Chapter 87873705

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Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87873705
Full Date1903-12-19
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Newspaper TitleChronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954)
Trove TitleThe Seventh Earl of Cholmondley
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'The Seventh Earl of Cholmondley.'

By MRS. J. S. WESTON, 'Author of. 'The Young Stepmother,' 'Jees,' 'Rough and Tumble,' &c.

CHAPTER I.

True love's the gift that God has given To man alone beneath the heaven. 'Muvver, would you have come if you'd thought it would be as rough as thiB?' There was a suspicion of tears in the ?voice, and a boy's small head peeped over the top bunk to take a look at the occu pant of the lower one. 'Perhaps not, dear; but one would not mind the roughness if one did not feel ? so ill. Oh dear ? ' as the vessel made a bee line heavenward, and then suddenly changing its course buried its bows in th«

trough of the sea. ''We're going through the Great Bight; that's why it's so rough,' said Mamie, who occupied an opposite bunk. 'Does it really bite or does it only lash its tail?' asked the voice of the first speaker, in awe, for hU childish mind had conceived the Great Bight to be a formid able monster, laying wait on an unknown shore for ships that passed in the night, and lashing out on them in its rage. Even the mother, 6ick as she was, laugh ed faintly at this, while Mamie described the south coast of Australia to the relief of- her small brother's mind, for Mamie was nine years old and a girl,— and he was but aix, and could not be expected to know all to which her womanly little mind had at tained. Yet it was chiefly on account of this self same small boy, with the cropped brown hair and big wondering eyes, that. this long journey had been undertaken, for there was a. possibility that in years to come he might be called to take his place among the peers of England. He did not know it. this little mannikin, nor had the mother known it until a few months previously, when she had sat hold ing the hand of her dying husband and he bad told her all. ? She had known that, owing to a father's harshness, he had left home when a mere boy and come to seek his fortune beneath !Auetral skies, and his own nobility of bear ing had told her that her lover husband had come of aristocratic stock; but that he ?was the younger son of a peer, and that there was a possibility of little Arthur suc ceeding to the title and estates she had never guessed, until in the quiet time when the feet of the man she loved were gently near ing the River of Death, he had told her all, and given as his dying injunction to her that after his death she should go to the old country, which was a new one to her, and make known to his father her own ex istence and that of the children, especially the little lad who must one day occupy his father's place. Perhaps the mission to be carried out in her husband's name kept the young widow from despair in the days that followed his death, when all the ties which bound her to life seemed loosened, and life itself with out him seemed a thing impossible to con template. They had loved so tenderly and wholly, and the honeymoon, which had begun ten years before, had only set when death had lowered its dark curtain between them. She had been the daughter of a country clergyman, a man who had made his mark upon the literature of the day, but who had never emerged from the seclusion of his quiet country, home since the death of hid wife, which occurred during the infancy of their ouly child. . That child had grown up in the refined atmosphere that surrounds the student and philosopher, and at 17 a lovely girl had emerged from' the minister's study, half, child, half woman— holding the reins of household government in capable but gentle hands, imbued with much of the gentle strength of character which characterised ' her father, and looking out into a world unknown except through books, with all the glad hopefulness of j'outh's enchantment. Then her father died and she was left alone. His death was a terrible blow to K her, for they had been almost more than father and daughter, but action was neces sary/for besides the money realised from the eale of household effects and his books she was unprovided for. She took a situation as governess on a sheep station in New South Wales and there she met Horace Cholmondley. He had ridden in from his own station some miles further out on a matter of business, but that visit was prolonged and oft repeated, for it was a case of l-Sve at first sight be tween him and the beautiful girl, 'who satis fied all his ideals of womanhood. . There waft nothing for them to wait for and. they were married before the year was out.' and entered upon a period' of bliss :wbich only married lovers can know. Then the children came— Mamie first and later little Arthur. After his birth the » young father grew thoughtful. His own : social position had never troubled him; the bp6n freedom of station life suited him, and /where he was was heaven enough for his young wife. Baby Mamie had been a pet 'and a plaything, another link of love W \ tween husband and wife; had one been -needed, but the boy was different; there ' - ? ' were possibilities ahead of him which could - pot be forgotten. ; ' - ?'. '?, ;-u ???*?-'? . ??.??,.: ..???.- -?;?.??,., Once he $fes.«n the point of telling his

young wife all, but he let the opportunity slip, and presently other things claimed his attention. First it was a bad season, then bush firesj then long periods of drought, when the sheep died in hundreds and lay in rotting heaps, or went to feed the raven ing dingoes. The Cholmondleys suffered heavily, but the wife kept up heart and spurred her husband on to fresh effort; but in the midst of it he -fell iJJ and had to lny down the work of which his hands were full. The illness proved to be typhoid fever, and it almost cost him his life, but though immediate danger was warded off, the effects of the illness were never over tome. A slight cold, caught in an unex pected shower, settled on his lungs, and that was the beginning of the end. The stock and station were sold out, and the little family went down to Sydney, in the hope that with the best medical aid close at hand the invalid's health might be restored1. But the humid climate proved too enervating, and the family were forced to make another move. 'Take him to Adelaide,' said the doctor to whom the wife appealed in her ex tremity. 'I am afraid nothing can fc«ve his life; it is only a question of time, but the evil day may be warded off in a light, dry climate.' So once more the little family packed up their belongings, and a month later found them settled in a modest home close to the white city of Adelaide. Here the invalid really seemed to rally, and husband and wife spent long, bright days together on the hill slopes, with the sweet, ouorous breath of the eucalypts filling their lungs, and the balmy psrfumcs from orchard and vineyard stealing cut into the summer warmth that lay over she land. Together they watched the morning sun toucb the hill-tops and creep down into the valleys, and the purple shadows of the even ing spread their curtain on the eastern slopes. Or sometimes they sought the sandy beaches of the seashore, and spent long, dreamy days in the shelter of the sandhills, watching the ships as they passed up and down the gulf. But by-and-bye the old trouble returned. Horace's health gave way once more and he faded rapidly. Even the eyes of the de voted wife could not be blind to the state of her loved one's condition. Through all that time it had never occur red to Horace to seek his father, but now, in the quiet days before the end, with his -wife's hand in his, he told her all. 'There is still a little money left,' he said, 'sufficient to pay your passages home and support you for a short time. Once there, I am sure my father will receive you kindly. The fault of our separation was not all on his side. We quarrelled and. I left home and came out here. I never meant 'to stay for pood, but I liked the life and sent home word that I had no intention of returning. My father wrote and told me that I need not write again. He looked upon me as lost to civilisation— a mere knockabout. I took him at his word and have never written since. But now I have written a letter to him that I want you to take. You will find it in my desk. It is all I can do to make amends. I have been an undutiful son.' The speaker's voice died away and 6ilence reigned for a little time, then he went on— 'My elder brother, Malcolm, stands be tween me and the title, but my father is old and Malcolm still unmarried, and should he never marry little Arthur is the next heir. Gertrude,' it is for you to put things right. The boy's interests will be safe in your hands. And now, dearest, I am tired. Let me kiss the children good She brought them both to him and he kissed their foreheads and parted with them for the night. After that he con sented to be wheeled in from the verandah where Hie summer evenings were spent, and helped to bed. After he had fallen into a doze the wife turned out the lain' and lay down on a couch at his eide. She was almost asleep when he spoke. 'Did I say good-night to you, dearest? He asked. She rose and bent over him. The moon light lay across the -bed's whiteness, and the face looking up into hers was strangely radiant. ' . „ , 'Yes, but good-night again, she said, pressing her lips to his brow, and he fell asleep with a smile on his lips. ? Once in the night she looked at him and he was sleeping peacefully, but when the first streaks of morning came over the hills she rose and found him — dead. CHAPTER II. Through the kindness of the shipping agents, Gertrude Cholmondley secured a small, but comfortable cabin for the exclu sive use of herself and the children for the voyage. The payment for two full eecond claVs paseages made a tremendous hole in her slender resources, and she trembled to think how little was left to keep them when they reached their journey's end, but «ne never swerved from herpurpose of oariying out her husband's wishes. * Baffling head winds and a rough sea kept things pretty lively from Cape Borda to Al bany. Gertrude forced herself to dress and get on deck for the children's sake. They had recovered from their sickness, and took a keen interest in the ship life around them, chattering ceaselessly to their mother, as with their handB clasped in hers she gazed ?'. i ..?'?'???????.???''.' .- ''s'\

across the waters of the Sound to the sprink ling of distant lights showing faintly through the dusk of a winter's evening. Suddenly she became conscious of a man's Eresence at her side. For one brief moment er heart gave a great bound, and the im mediate past slipped away from her. She was a happy wife again, with her hus band strong and well at her side, and ttiey were taking a trip to the old country to gether, as they had always planned to do some day. It was not true that her Horace was dead; he was here at her side. She gave a little inarticulate cry and put out her hand to touch the arm so near her own, her eyes travelling quickly upward over the familiar form to the face looking down at her, half in pity, half in surprise. Alas, it was not Horace, but eomeoue strangely like. With a cry of disappointment Gertrude's face fell, and taking the children's hands she hurried below, leaving the stranger to gaze after her slim figure in its widow's dress. 'Who is that lady?' he asked of*a steward who was passing. 'That? Oh, that's a Mrs. Cholmondley— young widow, sir. Going home to his people or her own, most likely.' A deadly whiteness spread over the stranger's face. 'Cholmondley, did you say?' he asked faintly. 'Yes, sir, I believe so. That was the name on her trunks. Can I get you any thing, sir?' 'No, thank you,' said the gentleman, pressing a coin into . the man's hand and turning away, and long after the vessel had weighed her anchor and glided out of the Sound into the stormy darkness of the winter's night he paced the deck, buffeted by wind and wave, and not once, but many tiin^e he said to himself, Cholmondley — and a' widow— -and there is a little lad.' Mrs. Cholmondley's enquiries with regard to the gentleman who had so strongly re minded her of her husband yielded her lit tle information. She learnt that he was a first-class passenger and his name was Malcolm, and that was all, but that chance resemblance to one she had loved and lost brought' back her grief more keenly, and gave her a fit of heart-hunger that eclipsed everything else. But after Cape Leeuwin was passed and the bad weather left behind calm days and ever-brightening skies cured drooping spirits as v/ell as seasickness, and the passengers found their way on deck and began to en joy life once more. 'Mother dear, do come up and see the funny porpoises rolling about,' said the children, rushing down into the cabin for the sixth time. 'Mr. Malcolm says it will do you good to come up on deck,' said Mamie encouragingly, 'and he has fixed you up such a nice place with his deck chaii and two rugs. Do come, mother.' A flush tinged the mother's pale cheeks; the children's chatter after a run on deck always. turned on the sayings and doings of their new friend, Mr. Malcolm, and Gert rude had not yet recovered from that shock of her fir6t meeting with him. However, she made an effort to dress, Arthur putting on her shoes, while Mamie brushed her hair, and when she was ready they escorted her up the hatchway to a sheltered part of the lower-deck to the 'nice place' made ready for her. Mr. Malcolm was evidently expecting them. ' He bowed gravely as the children eagerly introduced 'mother,' and begged her to use his property freely; and when he had done all hfl^zould for her comfort he withdrew to a little distance lest sbe should think he was intruding. After that every afternoon found Ger trude on deck under the shade of the awn ing. Often she found a new book waiting for her when she took her accustomed seat, or some magazines, but Mr. Malcolm never forced his company upon her, though Arthur and he were inseparable. During those deck 'promenades Gertrude had time to watch the man who interested her so strangely. As she became more accus tomed to Beeing him she wondered what it wnsthat had struck her as so familiar. True, there was a faint resemblance to her hus band in the build and contour of the stran ger, but-'there were many points of dissimi larity, but the feeling of that familiar per sonality; always possessed her when he was near. Sometimes the man and the little boy walked very near to where the mother and little Mamie sat with their books, and Ger trude listened to and enjoyed the talk aa much as the children, but slip never en tered into 'conversation with Mr. _ Malcolm until one warm nigift in the tropics, when the beauty of the night tempted her on deck after the children had gone to bed. it was a Wght of perfect beauty. The moon was almost at its full and flooded the. ocean with the glory of its brightness. The uncovered decks were as light as day, but under the awnings there was shadow. Gertrude stood bareheaded, with the sil ver moonlight sinning upon' her bright brown hair, and bringing out the gentle strength of her face; but suddenly she was conscious that she was not alone. Mr. Malcolm was at her side. She put out her hand to touch him as at their first meeting. He took her hand and pressed it gently. Presently they rwere sitting under th«» awning, and little by little he drew from her: the* .story of her Jife and her plans for the future.

'I fear y.ofi will meet with disappoint ment, Mrs. Cholmondley,' said Mr. Mal colm quietly, when she had finished. 'Is it possible that you do not know that the old earl died six months ago and that his son has succeeded to the title and estates? I should advise you to complete your jour ney, though,' he went on. 'I am sure that your husband's brother will receive you warmly and provide for the children's future; at all events, it is only right that he should be made aware of their exis tence.' After that talk Mr. Malcolm took the little party completely under his care, aud many a luxury not provided in a second class menu found its way to them through a set-ret and judicious tipping of stewards. CHAPTER III. Mr. Malcolm parted from the Chol mondleys at Naples, his private affairs de manding his early return to England. Little Arthur was Inconsolable, and cried bitterly when the time came to say good bye. He clung around his friend's neck aud refused to listen to his mother's re monstrances. 'You had better let me take him with me,' said Mr. Malcolm, with the child clasped iu hjs arms. 'It would take the greatest care of him, and he shcuUl mtet you on your arrival. in London.' 'Oh, no/' said the mother, shrinking from the suggestion. 'I ccfilcl not think of it,' and she held cut her arms for her boy. The old sense of loneliness settled down on Gertrude once more after Mr. Malcolm had left them. There would be no more pleasant chats^and ? promenades on deck ; no more pleasant runs ashore at ports of call, with someone who knew the customs of the people and the chief places of inte rest. All the pleasant part of the jour ney was over, and there was only the ner vous looking forward to a landing in an unknown countiy, and the apprehension of an interview with one who might look upon her and her children as interlopers. When Arthur still continued to lament the loss of his friend^ Gertrude took tiie child on her knee aud reasoned with him and her own heart at the same time. Mr. .Malcolm had other things to think of besides little boys he happened io meet on board, ship, she told him. 'But he hasn't got a nice little boy Mm me, because he said so,' said the child through his tears. 'And, oh, muvver, when we go to Mr. Malcolm's place he'# go ing to give me a dear little pony, with a long tail, and Mamie's to have one too. Mr. Malcolm said so.' 'But we don't know where Mr. Malcolm lives, darling,' said the mother. 'Couldn't you ask somebody when we get to London, muvver? P'raps he's got a sheep station, like dada used to have.' 'People don't have sheep stations in London, dear,' said thi mother, smiling 'But perhaps we shall meet him again some dav.' 'Mother,' said Mamie, coming up with a box of bon-bons in her hand, 'Mr. Mal colm said I was to give you the bottom row of bon-bons, but there is only one row in the box, and a letter underneath for you.' Gertrude took the envelope and opened it, and ten five-pound notes fell out of it. The note enclosed begged her to accept the little gift for the children, and gave her instructions as to the best hotel to stop at during her stay in London, the best route to follow in reaching her husband's ances tral home, with minor details as to trains and means of locomotion which would be likely to save her trouble on the journey. Gertrude was touched by the kindness of the writer, but all the more puzzled that he did not express any hone of ever see ing her or the children again. However, sbe found his instructions very useful when the voyage was over When they readied London sbe had no difficulty in finding the hotel Mr. Malcolm had named, and though in the first place she had intended to seek something much more modest in the. way of accommodation, she had the satisfaction of knowing that those ten bank notes had made many pleasant things possible. Sbe spent a few days in replenishing the children's wardrobe before going down into the country, and took them to see some of the wonderful sights of the great metropolis. On the last day of their sojourn iu Lon don Gertrude called the children to her, and told them something of her object in taking this long, long journey, told them of their father's wish, that they should see the home of his boyhood, and when she had -finished little Arthur said— ?'Does Mr. Malcolm live at dada's place, muvver?' Gertrude started. Such a possibility had never occurred to her, but now that the suggestion had been made it explained many things. That strong resemblance to the father of her children; the affection that had sprung up between them. Was it possible that he had been travelling in cognito, and that he was the Earl of Chol mondley himself, and her husband's bro ther? The more Gertrude thought 'over it the more convinced she became that this was the solution of the problem. She finished her packing with a light heart; the dreaded interview was no longer a night mare, but a pleasure to anticipate. Early in the afternoon of the next day Gertrude and her children arrived at the little country station nearest to the Chol tnondley estates. There was a solitary vehicle for .hire outside the station, and ?? ? ' '??. ?'.tT.'fr- :??? ;? .-..-T ? i ? ? ? ? '? ? .. ?? . '. :

they got in, leaving the trunk they had brought in the. care of the statiorimaster. It was a. two-miles drive to the abbey, through some of theHuest of English coun try, which appealed to Gertrude with a sense of restfulness and peace. 'Is this Government House?' asked Mamie, as the vehicle turned in at the lodge gates and swept up the magnificent drive. 'No; this is Uncle Malcolm's home,' an swered the mother, her hand tightening on that of the little kd at her eide with a thrill stirring her heart as she thought of his being the heir-presumptive to such a heritage. The vehicle stopped in front of the marble steps leading up to the main en trance, and Gertrude lifted the children out, paid the driver, and was left to her own resources. She looked timidly around, with a mis giving that someone would order her off the premises. At a little distance a groom; was holding the bridle of a spirited pony, % which took all his attention, and half-way ? up the marble steps stood a boy of about 15, flicking aimlessly with a small silver mounted whip at nothing in particular. He ,; was a handsome boy with a discontented '' ? ?'?' face. 'Can you tell me whether the earl is at home to-day?1' she asked timidly. 'The servants will tell you if you ask them,' he returned insolently. 'What da you want to see my father for?'' Gertrude went deadly pale. All her day dreams with regard to her little boy's future faded rapidly. Yet Horace had told he* distinctly that his brother was unmarried. She looked the boy over incredulously, and he flushed scarlet. 'Don't you believe me?' he asked hotlj- 'I tell you I am Viscount Cholmondley. Do I look like a boor that you stare at m» £0?' But Gertrude was trembling violently* and taking the children's hands she went towards the door, and the boy, dashing down the steps, threw himself upon the pony, and lashing it violently galloped out of sight. It was some time before Gertrude had the courage to ring the bell at the great door. WTien she did it was opened by a, footman, and collecting sill her loives she gave Iilt name and asked, with quiet dignity, to see the earl. The man ushered her into the great ball, and iiowtil himself nw.iy, iiiid 'Jerlrude's confidence slowly returned. 'Is this the Picture Gallery, mother?' asked Mamie, who was of an enquiring mind, surveying with interest the heavily framed pictures and massive statuary, the shields and swords, and the heavy sets of ar mour that covered the walls. Before Gertrude could reply the man had returned. ''This way, if you please,' he said, with a respectful how, and ushered them along one broad hall and down another until he came to a tapestry-hung door. He drew the cur tain aside, and looking straight into space, announced — 'The Hon. Mrs. Horace CJiolmondley.' «, Gertrude started and colored perceptrfily. It was the first time that her knowledge of her husband's lineage had seemed lo touch her personally; her dreams had always been for her children. She went forward, half expecting to meet an old friend in a new position, but it was a stranger who came forward to meet her, one who showed unmistakably that he was a Cholmondley, but who lacked the close resemblance to her husband that the man. who had befriended her on the voyage had, shown. The earl had risen and now took her hand and greeted her warmly. 'You are my brother's wife,' he said, scanning her carefully, 'but with evident ap- v pjoval. 'My brother's widow, I should eay. I would have sent to meet you had I known what'3ay to expect you. It was a great grief to me to hear that Horace was dead, for though we have been parted for years, there was a time when we were in separable and loved each other dearly. And this is little Arthur— aud Mamie,' holding out a hfcjid to each. He appeared to, know them both and looked long and earnestly in the little boy's face. He seemed very kind, too, and made many enquiries about the journey and their stay in London, and when the first strange ness of the situation had worn off and the .' children were beginning to find their tongues he drew Gertrude aside. 'There are things which we shall need to speak of which nre not for children's ears,' he said. 'With your permission I will place them in the housekeeper's, care. Of course, vou have come to stay, and thejj may as well make acquaintance with their new home.' He touched a bel], and when the children had been carried off, after secret assurances on their mother's part that she would not be long, and that she would on no account go away and leave them r Gertrude went . back with the ear} over the. laSt ten.yeara' of her life, portraying with infinite pathos the life of the man .she had loved, h» self- , sacrificing toil through years of disappoint- . *. ment, his patient' submission in that last' year of weakness and -suffering. She told him all, with~fhe tears running down her '; cheeks, and of the letter she had brought, '. :'Z the letter asking for forgiveness of one wh* .: had himself passed away. ' ' ' The earl heard it all in silence, with. hU ..'. ?..- ''-. ,=??' I:/,-' ;?..?' , 'V. ?? :?.. OJfYOv^

: Lead resting upon his hand, and when she. had finished he said— 'There was a certain man who had two sons, and he arid, 'Sons, go work in iny vineyard/ and. the elder son said, Father, 1 go,' and went not— that was myself but the other said, '1 will not go,* ; aud went— that was Horace, ... Oertrude— if 1 may call you so—I hare 'fired 'a double life in the vears that are passed- Horace doubtless thought his boy the nestr heir to the title j and' estates, believing, as did everyone else,, that I was unmarried, but. such is not the case. Your little lad shall have all that it is possible for me to give him, if but for his father's sake and yours, but *ne stands between him and the title, and that one — my«on. * Years ego, when I was a boy, I hcciime enamored of a girl, ?s'ho was far below me ;in the social scale. Had that been the onfy drawback it might not have mattered much, but it was not all. She was a music-hall singer, and I became so in fatuated with her that I spriit my allow ance, ran into debt, and did mosc of^ the insane things -common to young men ot my type. Afler a time «he suggested mar riage. This Thad not thought of, but sLe pressed it, and 'by-and-bye showed me that ?it -was the only tiling 1, as a mau of honor, could do. , , Ho finally I married her, only stipulating that the marriage should be kept a secret during my fathers lifetime, to which she was quite ogreeable. After a time a child was torn. All that was eood m her came to life at thai child's birth and I had hopes ir-r the iurure. She begged that he might ba left for her to bring up, and 1 consented an condition that sbe cut herself adrif: en tirely from the old life. I established her * in a pretty villa twenty miles from Lon don, and went sometimes to see her and the boy, but by-and-bye she tired of the clean, wholesome life she was living {though it may have been dull enough, for her, poor soul), and hankered for the old one. I threatened that if she disobeyed me I would take the child from her, but the trouble was what to do with. him. He was passionately attached to her, and as he grew older he learnt to dread and hate my visits as the signal for tears ou the part of his mother and anger on mine. I sent her abroad to see i£ change and travel vould improve a mind which I found, to my grief, had no resources ct its tjwn, and while she was away flhe fell in Jove with a strolling musician and de camped with him. 1 tracked her and took tbe ooy from ber, and, with the help of n college friend, sent him back to England and placed him at a good school. He was finite unaware of my position or .ms own, and I kent him in ignorance until after my father's death. . . Ail this time I bad been parrying with ray father's ceaseless wishes that I should marry, too great a coward, -trfter years of secrecy, to own to my un happy marriage, which was, however, dis solved two vcars ago, when roy wife died in Rome of yellow fever. Alter my father's death I sought out m- eou and told him of his true position, and also of his mother's death, of which be had been in ignorance. He was furious. All Ihe passion of his mother's nature burns in -bis veins. He is a young savage and hates me because of his mother's fancied wrongs. But (here he ie, the sor- of a muMC-hall singer— the seventh Earl of Choltnondley.' There was a bitterness in the earl's voice which brought- the. tears to Gertrude's eyes. 'No, no, she said. 'He has a noble lace; he will do you credit yet. His hen-t ?as hungry for love; you forget that he lia= ^_ lost the only love he erer knew; and, oh, I a in. sure, -a* mothers love compensates for many things.' * CHAPTER IV. 'Now, I'm the boss,' said .Mamie, strut ting up and down the room, with the handle «t a paper-knife between her teeth and im aginary clouds of smoke emanating from her lipjs. 'I'm the boss and-yon'ie the shearer, Artie.' ? Arthur, armed with a pair of scissors and holding captive a large white Persian cat, had some difficulty in getting his sheep in position. - ?? - ? ''It won't keep still; Mamie, he said plaintively. . ... ? 'Sheep never do,'' answered the boss de cisively. 'They always kick and grunt at '''?'- first, out they get used to it. Now, hurry '-?-? up there, get to work.' Thus urged, the email shearer made a few-faint dips at missy's white fur, for which she rewarded him -with a red stripe 4own Mb arm. 'Oh, Mamie,' he began. *'S'ou -mustn't say Mamie, I'm 'Boss,' ' caid that young lady, smoking vigorously. -.'??' ? ?' - 'This sheep'* done mow, bass; it's quite jflbne,' said Arthur earnestly. 'Jfo, at isn't,' objected Mamie. 'The ; fleece has to come off all in one piece. ' Turn the sheep over and do ite back,' coming to the relief of the shearer and placing the victim between her knees in the true professional manner. Thus encouraged, Arthur succeeded in ? raising quite a little pile of white for on 3 .-'the carpel, but the unwilling cheep getting ???? her bead loose, Arthur snippea her car and ?.received a second, red stripe for bis pains. . '.**$!e?er »ua;d,T said Mamie pbjlosbplii - 'colly, 'but with some misgivings at heart as io- what her mother might have to fiay on : the subject. 'The sheep dp get cut some times, and shearers don't mind a. scratch.' ' ''WeTL of Till the mad games I ever heard of, that's ihe maddest,' said the voice of the young viscount from the window-seat, ' where he had been corleoVup with a book - behind the curtains. 'Is that the kind of %I^m Anglian ichUd^^^lajrf'^ ^ ..1 ?-?.'??'.?:;.?npfif; butit'e a really play/' said Mamie, M defence of. tile ;;gaiae; die had . eug ~- v fiest^d. ? ' '?'.'? --? . ''-.'?? ? ?? ' - ? ' - ' s Mid the young viflcbunt -wistfully, 'f wish ^ . I COuld toy/''' ?- '-S ??'-. ', -j. -'-!?? V',1 '?, -:~. ':?,:' .

estly. 'It's wrong for earls' sons to go to Australia, You'd be sorry some day that you'd gone away and left your lather, like my dada was.' The boy laughed shortly. ''My father would be glad to get rid of me,' he said bitterly, 'and if I weift Arthur could have the title and everything — I wouldn't care. Arthur's a Cholmond lev and I'm not. ' I heard my father say so.' . - The weeks had slipped away since the ar rival of Mrs. Cliclmoudley aud the children, and they had settled down -Jn their new beautiful home as naturally as if accus tomed to it all their lives. There had been no mistress and no chil dren in the dim old abbey since the bro thers had piayed together in childhood, watched over by !.be love of a mother who was doomed to an early grave, and the earl welcomed a gracious woman's pre sence, and let the brightness of Gertrude's sunny nature melt tbe icy reserve that had warped hig_better nature. He often watch ed her as' she flitted through the dim old rooms or romped with the children in the great haUs, watched her and thought how different life might have been for him if be, instead of Horace, had met her iu his early manhood; thought how much he might have achieved if this 6weet woman's love and eoni.panjonship had been his. Gertrude pitied the man whose natural affections had been crushed and blighted, but she pitied more the lonely boy who had lost his mother's love, whatever might have lieen'Ttn'at mother's faults. From the first hour in which she knew of .tbe young viscount's existence she resolutely threw doyrn the castles in the air winch «she had built for her own little lad, and set herself to win the love of the motherless boy. ? Father and son were as far apart as the poles, but Gertrude felt that under the icy reserve of one and tbe stubborn pride of the other paternal and filial love must exist if ever bo feebly, and she determined, if possible, to effect a reconciliation be tween them. And all this time Mr. Malcolm kept silence, though Gertrude and the children spoke often of liim. Sometimes she thought the carl could have enlightened her as to his identity, for he knew many things which she had told air. Malcolm in those long hours on a sunny deck, but he only smiled when -sbe questioned him and remained as obscure as an oracle. - But one morning Mamie and Arthur, whose studies had been resumed under the care of a 'governess, had just been released from* their morning lessons, and had . gone out to ?walk -with their mother in the beautiful abbey gardens, when a groom rode up un der the beeches, leading two Shetland ponies. To the bridle of each was at tached a note addressed to the children. Mamie opened hers. 'To my little friend Mamie, from Mr. Malcolm,' it said, and that afternoon, on returning from a drive with the earl, Ger trude found her old friend playing with Mamie and Arthur on the terraces, awe.it ing their return. He gave her a hearty handclasp, and noted the difference the few weeks of English residence had made in her. She looked five years younger than on that gloomy winter's night when he had seen her for the first time. Her cheek had lost its pallor and her step had re gained its old lightness. She turned to introduce him to the earl, who, however, spoke first. . 'Gertrude, this is our cousin, Malcolm Cholmondley. He will doubtless make his own explanations,' he added, smiling at her confusion and leaving them alone together. ''Will you forgive me for my little de ception?' asked Mr. Cholmondley, still holding her band. But just then a groom brought round the children's ponies and there was no time for explanations, ae they had to be put through their paces. But that evening Malcolm Cholmondley told her something of bis past, and what he did not tell her she learnt*later. He and her husband had been close friends in their boyhood and the striking resem blance between 'them had frequently caused comment. They would easilyjiave passed for brothers. After Horace's departure for Australia and the death of his own father, Malcolm Cholmondley had devoted himself to the management of bis own ample estates, and the care of the declining years of his widowed mother. There had been a lore story in ins earlier life, 'but it had ended in disappointment, for the girl whose heart he had fondly im agined to be his had been unable to with stand the glitter of a coronet, and had driven away from him amid a shower of wedding favors with an elderly duke at her side. In course of time his mother died, and the old earl, his uncle, was failing fast, and looking ever for the return of the prodigal eon who did not. come. Then Malcolm Cholmondley offered to go out to Aus tralia and seek for him, so he put bis own affairs in order and went out to search for his cousin in the Australian bush. ' He Wvas; not /euceessftuyT, for? 'the lifcde- family were '$$- : this tfrne ^Mavellinjj about; from jjlaee ?ta.;$acei-;»n -search^ of ^ealtB/or tt« invalid. ',lfle* ampjiediTHie* JJiine.ofeChql moadely,-anQ^Aveil^^s 3fe. ^leskn in case Horace - should try to -avoid anyone bearing the family name. He advertised, but Horace was by this time nearing the end of his journey, and Gertrude's time too fully occupied to even read. the daily papers. - ? In the meantime the earl died, -and. as no good fieemed likely to result from, his search, Id&lcolnv Cholmondley turned his face :^Bj^M^ard*r.lji. Ijjjs . Absence letters readied him from time to tune, end latterly had borne ' reference to tie boy who had been Introduced to -the world as the young viscount, but no letter had come from the new earl to-confirm the rumor. - On that homeward jdurneW, $s we have jseen, he f ell in with: Gertrude and the

children, and on arriving at Naples hurried home by Die quickest route to advise the earl of ner coming and to learn the truth of the rumor which had-reached him. He found it' trtfe and deemed it' best that' Gertrude should hear the fact from the carl himself, preferring- to ' keep in the background juntil sbe should have won the earl's affection for herself. CHAPTER V. A year slipped quickly away in the new beautiful life into which Gertrude and her children had been transplanted.- She was a great lady now and found herself, by the terms of the late earl's will, amply pro-' vided for, apart from her brother-in-law's generosity. When the year of her mourning was over she gradually took up all the duties wbicli her new position entailed, with a quiet dig nity and sweetness which charmed the earl and won the hearts of all those who came in contact with her. But sometimes when she vras alone she laughed softly to herself and wondered if it were all a dream from which she would awake by-and-bye to life's realities., or whether the past were a dream. But sometimes her heart ran afray back over those ten years of ber married life, and she would willingly have given up all the beautiful present to be back at the old homestead, looking over tbe sun-baked paddocks, with Horace at her side. Yet she was. very happy. She had not even that little lonely grave lying put under the southern stars to yearn for now, for that little grave had been opened, and the ashes of 'Horace., younger son of the fifth Earl of Cholmondley,' rested with those of his race in the family vault of the abbey chapel. During that year she and Malcolm Chol mondiey were much together. Arthur's affection for bis old friend was keener than ever and the child spent much of his time at Cholmondley Hall, sometimes accom panied by the young viscount and his tutor, sometimes alone. Gertrude, who was an excellent horse woman, often rode over to see how it fared with her boy and rode' back under Mr. Chblmondley's escort, In this gracious woman Malcolm Chol mondley found an object for the love of his mature manhood. Sbe had interested him etmngely from the first, and every day they spent together deepened his feelings towards her, aud though he never spoke of iove, knowing that the memory of the bus band of her youth was too fresh «' Ger trude's mind os yet for her to reciprocate his affection, he knew that she was in no way indifferent to_,him, and he was con tent to wait until time had healed the wounds of the past. In spite of Gertrude's efforts, tbe reserve between the earl and bis young son. had never beeu completely broken down, but' the boy was much happier, and had long ago conquered the brooding fits of. passion wtiieh had spoiled his naturally open na ture. He and little Arthur were fast friends, and Gertrude was particularly careful that nothing should ever be said in the presence of either relative to their respective positions. She herself had cheerfully accepted the fact of her own boy being -merely the son of a younger son, and the young viscount loved her dearly and strove hard to come up to the ideal of man hood she held before him. . The autumn fell early that year md storms of unusual severity swept over Eng land. The abbey was but five miles from the sea, and one morning, after an ex ceptionally wild night, the young viscount came in. his face flushed with his morning ride and his eyes bright with excitement. 'They say the cliffs are a sight this morn ing,' he said, 'the spray js dashing over the top, and tbe beach is strewn with wreckage.' Somebody suggested a riding party to view the scene, and as' the weather showed signs of moderation this was agreed upon, Gertrude expressing a wish to accompany them. As ear.v as possible they set out, the young viscomt riding -gaily ahead with his tutor, and Gertrude, with the earl and Malcolm Cholmondley, who was spending a day or two at the abbey, following. The wind, which had raged through the night, had fallen considerably, but the boom of the billows on a rocty coast could be heard long before tbe sea came in sight, and * grey gloom rested over everything. Gertrude shivered perceptibly and almost wished she had not' come, for a presenti ment of an unknown danger oppressed her. She confided to Malcolm Cholmondley her feeling, but he laughed at her and told her it was but the grey of an English win ter that had got on her nerves, and sug rted a canter as an antidote, and prcsent they were on the sands. They dismounted and walked along the narrow beach, looking at the broken spare and wreckage, which told of some iu-fated ship that had gone down iu the night. ' There had been a flood-tide earlier in the morning, but it bad begun to ebb, and the mightj' oillqws which at daybreak had sent their crests of spray to the tops of the highest cliffs, had, now -subsided into huge, oily nionsters, that curled as they approach ed the shore and broke with a roar upon the' shingle. . r . ? ? *? , Presently the par-Ly ventured on. the little pier, that they might better watch the manoeuvres of a small craft that was en deavoring to beat up the bay,, but tne strong breeze which was yet blowing, made walking difficult, and now and then a huge wave swept~the end of tbe pier and rush ed inwards. ?./?'-?, ' - . 'I can't think what they are trying to Ido,' ^id, M& Chounqpidley, witching, .the JittJe jeraf}; ihtenHy through a pairidf field glasses he had brought; 'They- appear to Se heading straight for the rocks. If they get on the reef God help them, for no. one else -can.' ? ? — ,A»d'*OU the little 'craft wrep- on to ite doom, until it became apparent to the ???v..'-' ':.':'?--,? ,-'.v '-'.':--'-^ '/ ?? ' :- '? ..':..? '.:' ??')-? -;V?S

watchers that its steering gear must be defective and ite crew unable to get an anchor to hold on the rocky bottom. The poor souls on board realised their danger and showed signals of distress, but though a few of the fisherfolk had gathered on tho pier, they were- powerless to render any assistance. The vessel struck the reef and hecied over, and the seas gathered themselves ind poured over it, as it rejoicing at their spoil. When the wave retreated aud the spray had cleared, the craft was still there and a few poor fellows could be seen ciiinbir.g into the rigging. - 'Oh, help them— somebody help them,' cried the young viscount, on whose high strung temperament the scene had made a tremendous effect, and Gertrude seconded bis entreaties, but the nearest lifeboat was five miles further round the coast, and long before it could be got to the scene of the disaster the fate of the hapless crew would be sealed. A few fishermen's boats were drawn up on the strip of shingle, but though the earl offered money to anyone who would d'ire the risk- of approaching the reef, not one there but knew that that pa.-:bage was impossible, and though money was scarce, life was dear to all, and there were wives and babies to be left behind. Another tremendous sea struck the little vessel and when it had receded only two men were visible in the rigging. A frenzy of horror seized the watchers on the little pier. The fishermen's wives, accustomed as they were to the perils of the sea, which at any time might leave them widows and their children orphans, bid their faces on the babies' necks and wept for the poor fellows in their extremity, . for whom other women might wait, and wait in vain. 'Come away,' said Mr. Cholmondley,^ as another wave gathered up its force. 'Tliis is no place For you, Gertrude.' But even as he spoke a light skiff shot out from the shelter of the pier, and in it a boy; bare-headed, with his thick brown eur!s blowing in the wind. It was the young viscount. Out, out he pulied into the seething waters. A huge billow met the frail craft, but it climbed the crest and sank cut ot sight in the hollow, to reappear when the wave had spent itself upon the beach. 'Come back, come back,' cried the ear!, with all a father's anguish in his voice, but tne boy smiled back at them, and pointing out to the reef where one man still clung, tossed back his curlv hair, wet with salt spray, and gave all his strength to the oars. It was a wild ambition, but a noble one^ — to carry the gift of life to one poor drown ing sailor— but it was in vain. A whoop ing billow swept the cliff— the vessel had broken up and disappeared, and a boy drenched with spray was looking towards that little group ou the sea-swept pier. Suddenly lie dropped the oars and held out his arms to the earl, who, in an agony of erief, was calling to him to return. ''Father, father, help me!' they heard hiin cry faintly across the boiling waters. '''I'm coming. Hold on,' shouted the earl in --reply. In an instant he had di vested himself of_Jiis outer garments, had disappeared, and was swimming with long, powerful strokes towards the little boat drifting broadside on to the waves. Less and less grew the distance between the swimmer and the little craft, less and less until his hand was upon the gunwale of the boat, and then a heavy sea hid them from view. When it had passed an empty boat floated bottom upwards, but the father and son were no longer visible. When the tide had gone out that night, and the faint light of a pale moon strug gled feebly through the mists, they found them on the strip of shingle, locked in each other's arms. Love had broken down the barrier of reserve which in life had held father and son apart, and in death they were not divided. Ten years have passed since Gertrude Cliolmondley first set foot on English soil. For the last six years she has been the happy wife of Malcolm Cholmondley, and if you happened to call at Cholmondley Hall any bright spring morning you might see two children, a boy and a girl, in the care of a groom, riding up and down in the sun shine before tbe great house. The little girl sits her pony gracefully, but the boy is strapped in a pannier on ac count of his extreme youth. No£_Jhey are not Mamie and Arthur, but a litfligirl and boy who have come to Ger trude since her two firstborn children hav? grown out of the nursery. Tjady Mamie Cholmondley is nineteen, and bids fair to be one of the most beauti ful women in England. She was presented at the Queen's last drawing-room, and al ready there is a rumor afloat of her pro bable betrothal to the young Earl of Clif ford. | Arthur is at Eton, but when he is home j during the vacations the family move to the I Abbey, aud Malcolm Cholmondley ridea with him over his vast estates and tries to pre pare him for the time when he_ will have_ to take up the management of things for him self. He is a noble boy, and his mother is just-' ly proud of him. She sometimes thinks ot the time when he was a wee brown-haired laddie in that faraway Australian home in the lonely bush. little dioVshe -guess then that he would ever be — Arthur, seventh Earl of Cholmondley.