|Chapter Number||XXII (CONTINUED)|
|Newspaper Title||The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893)|
(From English, American, and other Periodicals.)
CHAPTER XXII (Continued.)
" Did I make you a promise, Mr. Appleton ?" she asked, evasively, adding with an arch glance, "I thought it was you who made me a promise,"
He laughed and shook his finger at her.
"You said that on your eighteenth birthday I might reveal a secret "
"And you promised you would not reveal it until I was eighteen," she retorted, brightly, although the color deepened in her cheeks, as she continued, " I am not eighteen yet, Mr Appleton."
" No, but you will be to-morrow. You see I have not forgotten the date. Now let me take time by the forelock a little, and whisper to Miss Meredith who the author of ' Chatsworth's Pride' is. She has been on the qui vive to know ever since the book was published," Mr Appleton said, bending a roguish look upon Star, who now stood with drooping eyes,
and appeared somewhat confused,
" Oh ! do you know. Is it some friend of yours.
Miss Gladstone ?" Miss Meredith said, eagerly to her. " I think it so tantalizing not to know the name of the author of a book," she went on, " particularly if it is one you happen to like very much, and here this provoking man who published this one, only put a
mt star where he should have printed the author's no. Do tell me, please, Miss Gladstone, I am in ïap all curiosity."
Then remarking Slat's embarrasement, she looked ram hor to Mr. Appleton, questloningly,
" Is it ?" she went on, excitedly, as he smiled and glanced at the fair girl. " Can it be possible that it is Miss Gladstone herself ? I believe it is," she said, with sparkling eyes, as she seized Star's hands, " and oh, what can I say to you ?-it is a charming little book, and I have enjoyed it more than I can
tell you. There! let me shake the hand that wrote it, and if I had a laurel wreath here I would put it on this golden head and make you wear it the re mainder of the evening."
And she squeezed and shook that small, white, gloved hand until Star laughingly begged for
i what you have subjected me to," she said, if reproachful look at Mr. Appleton,
A might just as well make the best of it, my little friend," that gentleman replied, laugh,
"ing. "I have kept silence for a year under the most trying circumstances, for I have been un-
mercifully besieged to tell who the author of
' Chatworth's Pride' is, and I could not stand the fire any longer: my time is too valuable to be spent in any such way, and I came here to-night not only to congratulate you upon your graduation, but also to introduce my fair young author to my friends, Yes, Miss Meredith, Miss Stella Gladstone is the author of ' Chatsworth's Pride.'"
"Miss Stella Gladstone?" Miss Meredith re-
, " Yes, and you perceive I was not so far from giving the name after all. I was obliged to ' make her mark,' since I could not write her name," returned
Mr. Appleton, jocosely.
" Ah, yes, I see. Stella means a star, and cer tainy," Miss Meredith said, turning to her new
acquaintance again, "you bid fair to shine like one."
MR ROSEVELT'S STORY,
Jacob Rosevelt stood not far away during the con-
ation between Mr. Appleton, Miss Meredith, and
M and a proud light beamed in his eves as he ed to their praises of the girl whom he had ned to lovo so well
But it was nothing new to him that Star was an authoress; he had known it for nearly a year.
That was the secret that she had whispered in his
At, when, after Mrs Richards' terrible accusations, they had been left alone and she had begged him to
with her to make a little home of their own
that v it she should reçeive for her book,
iff with her hundred pounds, would be ample ¿etr supsC^íütlfIhíb could graduate and obtain
SU H^ Vfor after Mr.
class and call
Itfnce forward as
This was the package with which she had stolen
forth so early one morning, taking it with fear and trembling, yet with something of hope, to the great publisher.
When she was shown into his office, and made known her errand there, he looked at her in wonder, astonished at the temerity of one so young and simple as she appeared to be, in bringing her manuscript to him and asking him to publish it.
But the differential yet winning way in which she made her appeal, and the influence of her loveliness, won a reluctant promise on his part to " look it
He did so, opening the neatly folded package with an amused smile, and expecting after a casual glance at its contents to be nauseated with some sickly sentimental love-story.
But be became strangely interested in it at once, and read on and on, now with smiles, then melting into tears, until it was finished, and pronounced a " little gem," while he was convinced that a sensi- tive, refined, and talented girl had thrown her heart, and perhaps something of her own life, into those touching pages.
He sent a note to her at once, asking her to come and see him again, and when she obeyed the sum- mons, be questioned her about herself, how she had come to write her book, and what incidents had suggested it,
She told him that the scene of her little romance was laid in Derbyshire, England, and that many of the incidents were connected with her childhood : and the tears sprang to his eyes as she related to him something of the misfortune which overtook her in the death of her mother, the subsequent loss of her father, and how she was obliged to come, a stranger, to this country ; of the tempestuous voyage across the ocean, with its thrilling events, and that as soon as she could complete her education she in- tended to become a teacher.
He was greatly interested in her, and told her that he should publish her book, and if the first edition sold well, she should have a thousand dol- lars, and a certain per cent on all other editions.
It seemed like a fortune to Star, who had not thought of receiving anything like such a sum, and she went back to her duties with a joyful heart to
await the issue of her book.
Mr. Appleton was so pleased with her that he saw her often after that, and having received a card from her for the commencement exercises of Professor Robert's seminary, he decided he would go ; and the little package which he had given her in the presence of Mr. Richards, was a copy of her book, which had just come to him from the hands of the binders ; and it was he, too, who, admiring her fine essay, begged it of her, and sent it, with those few, flattering remarks which had so annoyed Josephine, to the next morn- ing's papers.
Star had put no name to her work, telling Mr. Appleton that she did not care to be known as its author ; and be, too, thought it best, since it was her first experience in literary matters; so when she had told him that her name was Stella, he had put a simple star in place of it.
But the book had sold beyond even the publisher's most sanguine expectations, and when it became evident very soon that a second edition must be published, he asked her to allow him to put her name to it, as everybody was besieging him to know who wrote it.
But she was firm, and insisted upon having his promise that he would not betray her until after her graduation and her eighteenth birthday.
When he wrote her a cheque for the promised thou- sand dollars, she had taken it directly to Mr. Rose-
" Now we need have no fears for the future," she said, with a proud smile, as sho put it into his hand. " You must have every comfort, Uncle Jacob, fruits and wines, and everything nice, to make you strong and well. There will be more coming, you know, as the other editions are sold, and when I begin to teach I shall have my salary besides."
The old gentleman was deeply touched by her thoughtfulness for him-he could not speak for the choking sensation in his throat, but drew her gently to him and kissed her fair forehead, feeling that she was the only gleam of sunshine which his life con-
Now as he stood by and heard her praises sung, and know that she would have the fame that be- longed to her, he exulted over it ; and when a little later she came to him and slipped an envelope into his hand, saying :
" It is another cheque, Uncle Jacob, which Mr. Ap
pleton has just given to me. Please take care of it, for you are my banker, you know; and," a tear starting to her glorious eyes, " I believed I never expected to be so happy again as I am to-night," he thought his own cup of joy was nearly a full as hers.
She was indeed a star after that all through the evening, and held a right royal little court, receiving and making the acquaintance of the admirers of " Chatworth's Pride," until she became so weary that she longed to got home to quite and rest.
As soon as she could find an opportunity to do so, she drew Mr. Rosevelt to President Hunter, and
made her adieu.
Just as she was turning away some one touched her on the arm.
" Miss Gladstone, allow me to present my brother, Mr. Ralph Meredith,"
It was Miss Meredith-Grace Meredith she had told Star she was called-who spoke, and looking up, she found a pair of brilliant dark eyes looking into hers, a handsome face smiling down upon her, while a musical voice acknowledged the introduction with evident pleasure.
"I expect you are the star whom I have been wishing to know for a long time," he said, signi- ficantly, as he took the hand she held out to him', and thought he had never seen a lovelier face in his
Star thanked him with a charming smile for his interest in her, and introduced him to Mr, Rosevelt, then turned to Miss Meredith to escape from the praises which she saw he was longing to pour into
The young man was somewhat chagrined at being thus summarily disposed of, but he was too polite and good-natured to betray it, and did his best to make himself agreeable to the old gentleman and win his good will.
Gradually, bowover, ho managed to nttrnot the at- tention of the young Indies, and thon tho converse tion beoame general, and they ohnttored pleasantly for several minutes, until, at a look from Star, Mr, Rosevelt declared they must go, " for he was not used to Iate hours, and Star, he knew, was nearly worn out with the excitement of the day."
Mr. Meredith regretted that they must leave, but begged, with his most captivating smile :
"May I have the pleasure, Miss Gladstone, of coming with my sister to call upon you !"
"Certainly," Star answered, graciously, for she was pleased with both brother and sister. " I shall be very happy to have you do so. We live-"
"Wait a minute, Star, and I will write our ad dress down for them; it is so difficult to remember numbers I am afraid they will forget," and taking a from a small note-book that was in his pocket, Rosevelt wrote both street and number and
\t to young Meredith,
Star thought he looked surprised as he read it . " i it because of the humble locality ? she won
They then exchanged good-nights and parted.
When they reached the street, Mr. Rosevelt said :
" I am going to call a carriage, dear, for I know you are just ready to drop from weariness," and Star did not object, for she was indeed exceedingly
When they reached home the insisted upon mak- ing a cup of tea for Uncle Jacob, saying that he was not accustomed to such late hours and dissipation, and " besides," she added, with a smile, " she felt like having a drop herself,"
But the old gentleman was so absent-minded over his tea that she felt almost guilty for having kept him up so late, and feared he would be ill to-mor
She put away the ten things when they were through, and was about to light her lamp and retire, when he stopped her, saying:
"Star, my dear, come and sit down upon this ottoman by me, I have something I wish to say to you,"
She obeyed, wondering what had happened to make him look and speak so gravely.
"Are you really happy to-night, my child ?" he asked, tenderly.
A startled look came into the girl's eyes at this question, and her heart leaped with sudden pain as her thoughts went bounding over the sea to one, to whom she had given the first grand passion of her
" Uncle Jacob," she answered, gravely, though he could see the quiver about her lips, which she tried in vain to repress, " I am happier than I ever ex- ported to be again. It is useless to regret or mourn over the past. I have tried to be sensible over it, but sometimes I am afraid I have not succeeded very well," the said, with a smile that was a trifle bitter. " If," she added more brightly a moment after, " that one episode could have been left out of my life. I believe there would be nothing to mar it now.'
" I would that it could have been so." Mr. Rosevelt sighed. " But I want you to listen to me for a little while. I know it Is late, and you ought to go to rest but I particularly wish to tell you a short story of my life, to-night. It is a page which has been turned from sight for many years, and no one has ever read it save myself. You are about entering upon a new era in your life. I have learned to love you very tenderly, my child, and I want to bind you yet closer
" Why, Uncle Jacob, you do not think I have any idea of going away from you, I hope," Star said, in
" No, for I have grown to feel that you belong to me. I want you to think so, too, and I am going to tell you why. Fate-or Providence, I suppose you would say-has thrown us together in a strange way, considering all things. Do you remember tell, ing me on board that ill-fated steamer, that your name was Star Rosevelt Gladstone, and how sur
prised you were when you learned that my last name was the same as your middle one ?"
"Yes, sir; I still think it a strange coincidence,*'
" Perhaps you will be more surprised when I tell you that you were named for me."
Star looked up astonished at.him,
" How can that be possible ?" she asked.
" In this way," Mr. Rosevelt returned, a shade of pain crossing his face. " When your grandmother, Stella Winthrop, that was her name before her mar ringe, was it not ?"
" Yes, and that is all I know about her, Uncle Jacob," Star answered, with a troubled look. " Papa never said much about his friends. Indeed he did not appear to have any relatives, and never would allow me to question him about them; Once I said something to him about my name, and he remarked : 'Your grandmother once told me that if ever I had a little girl of my own, she would like me to call you Stella Rosevelt, and that is how you came by it.'" -
" Where is my grandmother, papa?" I asked.
" She is dead, he said, and immediately left the room, looking so pale and miserable that I never dared ask him anything more about her."
" It seems strange that I should be the one to tell you about her," Mr. Rosevelt said, thoughtfully, " and I am puzzled to know why he should have been so reticent, Did your father ever have any trouble with his family ?"
" Not that I know of ; and yet," Star said, flush- ing, "there was some trouble about his marriage with mamma, though that seems to have been on the part of her family rather than his. Mrs Richards once twitted me about mamma-who was a sort of cousin to her-having married beneath her."'
" I do not see how that could have been, for the Mr. Gladstone who married Stella Winthrop was a very wealthy and important man in the county of Devonshire-at least I was told so-and if your father was his son he might have married almost any one he chose, and have conferred an honor in so doing. But this is not telling you my story.
" When Stella Winthrop was of your age, and I three or four years older, we met at a large reception in London, That meeting was fatal to us both, for
we loved from that hour as true lovers ever love.
For six months the world was like Paradise to us and then I was called away to the far East on busi- ness for the firm with which I was connected. (I am an American, but most of my life has been spent abroad.)
" If I was successful in my business undertaking, it was agreed that I might claim my bride when I returned at the end of two. years. The vessel on which I sailed was wrecked-I have had more than one such experience you see, my dear-and it was re- ported that every passenger on board was lost, while only a very few of the crew lived to tell tho story of the disaster. But I was fortunate enough to secure a large cask, and with this I managed to keep afloat for two days, when I was picked up by a sail- vessel bound for the Philippine Island.
"My first work upon reaching land was to write to Stella and tell her of my safety. But my letter never reached her. I also notified the firm that I was all right, and should proceed directly about the business upon which I had been sent, but they know nothing of my connection with Miss Winthrop, and accordingly did not communicate with her. I kept writing at intervals to my beloved, but never heard anything in return. At last, in despair, I wrote to the firm telling them of my engagement, and asking them to notify her of my safety, and give her my address in case she should have happened to lose the one I had given her. In reply they said that the Win- throp family had gone abroad for an indefinite stay Of course this was a great trial for me, and I was exceedingly impatient ; but my two years were over at last, and I turned my face toward England once more. I had succeeded in my business beyond my most sanguine expectations, and I looked forward to the immediate fulfillment of my hopes when I should return. My first duty on reaching London was to acquaint my employers with the result of my trans- actions, and my next thought was for Stella-my bright Star. Never for an instant had I doubted her fidelity-I believed she would be as true to me as I was to her, and my heart beat high with hope as I bounded up the familiar steps leading to her home and rang the bell. I asked for Miss Winthrop of the maid who answered my summons, and she stared at me as if she thought me demented,
" Miss Winthrop ? she repeated, ' there is no Miss Winthrop, sir, she was married and went away nearly
a year ago.'
" Married !" The word was like a thunderbolt to me, and in an instant all the light went out of my life-my heart was paralyzed. I staggered from the place and hld myself from every one for a week Then I gained something of calmness and courage to go out among my friends and try to learn how it happened that Stella Winthrop had married. As I told you before, it was reported that every passen- ger on the vessel in which I sailed was lost-those of the crew who were saved affirmed that such was the case, and my betrothed had believed that I was
She grieved herself almost to death over my loss, and her parents fearing they would lose her also, took her abroad and travelled for many months. It was during this absence that the firm received my letter relating to her, but were unable to learn her address, as she was moving from point to point, and
so could not communicate with her.
" Six months after learning my fate she met Mr. Gladstone in Paris. He fell in love with her and offered himself to her. He was a gentleman in every sense of the word, was kind and sympathetic, and she liked him as a friend. She told him the story of her grief, and that she could never marry. He did not sneer at her 'girlish folly,' as many would have done, but comforted her, speaking so kindly and regretfully of me that he won even a warmer place in her heart. He was patient with her, and when at length a second time he asked her to marry him, she told him that she could never love him as she had loved me, but if he could be content to take her with what respect she could give him, and the duty she would strive to yield him, she would become his wife. He told her he would be content, and they were married a year and three months after I sailed on the fatal voyage,
" They travelled several months longer, and when at length on their return to London, only three or four months before I arrived there, she learned that I had not perished, but was soon expected back, the shock neatly killed her a second time. Her husband was all kindness and attention, took her immediately away again, and showered everything that wealth could buy upon her, and after a time children were
born to her, and those new ties aroused her to her sense of duty as a mother. I never saw her- for I had not courage to look upon her dear face, knowing that she was the wife of another, for I never ceased to love with an affection that amounted to idolatry. They told me that she had two children -two noble boys, one of them resembling her, the other his father ; that she was a tender, faithful mother, and very much beloved by every one who
" That was forty years ago, Star, and for thirty I have not heard one word concerning either her or her family ; but I have lived my life out alone-I could never take any one to my broken heart ; and perhaps, if your belief is true, my child, and I can ever be made dearly to see it, I may find my lost love somewhere in the great future ; but I do not need to tell you that my past has been one long season of longing and regret, of sadness and Ionli-
His voice broke, his lips quivered painfully, and it seemed for a moment as if he must break down utterly.
Star softly slipped one of her small hands into his, and the sympathetic little not comforted him greatly. His closed over it, in a strong, yet tender clasp,
" You pity the old man's weakness, don't you, dear ?" he said, with a sad smile ; " but it is not easy to open tbe secret chnmbers of one's heart when they have been closed for forty years."
"When first I saw you," he continued, after a moment, "there was something in your face that touched me- a light in your eye, a sheen on your hair, that somehow smote a familiar chord in my heart. I watched you, although you were not aware of it, and felt sorry for you during that dreadful storm at sea, for your white face and great startled eyes appealed to me as nothing had done for many a year. But I would not yield to it. I had shut my heart to everyone ; I had vowed that I would never love anyone again, and I mistrusted everyone who sought to win me to a better mood. But when that lurch of the beat throw you directly into my arms, and you clung to me in such a helpless way, I could not resist you, and some good angel prompted me to gather you close to me and make you rest upon me. When you told me your name, the shock nearly unmanned me-' Star Rosovelt Gladstone,' you said -and I knew as well as if I had been told, that you were in some way connected with my lost Star, and I watched over you all the night through, feeling almost as if some sweet spirit had been sent from her to me, to give me a little ray of comfort at the end of my long loveless life,
" When, the next morning, you told me that your grandmother had named you, and that her name was Stella Winthrop, I had not a doubt-I felt convinced that you must be the child of one of her sons. You thought it merely a strange coincidence, but I know better, and all my boasted coldness and hardness melted away, and I began to love you then and there. When that dreadful explosion occurred, and you urged me to save myself as doubtless I had dear friends and you had no one to love you-when you refused to leave, me, and took up your station by my side to die with me, as we both believed, I felt as if something of the spirit of my lost love was shining through you. Then your tenderness toward, and your care of me-your heroic self denial and efforts to save my life while we were helplessly afloat on the mighty ocean-your sweet voice singing those hymns of faith and cheer, com- pleted the conquest of my hardened nature. I can never make you understand how disappointed I was on arriving in New York, to find you gone. I meant to tell you something of myself, and learn your own destination, so that I might see you once in awhile.
" But I never forgot you; and when I visited my nephew In the West, and met only coldness and neglect, simply because of my misfortunes, I could not help contrasting it with your kind attention to an entire stranger.
" I left those heartless people and came to my niece, and met with the same reception, when be- fore they had always fawned at my feet, flattered and humored me as if I had been something more than common clay.
" I felt forsaken-no one loved me, no one wanted me ; I was a burden and incumbrance. But just then you appeared to me and your heavenly kindness made my poor old heart glow again. Still, I was so embittered by finding my only brother's children so heartless and selfish, that I was not quite sure of you. It made me mistrust every body, and I feared you might grow to be like them, But for that I should not have remained a day beneath Ellen Richards' roof ; I should have gone my own way again as soon as I became rested and recruited. Do you remember how you came to me the next morning after my arrival, and cheered me with your merry chat and yow thoughtful little gift ? I said, ' surely this child must be artless-she must be true ;' but I resolved to stay awhile, and test and study you, and you have been a blessing to me from the first, My dear, I began to love you for my lost Star's sake ; now I love you for your own, There, you know all my
story now, and you must go to rest, for to-morrow will be your birthday, and we must celebrate a little in honor of it," Mr. Rosevelt concluded, patting her
softly on the shoulder.
Star lifted a flushed and tearful face to him.
" Uncle Jacob !" she cried, tenderly ; " it seems as if you are really that to me now ; and I am so glad that you have told me how you have loved my grandmother, and I shall try more than ever after this to make your life as bright as possible. I do not see how any one could ever have treated you un- kindly or disrespectfully."
Uncle Jacob smiled fondly it her.
" I know there is one at least who treats me kindly for my own sake, and who would share all her laurels with me. My child, I was very proud of you
" And I of you," Star added quickly. " I never saw you look so nice-so like an aristocratic old gentleman." ,
He laughed, such a bright, hearty laugh, that she wondered to see him so pleased over her little com- pliment.
" Now, good-night," he said, rising ; " I want you to be as fresh as possible to-morrow."
He led her to the door of her room, and then, with a softly breathed " God bless you !" sought his own.
God bless you ! Those words rang in Star's ears Was he beginning to believe in her God after all ? She hoped so-she prayed so.
But she did not go directly to bed, as he bade her ; his story had strangely stirred her heart, and she could not rest until she had decided some questions that were troubling her.
She opened a drawer of her dressing-case, and taking that worn portfolio to which we have before referred, from it, unlocked it, and drew forth a sealed package, '
" Papa told me to wait until I was eighteen before I opened and read it," she laid, musingly ; " but a few hours can make no difference, and I feel now as if I must know if he was her son, and why he never would tell me anything about his family."
With reverent fingers she broke the seals, a sob rising to her lips as she thought whose hand had fastened them there, and how tenderly it used to stroke her hair and whose voice used to call her " My bright little Star I"
The package contained several papers, and it took her more than an hour to examine them ; but when she had read them through, there was a look of wonder in her large blue eyes, and an almost blank expression on her white face,
" WHAT ARE WE TO DO NEXT?"
Star Gladstone's eighteenth birthday dawned as bright and charming as it was possible for a morning to be. At eight o'clock she and Mr. Rosevelt sat down to their breakfast, and a merry meal they made it, for both appeared in the beat of spirits, in spite of the aid and exciting events of the previous evening upon which they had conversed.
About nine, a handsome carriage drove to their humble abode, and the driver rang, and asked for the " gentleman and lady who were going for a drive in the park,"
Star looked surprised as she peeped from the window and saw a pair of sleek, coal-black horses, with their silver-mounted harness, and the shining,
" Uncle Jacob, did you order that carriage to come
for us ?" she asked.
Yes, my dear, he said, with an expression of satis, faction, as he, too, looked out and saw the team, " It is not often that I ride, as you well know, but when I do, I like to go in style. One ride a year in " ship-shape" would satisfy me, where half-dozen in some broken-down hack wouldn't give me a bit of pleasure, Now, put on your hat, and tuck some roses in your belt, as you did yesterday, for this is to be a gala day, and I want you as fine as possible"
Star laughed and tripped away to obey, and com- ing back after a few moments with such a bright and happy face, that Mr. Rosevelt thought she had never looked so lovely before,
All the morning they drove-four long, delightful hours-hours that were always a pleasant memory afterward to both of them ; and many who saw the nicely dressed old gentleman with the fair, bright, golden-halred girl beside him in their elegant car riage, thought what a green old age must be his, with so much to make life pleasant.
About one o'clock they turned toward the city, once more, and Star said, with a sigh of pleasure :
" Uncle Jacob, I believe there never was such a perfect day before, and I'm sure I never enjoyed a birthday more ; you were very kind to plan this pleasure for me."
The old gentleman's eye twinkled, Her delight, her bright, animated face wore such a joy to him.
" If I had only been rich as I used to be, I should so like to have made you some nice present to-day
-a watch, for instance," he said,
" You gave me something last night which I value far better-your confidence," Star said, softly. "I should like a watch," she added, after a moment, " and I mean to have one some time. Whon I have earned it, you shall go and select for me if you will. But what have you done with your own, Uncle Jacob ? You had a very nice one when I first met you, and I remember seeing it on you after the
" Watches and I have not had much in common during the last two years," he answered evasively, and she thought perhaps he had been obliged to sell it since he became poor.
All at once the carriage stopped in a quiet street up town, which, Star noticed, was lined on both side with elegant brown-stone dwellings.
" What are we stopping here for ?" she asked.
" A good woman whom I used to know lives here ann I thought as we were in gala attire to-day, I would like to stop and make a call, and-introduce my Star to her," Mr. Rosevelt said, preparing to
He helped Star out, and together they went up the
Mr. Rosevelt rang the bell, and then took a card from one of his pockets, and with an arch smile
" It almost seems as if we were really fine people, doesn't it, dressed in our best, riding about in our fine carriage, and sending our cards in at a brown
stone house !"
" Yes, indeed ; and it would be such fun if we could keep it up for awhile," Star said, gayly. " But," with a regretful little sigh, " like Cinderella of old, I suppose we shall soon be aroused to the fact that our coach and horses are gone, and find the stern realities of life staring us in the face again."
Mr. Rosevelt laughed.
" Would you like to be a fine lady, Star," he
" I don't know," she answered, thoughtfully, " I believe I should like to try it for a little while, just
to see how it would seem."
There was not time for any more conversation, for the door was at this moment opened by a neat looking servant.
She appeared to recognise Mr. Rosevelt,- for she greeted him with a smile, and then her eyes wan- dered inquiringly to Star's lovely face.
She invited them to enter, and conducted them into a handsome drawing-room on the right of the hall, when, taking Mr. Rosevelt's card, she retired, leaving them alone.
" What a lovely room," Star breathed, as her eyes roved about the apartment, over the beautiful pictures, the bright, rich carpet, the carved ebony furniture, upholstered in warm-hued satins, choice bric-a-brac, and all those fine things which add so much to a place like that. "Your friend must be a ' fine lady,' with plenty of money," she added.
Mr. Rosevelt merely nodded his head in reply while he watched the door with evident impatience,
It was soon slowly opened, and a familiar face appeared in the aperture-a face all beaming with smiles of pleasure and good-nature.
" Mrs. Blunt !" cried Star, in astonishment, and springing toward the woman she grasped both her
hands warmly :
" Yes, Miss Star," the woman returned, half laugh- ing, half crying, "I am Mrs. Blunt, or I'm much mistaken; as I sometimes imagine I may be when I get to thinking about everything, and how strange it has all turned out. How well you're looking,, miss, and it does my old eyes a wonderful sight of good to see your bright face again."
Star thought her language somewhat ambiguous
but everything seemed rather ambiguous just then.
" Do you live here f" ibe questioned, " Yes, I live here ; or-"
" Have you been in New York long ? and why haven't we seen you before ? and what are you laughing at."
The young girl's astonishment seemed to increase, for the woman appeared strangely and was shaking with inward laughter.
"I'm laughing because I'm so glad to see you. I've been in New York a month, and I haven't been to see you because the last time I saw Mr. Rosevelt he told me he was going to bring you to see me soon ; so I've been content to wait," Mrs, Blunt ex- plained.
Star wondered if the present occupant of that elegant place allowed her housekeeper to entertain her friends in the drawing-room ; if so.it was surely a new departure, and not exactly in accordance with Mrs. Richards' ideas of the treatment of servants.
Take off your hat, dearie," Mrs. Blunt continued, " for I have a nice little lunch waiting for you."
" A lunch ?" repeated Star, in amazement, and. with a puzzled look at Mr. Rosevelt, who was regard- ing her attentively.
" Yes, I had orders to get up the nicest lunch I could for my old friends, and I'm much mistaken if I haven't done it," the woman replied, with an air of
" You must have a very kind mistress," the fair girl said, as she drew off her gloves and removed her
" I have, the best in the world," the queer creature returned, with a chuckle. " But come, I'll show you the way to the dining-room"
Mr. Rosevelt arose, and, drawing Star's hand within his arm, followed her to a room on the opposide side of, and further down, the hall.
As she opened the door, Star saw a charming dining-room, furnished in costly woods of different colors, its floor inlaid in an intricate and lovely pattern.
In the centre stood a table, covered with a heavy white damask cloth, and spread with a glittering array of silver and cut glass, and where also, a most tempting repast was awaiting them.
Mr. Rosevelt led his wondering companion to one side of the table, and, looking down upon her with the fondest look in the world, said, in a voice which was not quite steady :
"Star, my dear, my pure-hearted, faithful little friend, I here formally install you as mistress of your own table and of your own home. This is to be your seat henceforth-mine opposite-and, my darling for such you have become to me-I trust you will be as happy as an old man's love, gratitude, and wealth can make you."
Star had grown suddenly pale while he spoke, and regarded him with puzzled expression,
" I do not understand," she said, clasping both her small hands around his arm and leaning heavily upon him.
" I will tell you," he answered tenderly, " When you met me on board that ill-fated steamer I was a very rich man. When it was wrecked, and I had dis- covered that you were the grandchild of the only woman whom I ever loved, and also what a kind tender little heart you had, I formed a sudden reso- lution, I had always, as I told you last night, been flattered and cajoled by my relatives, who knew I was rich, and I resolved that I would test their sincerity. If they stood it I would divide my for- tune into three portions, one of which should be yours, the others theirs. If they did not, it should all be yours, if you proved the true, noble character which I believed you to be. That was one reason why I was so keenly disappointed to find you gone when I went to bid you farewell on the steamer; but I meant to search for you all the same. And so I pretended to be the poor old man whom you remember coming to Ellen Richards that night. You know the result. No one was true to me or kind to me but my Star. Yet I had become so suspicious of everybody that I resolved to study even you thoroughly before I committed myself ; and so I concluded to wait until you had completed your education before telling you of my actual positíon in life. It was very hard, though, when you were in such trouble that last night at Yonkers, when you told me your secret about writing your book, and offered to share your little all with me ' because I was not happy there,' and I was sorely tempted to tell you all, surround you at once with everything to make life beautiful, and place you in a position far above the daughter of the woman who had treated you so shamefully.
On second thought, however, I deemed it best to wait until your education should be completed, for then you would be more free to enjoy the good
things of life."
" Than you have not been poor at all," faltered Star, as he paused for a moment.
" No: I have had abundance. I own this house,, and have for years. I own a block on Broadway, and-well little one, there is enough to enable you and me to do pretty much as we like for the re- mainder of our lives," he answerad, with a fond
" Then I cannot take care of you. I thought I was going to make you so comfortable, and that, with teaching and the income from my book, we could have such nice times together," Star said, wistfully, and hardly able, even yet, to comprehend the change
in her circumstances.
Mr. Rosevelt patted her softly on the shoulder though a tear sprang to his eyes at her word.
No dear," he returned, "you cannot take care of me in that way. I am going to take care of you. But you can still make me so comfortable. We can still have nice times together, and I shall be very proud to introduce the young authoress of 'Chat- worth's Pride,' as my ward and future heiress."
"Bless you, child!" he continued, his fine face glowing with happiness, "Don't you suppose it is going to be a comfort to me to try to make you happy, and give you everything you wish after all your constancy, patience, and self-denial for me ? Don't you suppose I enjoyed fitting up this house
for yon after my tenant gave it up some lix months ago P And don't you b-liove, too, that Mrs- Blunt was glad to come and be housekeeper for us 1" and he turned kindly to the woman who had been stand- ing in the background daring these explanations.
" Yon may be sure I'm much mistaken if I wasn't,'' .he returned, eagerly, her eyes gleaming with de- light, and her gratitude for the position shining through her homely, but good-natured face.
" And I nm very glad too. It is the nicest arrange- ment in the world," Stnr said, heartily ; " and just to think," glancing around the elegant apartment with a sigh of supreme content, " that I am to bs surrounded with nil this beauty I It is like a fairy tale, or a dream of enchantment."
" I told you I bad the beet mistress in the world," Mrs, Blunt said, chuckling ; " but we didn't imagine anything like this, Miss Star, that Sunday when we were stoning raisins and stemming carrants."
" No, indeed," Stnr nnswered, laughing. "But you don't mean to tell me that you oonsider rae your mis-
"I never'd nsk for a better," the woman said, earnestly ; than, turning to Mr. Rosevelt, ¡sho re-
" And now, sir, won't you piesse eat your lunch and tell the rest of the story afterward P for every- thing will be spoiled waiting."
"Yes, indeed-yes, indeed, to be sure we will. There, Miss Gladstone, sit down by your tea-urn, and make me the best cap of tea that was ever brewed, while I serve you to some of that tempting salad,"
He forced her gently into her chair, and going around to the opposite Bide of the table, began to wait upon her in the most chiva'rous manner.
"AhI this is what I call comfort, dear," he said, in B satisfied tone, After Mrs. Blunt had withdrawn to lee that the strawberries and cream were pro- perly served ; " thia is what I bave been dreaming .bout for n whole year, and now, after we hnvo Bppessed our hunger-and, by the way, I believe I am half-famished, or else Mrs. Blunt's efforts in the Gulinary line are wonderfully successful-we will go over the house, snd see if everything suits you. What »re you looking at the dock for P Your school days are over, Miss Gladstone."
(lobe Continued J