|Chapter Title||ONLY A WOMAN'S HEART.|
|Newspaper Title||Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907)|
|Trove Title||Dark or Fair. A Story of Town and Country|
?ï-v- . CHAPTER VIII.
ONLY A WOMAN'S HEART. !
. 1 "Tes; they are pulling down the old rooms.
The gentleman who has bought the house intends . - to build a new wing/-said one man to another, ; - standing near the grand old mansion of the late
Lord Loveless, which was undergoing extensive repairs.
i o i ; « There is quite a romantic story told about the
. old library," he continued. " It Beems that very . early in life the earl married a young girl for
her beauty.;. Indeed, it was quite understood that she was sold to him by "her reckless father, who had lost heavily at play with the earl. He 'was sorely pressed; and the beautiful girl was - given ' to tue old man's passion for play, > just sacrificed, people' said. It was nine days' ." talki . Thon they went to/Florence ; and folks .;forgot '? it again. Well, it seems ? there was1 a
' daughter to this marriage, a lovely creature over whom men;raved, and whom her father gave to a young nobleman. The-girl was as unhappy as her mother had been before her; and when her husband was killed in a duel, the result of one of his ' mad fits of jealousrage,shéeloped with a handsome
young music-master, whom she met in Florence, . and must have really loved as women only can when they meet their soul's real partner. The .. earl swore she should never inherit a farthing of
his wealth.- Her mother prayed for her, but received nothing but abuse. Indeed, 'twas said that the earl was very cruel to his beautiful wife. He kept her confined in that gra nd old library ; . would not allow even-- the servants to see
her. ,/And here one morning Bhe was found ' ' dead.; and the doctors said that it was heart
disease, which was quite true, for she died of a ! broken heart if ever any one did in this sorrowful
. . world. Then the earl shut himself up, and be
came harder and colder than ever. Not a creature -. r e vetf had to thank him for à kindly action or a .\.- nelpiful word. He died as he had lived, loveless
" After that some inquiry was raised about the
daughter. But it was found that she was dead, and that her husband had disappeared. The other day, when the workmen were ^tailing down the wall dividing the library from the earl's bed room, a packet of papers was founds purporting to be the last will and testament ol^tbe^bld man, bequeathing his beautiful estate ajb ;B^^-.Grove to his granddaughter, if she couldUpäeïoiond, and
a settled income of £20,000 per yé^ar." ". '
" And has she been found ?" inquired the other with interest. i .' .'
" Yes j it seems she is the protegee of a famous artist, for whom she; has been sitting ÍIR model. She is very beautiful, accomplished, and virtuous. Her stepfather, the music-master, only, died about a year ago, since which time she has been living with Mrs. Arnold, some relative of Paul Pizzele's ; and rumor has it that there will short!.} be a wedding between the artist and tho heiress."
"Lucky fellow !" said tho man, " some people's fortune .seems to tumble into their laps without any trouble. Others may toil all their days and
v "When'Nellie laid aside her heavy drapery that cold snowy morning, and flung herself into the
icy water of the cruel, cold river. . ;
(See tale entitled " Dark or Fair.") ^ . , ,
never get beyond the hard earned guinea,"if they are even so lucky as to get. that."
"Yes; ifs a strange ; world. But what's the
matter here? Why, they are carrying something to the morgue down there! Another soul tired of life, I suppose. How much that old bridge could say
if it were gifted with speech "
The crowd surged, along - in./ the - direction indicated ; and there, i sure: enough, they saw the dread "some thing^' covered with a white sheet, still and silent,- in' the resting-place of the suicide. "She is sb beautiful \": said one woman. "Her face is just like a picture I have seen somewhere ; and the dewy drops hang, on her
heavy, eyelids even yet. Her lips are .parted ; and her hands crossed on her breast. - Oh, she is lovely; and they say she is some rich man's daughter, or ward. I do wonder how- it hap pened." ' : , ?: "'. ? .. .-V
And Paul Mzzele heard not, saw not, knew not what his heartless love-winning had meant for
Nellie ; knew hot that she had found a written fragment on the floor bf . the studio, addressed to one he loved far away in New Zealand ; the purest, sweetest, and loveliest of. the children of the people. He did not know, how the hours passed for Nellie on that .dreadful night; how she waited for his corning, hoping he might yet explain this dreadful thing away, and bring back the joy which had been hers such a little while ago, when he had knelt af her feet in the studio, and told her he loved her ; told her that with her to Help him he would win fame, wealth, and position ; told her he loved her for her beauty, hei* goodness, her artistic tastes, her genius for music; and portrayed the bright future they would spend together.
There she had sat, with fixed eyes and blood less lips ; and. her mother's nature had risen within her. Her father's jealous love had wrestled with her better self; the faith which had borne her through poverty, sorrow, and loneliness.gave way beforo the great power of love ; and her rea son reeled as she realised -how she had loved this
man, how she had worshipped this hero, who conld:so lightly caBt away thè heart ho had won. All day she bore it, all night she listened for his coming. A servant brought hera brief note from bim, telling her that he had to take a journey, and would not -be- home for-a-few weeks. A'tele gram called him away ; or he would have come to bid her "good-bye." But she would wait for
him ; and he would write soon again to his " dear
" Nellie Burely must have been mad," people said afterward. But they did not know or under stand the nature of the beautiful Florentine girl, who had given her heart's best love, to the fair English stranger, who could not" dook truthfully, into those dark eyes of liquid love, and tell her.: she was his heart's chosen bride'. . .
Was it à cruel fate pressing the family to gen-; oration after generation ? "Who can say ? Only .the wife, daughter, and granddaughter, of the old earl . seemed strangely united in death ; when Nellie laid aside her heavy drapery^ Jthat cold; .snowy morning, and flung herself into'.the icy waters of the cruel, coid river.
And Paul Fizzele was sitting on the deck of the outward-bouud steamer, Zealandia, on his way to Auckland ; for he would find the fair girl whom alono ho really loved, and win her for his bride, lie had been foolish. But never mind. He would fly from folly ; and Nellie would soon for
get him. She would be very wealthy.- Many a noble suitor would seek her hand. She would soon forget him, and be happy. Ah! even then she waB lying, still and cold, and people wondered why this beautiful, richly-clad maiden should have been weary of life, and have hurled herself away intb the depths of eternity. so suddenly as
Soon she was claimed by the heart-broken Mrs. Arnold, who partly guessed the cause of this terrible tragedy.; and they laid her to rest in the family vault of the ancient church, beside the hapless mother, who had been carried thither after the old earl's death. And thus closed the record of the Loveless family.
The studio remained shut up ; and people thought that the artist had flown from the scene of the tragedy, or perhaps had had some share in it which noone knew but himself and the beauti fulgirl who had loved him so well. Detectives Yfere.dispatched to New Zealand; and telegrams describing Paul's appearance were -in the hands of the authorities before* he landed. As'soonas he stepped on the Auckland Wharf he was
arrested ;. .and. theifhe heard, to his .surprise and sorrow, what his love had wrought for poor Nellie the Florentine girl.'. '