Chapter 907339

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Chapter NumberVIII (CONTINUED)
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article907339
Full Date1883-09-08
Page Number2
Corrections10
Word Count7793
IllustratedN
Last Corrected2018-07-04
Newspaper TitleThe Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893)
Trove TitleMisunderstood
article text

FICTION.

(From English American, and other Periodicals)

MISUNDERSTOOD.

CHAPTER VIII.-(Continued.)

When Mr. Richards entered the hall of the semin- ary, he found it crowded to overflowing with specta- tors, anxious friends and fond parents.

He gradually worked his way forward toward the platform, for be was determined to hear Star's essay, if possible, and finally took his stand beside a piece of statuary, and near an open window, where he could have air, and yet command a good view of all

the exercises.

Almost at the same moment a slight, willowy figure, clad in light gray, with a fair, delicate face, deep blue eyes, scarlet lips, and a wealth of golden hair, glided noiselessly to the piano on the platform, Sat down, and after running her fingers nimbly over the keys for a moment or two, dashed off into a bril liant and difficult sonata.

It was executed apparently without a mistake from beginning to end, and without notes, and when it was finished the fair performer retired from the instrument amid enthusiastic applause.

Mr. Richards was astounded.

He had expected some simple melody, passably performed. She had told him, in her modest way that she had given some attention to music, but he had not imagined that she was as proficient as this, and he could not understand how she had kept up her practice, with no instruction, and no permission to use the piano at home.

He did not know of that hour at noon, nor the odd minutes, when other girls were chattering away at recess time, that Star had diligently given to this science which she so dearly loved.

He was no less astounded during the reading of her essay.

When it was announced, she came quietly forward with graceful self-possession, and unfolding the roll of manuscript which she carried in her hand, read in sweet, yet clear tones, a production which held her listeners spell-bound from beginning to end.

She must have woven something of her own heart history into it, he thought, for two or three times the tears welled unbidden to his eyes at the pathos which those smoothly rounded sentences contained.

It seemed as if Star's efforts were more highly appreciated than any other portion of the exercises. Even the valedictory, from a member of the senior class, although well written and to the point, was not listened to with such breathless attention.

At the conclusion of the programme, the diplomas were awarded to the graduating class, and then the professor said be would read the names of those who had passed their examination, and were to be pro moted from the other classes. There were two young ladies, he said, who were entitled to a double pro- motion, having accomplished the work of a year in about six months, which was, to say the least, a very

unusual and laudable circumstance.

The names of those entitled to this were Miss Stella Gladstone and Miss Grace Turnbull, and they would upon the beginning of the fall term, take their places in the senior class.

As the people flocked by him out of the hall, Mr. Richards heard Star's praises on every side, and in- wardly vowed that the girl should have every chance

in the future.

He made his way toward the platform, intending to speak with and congratulate her upon her suc- cess ; but just before he reached her another gentle- man approached her, and after shaking hands in the most cordial manner with her, gave her a small package, and bending down whispered a few words

in her ear.

He could not understand the expression of mingled surprise and joy which for a moment absolutely glorified her fair face as she received the package ; then the tears sprang to her eyes, as with tremulous lips she appeared to be thanking the giver.

The gentleman chatted a few moments longer with her, then put out his hand for the roll of manuscript which she still held, while he smilingly asked her for

it,

Star hesitated about giving it to him, while a lovely color suffused her face ; then with a shy movement she laid it in his palm.

He received it with a brilliant smile, bowed grace- fully to her, and then left her.

Mr. Richards now approached her, and taking her hand said, almost affectionately :

" Star, you have shone effulgently to-day, and I am

proud of you."

It would not have been in human nature to have prevented the little gleam of triumph which flashed from her eyes at this tribute to her talents, but she said, gratefully : .

" Thank you, sir ; but I owe my success all to you." ,

"Not a bit of it," he returned, with some emotion; " you owe it to yourself alone, but I will take care that you do not thank me for nothing at the close of another.year."

Star wondered what he meant, but she did not question him, and her heart was lighter than it had been before, since she crossed the ocean, as he led her from the building and walked home with her.

But he noticed all the way that there was a ner- vous tremor about her, while she was unusually

absent-minded and silent.

" Who was that gentleman who came and spoke to you at the close of the exercises ?" he asked, just before they reached home.

Star glanced up with a start.

"His name is Appleton," she answered, and pre- tended not to notice that his eyes were resting curiously upon the package which he had given her'.

When they entered the house Star ascended to her own room, while Mr. Richards sought his wife.

He found her and Josephine together in the draw- ing-room, and, for a wonder, no callers with them.

He informed them where he had been, and also of the brilliant appearance which Star had made before the public.

Both mother and daughter sneered audibly at his account, and this aroused his indignation.

His eyes began to blaze, and his wife sobered in- stantly; sbe always recognized and dreaded this dangerous symptom.

" You are a couple of selfish, heartless women," he began, " and' now let me tell you, you have got to

turn over a new leaf, or there will be trouble in the camp. The girl, whom you have so despised and tried to degrade ever since she came into the house has wonderful talent-talent of which any one might be proud.' She is rightly named, for she certainly shone like a star of tbe first magnitude to-day ; her essay was superior to anything produced there, and her performance upon the piano something won derful for one so young and possessing so few advan- tages."

" Oh, papa, vou don't mean to say that she can play the piano ! I'm cure she has never touched this one since she came here, and no one can play well without constant practice," asserted Miss Josephine, with a toss of her dark head, for she was accounted a good musician

" You don't believe what I tell you then," her father said, frowning.

" Well, I think you must have overestimated her talent in that direction," the girl answered.

Mr. Richards did not reply, but walked to the bell-rope and gave it a pull.

" Go and say to Miss Gladstone that I would like to see her in the drawing-room," he said to the servant who opened the door.

" Really, Mr- Richards," interrupted his wife, with severe dignity ; but he stopped her short with a mo-

tion of his hand.

" Go," he repeated to the servant who had hesitated as she spoke, and then he turned again to her.

" I want you to understand," he said, "something of the wrong which you have been doing this child, and now I am going to ask her to play to you. I desire that you treat her civilly, too, when she comes down ; she should have been received here as one of us-I regret that I did not insist upon it in the begin, ning-she should have been on an equal footing with Josie, enjoying the same advantages, and re- ceiving sympathy and encouragement instead or- well, its no use fretting over it now ; but by Jove! I'll make it up to her in the future. Hark!I she is

coming, and now I'll have no sneers or sour looks,"

he concluded, as the door handle turned

Star entered at this moment, and seeing the whole family assembled, looked somewhat surprised, but Mr. Richards approached her, saying, quietly :

" I have sent for you to ask if you will play again for us what you played at the hall ?"

Star glanced at the two ladies, but their attitude was not encouraging.

Mrs. Richards was the personification of dignified indifference, while Miss Josephine sat looking out of a window, and partially concealed by its drapery.

She saw that she was wholly indebted to Mr. Richards for this opportunity of displaying her talent, and that tbey were evidently somewhat doubtful as to her ability to do what be claimed for her ; therefore her fingers began to tingle to do their very best.

" Certainly, I shall be pleased to play for you if you desire it," she said, as she walked quietly and unassumingly to the piano and sat down.

She had not struck a dozen notes before she had the undivided attention of every listener, and when she h concluded, two of the little company were

quivering with jealous anger.

Josephine had the name of being a good musician but both she and her mother could plainly perceive that she had not a tithe of the talent that the fair, despised girl, of whom they had tried to make a common servant, possessed,

" Play something else, please," Mr. Richards said, when she had finished the sonata which she had played at school, and without a word her slender fingers went sweeping through one of Mendelssohn's " Romances sans Paroles" in the most intoxicating manner imaginable, and her new admirer, with a look of pardonable triumph, thanked her most warmly when she concluded.

She quietly left the room, although she felt assured that a storm was ready to burst as soon as she should be beyond hearing-the very atmosphere was heavy with it.

She was right in her conjecture, for no sooner was the door closed bebind her than Mrs. Richards tongue was loosed, and she broke forth in a torrent

of wrath.

"Well, George Richards, I suppose you imagine that you have done something wonderful in bringing that girl here and showing her off to us ; but you will find that you have made a mistake. It is very praise- worthy indeed to seek to humiliate one's own daugh- ter, and I should suppose you would feel very proud of such an achievement. Where is your relf-respect that you bring a beggar in here and set her up as a reproach to your wife ? I will not stand it, sir-I tell you I will not stand it ! Things are come to a pretty pass, I should say, if our domestic peace is to be de- stroyed by that insignificant chit, and I was a fool ever to consent to her coming here."

This and much more of the same kind the angry woman poured forth in a perfect volley.

Mr. Richards listened with quiet gravity to the tirade, and when she had concluded, he very coolly remarked.- ,

" Well, Ellen, now that you are through, we'll say that it's my turn ; you might just as well make up your mind to be reasonable first as last, for mine is settled upon one thing. Star Gladstone has done the last day's work in this house that the ever will do ! She is to have her time entirely to herself until she grad- uates, a year hence. I shall offer to allow her to pur- sue music, and painting if she desires, during the long vacation just at hand, giving her the best of masters which New York affords, and spare no rea- sonable expense to make her the accomplished woman that I think she is capable of becoming, You promised all this to her father-he sent her to you with the belief that she would enjoy these advan- tages until she was fitted to become a teacher, and she shall have them. Now one thing more-and you know that when I get aroused to this pitch I mean what I say-If I find that you or Jo. are making her unhappy at any time, I'll put her into the most genteel boarding-house in the city, out of your reach. As for ' domestic peace,' about which you twit me-I believe I love my family better than the average of men, and am not in the habit of stirring up strife, so it will rest with you to keep the peace,"

Mr. Richards did not wait for any rejoinder to this plain speaking, but left the room, and, finding Star out upon the balcony leading from the dining-room, he told her that he had decided to let her take up music and painting during the vacation if she wished,

He felt amply repaid for his efforts in her behalf on seeing the look of joy which flashed over her face, while her voice thrilled with earnestness as she re- plied :

" Oh, sir, I ought to be the happiest girl in Brook- lyn to have so much of good come to me on this, my seventeenth birthday."

" Is this your birthday ?" he asked, with a feeling of self-reproach that it should have come and nearly gone with no token of remembrance, while he glanced over her meagre attire and marked the ab- sence of all jewellery or trinkets such as young girls love, for she wore nothing of the kind save a dainty cameo head fastened to the knot of ribbon at her throat,

" Yes, sir, and it is one wich I shall always remem- ber with great pleasure," she said, with a tremulous smile that he did not then understand, " I thank you," she added, "for allowing me to go on with my music, and I will be very faithful in improving my

opportunity ; but-I think, if you please, I will not mind about the painting at present, I am very fond

of it, but-I-"

" Very well, do as you choose," he said, as he saw she was somewhat embarrassed ; " you are to have all the advantages you desire during the next year, and you are to do no more work of any kind in this

house-"

" Oh, but I like to work about the house," she be- gan, eagerly ; but be stopped her authoritatively :

" No, I will not have it-you need all the time you can get for and practice. Maggie Flynn, or some other Maggie, shall come back as chamber and waiting-maid, and you are to remember it is my command that you do nothing of the kind. If you have any spare time, use it in making the pretty things which young ladies of your age like so much. Here is something to begin upon, and I will allow you the same amount every month ;" and he tucked a bill of no mean denomination into her hand as he concluded.

He did not wait to hear her thanks, but turned abruptly away, feeling very tenderly towards this sweet young maiden, who had lived such an iso- lated, neglected life in the midst of that household of luxury.

Star looked after him with a glorified face

" Oh, what a birthday !" she said, as she went up

stairs and shut herself into her room.

She folded that precious bill-more money than she had ever possessed before at one time-for " pretty things," and laid it safely away in a drawer; then she took up a handsomely bound book that lay

on her table.

" A red-letter day !" she murmured. " My success -my promotion-his kindness, and above all this beautiful book-it all seems too lovely to be real."

She raised the volume and softly touched her lips to it, then bowing her golden bead, her heart over- charged with its unaccustomed weight of happiness,

found relief in a shower of tears.

" The book" was the package, devoid of its wrapper which the strange gentleman had given her in the presence of Mr. Richards,

The next morning's papers contained an interesting

account of the commencement exercises of -

Seminary, together with a copy in full of Miss Stella Gladstone's essay, and speaking in very flattering terms of its excellence as a literary production.

Another important event occurred that morning. One of Mr, Richards' driving horses was sold, and his wife upon learning of the circumstance, lifted up her hands and scornfully exclaimed :

" Retrenchment !"

CHAPTER IX.

CHANGE OF FORTUNE

A few mornings after Star's emancipation from her duties as a servant, she encountered, as she was coming down stairs to her breakfast, Josephine, who was also on her way to the dining-room.

" Well, I suppose you feel mighty set up over the fine show you made of yourself the other day," that young lady remarked, sneeringly.

" I had no desire to make a ' show,' as you express it," Star answered, courteously, and ignoring her companion's rudeness. " But it is always pleasant to receive consideration when one has tried to do one's best "

" Thanks !" was the scornful rejoinder. " You have been very sly about it all ; and I should think you'd feel mean enough about wheedling papa into giving you music and painting lessons."

" I have never asked Mr. Richards for either, and -I am not going to take painting leesons at all,' Star said, with scarlet cheeks.

" You needn't try to make me think papa would ever have made such a row, if you hadn't been at him, and pretend to be so abused and ill-treated. But-where did you get that lovely cameo that you wore in that knot at your throat f? Josephine asked, her eyes having been sharp enough to detect the pretty trinket.

" It was given to me by a friend," the young girl answered, with trembling lips, for she was cut to the heart by the unjust accusations heaped upon her.

Some one must have liked to fool away money pretty well, to give you an elegant trifle like that," the rude girl said, for she had known that it was val- uable at a glance.

" It doesn't correspond with the rest of your ward- robe," she continued, jeeringly. " You'd better give

it to me."

Star looked up into the bold, handsome face beside

her with astonishment.

"I cannot give it to you," she said, with compressed lips.

" Well, lend it me then."

She was loaded with jewellery early as it was in the day. She wore a heavy gold chain from which was suspended a blue enameled locket, set with pearls and diamonds ; heavy jewels hung in her ears, broad bands of gold clasped her wrists, while her fingers gleamed with numerous costly gems, and here she was coveting the single ornament which she

had seen Star wear.

"I do not like to appear disobliging,"she returned, " but there are reasons why I do not even like to

lend it."

" What reasons, pray, can you have for refusing so simple a request," Josephine persisted,

"I have told you-it is the gift of a friend. I do not like to part with it."

"I will give you this handsome emerald for it, said the spoilt beauty, turning a valuable ring upon her finger.

"Thank you. No, I could not make the, ex-

change."

"Nonsense. You're stuffy enough, I hope," the refined young heiress retorted, and with lowering brow she turned impatiently away, and went into the dining-room."

An hour later, while Star was busily practicing she stole slyly into her room and pounced greedily upon the coveted little treasure which was stuck into a dainty pincushion, made of bits of silk, and covered with an embroidered lace tidy-all the work of the little maiden's skilful fingers.

" I was bound to have it," the unprincipled girl said, triumphantly, as she examined it closely.

" It is lovely ; the most delicately carved cameo that I ever saw, and for a little thing must have cost no mean sum. Ah ! it is marked on the back of the setting," she continued, turning it over. " A. S. and two tiny strawberry leaves underneath. I wonder who 'A. S.' is, or-was! What a lovely ring it would make." ,

She lifted the skirt to her basque and deliberately pinned it upon the lining, an evil look in her brilliant

eyes.

" I'll capture it for awhile, just to torment her for her presumption in trying to outshine me before papa the other day. The little minx, she is altogether too high-headed and airy to suit me."

This important matter disposed of, she began to look about Star's room with some curiosity.

To begin with, it was exquisitely neat and clean, and the utmost had been made of the small and meagerly furnished apartment. A sheet had been ripped in halves, gathered across the one window, and then looped on either side with broad bands and bows of light blue cambric. A corner bracket, brought to light from among some rubbish in the store-room, had been covered with blue cambric, and

over this hung a daintily raffled curtain of cotton muslin, while upon the shelf were arranged Star's few books, and a small vase filled with flowers This last-mentioned object had been a gift from Mrs Blunt at Christmas-her only remembrance on that day.

The small table was covered with a spotless towel having a blue border-more of Mrs. Blunt's thought fulness ; and there was a bright strip of carpeting before the bed, which was covered with a cheap but immaculate spread. Upon the bureau another towel was laid, and on this Star's few toilet articles were arranged with the utmost care.

Josephine opened and curiously peeped into the

drawers.

In one there was a very limited supply of clean, neatly folded clothing ; in another two or three handkerchiefs, as many collars, a ribbon or two, a small wooden box which was locked, and a worn portfolio-another trophy from the store-room which was also locked and no key visible.

" I wonder what is in this ?" Josephine said, taking up the box end shaking it, to ascertain, if possible,

its contents.

They appeared to be somewhat heavy, and to be wrapped about with cotton or a napkin, and she was forced to put it down, her curiosity ungratified. It was the same with the portfolio, and with a frown of disappointment, she returned this also to its place,

There was very little to attract any one in the little maiden's bower, and yet it had a cosy, homelike air about it ; but her scant wardrobe, as Josephine opened the closet door to look within, appeared very mean in the petted and indulged beauty's eyes ; and, indeed, it compared very unfavorably with the pretty outfit which had gone down on the ill-fated vessel on which Star had sailed.

" It is a mystery to me how she manages always to look so nice with these few traps," Miss Richards muttered, as she shut the door with a sign of disgust,

and turned to leave the room.

"Ha! what have we here?" she cried, as she caught sight of a new, prettily bound book lying on

the small table.

" Oh, this is that new novel that I heard Charlie Carpenter raving about the other evening. I wonder where she got it ; I think I'll appropriate it myself

it looks inviting," she added, slipping the leaves through her fingers.

" Chatsworth's Pride," she continued, turning to the title page. " I should like to know who wrote it; but the author's name is not given ; however, I'll read it, and see if it is as wonderful as Charlie said.'

It was not a large book, and dropping it into her pocket, this " Paul Pry" in petticoats stole from Star's little bower and glided unobserved to her own room, having accomplished her object in securing the coveted cameo, and vented her spite upon the offending girl for having dared to outshine her in the presence of her father.

Later, when Star went up to her little sanctum and found both "pin and book gone, she surmised at

once who had been there.

The loss of the book she did not mind so much, although she was reading it and had been obliged to lay it aside in the midst of a most interesting chap- ter ; while she knew that when Josephine had read it she would doubtless throw it one side, and she could easily get it again. But to loose the cameo that precious gift of kind, handsome Archibald Sherbrooke-was more than she could bear with either patience or fortitude, and a passion of tears testified to her grief for her loss.

She knew that it would be useless to appeal to Josephine for it ; she could not prove that she had taken it, and she would doubtless feign astonishment and innocence if questioned regarding it, and unless she could regain possession of it by strategy, it was, she feared, lost to her forever.

A week subsequently the family repaired to their country residence at Yonkers, where they usually spent the hot months, excepting a few week's sojourn at some fashionable watering-place or mountain re-

sort.

Here Star, who had been told that she was to have the use of the music-room whenever she wished,

began ber work in earnest, and gave six hours a day

to hard, faithful practice.

Wednesdays and Saturdays, however, she went into New York to take her lesson, Mr. Richards having arranged with one of the first teachers for her instruction. In spite of Mr. Richards' commands to the contrary, she persisted in doing many little things to assist Mrs. Blunt, although she was relieved from all regular duty. The house- keeper often demurred when Star offered her ser-

vices.

"You shall not spoil your hands, child," she would say, with a fond glance at those delicate members ; " I can get along as well alone now as I used to, or I'm much mistaken."

" Never mind my hands, Mrs. Blunt ; I can't prac- tice all the time, and I must have some exercise. It is a pleasant change for me to help you once in awhile, and have a little cozy chat," Star answered, heartily, and the woman, who, to say the least, did not have either an easy or pleasant time herself, was often beguiled into allowing her to have her own way, and was cheered in no small degree by ber sunny face and gay chatter.

" That girl'll make her mark in the world, bless her heart!I She'll make a better and smarter woman than Míss Josephine, or I'm much mistaken," she was wont to remark forty times a month to the cook, and she grew to love our gentle Star with on almost motherly affection.

When not attending to her music, Star spent most of her time in her own room, and no one questioned as to how she occupied it; and, although she con- tinued to be ignored by the family when it was pos- sible to do so, and snubbed and sneered at when it was not, she was comparatively happy, knowing that every day well spent was helping her on toward emancipation and independence.

One day Mr. Richards came home with a very grave face, and sought an audience with his wife.

" I have a letter from your Uncle Jacob here," he said, drawing one from his pocket as he spoke.

Mrs. Richards' face lighted instantly.

" From Uncle Jacob ? That is good news ! Has he

returned ?"

" Yes."

" How is the dear old man ? and when is he com- ing to make us a visit ?" she asked, with animation.

" He is not at all well-has been having serious trouble with his head and eyes. He returned last fall, and since then has been visiting your brother in the West. Listen, and I will read you what he

says:

"'My Dear George:- You see by the heading of this, that the wanderer has returned-yes, and re- turned to wander no more. I cannot write much, for I am not able to do. I returned from abroad last fall, since when I have been with Henry, and now propose to go East and visit or make my future home with you, as you have so often pressed me to do. I know you will heartily sympathize with me when I tell you that the steamer on which I sailed was wrecked, and all I had was lost, I regret to come to you, as I shall, almost penniless, and in this broken state ; but you have so often told me that there would always be "a warm corner in your home" for me, that I am going to take you at your word. I shall not wait for a reply to this, but follow almost immediately, for I know I shall meet with a hearty welcome.'"

Then followed a few affectionate sentences for each member of the family, but Mrs, Richards scarce

heeded them.

" It can't be possible that Uucle Jacob has lost all his property !" she cried, aghast. " Why, the last we heard he was worth a million !"

' I know ; but in these days it does not take long to lose a million," her husband replied, gravely, add- ing : " It is a misfortune, indeed, for the old man ; but we will do the best we can for him, allowing him to feel it as little as possible. He will feel it, however, for he was, as I remember, him, a very high-spirited, independent man,"

Mrs. Richards' face was crimson from mingled emotions.

" It is a shame !" she cried, angrily. " Uncle Jacob always gave Henry and me to understand that we should be his heirs-and now we have to lose half a million a-piece. How under the sun do you suppose

be lost it ?"

" I have no idea-some speculation, doubtless."

" It appears that be expects to be taken care of in his old age just the same he if he were the Crossus we have always supposed him to be," Mrs. Richards said wrathfully.

" He has a right to expect it," her husband replied, with some sternness, "you have always professed the deepest affection for him, and urged him to make his home with you. Who should take care of him in his misfortune if not his only brother's children ?"

" Henry is as well able to have him as I am, and I don't see why he could not have stayed there."

" Perhaps he was no more welcome there than it appears he will be here," Mr. Richards remarked, sarcastically.

" Well, I'm not going to have him here, and there's an end of the matter. I shall post him right back to Henry, Hie wife does not have half the care that I do, socially. We might as well open a hospital for the lame, the blind, the halt, and beggars generally.'

' I am astonished to hear you speak thus, Ellen, and of your own relatives too; especially after all your flattering protestations. Of course we will re- ceive your uncle kindly, and show him all proper attention."

" I will not," his wife retorted, angrily. " I may as well set my foot down first as last ; he shall not come here to be a burden upon us. You have had your way about Stella, now I'll have mine in this matter ; one beggar in the house is enough."

" Ellen ! how you are changedl When I first knew you, you were sweet-tempered and kind. I believe your life of unlimited indulgence and luxury has soured and hardened you," Mr. Richards said, with a regretful sigh for the early days of his married life, when his wife was loving and lovable.

" Thank you-your compliments are not of a par- ticularly ' sweet' nature," she answered scornfully.

' Your uncle says he shall follow his letter im- mediately ; he may arrive at any hour ; what shall we do with him ?" asked Mr.. Richards, taking no

notice of her sarcasm.

'I don't know-I don't care; tell him that the house is full of company-anything you please, only mind I will not be burdened with a half blind, de- crepit old man," and the excited woman flounced angrily from the room, leaving her husband sitting alone in sad and troubled thought.

CHAPTER X.

THE UNWELCOME GUEST.

On the very evening of the day of that spirited discussion between Mr, and Mrs. Richards regarding the coming of the latter's uncle, a railway carriage stopped before the door of their mansion, and an old man alighted,

He was dusty and travel-stained ; his hair and beard were white as snow ; his clothing-a common business suit-considerably the worse for the wear, while he wore a dark-green visor or shade over his eyes, and appeared both weary and feeble.

He inquired of the servant who answered his ring for Mrs. Richards and was told in an indifferent, al- most impudent manner that she was " engaged."

" Humph !" ejaculated the visitor, lifting the green visor and giving the man a keen look, " where is your master ?"

'' In the library," was the rather more respectful

answer.

" Show me the way there," commanded the stran- ger, authoritatively ; and the servant turned with a subdued air to obey him, recognizing at once his superior in spite of the travel-stained, shabby cloth- ing.

Mr. Richards received his wife's relative with every appearance of cordiality, although there was

a restraint in his manner which could be felt rather

than explained.

." Ah, Uncle Jacob I" he said, and he shook him by the hand and took his hat from him, " we hardly thought you could arrive quite so soon. I should have looked for you to-morrow, however. Sit down -sit down ; and, John," turning to the man who had shown him in, " tell Mrs. Blunt to fix up a nice little supper, and send it in here on a tray."

"Don't put yourself out, George-anything will do for to-night, I am more tired than hungry," the old man said, sinking into a luxurious chair with a weary sigh, and removing the green shade entirely

from his eyes.

Mr. Richards fidgeted and looked uneasy.

He knew that there was not a room in the house that his wife would give up-every one had been arranged for company who were expected, or had already arrived, and he was at his wits' end to know

what to do with him.

" Uncle Jacob" poor and ill was an entirely dif- ferent character from Uncle Jacob rich and pros-

perous,

But he sat chatting socially with him until Mrs. Blunt appeared with a tray and served a tempting little meal, which the old gentleman ate with evident

relish,

" I was more hungry than I thought," he said when at length hehad finished his second cup of tea, eaten the leg of a chicken and a couple of rolls, " Now, if you please, I should like to be shown to my room, for I have travelled a long distance to-day. But where is Ellen ? I should like to exchange greetings

with her before I go."

" Ahern I" began Mr, Richards, feeling extremely uncomfortable. - " Ellen has a house full of company to-night : if you could excuse her, and wait until

to-morrow-"

" Certainly-certainly," the old man said hastily, but in a disappointed tone ; for his niece had always been the first to greet him and express her delight at

his coming heretofore.

"And," continued his host, growing very red in the face. " I am very sorry, but-every room in the house is taken. Would you mind sleeping at the lodge until we can make a place for you ?"

The old gentleman bent a keen glance upon the speaker at this,

He saw his embarrassment, marked his averted eye and shamefaced air, and mistrusted something

of its cause.

" Sleep at the lodge ?" he repeated in a peculiar tone. " Oh, no ; I've just come from Henry's, where I slept over the stable. They had a ' house full of company,' too. Is the lodge far from here ? You know I've never been in this house before.

"About two minutes walk; I will go with you and see that you are made comfortable-it is too bad

that things should happen so." Mr. Richards said

with real regret as he saw how weary the traveller was, and he had half a mind to ring and command that he be shown into one of the guest chambers in

spite of his wife's objections.

"Never mind, George; I shall sleep just as well

there as here, no doubt," and he arose as if anxious

to get away.

"Where is your luggage ? I will attend to having

what you need sent down," Mr. Richards remarked,

as he took up his hat to accompany him.

" I have nothing but a small valise," was the reply;

"you know I wrote you that I had been very unfor tunate-I was on board the_,that was lost last fall, and everything I had on board went down." "On board the-, were you? cried Mr Rich

ards, in surprise, and glad of any change in the sub ject of conversation. "Why; then you must have known Star, as she was also on that steamer »

" Star-Star Gladstone, do you mean ? eagerly in quired Mr. Rosevelt, for it was he, as doubtless the

reader has surmised before this.

" Yes, Star-or Stella Gladstone, is her name." Mr. Rosevelt sat down again, his face full of inter-

est and animation now, and forgetting his weariness for the time in his desire to learn something of the beautiful girl to whom he was so deeply indebted. '. "Where is she? he asked. " What do you know

-what can you tell me about her ?"

"She is here in this house," Mr. Richards an- swered. " She is the child of one of my wife's rela tives who resided in England,and Ellen upon learning that she was an orphan and homeless, consented to have her come here," he concluded, trying to make

the best of a very poor story.

" I never expected to hear anything of her again but I am very glad to know that she is here," Mr Rosevelt said, with evident emotion. "She saved my life during that awful time, almost at the sacrifice of her own. It would perhaps have been better had she not exerted herself in my behalf so much-it is not a pleasant feeling to know that one is regarded as an incumbrance and a burden," he continued with

some bitterness ; but I shall never forget her heroism while I live; she nearly starved herself to death to

keep life in me."

"I am astonished at what you tell me," returned Mr. Richards, feeling a deeper interest in Star than

ever before.

"She disappeared very suddenly from the steamer which picked us up and brought us into port. I

went down to my state-room for something, and then to the captain to thank him for his kindness and bid him farewell, and when I went to look for her she had gone ; some one had come and taken

away."

" Yes, we heard of the arrival of a steamer with some of the wrecked on board, and Ellen immediately sent Mrs. Blunt down to see if Star was among them", explained Mr. Richards.

" She must be a pleasant addition to your family. George ; she was a very attractive girl."

" Ahem !" that gentleman replied, avoiding his keen eye fixed upon him ; " yes, she is a smart and talented girl ; she will make a fine woman, without doubt ; would you like to see her to-night?",

" No ; I believe I am too tired. I will go to the lodge now, if you please. I can see her to-morrow",

and the old man arose again.

Mr. Richards led the way from the room, gettinng his baggage from the hall, and then took him through the dining-room to lead him out by a side-

door.

'As they passed through the hall, sounds of music and laughter came to them from the drawing-room, and had any one been watching Mr. Rosevelt closely

he might have seen his lips curl with something like scorn, and his eyes gleam indignantly, in spite of his

weariness.

As Mr. Richards opened the outside door leading out upon the veranda, a slight figure sprang up from the step, and Star, with a startled glance, turned and

confronted them.

A look of surprise swept over her face as she saw Mr. Richards' companion; then with a low cry of joy, she darted forward and seized Mr. Rosevelt by the hand,

"Oh,sir," she said, tremulously, "I was afraid I should never see you again : how glad I am to meet you once more."

Mr. Rosevelt recognized her at once, and recog nized, too, the heartiness and sincerity of her wel- come. There was nothing forced or constrained about either her words or manner,

" Ah, Miss Star, I am as glad to see you as you can possibly be to see me," he said, shaking her hand warmly. . " I little thought," he went on, " that when you and I were faring so poorly together that we were bound for the same place, I intended then to come here before this. Why did you not tell me that you were a relative of Mrs. Richards?"

" I did not think much about it, sir, or that my

destination could interest you," she answered, '

"Tut, tut, child," he said, gently, "anything con-

nected with you would have been of interest to me after your kindness to me. I was deeply disap- pointed to find you gone when I went to seek you: but they told me that some one had come and tak you away, so I was forced to go my way also. Well, he concluded, smiling, " I have found you now, and I shall not lose sight of you again,"

" But are you going away now, sir?" Star asked, glancing at the bag Mr. Richards was carrying, and which had the initials "J. R." painted upon it

" No ; only to the lodge for sleeping accommoda tions, as there is no room in the house for me."

" No room in the house for you?" Star repeated in astonishment, but something in Mr, Richard's face warned her that all was not as he would wish, and she added, flushing :

" I wish you would take my room then; for I can sleep very nicely on the lounge in the sewing

room."

Mr. Richards raged inwardly over his wife's ob- stinacy and heartlessness, which compared so un- favorably with this gentle girl's generosity and self-

denial, but he could only hold his peace and let matters take their course, for if he interfered with his his wife in her present state of bitterness and dis-

appointment over the loss of her expected fortune, he knew that a domestic squall would be sure to follow, and one which it would be hard to settle,

" No, thank you, Miss Star," Mr. Rosevelt returned

'" I will go to the lodge until there is room for me in the house. You are as kind and self-sacrificing as ever. I perceive, but I will not deprive you of your room. Good-night, my child, I shall see you to-

morrow."

He laid his hand in a tender, caressing way on her

head, then went out with Mr. Richards, whom he

enlightened still further regarding that eventful voyage which he and Star had made together.

She stood still in the door-way, looking after them

a puzzled expression on ber face, a gleam of indig nation in her large blue eyes,

She had overheard Mrs. Richards telling Josephine something about " Uncle Jacob," that afternoon after leaving her husband.

The name had made her think of Mr. Rosevelt and he had been in her thoughts most of the time since; but she had not imagined that they were re- ferring to him, or that he was a relative of the fam ily. Now she saw that he was the "Uncle Jacob" to whom she referred, but she could not understand

his being sent out of the house to sleep,

" No room in the house ! What can they mean?"

she murmured with tingling cheeks, for she knew of three unoccupied beds that he might have had as well as not.

To be sure they had been made up for company that was expected, but the visitors would not arrive for a day or two, and it seemed such an inhospitable thing, to send that old man away down to the lodge with its close, small rooms, to sleep.

"I hope I shall never be rich if it would make me hard hearted like that," she said, with indignation.

" I would prefer to struggle all my life with poverty and have a kind and generous heart-one that can

feel for others in trouble and sorrow.

" How tired and ill he looked, too," she wi recalling his pale face and drooping attitude,

he is such a splendid man." ,

"It makes me think of those other words, she said, the tears springing to her eyes. "'And there

was no room in the inn,' and of One, who, in conse quence, had to lie in a manger. That could not be helped, for there was no room ; but this is shameful for there is plenty, and to spare here. How can some

one treat one's father's brother so ?"

(To be continued.)