginning of March.: It was on the evening of that day that they met for the first time. It was love at first sight-the most passionate love of Romeo and Juliet, the love that never counted its cost, that would have everything concentrated on itself;.a love that could not be measured or weighed, that would have its own way in spite of everything ; love born of the senses, without rhyme or reason, owning no controlling power;'lovo that would have made a martyr or a hero.' Gertrdde Craven was the beauty. of the season. It was well known that she was a wealthy heirees, and it was expected that she would marry well. She married even better than had been ox-. peeted, yet she had married entirely for love, If Rudolph Castlemaine had been a penniless captain in a marching regiment, instead of a wealthy peer, she would have married him just the same. As we have already stated, it was a case of love at first sight; and so brisk was the wooing that before April had fully set in all arrangements for the marriage had been made. The marriage settlement was drawn up; the vast fortune, Eastdale Park, and the mansion in Portman equaro were all to be Lady Castlemaine's at her mother's death. Lord Castlemsine had settled a largo income on hie wife. They had been very -happy on the evening that witnessed the sig. nature of the marriage settlements, Gertrude had looked at her lover with a smile on her ips. "Rudolph," she said," I shall like spending your money better than my own." "Shall you, my dear, and why ', he asked. " Because it is yours," she replied, " and I love everything that belongs to you. I hope," she continued, dreamily, "that mam. ma will live as long as I do. I should not know what to do with so much money. Oh, Rudolph," she added, " how fortunate we are that in spite of having more money than we, know what to do with, we shall marry for love. Would you marry me if I were- " He interrupted her, kissing the lips that. were like crimson flowers. "I would marry you, my darling," ha cried, " if I were Iing Corpbetuea,. and you Swore thu beggar-maid, thrice beggared." "And I would marry you if I were queen aof the fairest land under the sun; and you my ; lowliest slave." So that the world was not far wrong ih. r calling it a love.match. ~':-'I' '-': CHAPTER IV. , AUNT 0ND NIECE.' SThe Oaetlemaines were one.tf the oldest familiesain England. Rudolph the thir teenth Earl, had succeded to the family honours and estate,, and gave promise .of 0 being ono' of the noblest and bravest of his raue. f How he loved that race, whIo can tell? Its legends, its traditions, its honours; its quaint bhistorio memories, its romances, lying far a banck in the long ago. How ha loved to linger r in the picturoe-gallery at Neath Abbey, and think eo those anaeetors, eanoh of whom had his name.written on the roll of fame. Io liked to tell ol the Norman klnight who had Sfought so forionely at tho Battleof tHastings; ie liked to tell eot the braveo crusadere, whom '
Coeur do Lion had .delighted to henour; ea lilad to tell of the kuight who had given shelter to Marguerite cf Anjou ; of the daunt less earl who had given refuge to the Merrie Monarch, when the blood.-hounds were hot on the socnt. There was a story belonging to each of these dark, handsome faces, and generally speaking, the story was one to the credit of the Castlemaines. They were a proud, passionate race-true friends and noble foes. Quick in love and in hate, courageous in war. They were a con stant race, too. The Castlemaines did not love and ride away. They were an implacable race; once offended they never forgave; once bent upon any course of nction it was with dillfficulty they were persuaded to relinquish it; brave, generous, and handsomo, but proud and implacable. The Castlomainee were famous for their great physical strength and beauty; the men were stalwart, dark, and handsome, with eyes that could flash fire, lips that could smile in a fashion courtly and tender, yet'could utter words each as would make strong men tremble; hands that were white, but had a grasp of iron, hands loved by their friends and dreaded by their foes. The same dark, proud beauty, the same features seemed to have been handed down ::om generation to generation among the Castlemainee. Rudolph, the present earl, bore a great re. semblance to Hulbert the Crusader, whose life was filled with noble deeds. "Let my life be noble as his," was the prayer that came to his lips, whenever his eyes fell on the grand pictured face, and he did his beet to make it so. He had thefaults and the virtues of his race. He was brave, courageous, and generous, he was impatient to a fault, intolerant of anything that did not please him; bent always on his own will; he had all the fire and the passion, all the high and lofty spirit of the Castlemaines ; he would never stoop to meanness. He came early into his earldom, and he reigned in a lordly fashion. No one ever die. puted his word, contradicted his wishes, or opposed his desire; no one ever said him nay. Once or twice, when he was bent upon what his lawyers, Messrs. Nottleby & Simpson oan sidered a quixotic and foolish action, they tried to remonstrate, but Lord Castlsmaine never yielded an inch. The ladies Castlemains wore as a rule a race of gentle, docile women, who lived for and would have died for their husbands: but there was to be an exception to this rule. When the handsome young earl met Ger trude Craven he was only twenty-two years. of ago. Hie had always thought of his omarriage as a legal hind of affair; he never doubted but that some paragon of excellence would fall to' his lot-ono of the usual gentle, obedient type of women such as the Castlemaines married. as a rule. But he forgot all, his, theories' and' all his. fancies when he saw Gertrude Craven. She was the one woman in the world for him and no other. " This was-his second season in London. When he left Oxford he made the usual Continental tour, then went to Neath Abbey for some time, and then came to town. He was naturally eagerly. sought after; all the best houses in town were thrown open to him, all the loveliest girls were paraded before him, and among those was the chief brides-maid, Isabel Hyde. Lord Castlcmaine was never that mostcon temptible of human beings, a flirt. It was a strange fact that during those first two years in town he had cared but little for the society of ladies; he enjoyed his club, billiards, and theatres, operas far more than balls, and he liked the sooiety of men far more than that of ýwomeon He had a contempt beyond bounds for flirts and flirtations of all kinds, but he certainly did like and admire Isabel Hyde. :8he was not at all-of the type the Castle maines admired. She was dark and bril. liant;. she was proud, and barely knew what the word obedience meant. He was not the least in love with her, but he liked her. If he had never seen Gertrude Craven, that calm, kindly liking might have Sdeveloped into keener affection, and he might have married her. He enjoyed dancing with her, for she was a most graceful dancer; he liked talking to her, for she was full of bril liant intelligence. He admired her singing -she had a rich, sweet contralto voice; he admired her appearance, for she had the most beautiful face he had yet seen. Aunt and niece-Lady Eleanor Creeson and Miss Isabel Hyde-were well known figures in London society. Lady Cresson, a still young and handsome widow, was famous for the beautiful debutantes she had introduced into society. Lady Eleanor Cresson was a wealthy woman; the fins estate of Holme Seaton in Hampshire belonged to her, and she was mis. tress of one of the most magnificent mansions in Palace Gardens; but she was one of a large band of sisters, who had all married badly, and each of them looked to her for help. And the help. she gave was in this lashion-sho invited the girls of each family for a season in town. In this manner three of her pretty nieces had been well married, and thus it came to the turn of Isabel Hyde; and of Isabel, Lady Cresson had great hopes-sho was superbly beautiful and graceful, and would grace any position. It was Lady Cresson's rule to lay before her protelts a list of the most eligible men, and when the list was given to Isabel it was headed by !'Rudolph, Earl of Castle maine." Aunt and niece had a long conver. sation on the matter. "You must Ido your best, Isabel," said Lady Cresson; " Lord Castlemains is the best match in England. He is not in love; he does not seem to care much for ladies'society, and you are certainly the most beautiful girl in town." "I will do my best," said Isabel, quietly; and she did. "If I were you," continued worldly.wise Lady Cresson, "I should differ entirely from all other girls in my treatment of him." "I will follow any suggestion that you make," said the-girl, meekly. "I should treat him With great coolness, especially if he seems at all struck with you. Most of the girls look so plaeaed when he talks to them," said Lady Creseon, "I should say that the reverse of the popular manner would be the one to please him. Be cool to him, decline one or two invitations to dance, do not seam pleased at the prospect of a tete a d.te ; Iam quite sure that when aman sees every face brighten for him, and meeots noth ing but smiles and oweetness, a little coldness is sometimes a desirable change." "I will remember, aunt," said Isabel Hyde. "We must watch together, Isabel," con tinoued Lady Orosson: my heart is set on see. oing you Countess of Castlemaino, and I think your chancqes are very fair. I am not too sanguine. Fou are certainly the most beauti ful girl'ot the present season, and you have many advantages." " Including an aunt who undorstands the world," said Miss Hyde, laughingly. "Yes ; and let me assure you thatis by no means one of the least of your blesseings. A good pilot's care takes a ship through perilous straits. I shall be quite happy if you become Lady Castlemaine. My sister's children will not have done so badly." "Thanks to you," said Isabel. "Yes," said Lady Creeson, "I have done my best for my sister's children. You must not fail, Isabel. I shall give you all the pnoply of war--you shall have dresses and jewls -but the rest will be with yourself. Koop before your eyes this one feact-that tb end and aim of your existence at present isto be come Lady Castlemaiae. Let mo add one more piece of advice-do not fall inlova with him, it will mako everything so much more difioult. And that was the very mistakeo that Isabel made,
(.lAt'tt.iL V. WEAVING A WHtn. Irabel Hyde thought long and deeply over the task assigned to lher, the winning of this great matrimonial match. She did not fear failure. She had plenty of rivals, but none whom she especially feared, and she started with this advantage, that she was most cer tainoly the beauty of thie season. Muoch and most valuable advice was given by the aunt to the niece. Indeed if Lady Oreseon could have been induced to write down her rules and theories on the art of winning husbands, she might have published a manual of matrimony; and no book in the world would have been more eagerly sought after. "Do not allow yourself to waste any time," she said. " You will meet many nice men, but you will find, as a rule,- the nicest men are not marrying men. Do not waste your time with any of them. Keep the one thing al;. ways before your eyes, A man who means to win a great walking match does not waste his time in preliminary steps. "I will be careful, aunt," said Isabel Hyde. "You will meet Lord Castlemaino to night," said Lady Cresson; "hbe will be rl thoDunhess of Wilton's ball. You begin your task to.night." - - "I hope I shall not get nervous," laughed Isabel Hyde. "Nervous," repeated Lady Creseon, scorn. fully, "I do not understand the word." "I am afraid that I shall understand it soon," replied Isabel; for she had begun to realise all that was involved in her task. That evening she looked wonderfully beautiful, and when the young earl saw her. he was much struck with her appearance. " The most beautiful girl I have yet seen." he thought to himself. "She is like some stately Spanish Princess. She is like a pic tore of Titian, all rich and rare colouring. She is like anything and everything, except a modern young lady in a modern hall-room." Her beauty was proud, dark, and bright; she was tall, and her rich dress of pale amber brocade, with its rIch lace, fellin graceful folds around her. There was something picturerque about her, about the rich tints of herfaco, the rare loveliness of her white neck and arms; the whole statuesque grace of her figure struck him. She was standing where the light fell fuall upon her; shehold arichlyjewelledfan in her hands, a pomegranao blossom lay in the ouils of her dark hair. - Picturesque, brilliant and beautiful, the young earl was led up to her, and looked at. her with admiring eyes. . Isabel remembered her lesson. Ndne of the delights she felt shone in her face; she would not let her eyes~ brighten, It was a grand young Jono; with calm eyes and cold, smiling mouth l not a Verns wooing with smiles. ' Lady Oresson nad been quite right in her estimation of him. He was so well a?ous. tomed to seeing fair faces brighten for him, and eyes grow brighter for his coming, that it was a novelty to him to be received with indiffeence.. He asked for the pleasure of a dance,and Isabel's dark eyes looked languidly down the programme. Sho did not seem pleased as other girle did when he asked for a dance. She had some difficulty in finding one for him. She did not seek as other girls did to keep him by her side. She was serene, calm, beautiful, and indifferent; the conse quence of which was that Lord Castlemaine thought more of her than hbe would have done had she showed herself desirous of attracting him. He did not in the least degree fall in love with her, but he was interested, and slightly amused, because she made no effort to attract him. What a stately young beauty she wall How every one seemed to admire her 1 What fBre and animntion there was about her 1 She promised him one waltz, but it was far on in the evening, and he was looking forward to it with some anticipation, but when-he went to' her-she was seated just then by Lady Ores son-she looked up at him with a smile that told of half startled surprise. - " You had forgotten," he said suddenly. "" "Yes," she said, with a slow, sweet smile, "I am sorry I had forgotten." - 'Twas a now sensation to the courted and flattered young peer. He had been accustomed to quite a different order of things.: Young ladies looked upon it as a pleasure to dance with him; they seemed pleased with his pro ference. Not so the stately Juno-she had forgotten. - Nor did she seem very anxious to- enter into conversation with him. The usual stereo typed remarks passed between them, but once, and once only, he caught her dark eyes fixed upon him withan -expression he eould not understand; but that one glance had made his heart beat, The next moment she was' gazing calmly far away over the. heads of the dancers and the tiers of flowers. He was interested in her; what had that one expressive glance meant? He thought with-.pleasure of thetime when he should meet her again, It was a simple question that he asked her when she was leaving' the ball-room, but it gave her great silent delight. - r " Shall you be at Lady Grafton's tumor. row?" he asked. !'I understand hall the world will be there." " We are going, I. believe," she replied, but her voice was even more indifferent than her manner, and, for the second time that even. ing, Lord Castlemaine experienced a novel sensation. "An independent young lady that; no scheming there," he thought, little dreaming that she weaving a web round him, and that he was in great danger of becoming entangled in it. He thought her more beautiful still on the next evening; she wore a dress of pale rose. colored silk, covered with finest lao o; there were white lilacs in her hair, and she carried a bouquet of the same sweet flowers. "I like white lilacs," the earl said, as he hbent over her bouquet; " I believe they are my favorite flowers." She did not evince any special desire to keep up any conversation with him, but if he had been more keen, and more on the alert, he would have noticed that, although she seemed indifferent whenever he gave any sign of leaving her, some witty remark, some clever repartee, some original idea, would keep him chainedby her side without his being conscious of it. Although Ehe never appeared to take the least notice of him, never seemed to look at him or watch him, no gesture of his ever so. caped her; she did not seam to listen to him, yet she could have repeated every word that he uttered, and, almost without knowing it, the girl gave him the great passionate love of her heart, a love that was like a devouring flame. There is .notiging in life so aruel as love that is fully given and meets no return. A fire that burns, the water that drowns, the wind that makes baro and desolate, the thunders that destroy, the lightning that strikes, are not so hard or so cruel. There are many tortures that rack the mind, that knit the brow, that tear and rend the heart; but none of them are so cruel as unorequitted love. Had her love been returned, had it been happily placed, the chances are that Isabel Hyde would have been a good and noble woman; but beautiful as she was, she never, eveon in the least degree, touched the heart of Iudolph, Lord Castlemaine. She fell deeply in love with him. It vrso almost impossible to help it, when her wh >le soul wnas centred upon him, when the ste.ly of his chabracter became the Etudy of her life; for had she not been told that she was to marry him-that her end and aim in liflo was to secoure him? Naturally enough she kept her thoughts centred on him. She gave him a deep, passionate love-how deep none but hereall knew. But she kept her scret well. No one guessed it, and Lord Oantlemaino himaelf belieecd her the pgroudeat
the coldest, the most exclusive anea m.ccessiblo girl in London-and he liked her all the better for it. Sho piqued him, she interested him. It gave such a piquancy and zest to his inter views with her that he never knew whether she would be pleased to seec him or not; and he never knew in what mood he should find her, and the very uncertainty had a charm in it. She touched his fany, his admiraeion, but never his heart; he never dreamed of loving her. The Castlomaines always married fair. haired, gentle, docile women. She was not of that kind. He never during the whole of his acquaintance and friendship flattered her, never gave her one glance or uttered one word that could possibly have misled her. He never made the least attempt at flirtation with her; he was true and sincere in all hra dealings with :her. He liked her-he never went beyond that; he enjoyed talking to her and dancing with her, but he never misled her. And all this time she went on weaving her web-so fine, so close, yet so strong; but she never could wind it round him. CHAPTER VI. " TIIE wn or ?rE nOSEB," .Theseason passed, and as yet no progressa - had been made. Lady Cresson, who most diligently watched the situation, had but three sources of satisfaction. The first was that although Lord Castlemaine had not shown her any lover-like attentions, he had certainly evinced great pleasure in her society. The second was that Isabel had be. haved admirably. She had indulged in no flirtation, and if she had been spoken of at all, it had been in conjunction with Lord Castlemaine. The third source of consolation was that it the young earl had not declared himself to be Isabel's lover, he had paid no attention to any others. Then the end of the season came, andLady Cresson, with her niece, looked the situation fairly in the face; she felt that there was great room for hope. " Lord Castlemaine evidently liked her niece, who had no rival. He had spoken with regret of the coming separation when the sea. son should be over; he had spoken with pleasure of their meeting again next spring. Altogether, everything seemed to promise fairly. There was the reverse of the medal. Both aunt and niece were compelled to own that Lord Castlemaine had never shown any signs of thinking ofmarriage. He didnot seem to be in love, and no one ever heard him speak' of taking a wife. But when all the orcum. stances were taken into consideration, Lady Cresson believed there was cause to hope. "I cannot blame you, Isabel," she said. "You have followed my advice, you have done your beat; but, all the same, you have failed." S"The failure'is no fault of mine, aunt." said the girl, gloomily. "No; I admit it. Still 'there isa failure; but, on the whole, I feel inclined'to give yot another season. I have never done it before; I am quite sure that I should never do it again. I have always felt itto be a certainty thatitf a girl failed in her first season, she would fail in her second." "But; Aunt Eleanor," cried the girl, earn. estly, "it is not fair to say that I have failed. You told me to concentrate all my thoughts on Lord Castlemaino, and I have done so. But for that I might have had plentyof offers. I know that Colonel Morney loves me, and would ask me to be his wife tomorrow, but that he is jealous of Lord Castlemaine." "You are quite sure of this, Isabel ?" asked Lady Cresson. "I am absolutely certain, Aunt Eleanor," was the answer. Lady Cresson amiled complacently. !'. Colonel Morney would not be a bad match -nothing liko as good as Lord Castlemaine, but by no means to be despised. I will give you 'another season, Isabel, but only one more. Your sisters must have their chance, and I am told that Elfrida gives promise of rare loveliness. And though Isabel wove her web of brillant colours, and of fine, strong threads, although she wove industriously, and with perfect skill. it was all in vain-the young earl was rot caught in the web. If she had not mot bin again herlife would have been blighted ; but, as chance, or fortune, would have it, at Christmas.time they met again. Lady Creason and ?lias Hyde were invited to spend the New Year's week with the Duchess of Garmoyle, at Hope Castle, and Lord Castlemaino was one of the guests. That which a season in town had begun, a week in the gay seclusion of a country house finished. When it was ended Isabel Hyde owned that she loved Lord Castlemaine with a love that was stronger than life, stronger than death-a love that was her doom. That week had opened all paradise to her; he had been her constant companion, but it was merely the force of circumstances that made him so. They were so nearly of the same ago, and had the same tastes; he rode and walked with her; he danced and sang with her; she was his favourite companion in a waltz or at chess; but his manner was always the same-kind, friendly, open, and eandid, but without the least attempt at love. During the week her whole heart went from her, never to be hers again. There are no words in which the pain of her hopes and fears could be told. True, he had not uttered one word of love, but he evidently valued her companionship. "Love must win love," she said to herself, over and over again, as hundreds of girls had done before her; "and he moust love me be. cause I love him so entirely. It will come- it will come." They met again in the next early season. Lady Creseon had grown anxious by that time, for she saw that Isabel had literally carried out her counsel-indeed, that she had done more-she had concentrated her whole life on Lord Castlemaine. This season must decide it. She saw no change whatever in the young earl's manner; he had the same kindly liking, but there was nothing of the lover in him. Still, with patience worthy of a better caeo, Isabel silently wove at her web. Then, quite suddenly, without any warning, the "War of the Roses" began. Gertrude Craven was presented at one of the earliest drawing-rooms,and Isabel Hyde's reign ended. She had been queen for a whole season. Now Gertrude reigned in her stead. Her fair, blonde loveliness, her originality, her grace, her exquisite singing, won for her universal admiration. Lord Castlemaine fell in love with her at first sight, after the hot, eager fashion of the Castlemaincs; he did not stop to think whether she were suitable to him or not, whether her character would agree with his, whether they would be likely to live happily together; he never asked himself whether she were proud, jealous, oeill-tempered; he never thought what were her qualities of mind or heanrt; he simply fell passionately in loae with her, and swore to himself that he would not live without her one minute longer than he could help. The world soon knew what had happened. Thrice fortunate Gertrude Craven I she had won the grand matrimonial prize. Thrice fortunate young earll he had wvon the love. liest girl in England. Lady Cresson was the first to hear of the oung beauty. She returned home on-morn. ing from n series of calls looking so anxious and so ill-tempered, that Isabel felt certain that something very unpleasant had hap. pened. " I have been listening to some cxtraordi nary stories, Isabel," sohte said; "how true it is that nothing in this world is lasting I Last year you were the topic of conversation, you were the queen of beauty, your name was on every tongue-and now you have a rival." " A rival I" the girl repeated, slowly; " one rival I Why, aunt, I must have hundreds," (To bh cenlinued.)