|Chapter Title||THE BEGINNING OF THE END.|
|Newspaper Title||The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893)|
|Trove Title||A Mystery|
(From English, American, and other Periodicals.)
THE BEGINNING OF THE END.
Editha Dalton and her father went to Newport, he to get all the pleasure out of life that he could, by mingling in the sports of the gay world, and spend- ing his daughter's money ; she, to bear with what submission she could, the weary routine in which she had no heart, and which was but a mockery to
Earle had, faithful to his word, made over the long disputed ten thousand dollars to Mr. Dalton, and this, together with Editha's handsome income, which she tacitly yielded up to him, enabled him to live
like a prince.
But people wondered to see how the brightness had faded from the fair girl's life.
She took no interest in the pleasures and frivoli- ties of the fashionable watering-place.
She would not attend their parties and social gatherings, but wandered alone by the sea, or sat in the seclusion of her own room, pale, sad, and silent, thinking ever of the one so dear, who at her bidding had put the ocean between them.
Her rebellious heart had refused to banish him from the place so long his own, or yield up one tithe of the love which she had lavished upon him.
The very name of brother, applied to him, made her shudder with repulsion, and the thought of being
his sister, made her cry out with despair, and grow
sick and faint with horror.
Mr. Dalton, to his credit be it said, after Earle was well out of the way, changed his course and treated her with great gentleness and kindness.
Perhaps he felt a thrill of remorse as he saw her day by day growing so frail and slight, and bearing with such sad patience the sorrow which he had
brought upon her.
"Perhaps, since we cannot conscientiously at- tribute really unselfish motives to him, he only rea- lized that she was the goose who brought him the golden eggs, and considered it a matter of policy to
conciliate her favor.
Be this as it may, he improved his advantage to
Money slipped through his fingers like water, he had never seemed so gay, reckless, and intent upon his pleasure before, and more than one old associate remarked that " Mr. Dalton grew fast as he grew
But a Nemesis was on his track !
A relentless fate was pursuing him, crying no quarter until the mighty one is fallen."
His days of unholy living and revenge, of treach- ery and wrong were numbered, though he knew it not, and no spirit of warning whispered that for every evil deed he had done he must soon give an
* * * * * * * *
It was a matter of some surprise to Paul Tressalia that Earle should return to England alone.
He had fully expected that he would bring Editha as a bride to Wycliffe, and he had tried to school his own heart to bear it. He saw at once that there was
some deep trouble on his mind ; no one ever had such heavy, hollow eyes, such a worn and haggard
face, without some adequate cause. But as Earle did
not offer any explanation for it, he could not question him. And so the days went by, while he began to mature his plans for his own future.
Earle at once entered upon his duties as master at Wycliffe, and was received most heartily by all the adherents of the former marquis, and soon gained an influence and footing in the country which ought to have satisfied the most exacting.
He was feted and flattered, quoted, advised, and sought after ; but never for a moment did he forget that sad, white face that for a few minutes had lain on his breast for the last time, nor the last heart- broken farewell and the low murmured :
" God ever bless and keep you."
But the time came when he had to fight another
mighty battle with himself.
His hopes for the future had all been destroyed by a single blow ; but Paul Tressalia still loved Editha, he knew, and there might be a ray of hope for him.
The question arose within him, " Ought he not to tell him of the change in the relations which existed between Editha and himself, and if there was the shadow of a possibility of his winning her love, ought he not to allow him, to put it to the test?"
One day he sought him, with a pale worn face. He had conquered a mighty foe -- himself.
He remembered that Editha had once told him, when speaking of her refusal of Mr. Tressalia's offer of marriage, that " she had never suffered more at the thought of giving pain than she did in refusing
Some one has written, "Pity melts the mind to love," and perchance out of her sympathy for him something of affection might arise, and a life of quiet happiness be gained for her as well as for his
" Paul, I have something of importance to com- municate to you," he said, coming to the point at
" Say on, then ; are you in trouble ? Can I do any- thing for you ?" Mr. Tressalia asked, with an anxious glance into the worn face.
" No, there is nothing that you or any one else can do for me; it is to give you a chance in the race after happiness that I come to you," Earle answered, with something of bitterness in his tone.
" I do not understand you," he returned, a flush rising to his cheek.
"Do you still love Editha Dalton?" Earle asked, setting his teeth to keep back a rebellious groan.
" Do you need to ask me that question ?" Paul Tressalia returned, reproachfully, his face suddenly paling now. " I must always love her."
"Then go and win her if you can; the way is open, there is nothing to hinder you," Earle said, wiping the cold sweat from his face.
His cousin looked at him in blank astonishment, wondering if he was losing his mind that he should make such a statement as that, or if it was some lover's quarrel that had driven Earle home in such
Earle, without waiting for a reply, proceeded to relate to him the story of Editha's relationship to
"It is killing me," he said, when he had finished, "I rebel every day against the cruel fate that has
separated us, for I love her only as a man can love the woman who should be his wife, and shall love her thus until I die. You love her also, and perhaps if you can win her, you both may yet know much of domestic peace. If I cannot conquer my sinful heart, I may die, and you will then regain what you have lost, while Editha will, after all, be mistress of Wycliffe."
"Earle, do not speak thus," Mr. Tressalia said, with deep emotion, for the wild bitterness and misery of his cousin grieved him. " I was glad to relinquish Wycliffe to you when I knew that it rightly belonged to you. I do not covet it, and I would not
have matters in this respect other than as they are. I hope, too, that you may live to see a lusty heir growing up to take it after you. But this is a strange story you have told me -- Editha your half-sister! Mr. Dalton your father !"
" Yes, it is even so, though I would gladly give every acre of my inheritance to have it proved other-
" You must resemble your mother's family alone, then, and she her mother, for there is not a single point of resemblance between you to testify to any such relationship."
" I do not know as to that. I only know that the
facts exist to prove it," Earle said, dejectedly.
" Poor child ! she loved you so devotedly, she was so proud of you, and she must have suffered also ! I would that I could give you both back your lost happiness. Is it not strange that only out of the ruin of either your hopes or mine happiness can come to either of us ?" Mr. Tressalia said, regretfully.
" It is ruined whether you win or not, and yet I go on sinning day after day, loving her as madly as
ever," Earle cried, clenching his hands in his pain.
" Go, go," he added, wildly, " and win her quickly if you can, and perchance when she is once your wife I may be able to gain something of peace, or the
semblance of it."
Paul Tressalia needed no second bidding, though it must be confessed he was not elated by any very strong hope of success.
His heart told him that if Editha loved with the same intensity as Earle, it would be as enduring as
eternity, and he could never hope to win her as his wife.
Still he could not rest content until he had once more put his fate to the test, and with a tender though sad parting from his noble-hearted kinsman, he once more crossed the broad Atlantic.
He reached Newport in the height of its gaiety, and was enthusiastically welcomed by his old ac-
To his surprise Mr. Dalton received him with great coolness, surmising at once the errand upon which
he had come.
He had discovered, if others had not, that Paul Tressalia was no longer " heir to great expectations," and he was not at all anxious now either that Editha should marry.
She was ill, failing daily and hourly, as every one
could see, and many predicted a rapid decline and an early death unless some change for the better oc-
Mr. Dalton shook his head sadly and sighed heav-
ily, as a fond and anxious parent should do, when- ever interviewed upon the subject, but secretly he was calculating his chances of falling heir to her snug
" She is my daughter," he would say to himself, rubbing his hands together in that peculiar way he had ; "if she dies unmarried and without a will -- and I don't think she has thought of such a thing as that -- of course, being her nearest blood relation I shall inherit," and he always ended these confidential cogi-
tations with a chuckle, accompanied by a look of in-
So it will be readily seen that Mr. Dalton had no idea of encouraging Mr. Tressalia as a suitor, es-
pecially as he could no longer offer her any peculiar
But that young man was shocked at the change in the fair girl. The laughing eyes were sad and lus- terless now ; the rounded cheeks had fallen away,
leaving great hollows where before there had been a delicate sea-shell bloom ; the scarlet lips, which had ever been wreathed in sunniest smiles, wore a mourn- ful droop, and were sad, blue, and drawn with pain.
She greeted him, however, with more than her accustomed cordiality, and listened eagerly while he told her all about Earle and the magnificent inherit-
ance that had fallen to him.
Any one who could tell her aught concerning her dear one was doubly welcome.
She was never weary of hearing about Wycliffe, and all the noble ancestors of the noble house of Vance. She took a strange, sad pleasure in the mournful history of the unfortunate Marion, and Paul Tressalia, seeing it, gratified her as far as he was able, though he could but realize that he was making
no progress in her affections.
" I am afraid Newport does not agree with you, Miss Dalton," he remarked one day, as he came upon her sitting listless and dejected under a tree near the sea-shore, her eyes fixed dreamily upon the restless waves, a look of pain contracting her fair forehead.
" I do not enjoy Newport," she said, with a sigh, " at least the gay hurry and bustle that we are con- stantly in."
"Then why not go to some more quiet place? Why not go to some farm among the mountains! where the air is drier and purer ? I do not like to see you looking so ill," he returned, with visible anxiety,
"Papa is not content unless he can be where there is considerable excitement," she answered, wearily; "and I don't know as it matters much," she added, with a far-away look.
"It does matter." Paul Tressalia burst forth, in- dignantly; "if this air is too heavy and bracing for you, you should not be allowed to remain here another day. Do you not see that your health is failing? You are weaker and thinner even than when I came, a week ago."
She smiled faintly, and, lifting her thin hand, held it up between her eyes and the sun.
It shone almost transparent, while every bone, vein, and cord could be distinctly traced.
With a little sigh she let it drop again into her lap, and turning to her companion, said, with a grave, thoughtful look on her face :
" I wonder what the spiritual body will be like ?"
" Miss Dalton -- Editha! what made you think of that?" he asked, startled by her words, yet knowing very well what had made her think of it -- that little hand had more of a spiritual than a material look
" One cannot help thinking about it, when the physical body is so frail and so easily destroyed. When one is putting off the mortal, one naturally is curious to know what the immortal is like," and she spoke as calmly as if she were merely talking of changing a dress.
" Editha ! you are not -- you do not think you are so ill as that?" ha cried, almost awe-stricken.
"Yes, I hope so; what have I to live for now ?" she asked, turning her sad eyes upon him, and his heart sank in despair within him. " You know all my trouble," she added, a moment after; "you know how all my hopes were crushed. I am, as I might say, entirely alone in the world ; I have hardly a friend on whom to depend, no one to comfort and cheer me, and I have no right even to the name I bear. Do you think that life holds out very much that is pleasant to me? I am young to die, and I cannot say that I do not dread the thought of being laid away and forgotten, and yet I know it would cure my pain -- there is no pain beyond, you know. If I had anything to do, if I might be of any comfort or use to any one, if I had even one friend who needed me, I should feel differently."
The sadness and hopelessness of her tone and words almost made him weep in spite of his man-
He threw himself down on the grass beside her with a low cry.
"Editha, there is! I need you; my heart has never ceased to cry out for you ; my life is miserable and aimless without you. Come to me and comfort me, and let me try to win back the light to your eyes, the color to your cheeks and lips, and nurse you back to health. I do not ask, I do not expect, that you can leam to love at once me as you have loved, but if you will only let me take care of you, give me the
right to love you all I wish, I do believe there would be something of peace for you yet even in this world. But I cannot see you die while you are so young and bright. Be my wife, Editha, and let me take you away from this noise and tumult where you can regain your health, and the world will not seem so dark to you then."
The young girl was seized with a violent tremb- ling while he was speaking ; she shook and shivered with nervousness and excitement, as if some icy blast from a snow-clad mountain had swept down upon her chilling her through.
A bright hectic flush tinged either cheek, and her eyes, no longer listless glowed with a brilliancy that was almost dazzling. Never while in perfect health had Paul Tressalia seen her so strangely beautiful as she was at this moment ; and yet it was with a beauty that made his heart tremble with a terrible fear. With almost the impulse of a child, she reached our both her hands to him as he ceased speaking.
But he know instinctively that it was not a gesture of assent, though he clasped them involuntarily, and started, to find how hot and feverish they were.
" Mr. Tressalia," she said, excitedly, " I know how true and noble you are, and I know, too, that you love me with a deep pure love. I know that you would be very tender and indulgent to me, and never allow me to know a sorrow that you could shield me from. But I cannot be your wife -- I can- not be anybody's wife -- and I should only add sin to sin if I should grant your request, for I can never for a moment cease to love Earle in a way that I should not. It is that that is eating my life away -- let me confess it to you, and perhaps it will help me to bear it better. I know that I ought to trample upon every tendril of affection that is reaching out after him, but I cannot ; my love is stronger than I, and this constant inward warfare is fast wearing me out. Oh ! if you would simply be my friend, and let me talk to you freely like this, and never speak to me of love again, it would be such a com-
fort to me."
She paused a moment for breath, and then con-
" I can trust you ; I have confidence in you as I have in no other in this land. Mr. Tressalia, will you be my friend, strong and true, and only that, for the time that I may need you ?"
There was intense yearning in her look and tone. She did need just such a friend, strong and protect- ing, as he would be, if he could have the strength to
She could not trust her father ; her heart had re- coiled from him ever since that day when so much of his evil nature had been revealed to her, and she had no one in whom to confide.
Day and night her busy, excited brain, went over all the horror of that last interview with Earle, and day and night she constantly fought the obstinate
love in her heart.
It was, as she had said, wearing her life away, and if she could but have some one in whom she could confide, it would be a comfort to her.
But could he stay in her presence, receive her con- fidences, hear her daily talk of Earle, and her blighted hopes, and make no sign of his own sorrow and bitter disappointment ?
" Be her friend, strong and true, and only that?"
The words were like the knell of doom to him ; but she needed him. If she could relieve her heart of something of its burden, health might return, and her life be saved. Was not his duty clear ?
" And never anything more ?" was his last appeal, as he held her hot, trembling hands, and looked into her glittering eyes.
" And never anything more," she repeated, after him. " It cannot be -- will you not believe it ?" and
he knew that so it must be.
Back, back into his aching, almost bursting heart he crushed his great love, with every rebellious thought, and all the hopes that had begun to bud
He would do anything so that she need not die ; he would " trample upon every tendril of affection reaching out after her," as she had said regarding her love for Earle, and become only the true and faithful friend, if by so doing he could comfort, and perchance save her.
Something of the struggle that this resolve cost him could be traced in the pale but resolute face, and in his quivering lips.
" Editha," be said, solemnly, as if recording a vow, and still clasping those small hands, " it shall be as you wish ; I will never utter another word of love to you ; I will be your steadfast friend."
" Oh, thank you !" and, like a weary, grieved child who has restrained its sobs until it could reach the safe and tender shelter of its mother's arms, she dropped her head upon his shoulder and burst into nervous weeping.
He did not move, he did not speak one word to I stay her tears, for he knew that they were like the refreshing rain upon the parched and sun-baked earth, and she would be lighter of heart and freer from pain for their flow.
But who shall describe the feelings of his own tried heart as he knelt there with that golden head resting so near it, and from which, for her sake, he had resolved to crush relentlessly every hope for the
INTRODUCING A NEW CHARACTER.
From that day Paul Tressalia put every thought of self aside, and devoted himself in delicate tire- less efforts to interest and amuse the frail girl who had such entire confidence and faith in him.
His own heart would have prompted him to go away from all sight and sound of her, but he had promised that he would be her " steadfast friend. " There was no particular necessity of his returning to England at present, and if he could do this un- happy girl any good, he resolved to stay and com- fort her until she should need him no longer.
Little by little he drew her away from her own sad thoughts -- at least during the day ; he could not of course know now she spent her nights, whether in refreshing sleep or in sad and morbid brooding.
He took her on long, delightful drives to places where, with a dainty little lunch and a tempting book, they would spend a few quiet hours, and then return, just weary enough to make a rest in a com- fortable corner of the broad piazza the most enjoy- able thing in the world, while he talked of a hundred entertaining things in the twilight.
By and by he ventured to invite two or three en- tertaining people to go with them, and such charm- ing little picnics and excursions as they made! They were quiet but cultivated people, and deeply interested in the fading girl, and they exerted them- selves in an unobtrusive way to minister to her
Almost unconsciously Editha was beguiled from her melancholy ; little by little the look of tense agony faded from her face ; her eyes lost their heavy, despairing look ; something of animation and in- terest replaced her Iistless, preoccupied manner, and on occasional smile, albert it was a mournful one, parted her sweet lips, which gradually began to regain something of their original color.
Mr. Tressalia was very wise in all his manoeuvres ; everything he did was done without any apparent effort, everything moved along smoothly and naturally, and, if any one joined their party, it was brought about so quietly as to seem almost a matter of course.
Her failing appetite he managed as adroitly as be did her wounded heart ; every day some tempting little bit would find its way to her room (where, owing to her health, she took her meals) just at din- ner-time. It was never much at a time -- just enough, and served so attractively as to make her taste, and tasting was followed by a desire to eat the whole, and then she involuntarily found herself wishing he had sent a little more.
In this way she was not surfeited with anything, but a natural craving for food was gradually created, until she found herself able to eat quite a respectable
One day they went, as they often did, to Truro Park. Mr. Tressalia had found a cozy, retired nook, where they could sit, and talk, and read without fear of being disturbed, and see without being seen.
The day was delightful, and had tempted many people abroad, and the park was filled with gay
Editha, reclining on a soft shawl which Mr. Tres- salia had spread over a moss-covered rock, was the picture of comfort as she listened to her companion's rich voice, as he read from a new and interesting book, while her face involuntarily lighted as she caught the sound of merry laughter and children's happy voices in the distance.
She found herself wondering if she could be the same miserable creature that she had been three weeks before,
A feeling of peace was stealing over her, a sense of care and protection surrounded her, and she knew that health and strength were gradually re- turning to her.
Her heart was still wounded and sore -- it could not be otherwise ; but there was not quite the in- tolerable burden crushing her that there had been before the coming of her kind friend.
Mr. Tressalia closed his book at last, and a look of satisfaction stole into his eye as he marked her look of interest, and the faint tinge of color that for the first time he saw in her cheek.
He drew from his pocket a silver fruit-knife, and, reaching for a tiny basket that he had brought with him, but had kept tantalizingly covered all the time, he exposed to view two of the largest and most luscious peaches imaginable.
" Now, when you have eaten one of these as on appetizer, we will return for our dinner," he said, with a smile, as he deftly extracted the stone from the crimson and yellow fruit, and, placing the two halves on a large grape-leaf, laid it in her lap.
" It is too beautiful to eat," Editha said, viewing it with admiring eyes, but she disposed of it with evi- dent relish, nevertheless.
The other was prepared in the same way, and ready for her as the last mouthful disappeared, but
" You have not had your share," she said, smiling. " You are my patient, remember, and I shall pre- scribe for you as I judge best ; but if you feel very sensitive about it, I will share with you this time,' and, while he ate one-half, he watched the other disappear with intense satisfaction.
Editha could not fail to improve, if her appetite could be coaxed back in this way.
They arose to return to their hotel, and as they left their cozy retreat they saw approaching them a
lady leaning upon the arm of a gentleman.
They were both distinguished-looking, and in
stantly attracted the attention of Editha and her
As they drew nearer Mr. Tressalia started and ut- tered a low exclamation; the next instant he smiled, lifted his hat with a low bow, and returning his
salutation, they passed on.
Mr. Tressalia would have stopped and greeted them, but he knew how shy Editha was of strangers in her weak state, and he did not deem it best.
Editha, in her one passing glance, had instantly been attracted by the tall, queenly woman, who might perhaps have been about forty-two or three
years of age.
Her face was fair, and sweet, and beautiful as a
picture, and was surrounded by soft, waving
Her eyes were large and blue, but rather mourn- ful in expression, while there was a grieved droop about the full, handsome mouth. Her companion was a middle-aged gentleman, though somewhat older than the lady, and from their resemblance to each other, Edith judged them to be brother and
"There goes a woman with a history, and a sad one, too," Mr. Tressalia remarked, when they were beyond hearing.
Editha sighed, and wondered how many women there were in the world who had sad histories, but she only said :
" They are acquaintances of yours then ?"
" Yes ; the lady is called Madam Sylvester, though I have been told that it is not her real name, being her maiden name, resumed after some unpleasant- ness connected with an unfortunate marriage. I met her in Paris two winters ago, and I think I never saw a more charming woman of her age in my life."
"She is certainly very pleasant to look at, though she shows that she has known sorrow of some kind," Editha said, thoughtfully.
" Would you like to know her history, at least as much of it as I am able to tell you ? It is quite in- teresting."
"Yes, if you please."
"Report says that when quite young she fell in love with her own cousin, and became engaged to him. This was a secret between them, since the
lover was not then in a position to marry. He went to sea to seek his fortune, as the story goes, and not long after was reported lost. Miss Sylvester, to hide her grief, immediately plunged into all sorts of gayety and dissipation, and only a few months after her lover's death met a young American, who was instantly attracted by her great beauty. He soon made her an offer of marriage, and after a very short courtship they were married. A year later the former lover suddenly turned up ; he was not lost, though he had been nearly drowned, and afterward lay a long time in a fever. The young wife, in her joy at seeing him once more, thoughtlessly betrayed her love for him, which even then was not dead; the husband grew furiously and unreasonably jeal- ous, charged her with wilfully deceiving him, and a hot and angry scene followed. The next day the wife was missing -- 'she had fled,' those who knew anything of the circumstances said, 'with her early lover.' She returned almost immediately however, humbled and repentant; but her husband denounced her, although she swore that she had committed no wrong. He returned to America, she hid herself broken-hearted for awhile, but finally sought her brother, whom she convinced of her chastity, --since which time, having no other friends, they have seemed to live for each other. She would never con- sent to be called by her husband's name after that -- though I never heard what that was -- but took her
" She is a wonderful woman, however ; her life has been devoted to doing good, she is chastity itself, and is beloved by everybody who knows her, while her sympathy for the erring is boundless.
" That is on outline of her history, or as much as I know of it, but I believe there are some self- righteous people who shun her, on account of what they term her 'early sin,' but the majority revere her, while I must confess to a feeling of great ad-
miration for her."
" What became of the young lover with whom it was supposed she fled ?" Editha asked, deeply in-
terested in the sad tale.
"I do not know -- I never heard. Madam never
speaks of her past, and that is a mystery to the
" I should like to know her," Ediths said, feeling strangely drawn toward one, who, like herself, had
suffered so much.
" Would you ? That is easily managed, I will ascertain where she is stopping, call upon her, and as her heart is always touched for the sick, I know she will gladly come and see you," Mr. Tressalia said, eagerly, exceedingly pleased to have Editha mani-
fest so much interest in his friend.
" Thank you. I should like it if she would ; her history is very sad, and her face attracts me strangely," she replied.
Three days afterward they were in the Redwood Library, examining some of the valuable manu- scripts on exhibition there, when Madam Sylvester
and her brother entered.
Mr. Tressalia had tried to ascertain where they were stopping, but to his great disappointment he
had failed to do so.
He now went forward at once to greet them, and they seemed very much pleased to renew their ac- quaintance with him.
After chatting a few moments, he brought Editha
to madam and introduced her.
She studied the sweet face for a moment, then her faultlessly gloved hand closed over Editha's fingers in a strong yet tender clasp of sympathy and
She had read in the pale, sorrow-lined face a grief kindred to what she, too, had suffered to the
" You are not well, my dear," she said, with a wistful look into the sad blue eyes, still keeping her hand closely clasped in hers.
" Miss Dalton has not been well, but we hope she is on the gain a little now. Have you seen the new piece of statuary that was brought in yesterday?" Mr. Tressalia asked, to draw her attention from
She was quite sensitive about having her illness remarked by strangers, and the color was now creeping with painful heat into her cheeks.
Madam took the hint at once, and turned to look at the new statue, and for awhile kept up a spirited conversation with Mr. Tressalia about the objects
of general interest in Newport,
But ever and anon her eyes sought the fair face bending with curious interest over the manuscripts with a look of pity and tenderness that told she was deeply interested in the frail-looking stranger.
" Who is she? Some one in whom you are par-
ticularly interested?" she asked, with the privilege of an old friend, as she drew Paul still farther away
ostensibly to look at some pictures.
He started, and his noble face was clouded with pain as he answered :
"Yes, I am particularly interested in her, but not in the way you mean, for her heart belongs to
''Ah! I thought from appearances that she be- longed or would some day belong to you," re- turned madam, with a keen look into his handsome face
"No," he said, gravely ; "I am simply her friend, She has recently met with a great sorrow."
"I knew it," madam replied, with a soft glance at Editha, and a slight trembling of her lips. " Has the
dear child a mother?"
"No; her mother died some years ago. She has no relatives living, except her father, and he is not In sympathy with her."
"Ah ! how I would like to comfort her! Come and see me this evening, and tell me more about her. I am strangely attracted toward her."
Paul Tressalia promised, and then they went back to Editha: Madam monopolized her, while he entertained her brother, and it was not long before the fair girl's heart was completely won by the beautiful and tender-hearted woman.
Madam Sylvester was remarkable for her tact and great versatility of talents, not the least of which was her charming manner in conversation.
She could be grave or gay, witty or learned, and fascinatlng in any role.
Paul Tressalia regarded her in surprise while she talked with Editha, drawing her from one subject to another, until she made her forget that there was such a person in the world as poor, heart-broken
She won the smiles back to her lips, drove the lines of care and trouble from her brow, and once, as she related some droll incident that had occurred on the steamer in which she came over, made her laugh aloud -- the old timed, clear, sweet laugh, that made Paul's heart thrill with delight.
"Miss Dalton, I am coming to see you. l am a dear lover of young people," she said, as they began to talk of going.
"Do; I shall be delighted," Editha said, with a sudden lighting of her sad eyes.
"l am a stranger here in Newport, never having been in this country before," madam continued. " I wish you and Mr. Tressalia would take pity upon me, and give me the benefit of your familiarity with the objects of interest here."
Editha unhesitatingly promised, not even suspect- ing that this request was made more for her own sake than for the beautiful stranger's ; and then they all left the library together.
As they were about entering their carriage, Mr. Dalton drove by in his sporting sulky.
He bowed to Editha, and then bestowed a passing glance upon her new acquaintances.
That glance made him start and bestow a more searching look upon Madam Sylvester ; then he grew a sudden and deep crimson, while a look of great anxiety settled on his face,
He turned and looked back again after he had driven by.
"There can be but one face like that in the world. I must look into this," he muttered, uneasily.
"Who was that lady and gentleman with whom I saw you to-day at the Redwood Library ?" he asked of Editha that evening.
"A Mrs. Sylvester and her brother," she replied.
"Mrs. Sylvester," repeated Mr. Dalton, with a slight emphasis on the title.
"Mr. Tressalia introduced her as Madam Sylvester. Do you know anything about her ?" she asked, looking up in surprise.
"Ah! Tressalia knows her, then; where is she from " he returned, thoughtfully, and not heeding her question.
" From Paris, France ; they are French people, and extremely agreeable."
Mr. Dalton's face lost something of its habitual glow at this information, and he appeared ill at
"Um! strangers, then, here; does Tressalia know
them intimately ?" and he shot a searching, anxious glance at his daughter.
"Yes; he was telling me something of madam's history a day or two ago."
"What! have they been here any length of time?" interrupted Mr. Dalton, with a frown.
"Less than a week, I believe,"
"Yes, yes ; go on with what you were going to tell me," he again interrupted, impatiently.
"He said madam had seen a great deal of trouble ; there was some misunderstanding between herself and husband, who, by the way, was an American, which resulted in their separation after they had
married only a year. But she appears like a
perfectly lovely woman to me," Editha replied, with a weary look, as she remembered how she had been drawn toward the beautiful stranger.
Mr. Dalton watched her keenly out of the corners
of his eyes; he was exceedingly moved and nervous
about something ; the corners of his mouth twitched convulsively, while he kept clasping and unclasp- ing his hands in an excited way.
He paced the floor in silence for a few moments, then abruptly left the room.
Half an hour after he returned, and while pre- tending to look over the newspaper, said :
"Editha, I've about concluded that I'd like a look at Saratoga; it is just the height of the season now; everything will be lovely, and Newport is getting a little tame,"
"Tame, papa! why, I thought there was no place like Newport to you!" she exclaimed, in surprise.
" I know; Newport is a sort of summer home to me, of course, there is no place like home, but
you do not mind, I'd like a change for a little
"Cannot you go without me? I am very comfort able," Editha asked, with a sigh.
She had no heart for gaiety, and she was really happier just now there at Newport -- notwithstand-
ing her assertion to Mr. Tressalia that she did not enjoy Newport -- than she had ever hoped to be again.
"No, indeed," he returned, quickly and decidedly. I could not think of leaving you alone while you are so delicate; and, besides, I cannot spare you, you and I are rather alone in this busy world."
She looked up in surprise at him at this unusual
remark. It was a very rare occurrence for him to address her in such an aftectionate manner.
It almost seemed to her, with the distrust she had falsely had of him, that there was some sinister motive prompting this sudden change, but she
fled the feeling, and answered :
"Very well, I will go to Saratoga if you like; when
do you wish to start?"
"Tommorrow, if you can arrange it," Mr. Dalton
replied, the cloud lifting from his face.
She had been so calmly content since she had
come a definite understanding with Mr. Tressalia, and she wondered, with a feeling of sadness steal- ing over her, what she should do without her tireless friend. She had grown to depend upon him for amuse- ment; besides he heard regularly from Earle, and though not dare acknowledge it even to her
own heart yet those letters from over the sea were great events of the week to her.
She was sorry to go away without becoming more intimately acquainted with Madam Sylvester, for she had been strangely drawn toward her, thinking most constantly of her and her charming ways ever since her introduction to her.
All during the evening she kept hoping that Mr. Tressalia would drop in that she might tell him of the change in their plans, half wishing that he would join himself to their party and accompany them.
But he was spending the evening with Madam Sylvester, and meant to see Editha as early as pos- sible the next morning.
But in this he was disappointed, for a gentleman friend sought him to give his advice upon the merits of a horse that he was contemplating buying and before the bargain was completed Editha was gone without even a word of good-by.
(To be continued.)