Chapter 852761

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Chapter NumberIV
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article852761
Full Date1882-05-27
Page Number4
Corrections2
Word Count7352
IllustratedN
Last Corrected2018-03-02
Newspaper TitleThe Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893)
Trove TitleThe Lust for Gold
article text

FICTION.

(From English, American, and other Periodical!,)

The Lust for Gold.

CHAPTER IV. INTERRUPTED.

William Waldron, junior, was very like his mother in character-cold,calculating, ambitious.

Like her, he continually chafed over the fact that his uncle's money hid all been given lo his orphan cousins; but, as there was no such thing as revoking the will, he was forced to make the best of a bad matter, and, influenced by his mother, he had long ago settled in his own mind that some day he should

make Laura Preston his wife.

It had been a mere matter of business with him at first to get a handsome fortune with as little trouble as possible; but as Laura grew toward womanhood, and he saw how surpassingly lovely she was becoming, he began to take pride in her, and finally ended by loving her, as well his his selfish and passionless nature could love anybody. He was very unlike Eliot Harcourt in both appearance and character.

The latter was large of stature, with a grandly shaped head set proudly upon square, broad shoulders. He had aristocratic and somewhat

haughty features, dark eyes which were both grave and searching, chestnut hair, and full beard of the same hue; while he posessed a self-reliant independent spirit, and one that scorned to commit a mean or petty act under any circumstances.

William Waldron was light, with cold grayish eyes a slender form, which, always clad in the height of style, gave him a dandified appearance. There was an expression of cunning and craft about his face which made a pure-minded person instinctively shrink from him; while his thin lips, with their drooping corners, told plainly enough of the avarice

of his nature.

Although he was always polite and attentive to Laura, ano exerted himself when at home to make himself agreeable to her, yet there was something about hm, as she had said, that made her dislike him; and repelled her.

He was now at home for a two-week's holiday and he had resolved that these two weeks should settle the important question of his life—namely, whether he was to marry this beautiful heiress or

not.

He intimated as much to his mother upon the first day of his return, and she watched the progress of this precious scheme with no small amount of anxiety; for well she knew, by past experience, that when Laura bad once clearly made up her mind upon any point, there was no turning her. She never decided any question until she had considered it thoroughly, and then, when it was once settled, it

was settled for all time.

Trixy often yielded a point, " to save a fuss," as she expressed it; but let Laura's quiet "no" once be spoken, and all arguments, all threats, were worse

than unless.

She was courteous, respectful, gentle, but the

decision was unalterable.

"Laura is winning a great deal of admiration, my son; she is a favorite wherever she goes, and I truly hope you may succeed in gaining her consent to an engagement before you go back," Mrs. Waldron had said when William had hinted regarding bis inten-

tions.

"I am as anxious for a favorable answer as you can possibly be, mother, and I think you may safely trust me to do my best to win her," be replied.

"Yes, but I must caution you to be very careful

how you approach her, as she is as obstinate as

ever. No one would believe to look at her—she is

apparently so good at winning—that she has

such an indomitable spirit.

" Let me but get to say 'yes' and with

the knot once securely tied, ???? that —for her will!" retorted William, scornfully ??? his

fingers.

Laura, my dear," said Mrs. Roxena Waldron

blandly, and opening that young lady's door, one afternoon, a lew days later, "William wished me to ask if you would enjoy attending the opera this evening ?"

Now the opera was one of Laura's especial de- lights, as Mrs. Waldron very well knew, and just at present there were unusual attractions in the city.

"Are you going, also, Aunt Roxy?"Laura cau- tiously asked, before committing herself. She had no desire for a tete-a-tete with her cousin, especially as he had been more devoted of late than was at all agreeable to her.

" I am sorry, dear, but my neuralgia is troubling me to-day, and I do not think it prudent to go out. But perhaps Trixy will like to go."

" Mrs. Waldron saw that she was upon the point of refusing if she had to go alone with William, and she slyly mentioned Trixy in order to gain her

assent.

She knew very well; however, that Trixy would not go, as she had made her very angry only a little while before by telling her that Laura was exceed- ingly annoyed at something that she had done that day.

"I should really like to go," Laura said, thought- fully; " yes, you may tell William that I will, and I'll go at once and find Trixy and tell her about it."

This was all that Mrs, Waldron wanted. Laura

had said, "Yes, I will go," and she knew she would I not break her word, Trixy to the contrary notwith- standing.

Laura immediately went to seek Trixy, and found

her in the music room,

She had been practicing, but was now leaning wearily against the piano, looking both pale and unhappy, She was so absorbed in her own thoughts that she did not hear her cousin approaching, or suspect her presence, until Laura laid her soft hands against her cheeks, and gently drawing back her head so that she could look into her face, asked, kindly:

"Trixy, what is it? You are looking troubled

about something,"

Trixy flushed and jerked her head away from the

tender touch.

" Nothing—-much," she answered, with averted

eyes,

" I think there is a great deal the trouble," Laura returned, resolutely; " and now I want you to tell

me what it is that has caused this coldness toward me of late. You avoid me, you refuse all sympathy, and I can scarcely get a word with you from morn- ing till night, I miss the pleasant hours that we used to spend together; I am lonely, and I want you, Trixy."

" But you have grown to dislike me, and I do not like to trouble or annoy you," Trixy said, with a

voice full of tears.

"Indeed, I do not dislike you—-I love you dearly, like a sister," Laura returned, quickly, and winding her arms around the drooping form.

"Do you really, Laura?" the young girl asked, a glad light leaping into her eyes. "Then what makes Aunt Roxy keep telling me—"

" Well, Trixy dear, have you concluded to go?", asked the bland tones of Mrs Waldron behind

them.

"Go where?" Trixy asked, starting half-guiltily

from Laura's embrace

"Hasn't Laura told you that William wants to take you both to the opera?" she said, without wincing at the lie. "That is," she added, pointedly, "if you have anything fit to wear; I should be sorry to have you mortify either William or Laura by an untidy appearance."

The goad had been very skilfully applied, and took effect accordingly.

"No; I do not wish to go," the girl cried, passion- ately, and darted from the room before Laura could interpose a word.

" That child is enough to discourage the stoutest heart," ejaculated Mrs. Roxena Waldron, with a deep-drawn sigh.

The sigh, however, was one of relief that she had found the girls in season to prevent any confidences, and that Trixy was well disposed of and William would have the field clear for to-night, which was destined to decide the all-important question as she hoped.

" I think you do not take the right way to manage Trixy, Aunt Roxy," Laura said, gravely, and feeling inwardly impatient that the interview had been so interrupted.

"Why, Laura!' and Mrs. Roxena's eyebrows formed a perfect arch of astonishment, while her tone was suggestive of wounded affection.

" Trixy is hif;h spirited and sensitive, and should be dealt with tenderly, instead of being made an object of ridicule," pursued Lsura, in the same tone

as bi-foro.

" I'm sure I'vo ¿ried to do my duty by you both," returned Mrs, Wnldrop, with an offended air.

"I do not doubt it," Laura answered gently; '* but¡I'm afraid you dojnot quite understand Trixy, and-please do not ever speak of ber annoying me again ; I am more annoyed to bava the dear girl made unh.ippy than I oin possibly be by nnythiDg that abo does. I fear that she has been estranged from me iu this way."

And Miss freston, feeling a trifle indignant at the way her cou«in had been treated, left the room with- out waiting for a reply.

" Ilotly-toity ! we shall have to bo pretty careful how wo carry sail for the next few days', I fear,'' Mrs. Waldron muttered, with a very red and angry face ; but sha had gained her point and was satis fled. Liura would go alone to the opera with

William.

Liura tried to find Trixy, to urge her again to go with tht-m, but she was not to be found anywhere. She had taken refuge in Eliot Harcourt's studio, where she poured out her troubles into his sympa- thizing ear, and did not make her appearance again among the family during the afternoon or at tea

time.

* * # # * * *

Laura Freston was dazzling beautiful that even- ing OB she sat beside William Waldron in a conspicu- ous box at the opera.

Her drees was a pale-blue satin, garnished with a net-work of pearls-wax-like camellias in her golden bair and upon her bosom.

It was a very simple though elegant toilet, vastly bedoming to her pure complexion, while the snowy flowers about her were not fairer than the lovely face, and the gleaming neck und arms, which seemed like mirble through the misty lace that she wore

over them.

Eliot Harcourt thought he had never looked upon any picture so beautiful as that she made sitting there in n frame of crimson and gold, formed by the graceful looping of the heavy curtains of the opera box. But it was a very bitter sigh that he heard as he noted tbe tender manner in which her escort bent over her whenever be spoke to her, and he did not hear halt the bright, piquant sayings of the little lady by his own side.

Laura was not long in discovering his presence, and, as she saw his companion, she gave a start of

surprise. , -;ej

"Why, there isT/ixy after all I" she exclaim "i" "J;1-even "Sea, William, how pretty she is lookjr>r2,6'r to-night."

Aunt Boxy couldtflnd no fault witb¿ .¿*Iook bewitchi" gIy

^night^ejiiítl eay, if she were here, that she would not bear a closer inspection," the young man re- turned, with a light laugh.

" I wonder how che happened to come with Eliot ? I went to ask ber to come with us, but something prevented and I did not get another opportunity," Laura said, with a troubled look on bet face.

Mr. Waldron, junior, smiled to himself; he bad been made duly acquainted with all that had trans- pired in the music-room by his anxious mother.

" There must be some sort of an understanding between them," Laura thought as she remarked bow bright and happy Trixy looked, as she kept up her incessant chatter to Eliot and then the curtain rising, she resolutely turned her attention, with a sigh, to the stage.

Trixy's appearance at the opera had happened thus : On rushing from the music-room, hurt and angry and almost hating Mrs. Waldron, she bad, as before mentioned, gone directly toE'iot's studio and sobbed out her grief to him.

The young man waa very indignant at his aunt's treatment of his little friend, and he at once told her to get herself up ÜB pretty as she could, and ha would take her to the opera, if she would like to

go.

She did wish to go very much and her disappoint- ment was half that made her so miserable. She would have been very glad to accompany Laura and William, but her anger at her aunt made her refuse to do so in a moment of passion. But she was happier to go with Eliot, and she danced away to her room, comforted, and resolving that he should have no cauBe to be ashamed of her, set to work in good earnest to arrange something pretty to wear.

It was a very promiscuous, and not very promis- ing assortment of clothing that presented itself to her, ae she opened her wardrobe door and took a survey of its contents.

" Ob, dear 1" she sighed, almuBt weeping again at the rather discouraging prospect, "that orimsoh

silk wouU do if I had not tiurued tim gre vc holy in the flounce whin Dick Murray ¿nd I waltzed to J near the foot-îigits, when we were practicing for Belle Austin's private theatricals; then the white one is spoiled with a great splash of ir.k-of course I had no busioess to try to write a letter, after I was dreetad for a party ; but I rfiii", and I'm alwat/t doing what I hive uo business to. My black one won't do at all, though that is nice and fresh-it's too grave for the opera ; and there's the pink oue with that great grease spot all down the front, where I tipped that ice-cre un into my lap. I wuk I didn't have to lire in such a muss all the time. Laura will wear a dress a dozen times, and never burt it a bil. Oh, I know what I cn do !" she added, brightening with a sudden thought. The pink one is only greasy on the front-it's iresh and pretty every other way ; I'll take that white thread lace eba wl that used to be mamma's, and fix it for an overdress ; it will look cbarmiug bunched up with those lovely roses I h-.ve. Then my lace bertha will do to go with it nicely. Eliot, my handsome knight of the brush, I'll do my very best for jour artistic eyes."

And she did.

Under her deft fingers the dainty pink silk and white lace shawl looped here and there with great bright crush roses, grew into a lovely costume, and the low corsage under its delicate bertha was ex tremely becoming; and when she went down to meet Eliot at .ha appointed hour, she was as be- witching a little nmidtiü us one is wont to Ree.

She had tied her dark hair back from her stn al I face, something as sha had done on the day when the young arti.it had taken the c st of ber fealuras, pinning it (securely for once) in a graceful knot, und allowing the ends to fall in rich euria over her neck. No' amount of brushing .would make it lie smoothly about ber face; but the fluffy frizzes falling over her forehead only made her look the more charming.

Her eyes sparkled with anticipation, her face was bright and happy, and, os Eliot threw the tich opera clonk over her shoulders and assisted ber to arrange the pretty hood over ber hair, ho compared ber to some tropical bird of brilliant plumage, and felt well repaid for the goodly-sized b»nk note thit ho bad parted with to secure their tickets.

Earlier in the evening ho bad sought Mrs. Wal- dron and told ber of his invitation to Trixy, and ask ed ber sanction, which, as har purpose regarding William and Laura had been accomplished, she very readily gave, and for once told Tiixy that she " look- ed very well ;" whereupon the young damsel tossed her pretty bend defiantly, and immediately lost half her own s-itisfoction in her personal appearance.

" Isn't Laura perfectly delightful ?" he cried, as following one of Eiiol's numerous glances at that box opposite them, sho saw her boautiful cousin, and, without a feeling of envy, gave expression to

her admiration.

" Yes, Miss Freston looks unusually beautiful to- night."

" Miss Preston indeed ! How very formal you are getting Eliot I I suppose I shall be Miss Waldron next ; shall I bdgin by calling you ' Mr. Harcourt ?' " the young girl asked, with n pout of her red lips.

Eliot laughed.

" Ko, petite, you will never be anything but Trixy to me, and you must not dignify me into ' mister' on any account,"

"Then why do you call Laura 'taits?' you never used to. What ia the trouble between you ?"

" What is the trouble between you and Laura ?" he asked, evading her questions.

"Nothing-ob! I must tell you,Eliot,'' she said, eagerly, and flushing with pleasure at the remem- brance. " Laura told me this afternoon that she 'loved me dearly, like a elster,' and if Aunt Boxy hadn't appeared upon the scene just then, we should have made it all up. I'm afraid I haven't been quite as just to Laura ss I should have been ; she ie the dearest girl in all the world, and I'm h*lf inclined to believe that Aunt Hcxy makes all the fuss herself, just to toi ment me. There the curtain is rising, and now ' I'll give you a rest,'"

If it was not literally a " rest," it was truly pleasure for hits to sit there and watch that bright, girlish face, so expressive of every emotion of her heart; to eos it all aglow with delight, beaming with fun and merriment, then softening into tenderness and pity, the sensitive mouth quiver, the darkly fringod lids droop over the dusky eyes that more than once filled with tears, as she followed the opera through with almost breathless interest.

" Eliot, I have bien just happy to-night !" shi stid, at the close of the last scene, as she impulsively clasped both small bonds around his arm, and looked

up into his face with grateful eyes. |l( v

And almost unconsciously he murmured LaurajQ " .

words: t mo. brings

" It is only the giving of happiness that «? '

htppiness." -i"oye Laura Preston,

As WillUm Waldron sat besldeoer n>ery want, bending

assiduously attending to ber e'^'.uses in the music, and

toward her during the pp "/ords in her ears, bringing the murmuring tender *." V-"cheek, but no lesporsive light to rich color to bçr ül "-ora to her lip, she knew instinctively her e>e..û5word what all this was tending.

At the close of the opera, when he folded her

cloak about her, his armB lingered for a moment

around her form, white he breathed in her ear :

" My darling, I love you."

Her averted face did not encourage him to say more just then, and drawing her hand within his arm he led her out to the carrisge.

Once there ehe became suddenly animated, and began talking so volubly about the merits of the opera and the artists, that he could not get an op- portunity to speak a single word that his lips were burning to utter.

When they reached home the house was still, though the gas waB burning brightly in the hall and the parlor was dimly, cozily inviting, with its one or two jets of flame, partially tnrned out, and the cheerful fire in the grate,

Trixy bad come in but a few moments earlier, and bad gone directly to her own room, and to all ap- pearances every other member of the family had

retired.

Laura would also gladly have escaped to her room, but William drew her resolutely into the par- lor, and she tiied to nerve herself for the interview which she saw was inevitable.

" I could not say what I wished in that crowd, my beautiful darling," he said, leading her before the nie at.d gathering both her hands into his ; " but now I must unburden all my heart to you. Laura, I have loved you for years-in fact, ever since you first came to brighten my home with your pre- sence, but I have never felt it wise to speak of it be- fore. Now I have reached man's estate ; in a few months more I shall be ready to begin life for my- self, and I must know what I have to hope for. Dearest, I want you to tell me to-night-now that some time, not very far hence, you will be my

wife."

Laura Preston looked very like a beautiful statue of snow OB she stood there before him, with her long white opera-cloak falling about her, and her face as colorless as the soft cashmere, and listened to these impassioned words.

Her mouth wore a pained look, her eyes were downcast, the white lids trembling,

There was utter silence in the room, but fr.m above tbere cime to tbe lovely girl's ears a sound like the tapping of a mallet upon a chisel, and that sound was dearer to her than the choicest, fondest words which this man, standing tht-ra before ber and waiting for her answer to his suit, could ntter.

Every tap made her heart thrill and bast in lov- ing unison ; while not one word tbat Willitm Wal- dron had apokeB bad so much as moved ber pulses to an answering throb.

No, she could never be her eouein's wife.

"Laura, Linra, why are you silent? Look up, my darling. Have I startled you by my abrupt- ness ? Is so forgive me, but speak one little word and tell me tbat I may hope," he whispered, anxiously.

. .' William, I cannot," Laura returned, sorrowfully . "your words pain memorethsn I can tell you. I never dreamed that you were cherishing such feel- ings toward me until since your return this time, and I would have saved you this confession, but you have made me powerless in the matter."

" Ah ! then I have been precipitate-I have Btartled you, Laura. We will say no more about it now ; we i will w.it until I CBn prove how deep und true my

love for you is," he said, tenderly, but feeling very anxious as to tbe result of this interview.

The calm, Eorrowful way ia which she had replied

to him alarmed bim.

" No," she replied, withdrawing her hand from his clasp, and speaking vt-ry firmly, " there is no need to wait ; we must settle this here and now for all time. I must not allow you to go on hopine for tbat which I can never give you. I can never be your wife, William."

" Have you no love for me-is there no response In your heart to the fierce passion in mine?" he cried, excitedly.

"None in the woy you mean," ehe answered, while a thrill of something very Ilka aversion pervaded her.

" Laura, it cannot bs true that tbere is no hope for j me," he said, passionately : " I did not dream of j refusal, but I know that you are not wont to say either yea or nay without meaning it."

" I c-n give you no other anewer, William ; believe me, if I truly loved you I should not hesitate to tell you so ; but I could be no man's wife unless I loved him with my whole heart. Let me be your fiiend always, as I have been in the post, but do not, I pray, ever revert to this subject Again, for at

no time could I give you a different anBwer ;" and I be knew his fate was sealed. Neither Laura Preston nor Laura Preston's fortune could ever be anything

to him.

A great wave ol passion swept through his heart. " Then you love soaie one else," he crisd, fiercely. " you could never apeak in this way if you did not

love some one else I"

Her slight form, which had drooped a trifle while sbe thought ehe was giving bim piin, straightened now; the email head assumed the proud poise thru was natural to it, and the deep blue eyes, which sha novf raised and flashed full upon his face, had a little warning gleam in tbem.

" It is very Ihte, I think," she said, in proud, quiet tones. "Good-night, William,"

She held out her hand, as if she would still be friendly with him if he did^ not presume too far 5 but with a white face and lowering brow he turned sharply away from it and her, and. with a iowi sullenly muttered " good-night," walked quickly

from the room.

But the look that he shot back at her over hi?j ¿c shoulder ns he reached the door boded the fair gi¿!j J- '.'* no good, if ever the opportunity for revenge Bbo wf*¿ y be offered to him. ( "Q *

CHAPTER V. egre/

" i SHALL NKVBn ponoiVK IT I" r> ^/head of William Wuldron met his mother at the eigh1j

tb« stairs. *'° tufü" in and go

She had heard tho young couple comry anJ. breathless, into the parlor, and she had sut, aImostn(* ûla?ces below,

listening to the low murmur of their vo''68, -ora Preston's

Would he succeed? Would LflJyouiand William's fortune be secured to the family, ."

future prosperity be determined ? ^ ,°° the issuo ol the

She was very, very anxious as to¿ja¡, J she heard her son interview-so anxious that whejjje -??wly up the stairs she leave the parlor and come s¡,íee, met him «t the top.

glided out of her room andu kr-r! lt WB9 moody, sullen,

Hid look sr¿ ed baan'r-'

disappoint'-* ,<*.> the ??.¿'breathed, queetioningly, a ring of

«WiT W ¿ think J.

fear in «--.^pment. short, harsh laugh.

He . ' 0"> é failed-most miserably." he said, fiercely.

tor ijh, ej,e excjjjjnied, growing pale, " you shall

not fail in this !"

"I tell you I have failed I" he answered angrily, and then pushing by her almost rudely, he proceeded

to bia own room.

Mrs. Waldton stood for a moment or two where he had left her, her face white, set, wicked.

Then, with a gleam of resolution in her cold eyes, and lips firmly compressed, she glided swiftly down the stairs and into the parlour.

Laura was still standing before the grate, where

William had left her.

She looked sad and troubled, and her attitude was drooping, but she glanced up with a smile as .her aunt entered, and asked, kindly:

" le your head better, Aunt Koxy ?"

'* My head is all right," Mrs. Waldron answered curtly.

Then she added, with a searching glance (it her beautiful neice :

" I met William on the stairs as I came down. He told me what had happened. What does it mean, Laura ?"

Laura flushed a vivid scarlet.

She did not suppose that William would be willing to tell even his mother of his failure in a matter so delicate.

There was something, too, in her aunt's tone that jatred upon her nerves-a note of warning or threa- tening, that aroused her antagonism, and made her feel very uncomfortable.

She grows cold and proud at once ; almost uncon- sciously her small shining head is lifted a trifle haughtily, while she turns, with n look of surprise in her sapphire eyes, toward Mrs. Waldron.

" It means, Aunt Boxy, just what I suppose he has already told you-that I cannot marry William/' .«be said, simply, yet meeting those cold eyes, un- flinchingly.

" And why not, pray ?" Mrs. Roxena demands, somewhat sharply, and forgetting in her anger and disappointment, that a maiden's heart is something that it will not do to handle roughly.

" Because I do not love him ; he is not the man 1 should choose for a husband," was the straightfor- ward reply.

"Indeed! and what may be your objection to William as a husband ? Mrs. Roxenn inquired, with a scintillant gleam from under her lowering brows.

Aunt Rosy," Laura said, appealingly, do not be angry with me for what I cannot help ; you know or you ought to know-that the heart must choose for itself. I have never thought of such a thing as marrying my cousin-"

" Ah ! then it is because he is your cousin that you object to him," Mrs. Waldron interrupted, eagerly a ray hope animating her ; why, hundreds of girls marry thsir cousins,"

" Nu ; it is, as 1 said bafore, because. I do not love bim. I cannot tell you, Aunt Roxy," Laura went on in a husky voice, " bow «orry I am to pain William, and, as I perceive also disappoint you ; but my con cier.ee would never allow me to become any man's wife unlets I could give bim my whole heart with

my hand."

'' Girl, giri, you do not know what you are doing ! I will not have my bjy'e life rained like this," Mrs. Waldron said, almost fiercely ; " it has been the hope of my life ever since you came here to live."

Ljura trembled before her fierce passion. Mrs. Waldron bad always treated her with kindness, al- though sho had never appeared to feel any very deep affection for her, and it was not in the girl's natnre to be ungrateful for the care she had received for so many years. She was deeply pained now by what her aunt told her, aud by the evidence of her great disappointment, ond when sha uttertd those last worddsbe dropj-ed her face upon htr hsn's, with a cry of dismay.

Mrs. Waldron took courage and went on :

" I know, Laura, that you are very stubborn when once you make up your mind, but for all our eakes, be very careful how you make it up this time; you do not mean that you will never marry William?' Htr voice dreppea into a pleading tone as ehe said

this.

" Yea, that is what I mean ; I could never love bim as a wife should love her husband, and I could not do him the wrong-I could not do mjself the wrong -to marry him without loving him."

.' Do you thiuk I can bear this ? you shall learn to love bim," returned Mrs. Waldron, bending toward Laura, and speaking in a low, though intense tone.

"Dear Aunt Roxy"--Laura wits curbing her proud heart and bearing with her hie.-.usa of ber supposed suffering-" do not be so angry with me. Do you think it is a light thing to me to disappoint you and pain William thus ? Ah ! comfort me a little-I bave no mother to go to-and do not blame me so se- verely."

" Promise me that you will marry my boy, and I will do anything in the world for yon."

" I cannot do that, Aunt Roxy,"

Very low and gently, but very firmly as well, were the words spoken.

" Laura Preston, you will make an enemy of me if you blight this hope of mine."

Laura turned and looked at her aunt, surprised into calmness by her strange words.

Her face wore a dark and malignant expression, and ber flashing angry eye plainly indicated that she was equal to tbe task of proving her i»8Bertion true,

" Aunt Roxy," Laura said, quietly, but very grave- ly, " you wrong yourself, you wrong the nome of woman, and your son as well, when you seek to drive me into a marriage that ia repulsive to me. I do not wish to make an enemy of you, for you have always been kind to mo heretofoie, and I appreciate it, but I could not promise to wed a man I do not love under any circumstances. I can give you no different answer, even though it may serve to alienate you entirely f/om me,"

And Mrs. Waldron knew that further words would but be like so much empty sound-her cause was

lost!

" You will live to be sorry for this nigbt'a work, Laura Preston," she said, ominously ; " I shall never forgive it, and if there ever comes a time when I can be revenged upon you for it, you may be very

mt I shall not neglect the opportunity." iShe sa

"vrA-ippina.tue- amasífl girl time to reply, the ,DB'y '' ¿reaming how soon her ft the room, never Sbe

while Laura, startled and «fluid be verified . an<* tn by this new phase of her aeyond meaop'rer, sarfr>

down by the fire and gave way to a violent fit olB weeping. "^

The chiming of the midnight hour finally aroused ber, and she crept sorrowfully away to her own

room.

She felt almost like anallen and an outcast; it waB the darkest hour she bad known since that sad day when she had looked her last upon the face of her dead mother, and seen her carried out forever from the home where she bad been the chief charm and joy.

Sbe listened a moment at Trisj's doe* ; but all was still within, and, with a sad nnd lonely heart, she laid aside her beautiful garments and crept into

b-d.

But no sleep carne to soothe ber excited nerves no rest to her weary trembling frame.

For more than an hour she lay tossing from side to side, those last heartless, threatening words of Mrs. Waldron's ringing constantly in her ears, and trjing to imagine what the wretched future would

be like.

How should she meet Mrs, Waldron in the morning and face William, knowing that she was regarded as an enemy and a marplot by them both ?"

At last she could bear it no longer.

She arose, tucked her feet into a pair of velvet slippers, and throwing a light shawl over her shoul- ders, she stole softly to the door between her own and Trixy'a room.

" Are you awake, Trixy ?" she asked, as ehe gently opened it.

" Yee. What is it, Laura ?" the young girl asked starting up from her pillow,

" I am very nervous. May I come in with you ?'

" ïee, do !" was the hearty response ; and as Laura crept in beside her, she nestled close to her and threw

her arm around her neck.

The fond act unnerved Laura again, and she fell to crying, almost hysterically.

"What tithe matter, Laura ?" I never saw you act so before." Trixy said, surprised and alarmed,

" I have made Aunt Roxy very, very angry with me to-night, and she has said such hard, such dread- ful things to me I" Laura sobbed, glad to pour her trouble into a sympathetic ear.

Was that what kept you so long down staliB ?"

"Yes."

" I have been listening for you for an age. I think I must have taken cold to-night, for I have shivered ever since I came home, and my head aches fear- fully," and Trixy rolled her head restlessly on the pillow.

" What was it that Aunt Roxy said to you ?" she asked, after a moment ; then, as Laura could not answer for her sobs, she added :

"Never mind; you shall tell me about it to- morrow. I never dreamed Bhe could say anything to huit you ; but Luura there ore times when I believe I absolutely hate Aunt Roxy. It's wicked, I know, to say it, but she goads me beyond endurance. Ob, dear ! how my head does ache !" and Trixy moaned with paiu.

Laura was startled out of her own misery by it, for Trixy was not wont to complain.

She reached out her band nnd laid it against her cheek. It was burning with fever.

" You are ill," she said, " I have a flask of eau de cologne in my room-I will get it, and bathe your

head."

" No ; do not move, please ; every motion, hurts me terribly. Try and go to sleep now ; I shall be better in the morning perhaps," Trixy tried to say cheer- fully, but her little white teeth were locked together with paiu, though she forced herself to lie »till so that Laura need not be disturbed.

They di comfort«' esleep b< fright, ujr

whil* her

Jam

fUth

di

??v

¡tim ti

appearance wa

fiad an opponen.

Verdict and Dag short handicaps 1

close together, BL of "«îthe^ pair mp Nine promise to Stake*, 7 .furlon

.¿¿an hap it. ,t t00 L

-- 'ghtor

CHAPTER II. ",r,il?t>-"P'i

'IÇ^XOMAKBAHO^-^

ino AU, cheered and comforted . Uunedin

sitting Mpe -<«Btt na8 gone to do hf. >m Tom andbrlgMts of combates of the Wai,Club

«ir reader».

- Pc^t a hundred year«

l^d 10s menS York; at least, m | I spectai^g tnat he waa

' email BIÜO-L, of pros

the disk. Pr^ii how to broke fofi^fTlnncome

eyes shinir

fever, wbilevcene lan lirium.

Greatly a

the hall, ktfl76 I Bo called out :

"¿untROJHiij

ill." li ViW^in glovtud two

Then she ran ba. opFICE AU7 °r twoT o£ the gas, and tried to i J? be seeD comimd

But she was beyoqjjs <£a J°* i'seemtaa "Laura, Laura.^n j/'JäfeY í,tno a »«» lance around, doappj-oaehed,_prör^61"/, ^e told you, but she saye»ixture ia gases ?<*>*.«

-that I am a continual a.

lee.

rvt

forhofaeíH if aid of the V4

and Rose licap are 31ub Hau- st to say. Tuesday's

"le Cope lUgh Cha- nto essed,

,-, who can , -'he com

:eb>

Itíl

?»Icohow»

A3 the

\ by

can

Jo at

to keep out of your way-inib-al have;'" -*\fa f$L®\

beeo so hard-so hard, because I love you-*Sn ' ^«âendint, truly," «¡be went on, in a plaintive way that madt'.^ "J-ritory. LBur-.'d heartache; "and if there's anything in tha ^^d^orise world that I can do to make you love me again, I'll do it. I'll tell you a secret, Laura," she said, drop- ping her voice to a whisper, and clasping her hands across her aching brow, " I'm all on fire ; you can't see it, but the little flames have been creeping all over me all night. I began to burn a long time ago, only it wes away in deep out of sight. Aunt Koxy's heart ia a piece of flint and her tongue a steel ham» mer, and she has kept striking sparks at me for so long that she has at last set me afire. Don't you see how I burn P-oh, it's dreadful, dreadful ! How long will it last do you suppose ? But I could bear it better if you would only love me a little."

"Hush, Trixy, dear!" Laura said, almost sobbing, aloud ; " I do love you, my darling. Lie down nnd let me bathe your head. Ah ! how hot these poor little hands are," and, wetting a to we', she began to bathe them tenderly.

"not? yes, you don't know how hot-they've been burning all night, I tell you, and I could not put the fire out. Ob, my head, my head ! Look at my bair, Lau»-it has all turned into snakes and reptiles, like Medusa's ; I can feel them squirm and wriggle. Aunt Roxy will think I'm a worse fright than over," she said, with a wild laugh. Then with a look of fear as she pressed her band to her throb» bing temples : " If they should sting and bite me, Laura, I should die, and I don't want to die now I want to try and make you love me a little first."

Mrs, Waldron entered the room at this moment and Trixy seeing her, motioned her back with a

wild shriek.

" Laura, save me !" she cried ; " here comes that old Gorgon with the evil eye-don't let her fix it on me-one look from her will turn me into stone, then she will forever strike sparks from me to torture some one else I" and the poor girl clung to Laura as if in mortal terror, hiding her face upon her neck and trembling in every limb,

Mrs. Waldron instantly turned and left the room.

Ï

i A

,w at a glance that Trixy was indeed alarm» 11, and her presence added to her frenzy,

aroused the servants, sent for a physician, len arming herself with fresh towels and ice

leturned to the sick-room to dp what she

until the doctor arrived.

Trixy would not allow her to core uear her ; Gi-d that she was that hideous Gorgon of 8tone;0(jy whose glance turned.«vrery one to

that M£.T» ./-?.. JU- .".c>-.,v>..i{ed to -.e88ea. _. leaving Laura to minister to her alo*, ^^Ä the help of a servant, until the physician should arrive.

" I am not a fright," Trixy muttered, after she had gone, and Laura had succeeded in making her lie down, while sho batbtd her head. " Go find Eliot he can tell you all about it. I am beautiful-as beautiful bB > ou BTB, Laura, if you see me right ouiy it is a different kind of beauty. Go bring Eliot -he shall tell you all about it."

"Yes, darling, Eliot shall come," Luira said, soothingly ; " but, Trixy dear, you have always been beautiful to me ;" and, talking in this strain, Laura made ber lie comparatively still until the doctor came, though she kept up that incessant mutter- ing.

" She is very dangerously ill," the doctor said, with a very grave face. " She must have the closest attention, and my directions must bo strictly fol- lowed or I will nat answer for her life."

When told how the presence of Mrs. Waldron ex- cited her, he said at once, and very decidedly,

" She must not got pear her, then ; I will send a professional nurse within au hour, and the house must be very quiet."

So Mrs. Waldron was banished from' the sick- room, much to her chagrin ; a professional nurse was installed, who, with Laura's assistance-for Trixy would not be easy a moment if she was absent from her 'side-took all the care of the in- valid.

She called for Eliot incessantly, and as soon as, eame to his studio, which waa not until late i afternoon, for he had business away that da;

went for him.

His presence seemed to quiet her at looked up at bim with a smile.

" You know all about it, Eliot," she

them-tell Laura that I love her, and-thai a fright."

Yes, he would tell them, ho said ; and ttí down beside ber, holding her hot hands i:

talking in a low, soothing tone, until the * -.';,.> loss eyes grew heavy and dull, the uuBhjj^it over them, the anxious, pain-lined face j,^

repose, end she slept. A_

"Poor child," he murmured, as he bent over ...

a terrible fear written on his face, " she has been tortured to the verge of madness-poor, careless, sensitive, loving Trixy ! God grant that you may come safely out of this peril 1"

(Tooeconftm.ee..)

mo.

ngfailoa "..ith your ïtlie ¿.du "'he represen "ve been dis "he parents of fared no batter. 1 has not fallen

, we are entitled has enjoyed the " olfor twenty

ly after educa id, thus placing 1 the reach ana

in my humble ^al Department «h demands im

'us the

«.en