Chapter 819610

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Chapter NumberXXXVI
Chapter TitleCIRCUMSTANCES ALTER CASES.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article819610
Full Date1881-09-03
Page Number2
Corrections6
Word Count8847
IllustratedN
Last Corrected2018-04-16
Newspaper TitleThe Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893)
Trove TitleA Mystery
article text

FICTION.

(From English, American, and other Periodicals.)

A MYSTERY

CHAPTER XXXVI.

CIRCUMSTANCES ALTER CASES.

When Mr. Dalton turned so abruptly and left Mr. Tressalia and Editha, he was indeed terribly excited.

He walked rapidly to a remote portion of the park, where out of the sight and sound of every one, he paced back and forth under the trees, muttering fierce imprecations upon some one, and gesticulating in a wild and angry manner.

" I must get away from here at once," he muttered " Whatever could have possessed them to follow us here? Of course she cannot know anything, and what especial interest can she have in my daughter ? But I'm terribly afraid some unlucky remark or question will expose all -- Editha is so charmingly ingenuous," he went on, with sarcastic bitterness, "and I have lost enough already -- I will not be baulked at this late day. I have fought fate all my life, and now I'll conquer or die. We will get out of this place instantly, and since they are French they will not mind perhaps if we take ' French leave.' "

A half-hour or more Mr. Dalton spent by himself giving vent to his anger and vexation, and then in a somewhat calmer frame of mind he went to seek Editha to return to their hotel.

He was obliged to search some time, for the throng aas immense, and it was no easy matter to discover a person once lost sight of.

But he found them at length all together, Madam Sylvester and her brother, Mr. Tressalia and Editha, standing by one of the fountains as if they had just risen from their seats and were contemplating retir- ing from the place.

Madam was standing by Editha, her arm lightly clasping her waist, and talking in her gentle charming way, while the young girl's eyes were fixed upon her face in a look of earnest admiration.

" A very touching scene !" sneered Mr. Dalton, as he came in sight of them, " A clear case of mutual affinity, that is remarkable under the circumstances ! My daughter seems to possess a power of attraction in certain directions, that is truly wonderful."

He stood looking at the group for a few moments, with a dark frown upon his brow, and as if undecided whether it was best to advance or retreat.

He seemed at length to decide upon the latter course, for he turned, and was about slipping away, when Editha espied him, and called out :

" There he is now! Papa come here, please !" and she went toward him, drawing Madam Sylvester

with her.

"I wanted to introduce you to my friend, Madam Sylvester," she said, with a sweet smile, and all un- suspicious of the tempest raging within Mr. Dalton's

bosom.

It was done, and there was no escape now, but it was a very pale face that Sumner Dalton bent before madam, and the steel-like glitter of his eyes repelled her, and made her think of Editha as a poor lamb in the clutches of a wolf.

"She does not look like him; she must resemble her mother ; but she has hair and eyes like --" was madam's inward comment, but which was broken short off at this point with a regretful sigh.

But the next moment she had turned to him again with her usual graciousness.

" Mr. Dalton," she said, " I have been telling your daughter how disappointed I was to find her gone so suddenly from Newport. I had only just become acquainted with her, to be sure, but I had promised myself much pleasure in my intercourse with her."

Mr. Dalton bowed and smiled, and mechanically repeated something stereotyped about " mutual pleasure," &c., and then turned to be presented to Mr. Gustave Sylvester, but not before madam had noticed again that steel-like glitter in his eyes.

" My dear," she said to Editha, " I have not yet asked you where you are stopping ?"

" At the Grand Union."

" That is capital, for we have all secured rooms there also, and I hope we shall see much of each

other."

" I hope so, too," Editha said, heartily, and think- ing how all her life she had longed for just such a friend as she thought madam would be.

" How long do you remain ?" she asked.

" I am sure I cannot fell. As long as papa desires, I suppose, as I make my plans conform to his as much as possible," and Editha cast an anxious glance at Mr. Dalton, whose strange manner she had re- marked, and was somewhat troubled by it.

He was sustaining rather a forced conversation with Mr. Gustave Sylvester, but his manner was nervous, and his brow gloomy and lowering.

"You are looking better than when I saw you at Newport," madam said, with an admiring glance

at her beautiful companion.

"Yes, I think my health is improving," Editha answered; but she sighed as she said it, and a look of pain crossed her face. Speaking of her ill-health always reminded her of its cause, and sent her thoughts flying over the sea to Earle.

The sigh touched madam, for she divined its cause, and drawing the fair girl a little closer within her encircling arm, she laid her lips against her ear, and tenderly whispered :

" We must never forget, dear, no matter how dark

our lot, that One has said, ' Thy strength is sufficient for thee.' "

Editha started, and her lip quivered a trifle.

" Do you think it is possible to realize that under all circumstances ?" she asked, a slight tremulous- nss in her tone, notwithstanding her effort at self

control.

Madam drew her gently one side, and began walking slowly around the fountain, in order to be

beyond the hearing of the others.

" In the first moments of our blind, unreasoning grief, perhaps not," she answered, with grave sweet- ness, " I have known, dear child, what it is

To wander on without a ray of hope.

To find no respite even in our sleep,

Life's sun extinguished, in the dark to grope,

And hopeless through the weary world to creep.

"That is the way life seemed to me once, but in time I came to realize that in this world of weary toil and waiting there must be some burden-bearers, and God meant me to be one of them."

" But all burdens are not heavy alike," murmured

Editha.

" No, dear, but if 'Our Father' sends them we may be very sure that is right for us to bear them, and Frances Anne Kemble tells us :

"A sacred burden is this life ye bear Look on it -- lift it, bear it patiently.

Stand up and walk beneath it steadfastly Fall not for sorrow, falter not for sin,

But onward, upward, till the goal ye win."

" Those are brave cheering worlds. If I could but have some kind comforter like you all the time, I could bear it better," Editha said, with fast-dropping tears, and realising more than she had ever done before, how utterly alone she was in the world.

" My, dear, you forget the great Divine Comforter. Haven't you yet learned to trust him?" madam asked, with great tenderness.

"Yes, oh ! yes, at least I thought I had until this last trouble came upon me, which had made it seem almost as if a blank despair like the shadow of a starless night, was thrown over the world in which I moved alone.' Many and many a time I have felt as if I must lie down like a weary child, and weep out the life of sorrow which I have borne, and which I still must bear until the end," the young girl said, with almost passionate earnestness.

" My poor child, how my heart grieves for you. Mr. Tressalia has told me something of your trouble, and I think I never knew of anything quite so sad before ; but believe me some good must come out of it. You are young, and this sad lesson patiently learned will give you strength of character for the future, whatever it may be. You know we are told that out of sorrow we came forth purified if we bear it rightly."

" Then I fear I shall never become purified," Editha answered, bitterly. " I cannot bear it rightly, I am not patient. My heart is constantly rebelling against the unjustness, as it seems to me, of it all ; why did not some instinct warn me that Earle was my brother before I had learned to love him so well? " she concluded, wildly.

" Hush, dear," madam said, with gentle reproof, but her fine face was very grave and troubled. "We cannot understand the why of a great many things ; we know that they are, and we have no right to question the wisdom of anything that is beyond our comprehension ; but I am greatly interested in this sorrow of yours and the young Marquis of Wycliffe. I know it will do you good to unburden your heart, and if you can trust me who am almost a stranger to you, tell me more about it."

"You do not seem like a stranger to me. You are more like a dear, long-tried friend, and I can never tell you how comforting your kind sympathy is to me," Editha returned, with eyes full of tears.

Madam's only reply was a closer clasp around the slender waist, and the young girl continued :

"When we met you that day in Redwood Library at Newport, and your hand closed over mine with such a strong yet fond clasp, and you looked into my eyes in that earnest, tender way you have, I could have wound my arms about your neck and wept out my grief upon your bosom even then."

Madam's eyes were full of tears now, but Editha did not see them, and went on :

" I will gladly tell you all about my sad trouble only I would not like to weary you.

" It will not weary me, dear."

And so Editha, won more and more by this beauti- ful woman's sweetness and gentleness, poured into her sympathizing ear all her story, beginning with the time Earle had come a poor boy into her uncle's employ, and ending with their final separation when they were told that they were both children of one

father.

" It is a very strange, sad history," madam said, when she had finished, " but the facts of the case are so very evident that there can be no way of dis- puting them. And this uncle of yours, what a noble

man he was."

" Yes, he was mamma's brother, and a dear, dear uncle. Oh ! if he could but have lived," Editha sighed.

" My dear, he could not have prevented this."

" No, but be would have comforted me as mother could have done."

" You were very fond of him then ?"

" Yes, I believe I loved him better than any one in the world. That does not seem just right to say perhaps, when papa and mamma were living, but he was always so sympathizing and tender with me. He would always listen patiently and with interest to all my little trials, and sympathize with me when every body else laughed at them as trifles."

" Had he no family of his own ?"

" No, he was what we call an old bachelor," Editha replied, with a little smile, " and he was the dearest old bachelor that ever lived. I used to think some- times that he must have loved some one long ago, for there were times when he was very sad. But he never seemed to like the ladies very well ; he would never go into company if he could help it, and when- ever I said anything to him abont it, he used to tell me, in a laughing way, that he was waiting to be my escort so as to frighten away all unworthy

suitors."

" He did not like the society of ladies, you say ?"

"No, he was always coldly polite to them, but would never show them any attention."

" He liked one well enough, it seems, to leave her all his fortune," madam said, with an arch look into the beautiful face at her side.

" Yes, he gave me all he had, excepting the ten thousand that Earle was to have. I was always his ' pet,' his ' ray of sunshine,' his ' happiness,' but I would rather have my dear kind uncle back than all the fortunes in the world," she said, sadly.

" He was your mother's brother, you say, dear -- what was his name ?" asked madam, who had been very deeply interested in all she had heard.

" It is a name that he was always very proud of -- Ri-- "

"Editha!" suddenly called Mr. Dalton from be- hind them, " I have been chasing you around for the last half-hour. Do you know what time it is ?"

" No, papa."

" It is after one, and time that delicate people were

at rest."

" Very well, I am ready to go now, if you wish," she said, quietly.

Mr. Tressalia and Mr. Sylvester now joined them, and the former made some proposal to madam re- garding an excursion for the morrow.

While they were discussing the question Mr. Dal- ton tried to hurry Editha away, regardless of the propriety of the thing.

" I must bid them good-night, papa," she said, coldly, and wilfully standing her ground, while she

wondered at his extreme haste.

" Be quick about it then, for I am deuced tired," he said, impatiently.

She then said good-night to them in a general way, and turned to accompany her father, not very well pleased to be treated so like a child.

" My dear," called madam, with an anxious look in her eyes as she saw how pale and weary Editha was looking, "get all the rest you can, and then come to me as soon as you have breakfasted to-mor- row, for I have something very particular to say to

you. My room is No. 105."

Editba promised, while Summer Dalton ground his teeth with inward rage at this familiar request.

" What you can see in her to admire is more than I can imagine," he remarked, curtly, on their way

out of the park.

" Why, papa ! where are your eyes ? I think she is the most charming woman I ever met." Editha replied with unwise enthusiasm.

" I prefer you should not be quite so free with an entire stronger -- it is not proper," he growled.

She set her little chin, and her eyes flashed with a light which told that she considered herself old enough, and capable of judging for herself upon

such matters.

"Have you enjoyed the evening?" she asked, avoiding any reply to his remark.

" Well enough until they came," was the curt re-

tort.

"I am sorry if you do not like my new friends, papa, but I thought you used to admire Mr. Tres- salia," Editha returned, a little spirit of mischief prompting the last half of her remark.

"He is well enough, only according to my way of looking at things it does not seem just the thing for him to be hanging around you all the time and running after you as if you belonged to him," Mr. Dalton said, crossly.

He was evidently entirely out of sorts, and Editha knew it would be better to let the matter drop, but the could not resist one more little shaft.

"I thought you liked me to receive Mr. Tressalia's, attentions," she said, innocently.

"So I did once, but circumstances alter cases sometimes ; and -- we will not discuss Mr. Tressalia further, if you please."

He was undeniably cross, and she was glad to es- cape to her room as soon as they reached the hotel, while she was inwardly rejoicing at the prospect of having Madam Sylvester's companionship for awhile

at least.

Madam stood and watched her as she left them and moved away with her father.

Her face was very sad, and her voice trernbled slightly as, turning to her brother, she asked :

" Of whom does she remind you, Gustave ?"

" Of no one in particular," he returned, indiffer- ently.

" Not of --?" and she bent forward and whispered the rest of the sentence in his ear.

" No, not if my memory serves me right," he said, shaking his bend, " and yet," he added " there may be an expression about the eyes that is familiar. I had not thought of it before."

" Gustave -- her name is Editha !" madam said, in a low voice, her face very pale, and with an eager

look into her brother's face.

" There are doubtless a thousand Edithas in the world ; do not allow yourself to become imaginative at this late day, Estelle," he returned, and dropping the matter there, madam signified her readiness to

return to the hotel also.

CHAPTER XXXVII.

ADIEU TO SARATOGA.

Editha had told her maid that she need not sit up for her, as it would doubtless be very late when she returned from the park ; but she almost regretted that she had done so, for on reaching her room, and with the false strength which excitement gives gone she found herself very weak and weary.

She sank listlessly into a chair, and began remov- ing her ornaments, and while thus engaged there came a knock upon her door.

Almost simultaneously it was opened, for she had not locked it, and Mr. Dalton thrust in his head.

" Where is Annie ?" he asked.

" In bed papa. I told her she need not wait for me. Do you want anything very particularly ?"

" I want to see you," he replied, coming and shutting the door, " I am sorry it is so late. I wish we had come home earlier. I have had bad news, I have important business that calls me home im- mediately," be concluded, speaking disconnectedly and excitedly,

" Home !" exclaimed Editha, greatly surprised, and feeling deeply disappointed, for of course she knew he would expect her to go with him. Besides she could, not bear the thought of leaving so soon after Madam Sylvester's arrival.

"Yes, we must start by six to-morrow morning. Can you be ready ?"

" So soon," she said, with a weary sigh.

" Yes, I must go immediately. If there was a train in an hour, and we could get ready, I would take it," he answered, excitedly.

" Why, papa, what can possibly have happened to recall you so suddenly ?"

" You would not understand if I should tell you," he said, uneasily, " it is private business of my own, Will you be ready ?"

" It is very little time," Editba replied, wearily. " Would it not do to wait a day or two longer ?"

" No, not an hour longer than it will take to pack our trunks and catch a train," Mr. Dalton said, with a frown,

He was beginning to be very angry to be thus opposed.

" I with this had not happened just now, and they have only arrived to-night," Editha murmured, re- flectively.

Mr. Dalton scowled angrily, and muttered some- thing about the selfishness of women generally.

Editha sat thinking for a few moments, and then

asked :

"Could you not go home without me, papa, if this business is so very urgent? I would really like to remain at the Springs a little longer, and I know that Madam Sylvester would gladly act as my chaperon until you can return."

It was all that Mr. Dalton could do to suppress an oath at this request.

" No, no," he said, quickly, " I am nearly sick with all this worry and fuss, and I cannot spare you."

He did indeed look worried over something, and his face was pale, his eyes very bright and restless ; but Editha could not think in necessary that she should be hurried off in such an unheard-off manner just for a matter of business.

" If you must go, and think you cannot get along without me, suppose you go on an early train, and I will follow with Annie later," she said. " A few hours cannot make much difference to you, and I really think it would be uncivil to hurry away so, and without even a word of farewell to our friends. Besides I promised I would see Madam Sylvester in the morning."

" I should think you were fairly bewitched with this French madam. I will not have it. You must return with me; and if report speaks the truth, your wonderful friend is no fit companion for my daughter," Mr. Dalton cried, with angry hauteur.

" Then you know her before to-night. I thought so from your manner. What do you know about her ?" Editha asked, greatly surprised.

" I cannot say that I had that honor," her father returned, sarcastically. " I never spoke with her until to-night, and I cannot say that I wish to extend the acquaintance."

" She is a very lovely, as well as a good, pure woman," Editha asserted, with fluhing cheeks, and indignant with him for speaking so slightingly of

her new friend.

*' Mr. Tressalia," she added, " knows all about her, and he says that excepting for a mistake or two during the early part of her life, her character is above suspicion."

" A mistake or two in one's early life, as you ex- press it, often ruins one for all time," remarked Mr. Dalton, dryly.

Having proved the truth of that axiom to a certain extent, he knew whereof he spoke.

" Then you would not be willing for me to remain with her under any circumstances ?" Editha asked, with a searching look into his face.

" Certainly not, and I desire you to hold no furthur communication with her."

" You will have to give me some good and suffi- cient reason for your wish before I shall feel called upon to comply with it," she returned, firmly, and calmly meeting his eye.

" I should think that by this time you had seen the folly of defying me," he said, with a fierceness that was startling, " But enough of this. I suppose you

consent to return with me ?"

" Yes, rather than have any more words about it ; but I am very much disappointed," she returned, with a sigh, and beginning to think that Mr. Dalton was jealous of her sudden liking for Madam Sylvester, and that was why he was hurrying her

away so.

" And please do not trouble yourself to inform Mr. Tressalia, or any one else, concerning our plans. I do not care to have my steps dogged again, as they have been hither, and for which it seems I have you to thank," her father said, fretfully.

Editha glanced at him in a puzzled way ; she could not understand him to-night.

That he was strangely excited over something, she could see, for he was very pale, his eyes glowed fiercely, and he was very nervous and irritable, and she did not really believe his story regarding urgent business calling him home.

Somehow she became possessed with the idea that madam was in some way connected with this inex- plicable move, but how or why she could not imagine.

"You had better call Annie, and I will help you pack your trunks, so that there will be nothing to do in the morning," Mr. Dalton said, rising and beginning to gather up some articles that lay on the

table.

He was an expert at packing, and Editha, too utterly wearied out to feel equal to any effort, was glad to avail herself of this offer.

She went to call Annie, wondering if all her life- long she would have to be the subject to his caprices in this way, and feeling more sad than she could

express.

In less than an hour, under the nimble and ex- perienced fingers of Mr. Dalton and Annie, every article was packed, the trunks strapped and labeled, and ready for the porter to take down in the morn- ing.

Then the weary girl crept into bed, feeling more friendless and alone than ever before, and wept her- self to sleep.

She had been forbidden to communicate with Mr. Tressalia regarding their departure, and she did not know whether she should ever meet him again, and it it seemed such a shabby and unkind way to treat a friend who had sacrificed so much for her. She had been forbidden to hold any further communica- tion with Madam Sylvester, for whom she was be- ginning to feel a strong affection, and all this by a man selfish and domineering, and determined to bend her to his lightest will.

She knew that she could refuse point-blank to obey him if she chose -- she could go her own way and he his ; but if she did this, she would cut her- self loose from every hold upon the old life, and from every natural tie -- she would not have a friend left in the world, while Mr. Dalton would also be

left alone.

Every day she was conscious that her affection for him waned more and more, but for her mother's sake she could not quite bear the thought of leaving him without any restraining influences ; besides, if she should pursue any such course, she would take away all his means of support, for his ten thousand was slipping through his fingers like water.

She never stopped to reason that this might be the very best thing she could do -- that if he stood in a little wholesome fear of losing his present share of her handsome income he would not be likely to domineer over her quite to such an extent.

But the future looked darker than ever to her, and her heart was very sad and depressed,

At five o'clock the next morning Mr. Dalton came to arouse her and her maid, and as soon as she was dressed he sent her up a tempting little breakfast, with word to take plenty of time and eat all she could.

This he had accomplished by heavily feeing one of the waiters the night before, and the steaming cup of rich chocolate, the broiled chicken, done to a turn, the eggs and delicate toast, really formed an appetizing meal.

With all his selfishness and the determination to bend Editha to his own will, Mr. Dalton always liked to have her fare well, as well as dress richly and becomingly.

At six o'clock the early train steamed out of the Saratoga depot, and Editha could not refrain from dropping a few more tears behind her veil, as a sad farewell to the friends whom she feared she should never meet again.

Mr. Dalton eyed her crossly, but was too well pleased to have got her away so successfully to trouble her with any more words about the matter.

When they arrived in their own city, sometime during the afternoon, Mr. Dalton proposed that they go directly to some hotel, since their own house was shut up, and no word had been sent to the ser- vants to prepare for their coming.

Editha assented, and he engaged some cheerful handsome rooms in a first-class house, for them both.

A week went by, and she thought it strange he should say no more about going home, and one day she ventured to suggest their return.

" I believe I like it here better," he said, glancing around the beautiful room.

"Better than our own spacious home?" Editha cried, astonished. She knew that their elegant house on --th street had always been the pride of his heart, and the one thing he mourned about at Newport or anywhere else was the want of the com- forts and conveniences of their elegantly appointed

residence.

After his confession to Earle that he was a ruined man, his house and furniture mortgaged, and the mortgage liable to be foreclosed any day, she had generously proposed clearing it off, and it was now

free from debt.

" Yes," he replied to her surprised remark ; " the house seems so large and lonely with only two people in it besides the servants, and really, I have never been so comfortable at any hotel before."

" I know ; but one has so much more freedom in one's own home," Editha said, disappointed.

Hotel life was always obnoxious to her, and her father knew it, too. But her preferences were, of minor importance to him.

"Yes," he said ; " but there is a great deal of care in providing for a family, and I shall get rid of all that if we board. I propose that we rent the house

for awhile ; it will give us a snug little sum, and it will be more economical to live this way."

Editha opened her eyes wide at this new de-

parture.

She had never heard her father preach economy before ; but she saw at once where the advantage was coming, and in her heart she grew very indig-

nant toward him.

If he rented the house, it would indeed bring him a handsome sum, which he would pocket, while the hotel bill would doubtless come out of her income, But though she read him correctly, in a measure, she did not give him credit for the deep scheme he

had in mind.

He thought that Mr. Tressalia, on finding that they had again taken French leave, would try to find them, and follow them as he had done before ; and if he, with madam and her brother, should take a notion to seek them there in the city, and should find their house either closed or rented, they would come to the conclusion that they were still absent at some summer resort, and go away again. Thus he would escape them entirely.

But the matter ended, as all such matters ended, in Editha's yielding assent.

* * * * * * * *

Some things in Editha's story had moved Madam Sylvester deeply, and she passed a sleepless night after her return to the hotel, on the night of the garden party.

She lay, reviewing all the ground, recalling little items which at the time possessed no significance to her, but which now impressed her powerfully ; she thought of the strange attraction she felt toward the young girl, and revolved many other things of which only she and her brother knew anything about, until it seemed as if she could not wait for morning to come,

As soon as Mr. Tressalia made his appearance, she sought him and asked him a few questions that she had intended asking Editha the night before, but had not had an opportunity, and the effect which his answers produced upon her, startled him

not a little.

She lost her self-possession entirely, trembled, and grew frightfully pale, while the tears fairly rained over her fine face, as, grasping both his hands in here, she exclaimed :

" My friend Paul, you have proved yourself a good genie more than once ; and now shall I tell you something you will like to know ?"

Of course he was very curious about the matter ; but the nature of the secret cannot be disclosed just here, although be deemed it of so much importance that he felt justified in seeking Mr. Dalton at once, to demand an explanation regarding some things that had occurred during his early life.

He came back to madam with the startling intel- ligence that Mr. Dalton and his party had left on the early train.

" Gone ?" almost shrieked Madam Sylvester. " He knew it -- he knew what I have told you. I remem- ber how he appeared last night when he met me, and now he has fled to escape me !"

Both Paul and Mr. Gustave Sylvester were on their mettle now, and proceeded to ascertain whither Mr. Dalton had gone.

The waiter who had served them the night pre-

vious, and the porter who had assisted in removing their trunks, were interviewed and feed, but neither had noticed the labels on the departing visitors' baggage, and so their destination was a matter of

doubt.

But that afternoon madam's party also bade adieu to Saratoga, their object being to ferret out the hiding-place of Sumner Dalton, and compel him to an act of justice long delayed.

CHAPTER XXXVIII.

TOM DRAKE'S BEWILDERMENT.

We have left Earle for a long time in his magnifi- cent loneliness at Wycliffe.

But magnificent loneliness it indeed was, for in his great house there was not a soul to whom he could go for either sympathy or cheer.

He was surrounded on every hand by everything that almost unlimited wealth could buy; he pos- sessed one of the finest estates in England, and farms and forests in France, which, as yet, he had never seen ; he occupied a position second to none

save royalty ; he had the finest horses and carriages in the country ; cattle and hounds of choicest breed ; he had all this, and yet he was heart-sick with a

bitterness that seemed unbearable.

He could interest himself in nothing -- he took pleasure in nothing ; all his fair domains and riches were like a mockery to him ; he never stood in the oriole window that looked out from the centre ot the main building at Wycliffe, and view the broad ex- panse spread out berore him, and beautiful as Eden's fair gardens, without feeling that he was cursed worse even than Adam and Eve were cursed when driven from Paradise.

His beautiful gardens, shining streams stocked with finest trout, broad fields of waving golden grain, the noble park with its grand old trees, God's most glorious handiwork, all mocked him with their

loveliness.

It was as if they said to him. "You can have all this -- you can revel in everything that serves to make the world bright and beautiful, you can buy and sell, and get grain, add to your stores, and get fame and honor, but after all is told, you must ever carry a desolate heart in your bosom ; you can never posses the one jewel worth sevenfold more than all you possess; you can never behold the fair face, dearer than all the world, beaming upon you in your home as you go and come on the round of daily

duties."

What did it amount to? -- of what value was it all to him if he could not share it with the only woman whom he could ever love?

He forced himself day after day to go over the estate to see that everything was in order, and that his commands were purposely obeyed; but there was no heart in anything that he did, while the ser- vants and workmen all wondered to see him so sad and dispirited.

The interior of Wycliffe was in keeping with its surroundings.

Entering the wide and lofty hall, with its carpet- ings of velvet, its panelings of polished oak, its rich furnishings, its statuary and pictures, one gained something of an idea of the luxury awaiting beyond.

Upon one side of this hall was a suit of parlors --

three in number.

The first and third were large lofty rooms, and furnished alike. The ceilings were paneled and painted in the most exquisite designs. The walls were delicately tinted, with rosewood dado, in which were set panels of variegated marble beautifully carved. The carpets were of a bright and graceful pattern, and of richest texture, the hangings of crimson plush and the furniture, no two pieces of which were alike, was upholstered to match.

The middle room was larger than the other two, and even more dazzling in its furnishings, and was separated from the others by arches, supported by graceful marble columns richly carved. The walls were delicately tinted, the same as in the other rooms, but the dados were of white Italian marble. The celling was painted with daises and buttercups arranged in most tasteful designs ; the carpet was

a marvel of richcess and delicate beauty -- a white

ground dotted with golden heads of wheat ; the cur-

tains were of golden satin festooned with lace; the furniture, of different kinds of precious wood, inlaid with gold and pearl, was cushioned with white satin brocaded with goldeu coreopsis ; the lambrequins which were of velvet embroidered with daises saw

a superb effect to the whole.

Every accessory in the way of mirrors, étagères pictures, statuary, etc., was perfect, and the elegance of the whole suite it would be difficult to exceed.

On the opposite side of the hall, were the library sitting-rooms, and dining-room, while leading from this latter was a very fine conservatory.

Above, there were suites of rooms for the family and guests, and all in keeping with the elegance of those below, and if wealth and the goods things it brings, could possibly gladden the heart of man Earle Wayne, Marquis of Wycliffe, ought to have

been a very happy one.

There is an old saying, " uneasy lies the head that wears a crown," and we might add, heavy is the heart whose all lies in a weighty purse, for in all England it would not have been possible to find a more wretched being than Earle Wayne.

And so the time went by until there came a strange break in the monotony of his life -- the adventure of

which Mr. Tressalia had told Editha.

He had been told by one of the servants, during the day before, that a suspicious-looking character was prowling about the place ; but he did not pay much attention to the matter, and when night came he retired as usual, and went to sleep without a thought of danger.

About two in the morning he had been awakened by the sound of muffled footsteps in his dressing- room. The next moment he saw the flash of a dark lantern, and knew there was mischief brewing.

As before related, it was but the work of a second for him to reach out and grasp his revolver, which, remembering the robbery at Mr. Dalton's, he always

kept by him ready for use.

When the man passed between his bed and the window, he knew that was his beat chance, and

fired.

The intrude dropped instantly, with a groan, and his lantern went out as it fell to the floor.

Earle was out of bed and had struck a light in the

time than it takes to tell it.

" Who are you ?" he demanded, stooping over his

fallen foe.

Then he started back with an exclamation of sur- prise, as he immediately recognized the wretch in whose power he had found Editha, and who had so clevely escaped from him that morning in the hotel.

It was indeed Tom Drake, and his career as a mid- night robber was ended for all time.

He appeared to be suffering terribly, and upon examination, Earle found that the ball had entered the leg just below the thigh, and as he could not move it, had probably shattered the bone.

Now that his enemy was fallen, Earle's sympathies were at once aroused. Suffering in any form always

touched his heart.

" Well, my man," he said, kindly, as he bent over him, " what I am going to do for you, I wonder?"

"I guess you've done for me already," was the rough response, accompanied by a fearful oath and a groan as he recognized his captor.

" I'm very sorry to cause you suffering, but 'self preservation is the first law of nature,' you know," Earle answered, as he stepped quickly to the bell cord and gave it a violent pull.

In less than five minutes a servant appeared in answer to the summons.

" Here, Robert," Earle said, as composedly as if nothing had happened ; " I have invited a stranger to stop with me for a little while. Lend a hand, and we will take him across the ball to the south suite ; then I want you to go for Dr. Sargeant as quickly as possible."

The burglar was borne to the rooms mentioned, but carefully as he was handled, he fainted during the removal, and was a long time regaining consci-

ousness afterward.

The doctor arrived in about three-quarters of an hour, and, after much difficulty and probing, suc- ceeded in extracting the ball. The ugly wound was then drassed, and the patient made as comfortable as possible.

As the physician was about departing, Earle sought him privately.

" If you please," he said, " I would like nothing said about this affair. I do not wish to create any

sensation, and the country will be alive with excite- ment if the events of to-night become known."

" But, my lord, the man ought to be given up to justice," said the physician, with a frown.

Earle, smiled slightly.

" No one knows better than yourself, that he is no fit subject for justice now, nor will he be for a good

while to come."

" That is so. He'll have a hard time of it before he gets through. The bone is shattered. There will be fever, and a great deal of pain; while if mort- tification sets in, he'll get justice in another world."

" Then please oblige me by keeping the matter quiet, and do the best you can for him at my ex- pense."

" Surely you don't mean to keep the fellow here."

exclaimed the doctor, in amazement.

"Certainly. What did you suppose I would do

with him ?" Earle asked quietly.

" Send him to the alms-house or hospital. It be- longs to the authorities to take care of such

scamps."

" If a friend of yours had been injured in this way, would you advocate sending him to the hos- pital ? Would the excitement and fatigue of the re- moval be beneficial?" Earle asked pointedly.

"No; inflammation would probably follow, and the patient would doubtless die," the physician

coolly admitted.

" That is the way I reasoned the question; there- fore I hold myself, in a measure, responsible for this

man's life," was the grave reply.

" The earth would be well rid of a villain," an- swered the doctor, gruffly. " It was only the luck of the thing that prevented, your being where he is

now, or perhaps a corpse."

" Not 'luck' my friend, but the hand of Provi- dence," Earle interposed, with his rare smile. " Your judgment and my conscience tell me that the man will die unless he has the very best of care. He must bo kept quiet, and free from anxiety also; so I have decided that he shall remain here until he

recovers."

" But who will take care of him ?" asked the phy-

sician, his gruffness all gone, and a look that was not

disapprobotion in his eye.

" I will see that he lacks for no care or attention; as a wounded and suffering man, he will be the same

to me as a friend or guest until he gets well; and as such I shall expect you will exercise your utmost skill, and do the very best you can for him," Earle

said, quietly.

"Well! well! well!" muttered the astonished disciple of Esculapius; and then he stood regarding his companion for a moment, with raised eyebrows, end his mouth puckered into the smallest possible

compass.

" Unless you object to treating such a patient," Earle added, with a little hauteur.

"No, no, no; bless you! no," Dr. Sargeant re- turned, quickly, " I will do my very best for the

poor wretch -- you are right, it would be sacrificing his life to have him removed, and you may rely upon my descretion."

And the noted doctor went away somewhat mysti- fied as to what manner of man the young marquis might be, that he was willing to turn his magnifi- cant home into an hospital for thieves and robbers.

Earle went back to his charge whom he found restless, feverish, and burning with intolerable

thirst.

He swore savagely as Earl made his appearance, and defiantly demanded what he was going to do

with him.

"Take care of you until you get on your legs again," was the calm reply, as he held some pleasant, cooling diink to the man's parched lips.

He drank eagerly, and then fell back among the soft pillows with a groan.

"Bosh! that's a likely story!" he returned, after a minute, with an angry flash of his eyes, " out with it and don't keep me in suspense -- I've enough to bear with this pain."

"So you have, poor fellow," Earl answered, kindly, "and it is just as I have told you -- you are to stay here and be nursed until you get well."

" What! stay here ?" and the man's eyes wandered around the luxurious apartment in a look of amaze-

ment.

"Yes, in this very room ; don't you know that you cannot bear to be moved ?"

"I don't feel much like it, that's a fact," he said, suppressing another groan, " but," with a keen look into the kind face above him, " what right have you to say it."

"The right of ownership -- I am master here.

"You!"

"Yes, you recognise me then.

"Of course I do, and you knew me instanter, which isn't strange considering ; one isn't likely to forget a phiz like mine, but -- but --"

"But you had no idea that you were breaking into my house when you came here last night," inter-

rupted Earle.

"No, I'll be --- if I did," was the irreverent but energetic reply.

"There has been a change in the circumstances of

late."

"I should think so ! then you are the Marquis of Wycliffe?"

"Yea. What did you expect to find here in the way of plunder?"

"I may as well own up, I suppose, since I'm where I can't help myself," the man replied, recklessly. " I was after the family jewels, which I was told were kept here."

" They are not here. I had them deposited in the treasure vault more than a month ago. There was only a little money in my safe, for I had paid off my servants only yesterday ; so you see, my friend, you have had your sin and risked your life for nothing," Earle said, gravely.

Tom Drake swore savagely again at this informa-

tion.

"Do not be profane -- indeed I must request you to stop that sort of talk while you are here," Earle said,

with decision.

" And you really don't mean to send me to the hos-

pital?"

"No, indeed ; I do not need to tell you that you have a long, hard job before you from the wound my ball gave you, and that it will be a good while before you get about again."

Earle thought he might as well talk things just as they were.

Tom Drake nodded assent, a look of grim endur- ance on his ugly face.

"And," continued Earle, "unless you have good care -- the very best of care, it is doubtful whether you ever have the use of your leg again."

"And what should that matter to you ?" was the gruff query, accompanied by a suspicious glance.

"It matters this to me. One whom I profess to serve has bidden me to care for the sick and needy," Earl said, gently.

"Humph! that's all cant. You'll watch me as a cat does a mouse, and just as soon as I begin to spruce up a little, you'll hand me over to her ma- jesty's minions, and I shall have a nice little orna- ment attached to my leg, eh ?"

He tried to put a bold front on, but it was evident that he experienced considerable anxiety regarding

his future.

"There will be time enough to talk of that matter by and by," Earle answered; indeed, he had not given a thought to the subject, and had no idea what course he should pursue.

"Now I have to give you this quieting powder," he added, taking up one from the table, " and the doctor wishes you to get all the rest and sleep you can before the inflammation increases."

He mixed the powder in some kind of a tempting jelly, the man watching him curiously all the time.

"Who is going to take care of me?' he asked, after he had swallowed it and taken a cooling draught.

"I shall take care of you for the present."

" You!" with another curious look, " I suppose you've plenty of servants ?"

"Yes."

"They would do to look after a chap like me, and," speaking more humbly than he had yet done, " this is too fine a room to upset on my account."

This was encouraging ; it showed that the wretch had a little feeling and regret for the trouble he was

giving,

Earle bent nearer and said, in a friendly tone :

"I shall not trust you to the care of servants until the doctor pronounces your wound to be mending; if you should be neglected ever so little, there is no telling what the result might be. As for the room, you need give yourself no uneasiness about it ; you are to have just as much attention as if you were my friend or my brother. Now try to forget that you have been my enemy, as I shall; for as you are situated now I feel only sympathy for you. You must not talk any more, but try to get some rest."

Earle smoothed the tumbled bed-clothes, changed the wet cloth upon the sufferer's burning head, drew down the curtains to shade the light from his eyes, and was about to seat himself at a distance and leave him to s;eep, when his voice again arrested him.

"Say."

Well ?" he asked, again coming to his side to see he wished anything.

The man hesitated a minute while he searched his face keenly, and then burst forth :

" I'm cussed if I can make out what kind of a chap

you are, anyhow!"

Earle smiled slightly at his evident perplexity,

and the invalid continued:

"First you hit a fellow a swinger on the back of the head that knocks the life out of him, and makes one think that the fury of seven Jupiters is concen- trated om him; next you shoot him with a revolver, and then turn around and nurse him as tender as a

woman -- I can't make it out."

"I did give you a heavy blow that night in the hotel, I admit; the case was desperate, and I knew I must not fail to lay you out the first time. If you had not escaped I should have given you up to the

authorities, and you would doubtless have been serving out your sentence now, instead of lying here. But you are wounded and suffering, you will probably be sick a long time, and however much I

may think you deserve punishment for your past crimes, your condition appeals to my humanity -- as a sufferer you are, instead of an enemy and a robber, my ' neighbour,' my friend, and as such I will treat you, while you lie here," Earle explained, and there was no mistaking the friendliness of his tone.

" Your neighbour ! your friend !" Tom Drake re- plied, in low, suppressed tones, and feeling almost as if he had got into a new world.

" Yes, just that ; and now to ease your mind and make you trust me, I will tell you that no one save the doctor, myself, and my servants, know what transpired last night, and no one else will know of the affair while you are sick here. Now go to sleep, if you can."

Earle moved away without giving him a chance to reply, the man watching his retreating figure in stupid amazement.

(To be continued.)