Chapter 820665

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Chapter NumberXI (CONTINUED)
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article820665
Full Date1881-10-29
Page Number4
Corrections0
Word Count9117
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Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893)
Trove TitleDeceived
article text

FIQTIQ®.

(from EugUiti, Atucrlcuii, nnd ,'o<lier Periodical«.)

?^ BE?». na

CHAPTER XL-(Continued).

She sh'tnk from him with « gesture of loathing that seemed to cut his very heart strings asunder, and which made her brother tind every one present stare nt her in undisguised wunder.

AU eave Adison Cheetham, whose face lighted as if by magic »9 he noticsd it, »nd with a swift light step he glided forward mid stood by her side.

Richard frowned st this presumptuous net, but more intent upon his betrothed's appearance than anything else, be bent near her and whispered

" Pearle-Margaret 1 ate j ou ill ?* Why do you

look nt nie thus p"

She dropped the earl'o arm and moved farther away fioni him, an icy shiver 6hakiug her form

rom head to foot

" AVhat is it9-what troubles her *" Richard asked, turning to her br ither.

"I dornt know-she will not answer a single question I found her like this when I went to brilia her to ths carnage , not a word can I draw from her lips," he answerod, gloomily

Adison Cheetham reached dornend took one of Pearle's gloved hands m his, then turning to Richard,

he enid in a cold, hard tone

'Ciptain Byrnholin, Miss Radcliffe desires to be released, here and now, from her engagement to

you '

Rtchnrd Byrnholme fnce paled to the hue of death at these startling wordt,, then turning upon him haughtily, ho said

" What lile jesting is this? It ill befits any one upon euch an occusion "

' It is not idle jesting, ns you will hud. Ask for y ourdell,' wbb the culm reply

The whole party were stricken dumb for the moment Ihe earl looked as if he could strike the man seneelesss at his feet, if he had had the power

to move

Richard gazed in Bp?echlecs astonishment from one to another, as if demanding some explanation of the strange, the horrible words he hud heard

He knew that something was wrong with Pearls, or she would never have met him thug,

What could it all mean-those stony, vacant eyes the colorless face, the drawn and compressed lips, that erect, repelling attitude p This was not the sweet, bright face he had kissed but yesterday! Surely those were not the same lips tbat had so passionately told him then that she loved him.

But-great Heaven 1 ull at once he recalled her nervousness and pallor, her eager desire to tell him something. He remembered the horror in her eyes, and her white face when he had found her m the rustic arbor, and how «he bad evaded his question, when he bad asked if anything had disturbed her faith ia him Had that foreshadowed this ' Why, oh ! why had he not waited and heard her confession then P Why had he not sent Adison Cheetham awaj and listened to her as she begged him to do?

What did he mean now by asking him to release Pearle ? Had he won her away from him ? It looked like it, with him standing so confidently by her side, holding her white gloved hand, while there was a strange gleam m his ey es, and a smile about his lips that he had never seen there before. It was so evil, so triumphantly sinister, that it made bim

shiver.

But it could not be true-it must be all a farce, although rather an untimely one, for had not Pearle only yesterday called Adison " that hateful man "

But-ho scanned her face again eagerly-she might have been deceiving him She might have been acting a part 1

The Earl of Derwentwater strode forward and seized the fair girl by the arm, his brow black with wrath, his ejes flashing angrily

He was about to addresB her, when Richard interrupted him.

" Pearle, what fearful thing is this t" he demanded in shaking tones of the motionless bride

But he might as well have spoken to a block of stone. Her eyes were still looking vacantly before her, and she did not even appear to hear biro.

" Margaret, speak !" commanded the earl, in low,

repressed tones.

" Tell me, Pearl, it is true, as he says, that you wish to bB released from your troth to me, here and

now ?"

She shuddered at hia words, but bowed her head m prompt assent.

' My God 1" and Richard Byrnholm staggerer! back sa if he had been struck a heavy blow.

" Are you mud, Margaret Radcliff*) P" cried her brother, terribly eicited, while dire confusion pre- vailed among the bridal pa,y

' What doas thii moin ?" the earl haughtily de- manded, turning to Adision Cheetham.

"It means, my lord, that Miss Radcliffe has changed her mind, and intends to marr} me instead of Captain Byrnhnlm," he returned, with insolent

assurance

' Tis fa'se-I will not believe it!' hoarsely whiB pored Richard, great drops of agony breaking out upon his forehead.

Then again he appealed to the stonyeyed bride

" Pearle, tell me, as you value your future, have I been deceived, dup»d? Did you come hither this morning to wed him instead of me.

Again sbe bowed, but no words issued from her diawn lips.

" Do you iBnh it P Do you love him P Have you ceased to love me ? Was it this you wished to tell me yesterdaj ?" he demanded, breathlessly.

The white lids quivered above those vacant eyes, a spasm of pain contracted her whole face, and he could hear her white teeth grate one upon another, ns she once more inclined her proud head m token

of assent

The earl was in despair, the brides maids grew weak and faint, willie Richard Byrnholm could not have looked worse hid he been dead,

" There is some mystery here . Are you a traitor f Explain the meaning of this strange Bcene," he de- manded, turning upon his whilom friend with a glance that made htm cower in spite of his assumed

assurance

" I ein only explain it by telling you again that Miss Rndchfft) will became my wife immediately upon your releasing her from her promise to you "

" Do j ou mean to say that your are going on with this wudding in that waj, Pearle ?" demanded her brother, in a towering passion,

"Ties" Her lips framed the word, but no sound

came from them.

" I forbid it," tho earl said, Bternly.

" 1 ou cannot forbid it. Miss Radcliffe has a right to choose for hersalt, and I pray you will not detain na longer, since the rector is doubtless awaiting us now," returned Adison Cheetham, defiantly.

' I can only release her from her engagement to me nt her own request," Richnrd said, pressing his hand hard against his throbbing temples He could

not believe it even now.

' She dots so request," returned his enemy.

"Do you, Pearle? Have I lost you? Do you mean to many him P '

' les," she answered, this time in a tone that all

could hoar

He groaned aloud It seemed ne if some sudden shock had rent his soul from his body , then all his outraged manhood rising within him, be cried

out

" You are released-go, go, both ot you, vile cheats that j ou are "

Turning away with a gesture of despair he staggered toward the door, but his strength failing bim, he dropped into n chair that stood noor

The Karl of Derwentwater turned again to Pearle

und demanded

" Margaret Radcliffe, do you mean to be guilty of such a dnstardlj act? Will you desert a good nnd faithful man a. the verj altar rail for one who has proved himself n scoundrel and a villain, or this would never h»ve occurred ? Tell me, nie you bant upon marrying this man P"

" Yee," she again replied, without moving a muscle

of her luce

" I will not allow it-I will forbid the bonne," he

said

" It can do no good-it is too lota to talk of any- thing like thnt, she has given me her word, the special license is in mj pocket at this moment, and no one his any right to interfere when of her own free will she goes with me to the altir," returned Adison Cheetham, speaking with a great deal more calmness than he felt, while not for a moment bad he reloased his hold upon Pearle'a hand, to which every now and then he gave a warning pressure

I cannot undeistand it, What shall I do with her ? ' cried the earl, turning in despair toward the others of the amazed party.

"Don't doit, Pear'e-I beg-I plead with you," ho cried again to her.

" I must," she answered, then with a low moan she pointed toward Richard, crying, " Go to him-save him !"

Every eye was turned m that direction, and the earl sprang forward just in season to save the stricken min from falling to the floor The blow had been too heavy <md he was borne senseless from the pines.

Pearle wrenched her hand from Adison Cheetham and would also have flown to bim, but he seized it agun, placed it firmly within his arm, where he held it as in n vice, then motioning to the ushers, the cbnrch doors were swung open, and he half dragged his unwilling bride within, and with a look of stern resolve upon his face, led her directly to the altar.

We have nlreidy described that startling scene the dismay of the many witnesses at the change m bridegrooms, the hesitation and anxiety of the good old rector, the ghastly appearance of the bride, and her stony silence throughout the ceremony.

It was soon over, however, and Adison Cheetham led the party to the vestry, where the church register lay open for the recording of their names.

He wrote his bodly and with a triumphant smile on his evil lips, and then turning, held out the pen

to Pearle.

"Give me those papers 1" she commanded, with glittering eyes, snd without noticing the pen,

He took them from his pocket, a strange expres- sion on his face, and gave tbem to her.

She seized them ae a miser would grip hiB re- covered treasure, her bands closed over them with a force that rent her glove in every finger.

" Now write your name if you please, Mrs Cheet- ham," stud her husband, again offering her the

pen.

She shivered at the sound of the hated name.

" I cannot," she Baid, through her tightly shut

teeth.

He lifted her right hand-it was clenched as if m

a convulsion.

He tried to relax it, but could not

" You must sign the church register," he said,

sternly.

Her eyes met his with glittering defiance, she tosBed her head and laughed a little mad, blood curdliog laugh, then turning quickly, she walked from the place before any one could prevent her.

By no word or look had she assented to the sacri- lege that had just been perpetrated, and she would hnve been torn to atoms before she would have writ- ten her name as his wife upon that record.

She had the papers-she had saved her lover from the doom which threatened him, and now let the man who had wrought all this ruin and misery be- ware how ha tempted her further.

With swift steps ond haughty bearing she swept to the carriage which Bhe entered unassisted, and, followed by the not too happy groom, was driven

back to Ashton Manor.

CHAPTER X11.

VILLAINY UNVEILED,

Not one word did Pearle speak during that home-

ward drive.

She aat erect in the carriage, looking straight be- fore her, her eyes void of expression but painfully bright, and, save for the dilating of her delicate nostrils, seeming utterly destitute of life.

When tbe carriage drew up beneath the porch at Ashton Manor, Adison Cheetham sprang to the ground and turned to assist her tn alight.

She repulsed him with both hands, and stepping to the earth without helo, walked directly to the drawing-room, where she found her brother and his wife sitting with Richard Byrnholra, and looking as if tbey had just returned from the grave of some

dear lost one.

No one save her husband presumed to follow her. The brides maids and their attendants gathering in little knots and groups in the halls, talked the matter over in whispers, and with white, wondering

faces.

Without looking to the right or left, Pearle went directly to the sofa where Riehard Byrnholm lay, having just recovered from the fit in which he

had fallen.

She did not falter in a single step ; she seemed like some moving iceberg, so coldly white and stately she moved.

She still held the cheques in her tightly shut hand, and before Adison Cheetham dreamed of her pur- pose she had given them to Richard Byrnholm,

Ile was dumfounded at the act, He did not sup- pose in her wounded pride and love she would stoop to confess the reasons for the step she had taken. He had reckoned upon that pride and wounded love refusing all explanation of her act.

He sprang forward to intercept her as soon as he comprehended her iotontion, a half-suppressed ex- clamation of anger escaping him, for too, well he

knew what would follow.

But Pearle turned and faced him with a look that

made him shrink involuntarily before her.

"Back I" she cried, "you have had your hour

mine has come now."

Then addressing Richard again, in tones that smote him like a dying wail, so hopeless, so sad were they, sho said :

" Richard, what I have done to-day wns done to purchase your safety from a bad man's power. I could never have been your wife after what I hnvo recently learned regarding you, and I would rather have died than been obliged to go to the nltnr with yonder wretch to-day ! But there was no alter- native-disgrace and ruin for you was worse for me to contemplate than any amount of suffering and sacrifice on my own account, and so I resolved to save you."

Richard Brynholm lifted his ashen face and gazed at her as if he thought she had lost her reason, and a groan escaped bim, while those forged cheques remained unheeded in his grasp.

He could not comprehend one word she had spoken.

"What do you mean, Margaret?" demanded the earl, sternly. ' " No one understands the menning of the mad act of which you have been guilty to-day, and all this talk about ruiu, disgrace, aud sacrifice is inexplicable."

Pearle put her hand wearily to her head ; she took off the gleaming tiara of pearle, ns if their weight oppressed her; she impatiently tore the misty veil from her brow, and throw it upon the floor ; then, still speaking to Richard in a mournful voice, she continued ;

"I do not know why you should have sought to wrong me in the way you hud ; why you should have won my love, when you had none to give me in return ; but, aside from all that, I cannot understand why you should have been guilty of such a crime, or run such a foarful risk when you might have known that whatever I had of this world's wealth would gladly have been shared with you, to have saved you from tiny embarr<iss rnuut. If you needed money why did you not esk your best friends for it ?"

" I do not know what you mean, Pearle, I do not know what you ara talking about," Richard cried, sitting erect, and regarding her with a face that was a perfect blank.

She returned his look with one of flashing scorn and contempt. She believed he was acting a part.

" Read !" she commanded, pointing to the un- heeded choquss he still held in his hand.

With au anxious, puzzled expression he un íolded them, and hid face grow still more surprised.

"How came you by these! what can they have to do with the terrible events of to-day ?" he

asked.

" If I had not redeemed them for you, you would now have been on your way to a felon's cell," she said.

" Her bruin is turned," Richard said, in r frightened tone, to the earl ; then his eyes fell again upon the cheques in his hand.

" These cheques, one for eight, the other for hold !" he cried, starting back, " they read for eighty and two hundred pounds ! I have received none for ony such amounts. Ha! they have been tampered with-they aro forged cheques I Pearle, solve this enigma if you can," and he ad- vanced to the fair girl's side, glancing first at her nnd then again upon those papers.

Governed by some impulse, he suddenly turned the mover and read his own name endorsed on the back, and his face instantly grew awful in it3

sternness.

" Who gave you theBe ?" he demanded of Pearle. She pointed toward Adison Cheetham.

He strode across the room and stood before him.

" Explain this terrible thing. How have you ac- complished this deed, which from this day forth must make us bitterest enemies insteod of friends P" he asked through his shut teeth.

Ile was beginning to comprehend the sickening mystery. A smile bo evil and baleful overspread the man's face that Richard involuntarily recoiled from him,

" I told you once, you remember, that some time I would be even with you. You triumphed over me in the past, now the table are turned ; we are even," be hissed revengefully.

"Even! Heavens!" Richard Byrnholm cried in horror, and then stood spell-bound, gazing upon the friend who had so suddenly changed into a fiend.

In an instant he saw it all-how his trust had been betrayed-how he had been duped and his life nnd Pearle's ruined.; how the revenge of years had been gathering force to strike the blow which should

crush him to the earth.

Even!

For n petty disappointment of his youth, for an imaginary wrong, he had dared to plot nnd carry out this tearful thing, and then call it "even !"

The insolence, the maliciousness of this speech maddened him.

He lilted his powerful arm as if to strike a fearful blow, and every one in the room believed he meant to fell the man dead at his feet,

But only for a moment did he stand thus,

Slowly his arm dropped again at his side, while the expression of almost frantic fury on his face gave place to one of scorn and loathing, mingled with something of pity. I

" I cannot strike ia anger the man who for years I have believed to be mj truest friend," he said, sad- ly ; "I cannot avenge myself upon one who has eaten at my table as an honored guest, even though he turns now nnd stings the hand that has fed

him."

He went ngnin and stood before Pearle.

He staggered as be drew near her, and groaned aloud ns be looked into her colorless face.

" Pearle, did he make you believe that I had com- mitted this gross forgery P" he asked,

She bowed assent. She would have shrieked aloud had she opened ber lips. She began to fear that she had sacrificed herself unnecessarily.

Surely every look, every net of Richard's bespoke

him an innocent man.

But ah ! there was Ariel ana her child-he might be innocent of the forgery, but she had seen him with her own eyes at that tiny cottage-she had seen him kiss the bright boy -she had heard him breathe fond words into the lovely woman's ears.

" Pearle," he said again, " your sacrifice has been in vain ; you have saved me from nothing, as I will prove to you. That revengeful wretch yonder has never forgiven me for an unintentional injury I once did him, though I never dreamed of the fact until this moment. He lins been plotting direst vengeance upon me, even though be did not hesi- tate to live upon my purse when his own menne failed bim, and he knew not which way to turn for aid. Yes, I never would have lisped it under any other circumstances. I have paid many n bill for him ; I nursed him through n long sickness nt school, and then canceled his debt to his physician. I bought him luxuries when he had no money to purchase them for himself ; I watched nnd tended, trusted and love him its I would bave done an only brother, believing him to be nil that he professed my faithful friend. Our only trouble-a trivial mis- understanding I believed it to be-waB regarding the raco for the prize of which I have before told you. He was fearfully angry at the time I won it, and I know it must have Deen a disappointment, especially as he also lost his degree; but I never drenrned that those words of his, telling me he would 'yet be even with me,' were anything more than je3t. But it seems that he had been nursing his wrath during all these years ; he has abused my hospitality and betrayed my trust by doing me the foulest wrong the human heart waa ever capable of. Oh ! Pearle, Pearle, how could you let him deceive you so ? Why did you not come to me and tell me all before he had ruined our lives ?" he'eried, reach- ing out his clasped hands imploringly to her.

" I was ready to tell you yestesday, but you would not listen," she anid, coldly. She waa still thinking of Ariel nnd her boy.

"I know-I remember," he groaned; "oh! for- give me, for I might hnva saved you. Oh ! how could you believe I would be guilty of such a clime ? and yet you must have believed it-and 'how you must have Buffered, poor child 1" be went on, pity- ingly. " The struggle must have been terrible, for you thought I needed to be saved, and the alternative was fearful. But, Pearle-my one love-my lost darling, instead of saving me, you have doomed us both to life of misery. These cheques are forgeries, but îiot of my making-they are ais."'

"Richard!" shrieked the wretched girl, in a voice of despair.

" No, they are not mine ; even this writing on the back is not mine, although almost any one would swear it was-at least any one who was familiar with my hand. I received, a few week3 ago, these two cheques, one for ten pounds, theother for eight little bills that had been owing me for some time by parties who live At a distance. Not having occasion to use them, I laid them aside in n private drawer of my desk, and without endorsing them, as I never do that until I am ready to cash a cheque. Adison Cheetham, my trusted friend and confidant, must have taken them from that drawer ; he alone has tampered with them, changing the amount and writing1 my name upon the back-he is the forger, not I !" Richard concludod, in a voice of thunder, and pointing toward the moody wretch.

"Prove itl" Cheetham cried, with a eneer, and stung to the quick by the scorn in his tone. "Any judge, any jury wouid pronounce you guilty and condemn you on tho evidence of those cheques alone ; lot those bits of paper bo brought before a court of justice, and see whether you would go scot-free or

or not."

'? I do not intend they Bhnll ever be seen by any other eye," Richard calmly replied, and deliberately tearing them in pieces, " but I can prove my position nevertheless. I can prove, Paarle, this man's ability to forgo any person'a name and handwriting. I have in my possession now an old writing-book with which I used to umuso myBelf while at school, by drawing the faces of my classmates, nnd some- times caricaturing them. I one day showed these drawings to Adison, and he declared that if I could catch expression bo cleverly, he could at least imitate the writing of every student in the class. To test his ability, I got the boys to write their names underneath the faces I had drawn, and then carrying the book back to Adison, he copied them bo exnetly, that they were almost ready to swear that they had written them twice over themselves. This was done, toe, in the presence of several of the class, who were as eager as I to see if he could do ns

he claimed."

" You have only your own word to prove all this,'' Adison Cheetham retorted, hotly.

He had grown very much flushed during Richard's statement, and a nervous twitching was visible at the corners of his mouth.

He began to fear that he had overreached himself after all his trouble, for he had entirely forgotten that little episode of his school-life, until it was re- called by Richard's recital.

"Our class numbered, fifteen, Paarle," Richard continued, still addressing her, " Five of them live in London now, and the oath of these five would be sufficient to establish the truth of what I have stud,"

" I think we have listened long enough to this kind of talk, Mrs. Cheetham. If you will prepare for your journey we will take our departure," Adison Cheetham said, coming near to where

Pearle stood.

She shuddered as be uttered the hateful name, but without paying the slightest heed to his words, she bent toward Richard, her eyes fairly burning him with their intensity.

" And that little book that you missed and found yesterday when we were at Linden Grange. Tell me about that. Is that a forgery too ? And Ariel and Richie-tell mt, tell me quickly," she breathed, trembling with nervous excitement.

Richard Byrnholm started violently, a deep flush instantly euffused his handsome face at these

wild words.

" What do you know about that little book, Pearle -what do you know nbout those of whom you speak?" he asked, speaking with an evident con- straint, which seemed to her like guilt,

" 1 know all about them !" she exclaimed, passion? ntely. " I know that in some way they belong to you-I know that you care for them, that the ex- pense of their support is borne by you-that is in your own hand writing in that little book, which you owned yesterday in my presence. I had seen it be- fore, I had read itB contents, for he broughj that also to me to prove your duplicity."

Again Richard flushed, this time angrily,

" I was not aware until this hour that I had been entertaining a veritable Paul Pry for the last few weeks," he said, with biting sarcasm. Then ha

added, eadly :

" I con begin to realize now what you have auf. fered, if, believing I was guilty of forgery, you bIbo saw the contents of that little book. ThoBe Bt least nre bona fide : they nre indeed all in my own hand« writing, and the money waa paid out for the put«

poses there designated ; but-"

"And you own it-you own it to me !" Pearle cried, with flashing eyes, " you dared to deceive me thus -you thought to make me your wife, and continue to love and ears for that black-eyed boy and his blue-eyed mother, and I would never know it! And

I trusted you so," she went on with a sab. "I - thought there was no one more worthy of confidant» than you. Ah, me ! who is there in this wide, wide world in whom one can have absolute faith ?"

" Husb, Pearle," Richard said, in a sharp, pained voice. Her evident suffering unmanned him, aside from his own despair. " Wait and hoar me-but how came you to know anything about the personal ap«

pearance of Ariel and Richard !"

" I have seen them."

" You I" he cried, astonished. " Oh ! my love, my love, how long have you gone on suspecting thia horrible thing of me, torturing yourself and leam. ing to hate and despise me ?" he concluded with inexpressible sadness.

" No matter how long," she answered, in a shale ing voice, "you do not deny it-nay, you cannot deny it, for I have Been you there-I have seen yoa press your lips upon the face of that child so like youfin form and feature. I have seen your ups

touch hir forehead nlso-"

" Pearle ! when P" he interrupted, startled beyond

measure at her wild words.

" When ? Do you nek me ? Is your memory so treacherous ?" she demanded, bitterly ; then whis- pering hoarsely, and with dry, burning lipp, sha went on : " Latt night ! I followed you to the Dove- cote, nnd but for the scene which I witnessed there then-but for the words I heard you speak to her, I should never have had the strength to do what Ihave done to-day. It aroused n slumbering demon is my bosom-it made me mnd and wild ; it tcld me that you had deceived me in the most cruel way a woman con be deceived-it told me that you had only given mo a paltry corner of your heart if any at nil, nnd I resolved then, that I would save you fr.>m the consequences of your crimes, but I would make you suffer also, even ns I suffered in having nil this sin and wrong revealed to me."

" Richard, what is this half-crazed child talking about ?" naked tho Earl of Derwentwater, coming forward, and passing his strong arm around his sister's waist.

She was quivering nnd shaking almost as if she had been in n convulsion, and he feared she would fall to the floor.

" I cannot explain thie here, Allstone. It is a se- cret, and the secret is not miue. But I can see just how it has been used against me, and just how this dear girl has been deceived and bullied into tbi error she hns committed to-day. It has ruined us both, but I must not think of that now. I inuBt at least vindicate myself to her. Pearle, come with me into yonder reception-room-give 'me five minutes to speak to you »lone in, nnd I will eradicate every foul suspicion from your mind."

Pearle monned nloud at thia. His words had the ring of truth in them.

" I nm lost I" she cried, wringiag her white-gloved bands in despair,

Adison Cheetham now advanced,

" 1 object to my wife's having any private con« ferences with Captain Byrnholn," he said, authorita- tively.

Pearle grsw calmer nt this, and lifting her. hBad defiantly, she said, icily :

" Do not presume to dictate in the slightest degree regarding mytactions either now or hcrenfttr."

"The less conspicuous you make yourself in this house the better for you," thundered the earl, with lowering brow. Then turning «gain to his sister,

he naked :

" Will you henr what Richard lins to say, Paarlef' She nodded assent, and without a word he led her to a reception-room at the end of the drawing-room, put ber into a chai'-, and withdrew just outside the

door as Richard entered,

The lovers so cruelly and effectually separated dare not look in each other's face-they han all they could do to keep their rebellious aching hearts un-

der control,

Pearle sat with her head bowed upon her tremb- ling hands, feeling as if all the world was slipping from her grasp, and wishing that she could sink into

oblivion.

Richard advanced with staggering, uneven tread, nnd-stood before her, hiB eyes bent upon the carpet hi" arms tightly folded across his broad, heaving

chest.

For full five minutes be talked to her in low, ear«

nest, rapid tones, going over Bil his life since his acquaintance with her, reviewing his trae and un- alterable love for her, and referring, in a despairing way, to his hopes for the future.

He talked until not a doubt of his integrity ex-

isted ; until she hated herself for ever having al- lowed ber faith in him to waver, and until she wor- shipped him anew as the noblest man that walked

the earth.

" And now regarding Ariel and ber child," ha said, in conclusion, " since you know what you do nbout tbem, I must in justice to myself refer to their seeming connection with me, though her «ai story ia a secret, which under the circumstances, must still remoin such, na it ia not mine to reveal I had resolved to tell you nil regarding them, when you were my wife, for we ehould be one in heart and interest then, and I should not feel right to havB any Eocrets from you. I cannot tell you now: but, Pearle, by nil my love for you-nnd it is no light oath that I take-I swear that Ariel ia nothing to me, beyond tbe friendly interest and sympathy I have for her preaent helplesB condition, and the brotherly regard which her gentleness, goodness, patience in her trials, and her dependence upon me, could not fail to excite. True, I held her hand in mine for n moment lost night-I touched my lips to her forehead, but it was a farewell that I might have taken of any friend. And Richie-though he is my namesake, aa you have BurmiBed, and I love nutt dearly, as we learn to love any one who depends upon our care-not one drop of my blood flows m his veins. Pearle, I have never deceived you in » single instance-you have become a part of mysel, and my heart has ever been to you, so to speak, 61 open and frank na a printed page. I have been as true as truth itself to yon ; but more than thia lean not tell you now, for I have given my solemn pl^í9 that I will keep thia secret until the one, whose it ia, can consistently reveal it. Every word I have

uttered ia truth." ,

"I believe you, nnd-I am lost!" she moan« again when he finished. "Ob,Richard! Richardl' nnd the bitterness, the anguish of her tones pier«a

his heart like a poisoned arrow.

" Oh, why could you not have had faith in me t M cried, passionately. " Why could you not have come to me and demanded an explanation? Why «ay« not at least give me a chance to vindicate myself r

"Because he threatened to bring sure and sudden disgrace upon you if I attamp'ed to do so before binding myaelf to him. Ilia proofs appeared so in ? contestable that I could not doubt. I recognized the writing on tbe checks, and I knew the amounts they represented had been tampered with, and I could

not live and see you a felon."

" Had you no suspicion of his base treachery ? did no such thought come to plead for me P " he asked, reproachfully.

"Yes, and I even accusod him of it; but he ap- peared so confident -and then that little book-those items for Ariel and R'chie-those household expen- ses-those debts of honor ! How could I help sus- pecting and fearing the worst ? Thon he had told me he had seen her and the little one -he had fol- lowed you there severn! times. What happened yesterday, too, at the Grange, when you appeared so troubled at the loss of the book, and eo relieved whan you found it-that all went to prove it, also. I found a note, too, in the book you brought me to read, a note from Ariel begging you to come to

her-"

"Pearle! my poor child!-did you find that-was that why you were so strange when I carne back to you in the library ? "

b Yes-everything seemed to point to your treach- ery, and then .when I went to the Dove-cote myself, end saw-what I saw, I wag crazed, and I did not care what became of me. Still, in the midst of nil my misery, I loved you well enough to wish to save you from the disgrace I knew must come upon you, if all this waa true, and bo-oh ! Richard, you know

the rest."

He groaned in bitterness of spirit-then all his strong nature rebelled ngninst the author of their

woe.

"Iwill kill him!" he said fiercely. "Pearle, I shall kill that wretch who has thus ruined your life and robbed me of my earthly treasure."

There was a minute of dreadful silence, then Richard broke it again, saying eagerly, and ns if a

sudden idea had come to him :

" Pearle, such a marriage is worse than a mockery -it could not be considered legal-we can petition to bave it annulled. Dear love, n forced marriage is no marriage; your brother has influence, he will wish it, and you can but desire it, Pearle, you by right belong to me."

" Oh Richard," she answered, with ashen lipe, " it cannot be-you know it cannot be ! Of my own free will, apparently, I went to the church, and in the . presence of that throng, virtually took upon myself

the vows of a wife. No, I must bear the conse- quences of my sin, my doubt and suspicion as best I can. Oh ! why did I not brave nil and tell you wby waa I so blind, bo wilful, so idiotic 1" she cried, wildly.

" Pearle, you love mo just ns well-your heart is just as much mine now as it ever was ?" he asked bending eagerly toward her, his agonized eyes search- ing her face.

She lifted her white face with its hopeless eyes for an instant to his ; she threw out her hnnda toward him with a despp.iring gesture.

"Richard!-oh ¡-Richard !-you know I have no light to tell you that now," she moaned, and dropped her beautiful head upon her knees.

Captain Byrnholm stood a moment in thought, then with a stern, set face went to the door and drew the Earl of Derwentwater within.

CHAPTER XIII.

"QOOD-BY FOE EVBB,"

Richard then gave him na outline of what he had just related to Peurle, explaining nil that he con- sistently could regarding the mystery of the Dove- cote, concerning which Pearle's wild words had puzzled bim greatly and troubled him exceedingly.

"I do not wonder that she has been driven to such % desperate measure," he Baid, with a pitying glance at his sister; "things certainly looked very badly for you as they were represented to her, and after seeing what she did ot the Dove-cote."

"I know it-I realize it; oh! if she had but charged me with it before it was too late !" he cried,

despairingly,

"Yon do not consider the pride of our race, my Wend ; she believed she had been fooled and duped in the worst way imaginable, and ail her pride aroee in rebellion ugainst you."

"I see-I was wrong to keep this matter about Arid from nor ; I could at least have told her as much aa I have to-day ; but I had the same ns pledged myself to keep even her existence a secret. However, that is past now, and, hopeless ns every- thing seems, yet I cannot relinguish ali hope, Alt- itona ; this marriage-a forced one-is no marriage ; it can be annulled," Richard said, eagerly,

The earl shook his head doubtfully.

"I fear, Richard, it could hardly he called a forced marriage-instead, only the mad act of a raab, almost insane girl. Ob, my dear sister, why did you sot confide in me ?" he asked, with sorrowful re- proach.

"Because I dared not. He said he would not

¡pare Richard o single moment if I told any one,1' Pearle answered, her hoad still bowed upon her

knees.

"The wretch; I could crush his heart out with my heel," the earl said, bitterly.

Richard Byrnholm flushed a deep crimson, and the leins swelled out full and hard upon his forehead.

"There is murder in my heart, but-my hands are I tied," he whispered, with a convulsive shudder [and I > despairing look at Pearle.

Adison Cheetham was now the husband of the I »oman he idolized, and Pearle, if she were mnde | toe that moment, wouldjnever mnrry his murderer.

"Allstone !" he cried, turning almoBt fiercely to lae earl, "give me n ray of hope-is there no pos, | «Me way out of thia trouble ?"

"None save death, I fear," was the sad reply, ïou know our English laws are very strict regard- ing the marriage contract. That Pearle has really Ibeen driven into thia union there can be no doubt; Iht it would be difficult to prove it in the face of the Imposing testimony which would be brought to bear _ us> should we carry the matter into court.

Ijtaeare plenty of witnesses who would be obliged JioiBear that ahe naked and obtained your consent Jw teleaBB her from her engagement to you before |j» entered the church; and besides, her voluntary .tfmce at the nltar with that villain would

? look as if she had been forced into the mar

I see-I see," Richard replied, with a groan.

mo well he knew the right code regarding mar W and divorce that prevailed in England. But lt?tk 1Íng °f h'B natura rebelIed against the cruel li bad 8ePar»ted him from the woman he so

?My loved,

I Ob, Pearle, if you had but trusted me ! " the earl

f i gloomily, as ;he paced excitedly to and fro

pera her,

J^oa't, AUstone-don't! I told you I dare not,

I ivery proof seemed so incontestable," the rangiri moaned, helplessly.

lAttT'but tt 8U0h bad been really the fact> y°u

pi to have allowed the punishment to fall where I«»anted; you had no right to sacrifice your _LI t0,h,6W «'s man you loved from the con £j» BïeBc« of hie crime.»

"I know it, but there waa where I waa weak. I loved Richard-ah ! you can never know how well," she cried, raising her clasped banda above her head with a gesture of misery ; " and I thought that no torture could be bo great ns that of seeing bim die graced, his name ruined, and all hie sin made pub- lic, Don't reproach me, Allatone-all the future will do that without the additional weight of your dis- pleasure."

The earl went to her nnd took her tenderly in his arms, conscience-smitten that he should have added a pang to what she already suffered.

" My poor girl," he said, tenderly, "I would do anything to save youfrom this trouble. Let us look this matter equarely in the face now, and Bee what

can be done."

He put her gently back in her chair, and turned his perplexed face to Richard ns if he thought he would suggest something.

For the moment Richard lost nil control of him- self-hatred, nnger, bitterness raged hotly within

him.

" Pearle," he aoid, going to her and kneeling by her side, " this dreadful thing ia too-too hard to bear. Say but the word and I will go out and fight that wretch, and if I do, you moy be sure I shall kill

him."

She shivered os with the cold.

"Hush, Richard, that must not be-I must not allow you to stain your hands with human blood," ehe whispered.

" No ; for that would separnte ua just na effectual- ly," he anBwered, brokenly ; " but oh, my lostPeorle, what am I goiug to do-how can I benr the long years that must follow this fatal day ?" and hia head dropped heavily upon the arm of her chair.

" How can either of ub bear them ?" she moaned, nnd lifting one hand, she laid it gently on his bowed head, toying unconsciously with the masses of hair

as she had been wont to do.

Tbe fond, familiar act broke bim down completely, and great eobs shook his manly form with a force that was frightful to witness,

The earl could not bear it, and walked to the win- dow to hide his own emotion,

But the fnir bride eat apparently unmoved, except for the hopeless, agonizad look upon her face. No tears dimmed her eyes, which, however, were start lingly bright, and no sobs shook her form-it waa as it all feeling had for the time been paralyzed,

" You love me, Pearle-do not, oh, do not refuse me the comfort of thatknowledge Í" Richard pleaded, lifting his head and searching her face with a hungry

look,

" Èow I have loved you you can never know-I do love you now too well-and for my idolatry, I am thus punuhcd," she returned, in a hollow voice,

" Darling, do not say that this misery has been sent upon you for love of me; nnd yet your words have comforted me greatly. My own love," he continued! bending toward her and touching ber burning fore- head with his lips, " it is for the last time-I have no right any longer to speak to you »a I have been Bpeaking-but at heart I know you still belong to me. I shall wait, Pearlo, always hoping that some time I sholl have my own again-if not here, hereafter. I will try to bear it all patiently for your sake, and you must do the same for me. If ever you should be in any trouble, if ever you should need any protec- tion that I can give yoi}, send to me, and nothing shall keep me from you."

She could not bear it-he was torturing her with

every word he uttered, nnd putting him from hor, she roso from hor chair, that terrible staro that he had seen in the vestibule of the church in her eyes, while her lips moved in indistinct mutterings.

" What are you going to do, Pearle ?" the earl naked coming forward and taking her hands in his.

Hp, too, was frightened by her appearance.

" God knows, I do not !" she cried, passionately, and breaking from his hold.

At this moment a peremptory knock sounded on the door. The earl went to open it.

Adison Cheetham stood without, his face livid with anger. He entered the room and walked directly to

Pearle,

" Well !"she said, facing him with a look that made him cringe, " what will you have ?"

" My wife !" he answered with a leer at Richard Byrnholm.

The young man clenched his hand3 and ground his teeth. It was no ordinary self-control that kept him from striking the villain dead at his feet.

" It is not according to my ideas of propriety for the wife of one mon to be holding private interviews with another," the angry husband sneered with a sullen look at his haughty bride.

You will please observe the 'propriety' of keep- ing a civil tongue in your head while you remain in this house," said the earl, sternly, and advancing to-

ward him.

He bowed with mock humility at this remark, then addressing Pearle again, he asked :

" Mrs. Cheetham, how soon will you be ready to depart ? Our carriage is at the door."

He could nlmoat see her flesh creep with horror nt

hia words.

She opened her lips to speak, closed them, thought a moment, then, to the infinite surprise of all, re- plied, quite calmly :

" I cannot be rendy in less than an hour,"

" Margaret ;" exclaimed her brother, aghast, " suroly you do not mean to spend even one hour of your life with this traitor !"

She gave him a quick, searching glance ; then drawing herself more proudly erect, Bhe returned, quietly :

" I believe I spoke distinctly, I can be ready to

leave Ashton Manor within nn hour."

" Pearle, you shall not sacrifice yourself thus. This wretch who haB tricked you into this marriage shall never take you from this house; neither shall he go unpunished for his treachery. I swear it," the Earl of Derwentwater said, excitedly,

" No, I do not think he will go unpunished. His retribution begins from this moment," the pole bride answered, with a Btrange smile on her snow-like

face.

Adison Cheetham did not like either the smile or the tone in which she spoke, nnd a feeling of un- easiness and dread began to creep over him,

Pearle moved toward the door, but her brother intercepted her,

" Pearle, yon will not-you must not go with him,'> he pleaded. " This can be your home just the same as it has always been, and no one shall dare to trouble you, I will care for you tenderly, my pre- cious sister, nnd your future sholl be as peaceful ob

fondest love can make it."

She shook her head sadly, but a great trembling

seized her.

He took both her hands, and drew her to him.

"Do not break my heart, Margaret-stay with me," be whispered,- then, as there was no sign of relenting in her white face, he added, sternly :

" I shall not allow you to depart with this man-I

forbid it."

I " Are you not rather overstepping the bounds of your authority, my lord ?" asked Adison Cheetham, soeeringly. " A woman properly belongs to her husband after her marriage, and owes him obe-

dience."

" Silence !" commanded his lordship ; then to

Penrle :

" My dearest, will you still let me take care of

of you ?"

" No, Allstone. I must pay the price of my own folly. I cannot bring any more trouble upon you than I have already done, Kiss me, dear brother ; I will take leave of you here. Forgive me for the sorrow I have caused you to-day. Give Annie my kindest love, nnd kiss the darlings for me. Fare- well, dear; I shall not be able to Bay it ngain. You hove ever been the kindest, the best of brothers to me. I om going to my room now, but do not nhow any one to disturb me, for I need a little time to myself."

She had spoken quietly, collectedly, and na if all feeling was dead, She was so unnaturally calm that

a sudden fear startled her brother.

He put his lipa to her ear, and whiapered some- thing there,

"No," eho answered with a scornful wreathing of her lips ; " do not fear that I shall add to your misery in thot way."

" What ia this-what ore you two plotting ?" Adi- son Cheetham demanded, coming close to them and searching her face with his evil eyes.

Pearle shivered »8 she met them ; then the old pride returned to her.

She lifted her hand and pointed to the door.

" Go 1" she said. " One hour ia all I ask of you."

He hesitated. He feared something, though he

knew not what,

" Go !" she repeated, and he dared not disobey

that tone and look,

Casting a look of defiance at his lordship, and another of mingled hate and triumph upon Richard he reluctantly quitted the apartment.

The moment the door closed after him, Pearle threw herself into her brother's arms.

" Allstone," she moaned, lifting her still tearless eyes in a pitiful way to bim, "I have been blind, mad, wicked-forgive me for the mortification and disgrace which this day's doines will bring upon you. Say that you forgive me before I go."

" I do forgive you, my darling. My poor child, your own suffering will be tenfold more tban mine. But do not persist in your folly by going with that wretch," he answered, kindly, yet earnestly,

" Hush !" she whispered, with a glance at Richard " I could1 not stay here now. I alone have brought all this trouble upon thope I love best, and I must take the consequences as they come. Say no more Allstone, for you only plead in vain. I have de- cided upon the course I am to pursue, and nothing

can move me."

She wound her fair arms about his neck, and kissed him three timeB upon his mouth.

" Good-by, good-by 1 Oh, if I could but die here !" she cried ; then tearing herself from his encircling arms, ate sprang toward the door.

A sharp cry ot pain arrested her.

" Pearle, can you -ieave me without a word ?" Richard said, almost fiercely, nnd tottering towards

her.

She turned and put out her fair hunds to stop him, while, with her burning eyes fixed with a longing hungry g^ze ou his face, she said, more mournfully than it ia possible to describo :

"Richard, I dara not toke the farewell of you that my heart craves ; I must fly from your presence, for lam not strong; I must not touch your hand; I

ought not even look on your face ; you and I must j walk separate pathB henceforth ; forget if you can the bitternesa of thia hour, and the deeolateness I

have brought upon you. My love, my love-for such you will be till I die-good-by forever,"

Before ha could utter one word in reply to this wild, passionate farewell, she was gone from the room, and weak and trembling, more miserable than he had ever believed it possible for mortal to be, he crept to a sofa and threw himself prostrate upon it.

Penrle sped with the fleetness of the wind, alter leaving them, up a back stairway to her own room, where she fouud her faithful Elizabeth awaiting her to assist in preparing her for her journey.

{To he continued.)