Chapter 908174

See chapter in newspaper

Chapter NumberXVIII (CONTINUED)
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article908174
Full Date1883-10-13
Page Number2
Corrections1
Word Count7767
IllustratedN
Last Corrected2018-06-19
Newspaper TitleThe Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893)
Trove TitleMisunderstood
article text

FICTION

(From English, American, and other pcrlodlcnla.)

MISUNDERSTOOD.

CHAPTER XVIII.-(Continued)

"Perhaps it will be best for me to wait until to-

morrow morning," he said, after a moment of' thought. " She appeared so greatly excited when I met her this evening, and has been so all all day, it may be well for her to get her rest before exciting her any further. Yes, I will wait," he concluded, with a sigh, for he was deeply disappointed and

anxious.

"Is Mr. Rosevelt a member of your family also ?" he asked, after a moment, and suddenly remembering that Star had told him they were inmates of the same

house.

" Yes-well-not exactly a member of my family," Mr. Richards returned, flushing over this, another awkward question. " He is my wife's uncle, and one of us ; but his health is so poor, and noise affects him so unpleasantly, that he prefers to have a room at the lodge rather than here where there is so much gaiety and confusion."

Mrs. Richards still an eavesdropper, heaved another comfortable sigh over this rough place made smooth.

" You must have met Mr. Rosevelt also," he added, as it came to him that Star and his wife's uncle had shared that dreadful experience at sea. '

" Yes ; and I think him a fine old gentleman ; I must see him also, to-morrow," his lordship returned ; and then he went on to explain more fully how he had made the acquaintance of these two unfortunates and described their sufferings and hardships so graphically that his listener, who did not know one half, was deeply moved.

" Miss Gladstone was considered quite a heroine on board our steamer, after her rescue," the young man said, " when the passengers learned with how much fortitude she had conducted herself during the disaster, and the dreadful events following-The captain told me, with tears running down his cheeks, how she had denied herself both food and drink in

order that the life of Mr. Rosevelt, who, she declared, had less vitality than herself on account of his age, might be sustained. She did not even take the rest which she needed, but watched and worked over him unceasingly in fact, she saved his life."

."She is a noble girl !- she is a splendid girl !" Mr.

Richards returned, tears in his own eyes, and his heart full of remorse over the life Star had led since she came into his house. " She will make you the best little wife in the world. God bless you both !" Lord Carrol saw that he was sincere, and began to

suspect where all the the trouble lay regarding Star. He was inclined to think, and rightly, that jealousy and ill-will on the part of the petted Josephine and her proud mother was the cause of her unpleasant posi- tion in the family ; but he inwardly resolved that it should be entirely different in the future, or she should not remain there,

But he had been absent a long time from the gay company in the drawing-room, and. feeling assured that he could not see his darling that night, he re- turned to it, trying to wait with patience for what the morrow would bring him.

CHAPTER XIX.

MALICIOUS FALSEHOODS.

As soon as Mr. Richards and his distinguished guest left the music-room, a white hand parted the curtains from the window, and a blanched, dis-

torted face appeared in the aperture.

It belonged to Mrs. Richards, who had, as before

mentioned, been a listener to all that had transpired. Seeing that no one was in sight, she stepped softly inside, for the window was a long one, reaching to the floor, and sank back into a chair, the picture of a woman whom a fierce passion had exhausted.

She had chanced to be out upon tbe verandah when Lord Carrol had entered the music-room and re- quested a "few moments' conversation" with her husband, and feeling with a thrill of delight, that the most important moment of Josephine's life had come, she drew near to listen, as she supposed, to his lordship's proposal for her hand.

Her emotions can better be imagined than de-

scribed when instead she heard the story which the young men told her husband and learned that Star, the despised and neglected waif, had secured the prize which she had so coveted for her brillant daughter.

A perfect tonado of wrath, jealousy, and hats, raged within her heart as she heard his praises of her, and his manly confession of love for her, with the intention of making her his wife.

Star, the beggar maid, as she had always regarded her, the burden reproach of her life, the wife of a peer of England !

It could not be ; she would not have it so, when she had plotted and schemed to win this proud, hand- some young aristocrat for her daughter-when she had spent hundreds to snare him ; and when, she knew but too well, Josephine had learned to love him with all the fire of her proud, passionate na-

ture.

If it had been a girl in n position equal to that which Josephine occupied, whom he had chosen, the disappointment would not have been less severe, but the mortification would not have been so gall- ing.

This was what had made Star's face so radiant then, during the past week, making her seem to bloom into now beauty, and glorifying her with ex- ceeding happiness. She had noticed, but could not

understand it.

This was the meaning of the unusual attention which she had bestowed upon her toilet last Satur- day-for Josephine had told her of that little scene upon the verandah-and also of her protracted ab-

sence that day.

For half an hour she sat there, white as alabaster with passion, her eyes glowing with hate for the in nocent cause of all her disappointment.

"Not in her room, eh?" she muttered at length, vindictively. "I'll find the little vixen, and-if it is possible to widen this breach, it won't be my fault if

it is not done."

With a cruel expression on her still white face, she arose and swept noiselessly from the room, by the same way that she had entered, and passed down the steps of the verandah out into the grounds,

With a quick, swinging pace she walked down the avenue, casting keen glances among the trees and

shrubbery as she went.

But Star was nowhere lo be seen.

Mrs Richards, however was determined to have an interview with her before either her husband or Lord Carrol could do so. She did not think she had returned to the house, and had an idea that she might be at the lodge with Mr. Rosevelt, so she per-

severed in her search,

She kept on her way until she came out by the lodge where she saw John Mallen, who was both gardener and porter, sitting upon the porch.

He looked greatly surprised as the light from the great lantern at the gate fell upon her face.

" Is any thing the matter, marm ?" he asked, touch- ing his hat respectfully, but wondering to see her there at that hour, with no wrap, while he noticed that she was very pale.

" No, John ; but have you seen anything of Miss

Gladstone ?" she asked,

" Yes, marm ; she came running down here about half an hour ago, looking like a wraith, and bounded upstairs like a fawn, to the old gentleman's room,"

he answered.

" Is she there now ?" Mrs. Richards demanded quickly, her lips settling down into a hard, straight

line.

" Yes 'm-leastways, I've not seen her come down yet."

The woman bent her head in thought a moment then briefly remarked :

" I think I'll go up."

Gathering her rustling skirts in her hand, she passed inside the lodge, mounted the stairs with a noiseless tread, and paused before Mr. Rosevelt's

door.

Bending close to tbe keyhole she heard sounds of sobbing, mingled with low, soothing words spoken by her uncle.

She softly opened the door, and standing upon the threshold, her face grew dark and wrathful at the picture which she saw within the room.

Mr. Rosevelt sat in his arm-chair, by the table which stood between the two windows of his room, while Star knelt upon the floor at his side, her golden head bowed upon the arm of his chair, sobbing as if her heart was breaking.

The old gentleman had laid one hand upon her bright head, and was soothing it gently as he tried to quiet her with low, fond words,

" Dear child," he said tenderly, " don't grieve so ; you have been very brave so far ; bear it a little longer and all will be well. I know you have tried to hide it all from me and every one else, but I've

seen and known what you have had to contend with

ever since I came here. You've had no love, no

sympathy, and your poor starved heart has well nigh broken upon it. But cheer up, my dear-you have been a blessing to me; I have been very lonely and forlorn many times, but I should have had a sorrowful time of it, indeed, if my bright little Star had not shed her genial rays upon my pathway.

"indeed !" interrupted a voice from behind them, in its most sarcastic tones, causing Star to spring to her feet with a low cry of surprise, as she turned her flushed, tear-stained face toward the intruder, while Mr. Rosevelt looked up at his niece with a grave displeased countenance.

"Indeed.*" Mrs. Richards repeated, her anger wax- ing hotter and fiercer as she imagined that Star had been pouring the story of her love and trial into her uncle's ears. " You have both been sadly abused and heart-starved, haven't you ?-for a couple of de- pendents you fare very badly, don't you ? and this is

the gratitude and appreciation that you show. Stella Gladstone, go back to your room and remain there until I come to you ; I wish to have a private con- versation with you. As for you, Uncle Jacob, I am surprised that you should take sides with a senti- mental schoolgirl against those who are providing most bountifully for her."

Mr. Rosevelt reached out his hand and took one of

Star's.

" Remain where you are," he said, with a quiet

authority, which amazed while it enraged his niece.

Then turning to her, he continued, in the same quiet tone, but with a deliberation which made every

word tell :

"Ellen Richards, you are a heartless, arrogant woman. You need not speak yet, for I am going to relieve my mind once for all. I am your father's only brother, and when you were a child I helped him provide the very bread that appeased your hunger. When, later on, I became a rich man, and you were married and settled, you fawned upon and flattered me, protesting that there was nothing in the world that you would not do for ' dear Uncle Jacob.' Every time I returned from abroad bringing you rich and elegant gifts, you urged me to quit my roving and come to live with you-your ' home and heart would always be open' to me, you said. It was the same with your brother Henry-words cost nothing, and his protestations were as fluent as your own, But when misfortune overtook me, and I returned to remain and to take him at his word, everything was changed, He received me coldly, giving me the poorest accommodation his house afforded, when before the best were none too good for me. Finally, he and his family, by their coldness, neglect, and disagreeable hints, drove me to desperation, and I left them. I came hither, hoping that your woman's heart would prompt you to receive a sick and failing old man with the kind- ness and sympathy which he so much needed and craved. But I met with even a worse reception ; the very atmosphere of your house when I entered it told me at once that I was an unwelcome guest You have ignored me when you could, and when

you could not, you have taken pains to make me feel like an intruder and a dependent, although

your husband evidently would be glad to be kind to me, if he could do so and keep the peace.

"This child alone," the old man continued, look- ing tenderly up into Star's sad face, " has given me love and sympathy. Her kindness and little atten- tions have been like a bright spot in the darkness and loneliness of my life since coming to you ; while your treatment of her has been culpable-"

"Has she dared to complain of me to you ?" cried Mrs. Richards, crimson with anger; for every word that be had uttered had been a reproach to her, and while she did not quite dare to vent her wrath upon him, she was glad of this allusion to Star, for upon her defenceless head she felt free to relieve herself.

"No, she has never complained-she has even tried to conceal your treatment of her; but I have eyes and can see for myself, and it has been patent to me how ber young heart has been starved, how every bright and enjoyable thing has been crushed out of her life. I know how she has had to do battle for even her education, and that you would have made a drudge and a slave of her, had you dared and your husband allowed you to do it. It is disgraceful, Ellen, for you to treat your cousin's child in such a manner, when you owe so much to her mother-"

"How do you know?-who has been telling you all this? l am out of all patience!" Mrs. Richards interrupted, passionately. "Everybody is contin-

ually throwing at me the fact that Anna Chudleigh once saved my life. Hundreds of people have saved the lives of others and considered it their duty to have done so. If I was drowning and Anna saw me, it was natural for her-it belonged to her to save me if she could, as I should have done, no doubt had the circumstances been reversed."

"True; but this view of the case does not lessen your obligation, nor license you to abuse the trust that has been committed to you," Mr. Rosevelt an swered sternly. " You bound yourself to this child's dying father to ' do the best you could for her,' to give her a home, and see that her education was properly attended to, and you owed it to him and to her to keep your promise."

" I owed her nothing," cried the enraged woman, losing all control of herself, and you, Uncle Jacob, are overstepping all bounds by interfering with what is none of your business !"

' The girl saved my life almost at the sacrifice of her own, and I shall make it my business to do what I can for her while I live," Mr. Rosevelt answered, with dignity.

Well, you will find, I reckon, that you have not helped her cause very much by taking up weapons against me for her," snapped his neice, vindictively, and with a glance of dislike at Star. " Saved your life !" she continued, sarcastically, " well, perhaps she did, but in my opinion that is all sentimental gush, for she is an artful jade, and has doubtless palavered and cooed over you until she has pulled the wool over your eyes in fine shape."

" What could have been her object, Ellen ?" asked the old gentleman, dryly. " Certainly not the ex- pectation of getting any portion of my fortune, since appearances must have indicated to her as well as to you that I had nothing to give her. If she bad known me, and done all this when I was considered rich, there might possibly be some reason in your

accusation "

This shaft told keenly, for his neice colored guiltily to the roots of her hair.

" Your irony is ill-timed, it appears to me, Uncle Jacob," she said, sullenly," especially as you are in- debted to me for the bare necessaries of life, not to speak of its comforts,

"Indebted to you, am I, Ellen ? I do not believe in recriminations, but allow me to ask, do you know the coat of those diamonds which you have on ? and have you forgotten where you got them ?"

Mrs. Richards' brilliant color forsook her in an in stant, and she became as white as the mass of snowy lace which rose and fell with the angry pulsation of

her heart.

Her passionate temper prompted her to tear those flashing stones from her person and cast them in the face of her accuser ; but her pride and avarice were the strongest attributes of her nature, and knowing that she would not be likely to have them replaced she refrained from so rash an act.

" I do not begrudge you your jewels, Ellen," Mr.

Rosevelt continued, more gently, perceiving how keenly she felt his reproof, " but when you twít me of being indebted to you for the simple necessaries of life, it is rather more than I can tamely submit to. I was fond of making presents in the days that are gone, and I felt repaid tor my diamonds by the joy that lighted up your face when I gave them to you ; but I confess it is a little hard to be considered a burden by you now, while I am deeply grieved to have Star's young life made so unhappy."

" I tell you you do not know the girl-she is as artful as she can be, and I can prove it to you,'' Mrs. Richards exclaimed, glad to have the subject changed, for she was considerably conscience smit- ten over the diamonds.

" I do not think you can prove anything of the kind, Ellen," Mr. Rosevelt returned, quietly.

" Listen then," she retorted, eagerly, " and I will tell you how to-night I have discovered her to be guilty of the most shameless conduct." .

Star started and flushed at the accusation. She had not a suspicion that her secret had been dis-

covered.

" It seems," continued Mrs, Richards, " that while going back and forth, to and from school this fall, she has been flirting in the most desperate manner with a young man-a perfect stranger to her, and one so far above her socially that it was rankest presumption in her to do as she done. She has even entrapped him into-or rather, I should say, she has misconstrued his conversation with her, to mean a declaration of love for her, and now that he has found her out and turns with disgust from her artful designing, she has shamelessly taxed him with un- faithfulness and treachery."

Star turned and regarded her accuser in perfect amazement. She could scarcely credit her sense of hearing.

How did Mrs, Richards know anything about her meetings with Lord Carrol, alias Archibald Sher- brooke, or of her interest in him ? and who had represented it in this disgraceful light?.

" This young man, the cunning woman went on, " is no other than Lord Carrol, who, for the month that we were at Long Branch, paid the most devoted attention to Josephine,-and accepted our invitation here with the intention, as we supposed, of formally declaring himself to her, and securing her father's consent to their marriage."

A convulsive tremor ran through every fiber of the young girl's being as she stood there and listened to this artful tale, and Mr. Rosevelt, who still held her hand, was sensible of it, and wondered what if. could

all mean.

Ha had not a suspicion that Lord Carrol, and the handsome young artist whom he so admired, were one and the same, but he knew that something must be very wrong to move Star so, and make her look

so deathly white.

"You look astonished," Mrs Richards said, "and well you may, and your surprise will increase.when I have told you all."

" I am sure," he answered, glancing from one to the other, that there must be some mistake,"

" There is no mistake," replied his niece, coldly, and fixing a merciless glance upon Star, " for Lord Carrol has just had an interview with my husband, during which he told him the whole story. He says his first meeting with Stella was caused by on acci- dent, and that she appeared so bright and intelligent that whenever he met her afterward he spoke with her and treated her kindly. He did not even have the least idea where she lived until to-night, after

dinner.

He went out for a quiet smoke, when she presented herself before him, accused him of coming here as Josephine's lover, and denounced him as a traitor in the strongest terms and most unmaidenly manner, and telling him, greatly to his surprise, that she was

an inmate of the house where he was a visitor. Of course after such a denouement he could do no

other way than to seek Mr. Richards, and explain everything lest this rash girl should, out of a spirit of revenge and disappointment, destroy all his pros- pects with Josephine."

It was a cunningly distorted story, and Star as she listened to it, bowed her head and covered her face with her bands, while a low cry of despair broke from her lips.

She had not dreamed that the man whom she had learned to love, who, with his open, handsome face, his frank, manly ways, had won her deepest respect- her strongest affections, could be guilty of so cow- ardly an act as to betray her thus.

And yet be must have done so, else how could Mrs. Richards have known anything about the mat-

ter?

" Yes, without doubt, he had feared that she would openly denounce him before the family where he had so unexpectedly found her, and so had given this version of the great wrong that he had done her, in order to shield himself.

His own prospects of winning the rich heiress must not be interfered with, so be adopted this coup d'etat of going to Mrs. Richards and, with apparent frankness, confessing that his trifling attention to a silly girl had resulted in leading her to believe she had won a wealthy and titled husband.

This was just what Mrs. Richards had wished to make Star believe, and she succeeded only too well, for the young girl was well-nigh crushed to the earth with a sense of shame, and humiliation, and wounded

love.

And yet, even while she felt that Archibald Sher- brooke-she could not think of him in any other character-had been guilty of a most cowardly and treacherous act, had steeped his soul in sin by win ning her heart to break it, and thus ruining her whole life, she loved him still.

CHAPTER XX.

STAR'S DETERMINATION.

" Star, my dear child, what does she mean ?" Mr, Rosevelt ejaculated in a tone of wonder as his niece

concluded.

"It is unnecessary to ask her whether I have spoken the truth or not ; her very looks and man- ner betray that she is guilty of what I have told you," Mrs. Richards said, scornfully, " I did not suppose, however, with her innocent face and ap- parently quiet, modest manner, that she could be quite so shameless. But it is always so-such cat- like natures always work in the dark."

Star's proud little head came up with a haughty air at this taunting speech, while her blue eyes grew

dark and ominous.

" You are accusing me ignorantly and most un- justly,''she said, in a hard tone, but with pained and quivering lips.

" How so ?" Do you presume to deny that you met Lord Carrol in the grounds to-night ?" demanded Mrs. Richards, severely,

"No."

" You did meet him ?" "Yes."

" And denounced him as a traitor."

" Yes. I believe him to be a traitor to truth and honor, and-a coward."

They were hard, cruel words to be said of Archibald Sherbrooke, whom she had loved so dearly, and believed to be so noble and true, and her heart thrilled with keenest pain as she uttered them, but she be- lieved he had basely deceived her.

"Explain yourself," commanded Mrs. Richards, bridling.

"I shall explain nothing," Star answered, coldly yet firmly. " What I said to Lord Carrol to-night was intended for him alone. If he has chosen to betray me, the responsibility rests upon himself, and you can go to him for explanations if you

choose,"

" Where did you meet him first-how did you make his acquaintance ?" asked Mrs. Richards, long- ing to get Star's version of the story.

"I decline to answer any questions upon the sub- ject," she returned quietly.

.' I command you to tell me."

" And I still decline," Star said, with an air that surprised both of her listeners.

She was as colorless now as a block of marble, but so beautiful in her proud sorrow, her agonized scorn, that they could but regard her with wonder.

" You have no right to refuse what I ask of you : I am your guardian, and I demand a truthful confession of this whole scandalous affair," Mrs. Richards reiterated sharply.

" You have already had it, you say, from Lord Car- rol's own lips ; it will therefore be unnecessary for me to repeat, or enlarge upon it," the young girl re- turned, with calm scorn, while her delicate nostrils dilated, and her sweet lips curled with supreme con- tempt.

"I cannot understand; there must be some mis- take in all this," ejaculated Mr. Rosevelt, his face a perfect blank. " I thought, Saturday, Star, that you-"

A slight motion from her checked him in what he

was going to say.

"No, there is no mistake, and this much I will ex- plain to you. I did meet Lord Carrol to-night as Mrs. Richards has told you," she said. " I did be- lieve myself his betrothed wife, and him, to be a man of honor, until he came here last night as Miss Richard's acknowledged suitor; and when I saw him this evening I did denounce him as a traitor. It seems that he has volunteered explanations to suit himself, to Mr. and Mrs, Richards, and I decline to go further into particulars with them. I have no desire to blight Miss Josephine's prospects in life, and I wish her all joy with her high-born and honor- able lover."

Pen cannot portray the scorn which pervaded those last words, ringing out so clearly, so scath

gly that Mrs, Richards' cheeks burned, and her ears tingled ; for this was the man-if he really had been the traitor which she wished to make him ap- pear-whom she was using all her arts to secure for Josephine's husband,

" I am amazed ! I cannot understand," Mr. Rose- velt repeated with a troubled face,

He believed Star to be as pure-minded, and as in- nocent of wrong as a little child.

He had been convinced from what had transpired on the previous Saturday, that she loved Archibald Sherbrooke, and not knowing that he was also Lord Carrol, he of course was completely puzzled over the mystery.

" I do not see how you dare look any respectable person in the face, and confess what you just have, without seeking to clear yourself," retorted Mrs. Richards, sternly. "You are compromising your character in the most wretched manner. What can I believe of you-what can any one beiieve of you, it you own to having been upon such intimate terms with a man of such standing as Lord Carrol, while he is here as the acknowledged suitor of my daughter ?"

" The very worst that you can believe, madam,'' Star returned, calmly, and meeting the woman's eye fearlessly, but with a look which made her quail in spite of herself, " can only serve to compromise the man, whose favor and title you appear so anxious to secure, more than it possibly can me. Notwithstand- ing whatever claim I may have supposed myself to have heretofore possessed upon him, I now most cheerfully resign it ianfavor of Miss Richards."

Were ever words so cutting ?

Was there ever so barbed a sentence so calmly

uttered before?

Mrs. Richards ground her teeth with rage over the fact that the man whom poor despised Star Glad- stone thus spurned, believing him to be the very soul of dishonor, she knew Josephine was using all her arts to win, while of course she could not unde- ceive her because it would spoil her plot.

" You are an insolent, overbearing girl !" she said, in a low, hissing tone ; " and I wonder how I have tolerated you in my house as long as I have-I won- der how you dare face me and use such insulting language to me after your shameless conduct,"

" I am neither insolent nor overbearing, Mrs. Richards. Ever since I came into your house I have striven to do as nearly right as I knew how, and to make as little trouble as possible. It is you who have been overbearing, who have wounded me by insulting the memory of my parents, and have tried to crush and trample upon me. In no way have I rebelled against your authority except in the deter mination not to become a common servant, and to pursue my education. This I did in justice to my- self, and because I had promised my father I would do it. If you have 'tolerated me in your house,' be- lieve me, there has been as much toleration exercised upon my part, for in no sense of the word has it been a home to me ; instead, it has been merely a place of shelter, a spot to exist in until I could com- plete my education. I can hear it no longer- I shall consider your house no longer my home," Star concluded, with a decision which rather startled

Mrs. Richards.

But she retorted, derisively :

" Your independent spirit ill becomes you ; where could you go ? Who would take you-a penniless beggar-in, and give you the advantages which you have been enjoying during the past year ? But it is folly for me to give heed to your idle words. I command you to return directly to your room and hold no intercourse with any one, and to-morrow I will decide what course to pursue in reference to your future."

She had been planning to pack her off to Brook- lyn with one of the servants until Lord Carrol's visit should be ended, and thus avoid all possibility of an interview and its attendant explanations.

But Star did not move.

She remained standing quietly by Mr. Rosevelt's chair, as if she had not heard her command.

"Did you hear what I said ?" she demanded, sharply.

" Yes, madam."

" Well, do you intend to obey me ?'' " No, madam."

" What !"

"I refuse to recognize your authority over me from this moment. I refuse to obey any longer one who, from the first, has been governed only by feel- ings of personal spite in all her dealings with me,''

Star returned, firmly."

Mrs. Richards could scarcely credit her ears.

She had not imagined that the usually quiet girl possessed a tithe of this spirit.

" Well, Uncle Jacob, what do you think of your little pattern of excellence now?" demanded the astonished woman, turning with an injured air to her uncle, who was nearly as much amazed himself.

"I think the child has been severely tried,"-he returned, quietly, whereupon Mrs, Richards flew into another rage.

" I must say, Uncle Jacob, that I consider it very bad taste in you to take sides with her against me ; and let me worn you, that you have both got your- selves into trouble by the doings of this night."

The arrogant dame did not wait for any reply, but turned abruptly and left the room ; retiring, however* with a sense of defeat which it was not pleasant to contemplate.

The moment that the door closed after her, Star dropped again upon the floor by Mr. Rosevelt's side, heart-broken. He saw that she was utterly unnerved by what had just transpired, and for awhile he left her to herself. At length, when she became more calm, be said, sorrowfully, yet gently :

" My child, tell me what Ellen means. What cause has she for coming here to accuse you of such dread- ful things? Who is this Lord Carrol, and what has he been to you ?"

Star lifted her white, pained face to him.

"You do not believe what she has told you-you do not believe I would be guilty of anything so shameless as she would try to make me appear ?" she questioned, brokenly,

"No, no ; I think there is some terrible misunder- standing. I do not believe you would do anything which you knew to be wrong ; and yet your own words have mystified me-I cannot comprehend

them."

" I will tell you all about it, I would not explain anything to her-I could not after she had told me what he said," Star answered; but her face flushed with shame at the thought of confessing a tale of love and devotion on her part, of deception and treachery on the part of the man whom she had so

trusted.

It seemed to her like a lack of dignity and of strength of character that she should have been so easily duped.

Then she told him all the story of her love for Archibald Sherbrooke, beginning with that day when they had exchanged souvenirs on the steamer, and which she felt had been the" cemmencement of their love. She told him how he had prevented her from leaping on the cars when they were in motion, and how every day after that he had contrived to meet her, luring her heart from her day by day, until the previous Saturday he had declared his love for her, and won her promise to be his wife as soon as she should have graduated.

"Oh, Uncle Jacob," Star concluded, hiding her face on the arm of his chair again, " I believed him so true, so honoroble, so worthy of my love, and now to find him so unprincipled and treacherous, it

crushes me !"

Mr. Rosevelt looked very grave-almost stern.

" This is just as I supposed-as I was led to be- lieve from your appearance last Saturday, I knew well enough, when we returned home from Coney Island, that you had promised to be Sherbrooke's wife. But I don't understand his treachery, as you call it, nor what connection all this has with the young lord who has come to ask for Josephine's hand," he said, coldly.

Star looked up again at the unfamiliar tone,

" Oh !" she said, wearily ; " I am so miserable that I have not made it plain to you-I have not told you ; but Lord Carrol is only another name for the man who called himself Archibald Sherbrooke. Under the latter be cheated me into loving him, and he has ruined my life ; under the former, which is his real name, I suppose, he has been trying to win

the heiress,"

Mr. Rosevelt was speechless from amazement at this revelation, and for a full minute could only look down into those piteous, uplifted eyes, in mute

dismay.

" Impossible !" he cried, at length ; " I cannot be- lieve it; I cannot think that young Sherbrooke would be guilty of anything so dastardly. There

must be some mistake."

"There is no mistake, "Star returned, with de- spair in her tones. " I was sitting at the window of my room when he arrived, and of course I recognized him at once. His form, his bearing, his handsome face, the tones of his voice-everything was identical with Archie Sherbrooke from whom we parted last Saturday evening. At first I was crushed by the blow ; then I thought, perhaps Lord Carrol had disappointed them, and Archie had come to me as he had promised to do Monday or Tuesday; but this hope fled when I heard them address him as Lord Carroll, and he replied at once to the name, It has broken my heart, Uncle Jacob !" Star walled, pouring out all her sorrow to him. " I do not know how ever lived last night through; I do not believe I was conscious half the time; while to-day I have been too weak, and ill, and wretched to care what became

of me."

" Poor child ! poor child !" he murmured softly.

" To-night,'' she went on, " I felt as if I must get out into the air, I must see a friendly face, and hear a kindly voice, so I came to you, although I did not mean to tell you anything of my trouble. I meant

to bear it alone, and never let any one know how - cruelly I had been deceived, or-how readily I had given my foolish heart away."

The old gentleman laid his hand on her shining head, smoothing her hair with a tender touch. He was nearly weeping himself to see this beautiful young girl so crushed,

" On my way down here," she pursued, " I felt faint-my strength all left me, and I stopped and leaned against a tree to recover myself, and while I stood there he stole up behind me, laid his hand on my shoulder, and asked in surprise how I came to be there. I gave him the street and number where we lived last Saturday, but I suppose when Mr, Richards and Josephine went to meet him at the station and brought him here, he did not once think it was the same place, for I have never told him their names, He believed me to be a poor girl, and never would have thought of finding me in a place like this-that was why he was so overcome with surprise wben he saw me to-night, But when I charged him with personating two characters-hav- ing two names, he could not deny it-he owned that be was Lord Carrol, but tried to make me let bim explain, I would not-there could be nothing to ex- plain ; he had deceived me, and it was enough, I could never trust him after that. I called him a traitor and a coward, and then I ran away and came to you, who are the only friend I have in this wide, weary world."

" You did right, dear, to come to me ; but were you not a trifle hasty and rash ? I think you should have listened to young Sberbrooke's-or whoever he may be-defence," Mr. Rosevelt said, gently.

"What possible defence could he have had to offer ?" Star cried, in a voice of scorn. " He has pre- tended to be Archibald Sherbrooke, a simple artist, to me, while everybody else knows him as Lord Carrol, of Carrolton,"

" But he may have been travelling incognito, under the former name ?" suggested Mr. Rosevelt.

" Then why did he not keep it to the end ? Why did he go to o fashionable watering place and flourish as a titled Englishman, and devote himself to Josephine ?Why did he resume the former name upon meeting me again, and lead me to love him,

believing him to be a poor artist ? No, there can be nothing said in defence of such double dealing as this. He has cheated and fooled me, I have found him out, and compelled him to own it. It is enough to make me scorn him ; but it has been a bitter lesson, and has taught me never to trust a man again," Star concluded with vehement bitterness.

" Never, Star ? Surely that acrimonious resolve does not include me," said Mr. Rosevelt, with gen-

tle reproach.

"No : I know that you are kind and true, and you are the only one in the world who cares for me," the suffering girl said, in husky tones,

"Indeed, my child, you have become very dear to me, and my life would be very forlorn without

you,"

Star bent down and touched his band with her lips,

In her wretchedness it comforted her greatly to know that she had contributed to his happiness.

" But I cannot get over what you have told me. I never was so deceived in my life before, and if this young sprig of English nobility is the villian you represent him, he is not fit to live," Mr. Rosevelt said, sternly, after a few moments of thoughtful

silence.

Star shivered with pain.

Much as she believed she scorned him, she could

not endure that another should speak disparagingly

of him,

"Never mind him, Uncle Jacob," she said, "I have put him out of my life forever, and now I want to talk to you about something else. You say that I have made your life happier since you came here, and that you would be very lonely without me. I am going to tell you a little secret, and then I want you to promise to go away from here with me. I am not going to remain here another day," she con-

cluded, decidedly.

" Is that your secret, Star?"

" Part of it," she answered, with a sad smile. " I have a little money, as you know-a hundred pounds, which at Mr. Richards suggestion I put at interest last year. Now I want to take this money and make a cozy little home for you and me some- where, until I get through school-there will be enough to last till then I think-and after that I shall be able to take care of us both in fine style, by teaching and giving music lessons."

He smiled skeptically as she planned so hopefully what her poor hundred pounds would do, while a tear started to his eye at ber thought of him.

She saw that he did not think she could do alt that she told him, and flushed.

"You do not-believe that I shall be able to take care of us both," she said, eagerly; "but I know that I can, for I have not yet told you all. Lis-

ten."

She bent nearer to him, and putting her lips close to his ear, told him something which even you and I must not know just yet, my patient

reader.

He was nearly as much surprised as he had been to learn of Archibald Sherbrooke's treachery.

" My dear," be said, while his face lighted with pride and joy, "you shall have your way, and I will do just as you wish', and I-"

He checked himself suddenly, dropped his head in thought for a moment, tben resumed .

"I am not happy here any more than yourself, ond hiive been thinking for some time that I must go away ; but I could not bear the thought of part- ing from you. Now we wi.l go together, as you wisb, unless-"

"Unless what, Uncle Jacob?'' Star asked" anxiously.

" Ualess you will let me see this young scamp of a lord, and take him to task for bis faithlessness to jou,"

" Never !" Star replied, proudly. " What good would it do to-"

" There may be some mistake ; he might be able to explain everything satisfactorily," interrupted

Mr. Rosevelt.

Star's beautiful lips curled,

" What would bia explanations amount to ? He is hers as a suitor for Joaaphine's hand-they all con fees it ; and did you ever listan to a more monstrous story than Mrs, Richards repeated here to-night P To think that he could say anything so basely false of me is almost enough to drive me wild," Star cried, excitedly. " No, Uncle Jacob, although he has been guilty of tbe most cruel treachery, I will not contend with him ; if he is such a craven that he would try to win a young girl's heart for tbe amuse- ment of breaking it, and tben seek to blight her fair fame by charging her with what he has imputed to me to-night, he is too far beneath me to be worthy of anything save my supreme contempt, and I never wish to met-t him oguiu-I only want to get away from them nil and net er see tbeir faces more."

Her voice broke with such a wail of despair in it that the old man could not find it in his heart to re- fuse her anything.

" Very well, we will go away to-morrow," he said, sorrowfully.

"Oh, thank you, Uncle Jacob," the unhappy girl said, eagerly ; " and will you go without letting them know? They would never consent, and I do not wish them even to know wbera I go."

"Yes, we will go without saying anything to any one ; we can le ive a note telling them why we go, Bnd it shall be tbe object of the little time that re- mains to me to care for you and try to make your young life a little brighter than it has been," he re- turned thoughtfully.

.' How early ena you be ready ? ' he asked after a

moment.

" By daylight ; the earlier the better," she returned, earnestly ; " every moment here is full of pain|for

me."

(To be Continued.)