|Chapter Number||XXIX - XXX|
|Chapter Title||AT THE GRANGE.|
|Newspaper Title||The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933)|
|Trove Title||Grantford Grange|
' BY MARY KYÍB DALLAS.
AT THE GBANGE.
RICHARD OSPREY had come into his fortune.
There was no one to dispute it with him, for in the eye of the law his cousin, Lionel Peyton, was already dead, and no one ¡¿uossed that tho little mouldering form lately placed within the tomb of the Grantfords was not that of Otho.
The direct malo heir, he took his place at the Grange quietly, for the ciroumstanoo of the caso warranted no merry-making, and there, as a matter of,, course, his sister Geraldine dwolt
Since that night in the prison whon sho had confessed her love for Lionol, the girl had vowed to die before Simeon Blix should doun her for his wife. Yet she dared not anger him for her brother's Bake, and whon he came to the Grange, received him, acted her part as nÜBtresB of the house, and hid her dislike as best she might.
He had urged an early wedding through Richard, at first, but Geraldine, forced to dis- simulate, had pointed out tho fact that it was not customary to follow funerals so closely by weddings, and that a year must be allowed to pass boforo she could assume the gaiety of a bride, or lay aside her mourning for her little
Simeon desired to defor to the uaagos of so- ciety, and agreed to behave, as he Baid, " gen- teelly."
So, in mourning, as befitted a connection, or one soon to be a connection, of the Grantfords, with big black rings on his fingers, crape on his hat, shining gloves, jot studs, and other gloBsily black insignia of grief, he hung about the Grange, riding Dick's horses, Bpending Dick's money, and letting ovory one know that he was the accepted suitor of the high-bred and beau- tiful Goraldine.
It was tho mighty morvel of the neighbor- hood, and people looked upon the story as a second edition of beauty and the beast, only the beast of tho fairy tale was, after all, a prince in his manners, and the one drew no un- pleasant contrast between those and his out-
Had Goroldino been less wretchedly con Bcious of her future fate, loss anxious for that of Lionol, the coupling of her name with that of this brute would in itself have boon voxation enough to have driven her mad.
As it was, she'Jived in a sort of dream, and moved and spoke so Btrangoly at times, that poor Miss Henderaon was terrified.
Since her brother's possession of the property, slowly, but surely, a now claBS of viBitors had been introduced into the Grange-men, not so much the friends of the dissipated boy as of
Ruling his victim with a rod of iron, the lat- ter brought them there at will, and for days and nights they filled the grey old houso. Geraldine only saw and sickened at thom at mealtimes, but often in tho long evenings, Miss Henderson heard the Bounds of revelry below. The olattor of glasses, tho rattle of dico, tho loud voices of half-tipsy mon, who were not even gentlemen when sober, and knew it was no place for a girl.
She saw who brought thom thore. She felt
that Richard would nevor have summoned such associates to the home of his sister but for his vulgar and brutal friend, ond every doy she marvelled moro that oven in earliest youth Goraldine should have promised hersolf to such
But the girl would not make her a confidante, and excellent, prim Miss Henderson was not the one to force herself boldly past tho curtains
She knew Miss Osprey had the right to maintain silence on suoh a subject if she choso.
Often, however, whilo they sat at work, the spinster would look at Geraldine with such motherly concern in her eyes, that the girl's bursting heart longed to confide in her, to re- veal hor awful reason for bobe thus pledged ta the companion of her brother s revels, her hate for bim, and her love for poor, wandoring,
Only that her brother's life was at stoke ; only BIIO felt sure that no power could save him were Simeon Blix foiled of his purpose, sho "wild hovo horrified MÍBB Henderson by her
y long before. It seemed so horrible to
od over it in silence.
L year's respite-only ono year. But before t she might die. That was the girl's chief
Lnd yet she loved life as tho young, and
utilul, and wealthy must love it, and had nature a buoyant temperament and perfect
It was well for Simeon Blix that this heroine ours was a pure woman-that the thought bloodshed or of the poisoned draught could i more harbor in her breast than in that of a aleas babe. Some modern Lady Macbeth, in ir position, might have hurried Simeon out the world he had so blackly blotted for her. tdy Audley would have found no difficulty in sposing of him. But poor Geraldine, with ir pure heart and christian principles, knelt )wn and proyed for forgivoness, for the faint >pe that perhaps Simeon Blix might die before
3 claimed her for his wife.
"Ihave no right to wish one dead whom rod made because ho is my onemy," she said. I have no right even to hope that my own may bo shortened. If it is God's will that I should suffer for my brother, I should bear my doom with patience. Some time release will come-Bome time I Bhall meet Lionel in Hea- ven."
Then, feeling this at least was left her, she would pray for him and for her brothor.
And Richard needed prayers. Wealthy as he was, the poorest laborer in field or ditch need not have envied him. The horrible deceit to which he had been goaded filled him with remorse. He thought of his cousin Lionel, a-wretched fagitivcupon the face of the earth ; of Otho, suffering Heaven knew what from the hands of those into whoBe hands he had fallon, and often was on the very point of revealing all in his great agony.
Then he would endeavor to drown the pangs of conscience in drink, and as the time passed on he became oftener and oftener a beaBt more seldom able to think or to repent.
Sim. Blix liked this well enough, and a drunken spree Beldom ended without filling his pooketB and emptying those of Dick Osprey.
Oh ! Buch nights as those were ; no one who knew anything of them ever forgot them. _ Of all others not anxious, alarmed and horrified Miss Henderson, who remained under the roof only for the sake of Geraldine.
And all this while time waa passing, week after week, month after month, until the year was gone, and there was no longer an excuse for delaying that hated marriage. «
One interview the unhappy girl held with Simeon in the vain hope of turning him from his purpose. It sufficed her. She know when it was over that there was no hope, if she never
knew it before..
So the preparations for the wedding were begun. Snowy silk and lace, fine as any cob- web, were purchased. Dressmakers came from the city, and seamstresses stitched from dawn until dark. Every one was in a state of ex- citement save the bride. She looked at all the finery without one spark of feminine vanity. She answered at random when her taste was
She was absorbed in the one terrible thought of the right this man, whom Bhe detested, would soon have to claim her obedience, and at least a show of respect. Perhaps she could have borne it had she not loved Lionel Peyton as Bhe did. But the memory of his lost kiss of the pledge of affection she had given him haunted her night and day. She knew that he Blight never stand before men innocent of the cruno. for which he had been condemned. She knew that it was more than probable that they might never meet again ; yet ahe had given her hand to him, and could not without sin be the
wife of another.
Whichever way she looked, it appeared to the ^oppy girl that she could only do wrong.
Her own life would have been as notbirg in comparison with such a union as this, but Bhe
dared not jeopardize that,of,her brother; and with an oath which she could not even think of without shuddering, Simeon had Towed to ?"hang Diok Osprey" if his siBter refused to give him her hand.
But once his wife abo should surely die, and it would all be over, and she could wait for Lionel to meet her in Heaven.
Months melted, and weeks, and days. It was her bridal eve-a raro June evening, full of fragrance, brilliant with goldon moon and dia- mond starlight. She was to be married by noon the next day. Mr. Helmstono was to per- form the ceremony in the church, already swept, and dusted, and bedecked by the old sexton. Tho wedding dress was done ; and as she stood by the window looking out into the night, Miss Henderson oame to toll her so.
" And you must como and try it on," Baid Bhe ; "Poor Miss Jansing says she never modo a handsome dreBS before with so little fitting."
" No need of trying it on," said Geraldine ; " it's sure to do woll enough."
"There might bo some mistake," said the maiden lady, solemnly. " I'm euro if it had boon Hoavon's will that I should go to the altar with a congenial person, I shouldn't have been willing to have my back all wrinkles. The people always know every thread a bride has on her by heart, you know. Besides, your hus-
"Hush! hush!" shrieked Goraldine, "not my husband yot. Oh, no, no-not yet !"
And her white hand grasped that of tho go- verness convulsively, and she gazod into her face with a look of agony and terror whioh it was impossible to misinterpret.
The elder lady trembled and grew palo, and
her voico shook as sho Baid :
" No, not yet, Goroldino, but he will bo in a fow hours, unloss, indeed, what I havo foared is true, and this marriage is obnoxious to you. My dear girl, do you love this mon ? I cannot think BO whon I look at you. Yours is not tho
face of a bride."
" I would it where the face of a corpse," said Geraldine. " Oh, doar Miss Hendorson, you ask mo if I love that man,-eould you ?"
"I? No, my dear,"replied the lady. "But I never should havo promised to marry him."
" I have," said Geraldine. " It is inovitablo,
but I hale him."
" Good heavens!" cried the governess, "hate a man you expect to marry."
" I hate him so," said Geraldine, " that there is no loatliBomo creeping thing on earth I could not touch more gladly than his hand. I could not shrink with greater terror from Satan in his proper porson. You know it now. Do not expect mo to take a happy woman's joy in wed- ding gauds. My Bhroud and coffin would be far happier sights to me, for in them I Bhould at least rest in peace amongst the dead. In the bridal robos! Oh, heavens! I dare not
think of it. My hand in his-his ring on my finger-the wiokod, lying vow to love and honor and obey a wroteh I loathe-his kiss upon my lips-oh ! horrible-horrible-horrible !
Miss Henderson caught her hands, startlod out of hor prim decorum.
" My doar love, so horrible that it shall not be," she said. " You aro right in desiring to bo honorable, but this is going to far, whatever promise you havo made. Howovor difficult it may seem to retract, you must not consummate this marriage. Of course the gentleman will feel himself insulted. Of course the world will talk. Perhaps your brothor will be angry ; no matter. It is as bad as suicide to marry one to whom you fool thus. You »MWÍ draw back
oven at this lato hour."
" Ah, would I could," sighed Goraldine ; " but it is impossible."
"Impossible, ohild!" cried MÍSB Henderson. " No, this is not an ago nor a land whore wo- men can bo married against their will. I will toke the matter in hand, will go to Mr. Blix and say, 'Sir, my pupil was very young whon she promised you her hand. She did not know her own heart. The union which you contem- j plate is distasteful to her. You must rcloase her.' As a mon,-Mr. Blix is not a high-bred gentleman,-but as a »ia» he must assent at
Geraldine laughed a harsh, cold laugh.
" He is a fiend," Bhe said. " Listen : I told him more than that. I told him I hated him, and he would not release me."
" Impossible !" oriod Miss Henderson. " Ah, well, if he is suoh a brute, assert your independ- ence, and forgot his feelings."
" I cannot," said Geraldine ; " I am in his power."
" In his powor!" oriod the governess. " You perplex and alarm mo. You cannot be in his power."
" I am-I-- Oh, would I could tell you all !" sobbed Geraldine. " It is no fault of mine. It is- Oh, dear Miss Henderson, ask no moro ; only pity me and love me, for I must marry that man or bring upon myself and on my brother a calamity too torriblo to think upon. You love us both. You know us in our childhood. You know how dear my brother is to me, wild though ho has grown. It is for his sake that I sacrifice myself, and God will help me to boar all, I trust. Don't" look at mo so. I've been talking wildly. I scarcely moant half I said Yos I'll come and try on the dross, and we'll forget that we have ever spoken thus together."
But Miss Henderson, instead of obeying, sat down quite faint with excitement.
" My dear," sho Baid, " this is all very terrible Does your brother owe Mr. Blix monojr? After what you have Baid, I must interfere in your behalf. I have been fond of poorRiohard, but of lato his conduct has been inexcusable, and indeed he is not worthy of any great sacri- fice. Better that he should be ruined pecuni- arily, if that is possible, than that you Bhould be so wretched. I shall speak to good Mr. Helm
Geraldine sunk on her knees.
" You will not," sho said, "for you would ruin mo ! Ah ! it is not money-would I think of that ? It is something worse than beggary. I am not mad. I speak the simple truth. I must marry Simeon Blix."
" Miss Geraldine, Miss Jansing Boys please hurry. It's getting late, and if there is any alterations she'll hev to sit up all night," said
the voice of a servant at the door at that in- stant, and Goraldine turned to obey the sum-
Miss Henderson almost mechanically arose to follow her, and it was a relief to find them- selves in the light room amidst the merry work- women, with their tongues and needles going with equal rapidity.
The dress was tried on, the folds shaken into place, the sweeping train spread out, and every eye turned upon the bride.
" An't it lovely ? and, though I Bay it, it fits
like wax," said the dressmaker.
" It stands on end with richness," said a
"And such a heavenly shade of white-rose white, not blue, that's so trying to the com- plexion," said another.
"An't sho Uko an angel," whispered the
housemaid at the door.
And Geraldine did look like one, or like an artist's idea of one, which is much the same thing to those of us who have not been so for- tunate as to have angehe visions of our.own.
She was more like a woman of marble than of flesh and blood, so pale was she. But hers was exceptional beauty, and bore the test of pallor well.
In contrast with the pearly whiteness of her brow, her ebon hair and jet black eyes looked darker and brighter than before, and her fea- tures were more noticeable for their symmetry than when the roses bloomed upon her cheeks.
She stood, with the faint smile she had forced herself to wear, in the midst of the admiring group for as many moments as they choose. Then, allowing them to change her dreBS for that she had worn, glided from the room and back to her own gloomy apartment.
There, without lighting a lamp, Bhe hastily undressed herself and sought her pillow, to fall into a troubled sleep, in which visions of her beloved Lionel in every situation of danger and privation flitted through her brain.
She Blept thus for hours, but for past mid- night awakened to see a tall, white figure pacing the floor of her room. It was Miss
" I could not sleep, love," she Baid. " Your words have agitated me greatly, and I came
here for company. Do you hear the terrible noise below ? It is shooking!"
? There was no need of listening. The sounds Bhe alluded to were all too plain-drunken laughter, loud, incoherent talk, and songs ooarso in thomselvcs, and doubly disgusting from the- thick voices in whioh they woro howled. Ono would havo fanciod the respoot ablo old mansion a lowroadsido tavorn, who had trusted to his ears that night.
"And thero aro but six mon, all told," said Miss Hondorson. " One would think a regiment
would make less noise."
Suddenly thero was a pauso in the rovolry
a cry, a fall, and silence. Thon, aa tho womon listened, some ono was heard to leavo the houso and rush hastily away.
" Sonio accident has happonod, cried Geral-
"You must bo right," said Miss Hondorson.
" I will soo what it ÍB."
And flinging a great plaid Bhawl ovor her shoulders, she went down stairs. On thom she
mot a servant.
"What's the matter, James ?" she asked.
" Mr. Richard is ill, Miss," replied the man ; " a faint, or a fit, I think. But he's bettor, though they've gone for tho dootor. Shall I call Mr. Blix, or will you go in ?"
" In this dross, no," replied tho lady. " Coll
Mr. Blix at once."
Simoon como to tho door at the summons, flushod and excitod, but less intoxioated than any of the rost.
"Don't you worry about Dick," ho said, without waiting for a question.. "He's all right again. It an't nothin' but a faint, He's jest Uko a gol, ready to keel ovor if ho'a siok or scared. Toll Gorry not to bother, and you go to bed, or you'll got rhoumatios."
Miss Henderson shrank from tho swarthy brute, rodolont of smoko and liquor, but she
was anxious still.
" You aro sure it's nothing sorious ?" sho
" Bothor 1" oriod Sim. " Look a here-peep in. Thoy won't see you. Never mind your night-gown. There's Diok. He don't look dead, doos ho ?"
Truly, Dick Osproy was sitting up, supported by one of his guests, and evidently growing
bottor instead of worso.
'"Twasn't nothin' but a faint," said Blix. " Didn't I tell you ?" and, much relieved, Miss Honderson hurried away. Soon, as she laid besido Goroldino, the two womon keoping with each othor for comfort and protection, sho hoard tho guoste deport and tho dootor's gig olatter up to tho gate. His visit soomod to end morrily, for they hoard a clatter of glasses, and
his voice cloar and loud :
" Don't faint away again, Mr. Dick. It's a bad habit ; and, by the woy, go to bod now and reBt. You young follows koop hours that would kill tho toughest man over born. ' Early to bed and early to rise,' is a proverb to grow old on. Good night, or good morning ; for tho Bun will bo up soon, and its almost time for
Ho was right ; the twilight of morning had fallon upon tho groy, old Grange. The living things that haunted it woro waking up. Tho dow lay thick on gross and opening flowers ; and in tbo eastern sky already glimmerod somo faint dashes of rosy fight.
Geraldine Osprey's wedding-day was bom.
DEATH AT THE FEAST.
GERALDINE awoko from the hoavy slumber which had fallen at last upon hor, to find her watch hands pointing to the hour of ton, and her attendants anxiously waiting in the dressing room for her appearance. A hearty breakfast WOB dispatched, and then, as one might go to tho scaffold, she euterod tho apartmont where her wodding robes woro stored.
The bride's maids, two pretty giris who had boon at school with her, wore thero already ; and the hair drossor was in a frenzy of impa- tience. Ho was a Frenchman, and Btood bow- ing and flourishing his brush with an air whioh only a native of the land of bows and flourishes
could assume. Another brido was to havo hor
hair arranged at three o'clook, and thero was barely time to reaoh her residence after accom- plishing MB task. So he explained, bogging tho pardon of Madomoisollo a million times, and handing hor to tho ohair she would occupy with a thousand polite smirks.
"And, now, what stylo?" ho askod.
" Oh, waves !" cried bride's maid number one. " OurlB, I think," cried bride's maid number
" Oh, I'm sure, waves aro most becoming." "Aro they, Mr.-Mr. Hairdresser ?"
'"Tis for Madomoisollo to decide," soid the gentleman. " Anysing vould bo becoming ; but Bomp is lectio moro dan odors. Von I sholl wove do front and curl do back and bring several fino braid ovair do top, and arrange de tout ensemble, you shall obsarvo ono offoot mag- nifique"
" Oh, won't it be!" oriod number one. " Sweet," said number two.
" D*n't you think so, Geraldine ?"
" I leave all to Monsieur Frizzolini's taste," Baid Miss Osprey.
" Tank you, it is^vora judicious," said the Frenchman. " Tho artist in hair is always the beat judgo. I can promiso an effect beyond do imagination." And he set to work.
Tho black tresses foil to the floor as Géraldine suffered them to bo unbound, and tho brido's maids trent into ecstasies.
"What lovely hair!"
" Oh, I should bo so proud of it !" " And so oven, uko BO much silk !"
Geraldine said not one word. She had suf- fered too much to caro for admiration. What was it to her if the hair she had once been
pleased to see BO gloriously long _ and glossy
were beautiful still. In an hour it would be- long to tho wretch who was to claim her as his
In an hour it would bo bettor for her to bo BO hideous that ho would fly from her in horror, than lovoly enough to tempt him to COTOBSCB. As yet his lips had never touched hers, and Heaven only knew how Bhe dreaded that bridal kiss-that sweet kiss to happy brides, givon while the ring is yet warm from tbo fingers of tho bridegroom, as it lies on that of the new-made wife, while the vow of lovo still lingers on the air, and the prayer which had been breathed above the wedded pair is scarcely over.
A kiss from him !-a kiss ! Oh, how should she live through it ?
AU this passed through her mind as the braiding and crimping and curling and silly chatter went on, and ended in a scream of de- light.
" Oh ! oh ! You Bholl fix my hair, Monsieur,
whenever I am. married."
" Tank you for your compliment, Mademoi-
" Come, look in the glass, Geraldine." " I declore, she don't care." " Oh, she'B in lovo."
" Do hush, you wild thing."
" She is, you know-she don't care for any-
thing. I hope I'll be wide awake enough to I take an interest in my hair, at least, if I'm ever <
" Oh, I shan't. I shall be in a dream like Geraldine. Such responsibilities, you know; and then if there Bhould be any change in the object of one's affection! Gracious goodness, Mira! it's ten minutes paBt eleven by me. What are yon ?"
"Fourteen minutes past."
" Now we must hurry. Oh, isn't it a sweet dress ! Stoop down, Geraldine, and we'll put the dress over your heod without ruining the curls. You're such a tall girl, and we're so small, you'll hove to stoop."
" Oh, wait one moment," gaBped Geraldine.
" Why, the hair-dresser is gone, and it's ever so late. I never saw a bride so much in love as you are. Lace her up tight, Mira, the dress is a little tight. Oh, don't it fit well ! Now the bracelets, and the necklace, and those pearls for the head. I almost forgot the eardrops. What number shoes do you wear ? Twos, I de- clare ! Now she's ready for the veil, and there it is. Oh, Goraldine, if I where a man I'd marry yon myself. Aint you sweet ! Kiss me."
And Geraldine kissed the happy girlB, who envied her a little in their innocent hearts for being a bride and so beautiful. She who would have been so glad to change places with either of them, or with the hard-worked dressmaker,
or the very servant who was gathering up her cost-off garments, glad of the gift of a half-worn
Then sho Bat down and watohed thom while they dressed, one in white and roso-oolor, the other in white and bluo.
Even this was done at last, and Miss Hender- son had como in, in her grey silk and laco col- lar, and the carriages were at tho door, and all was ready.
Leaning on Miss Henderson's arm, she de- scended the stairs. The four ladies entered tho
first oorringe together. Dick Osprey and Mrs. HolniBtone and some other frionas, tho seoond. Simeon was to come from a neighboring hotel to tho ehuroh and meet thom there with his grooniBman. ; i
Diok Osprey was very palo yot, and, before thoy started, came up to his sister with an agi- tated and romorseful countenance, and kissed her tonderly.
" God bless you, Goroldino," he whispored. " You can't toll how I love you."
And a glow of pleasure thrillod tho poor girl's
soul. She folt the sacrifice loss torriblo since hor brothor appreciated it.
Old Mrs. Holmstono shook hands with the bride u little sadly. Sho too was thinking of
her favorito Lionol.
That was bofore they had gono down tho steps and entered the carriages, however. Now thoy woro driving on-people running to thoir doora as thoy passed, and many, in thoir best bonnets, hastening churchward to BOO the core mony performed.
Goraldino, growing paler and paler, leant baok amongst the cushions. Sho saw the faces turned towards her-sho saw, too, tho fast ro coding walls of tho Grange; then the green fields of wheat and corn, and wild-tangled spots where tho rod barberry grow over the rough stone fences ; at lust the pleasant parsonage and the church-yard gatol .
It was a strango thing, or people said so afterwards-an omen of ill to the Dride- that on that very spot thero should como rattling down upon thom from tho sky, so lovely ana so treacherous, a sudden summor shower, drenching tho ooaohmen in then' holiday dress, and pelting in at tho windows to tbo terror of tho bride's maids, who hastily Bhut the sashes, and woro so Belf-saorifioing as to spread thoir skirts over tho brido, lost her dross should bo spotted.
Stranger, too, that the pelting rain and the rising wind together should so Bhako an old tree-dead for years, and at loaBt a century old-that at that momont its long prophesied end should come, and with a sort of tromulous shriek, as if its branches oriod out in pain, tho worn out giant of the forest fall prono to earth bofore the wedding chariot.
It foil so closo that tho horsoB barely escaped injury, and stood trembling in ovory limb wiion it was ovor. And, what was moro, it fell across tho path, so that access to tho church could only bo obtained in tho propor way by its re-
That, howovor, was a work of timo, and there was nono to waste. Tho only alternativo was to approach the church by means of a road through the graveyard, nsod by funeral trains full ofton, but novor by a bridal cortege
Thore WBB a heavy woodon gate to this entrance, and it was swung aside that tho oarriagos might roll through. Then, with evory Bmilo gone-for the whole party felt saddened by the incidont-thoy drovo toward
Goraldino pressed hor faco against the glass. The rain boat wildly against tho panes, and through the fino, slanting lines silo saw tho peaceful tombstones, while amidBt tho emerald sod, and, rising tall above tho rest, that of her sainted mothor-a Bimplo shaft, orownod by a
carvoa wrooth of immortollos.
" Oh, mothor, mothor!" said Geraldine ; " if spirits can seo their loved ones still on earth, how thou must pity mo-thy little child, whom thou didst lovo sol Canst thou not como for me, and toko mo home to Heaven ? Canst thou not bo pormitted to savo mo from my
Her lips moved as Bhe murmured this beneath her breath, and one young bride's maid whispered to tho other :
" Isn't she praying P" " YOB," Baid the girl.
" How aweot 1 I suppose she is praying to be supported and holpod to do hor duty as a
" Or that ho should love hor always."
" Yes. But, Mira, an't it funny Bhe Bhould
Uko Mr. Blix?"
" Oh, you know, rough exteriors oovor very fine minds and oxcellont hoarts sometimes, and thero is no accounting for tastes. Hush 1"
But the girl need have had no fear of boing overheard, for Goraldino was doaf to all but hor own thoughts.
On went the train-on, past tho tombstones, to the broad gravel path boforo the church, where the carriage from tho hotel atood, and whoro the bridegroom carno out to greet them.
Ho handed Goraldino out with an air ho con-
sidered very elegant, and tho two groomsmen did the samo for the bride's maids. Richard
Osprey gave ono of his to Miss Henderson, and the other to Mrs. Hclmstono, and ns ho did so, both ladies oriod in a breath :
" How ill you look, Dick I"
"It's that faint spell last night, I think," he
said. "I shouldn't havori«on but for the occa- sion."
"The doctor told mo about it," said Mrs. Hclmstono. " Do you know ho Bays you livo too fast ? For shamo, Dick !"
" It's true onough," said Miss Hondorson.
" Ah, Diok, you are so young, and so bloBt hy fortune's favors, ono would think you would bo careful of your lifo. I thought only miser- able peoplo wore reckless ; and you ought to bo happy."
It was tho first timo sho liad ovor spoken openly to the boy, but Mrs. Hohnstono's pre-
sence emboldened her.
" Happy," repeated Dick-" happy ? Ah, well, won, don't scold mo. I haven't had a mothor for years, you know-nobody to lead me right, and plenty to lead mo wrong."
" Well, now knowing that is half the battlo," said Mrs. Holmstone. " As I tell my boys in Sabbath school, there's always hope for thoso who know their faults. Wo mustn't scold you on such a day, though. Come on ; they're all
in before us."
They entered the church. The organ waa playing a oheerful tune, the seats wore full of curious spectators. The wedding party woro groupod about the clergyman.
A strange, strange contrast, never so plain to all eyes bofore, was there botween the bride and bridegroom.
Sho looked what sho w is, an elegant and lady- like girl, pure and boautiful of soul as sho was of face and form. He, a vulgar brutal wretch, without one troco of that goodness which often atones for coarseness and ignorance, and want of beauty.
He was dressed better than usual, for he had yielded to a fashionable tailor's idea of what a
wedding suit should be, but tbo improvement j in costume only made some difference as long I
as one saw nothing but his back, and altered his
face not one whit.
He bore himself with a jaunty, conceited air, and leered at the bride in a way he considered very fascinating ; oven when the marriage ser- vice, which, in the Episcopal church, is BO pecu- liarly grand and solemn, had begun.
Solemnly and Blowly Mr. Hclmstono pro- ceeded, pausing, as is the custom, when he had
uttered the words :
"I require and charge you both, as ye shall answer at the dreadful day of judgement, when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed, that if either of you know any impediment why ye may not be lawfully joined together in matri- mony, ye do now confess it, for be ye well as- sured that so many as aro coupled together otherwise than God's Word doth allow, are not
joined together by God, nor is their marriage
"Is it lawful to wed one you hate, then?" thought Geraldine, but her lips never moved.
" Wilt thon have this woman to be thy-wed ded wife," proceeded the clergymen, " to live together after God's ordinance, in the holy es- tate of matrimony? Wilt thou love her, oom fort her, honor her, and keep her in sickness and in health, and forsaking all other, keep
theo only unto her so long as ye both shall
livo?" ' . . '
1 " I will," replied Sim. Blix, with on1 air and a Wagger which mado Mr. Helmstone turn from him with disgust, and bend over the bowed head of the bride BO pitifully, that to havo soon his faeo, one would hove fancied tho coromony a
funeral rather than a bridal.
" Wilt thou-" he began.
But ot that moment a half supproasod Boream burst from every woman iu the ohuroh, and Richard Osprey lay at tho bride's feet, rigid and
senseless as marble.
A moment moro Mrs. Hohnstono hod whis pored to him :
" The noxt thing will bo, «Who givoth this womon,' you know, and you must bo roady," and he had taken a step forward, and fallon on
" It's a faint spell," again muttorod Simoon. " Hong it, couldn't ho tvait until tho woddiug wos over ?" But ho took good caro no ono
should hoar him.
A medical gontlomou or two steppod from the crowd, and ono knelt besido Dick as ho laid upon a benoh at tho chuvoh poroh. Ho touohod tho pulse at tho wrist, and thon, with a start, unfastened the dainty wodding vost, and laid his hand upon tho heart.
" Great Heavens, Williams, como hero!" he
Another phyBioion approached, his faco also growing palo. A whispered consultation took plaoo, and tho alarm spread to tho rost of tho
" Is this something sorious ?" asked a by
" Oh, don't say that," oriod Mrs. Helmstono. " Ho looks very ill," panted MÍBB Henderson. " Is he very ill P Ho is a long timo coming to," sobbod Mrs. Hohnstono.
"It's no use disguising the roa! state of things, Williams," Baid the physioion who had first spoken.
" It's a torrible thing, madam," said Dr. Wil- liams, " but tho young gontloman is dood !"
"Dead!" cried Miss Henderson.
"Dead!" sobbod Mrs. Helmstono. "Oh! keep it from his sister."
But the word had passod from lip to lip, in at tho church poroh, up the aisle to the spot whoro tho clergyman yot stood with tho half marriod pair boforo him, aud his book opon at tho spot whoro ho hod ooasod to road.
" Dead ! tho brido's brother is dood." And Goraldine heard it.
"Dood!" Bhe ropoutod. "Oh, no, no-it
cannot bo. Toll mo it is not true."
And sho turned from tho altar, and, rogardless of oil else, would'hove rushed wildly down tho
aisle toward the door had not Mrs. Holmstono and Miss Hondorson mot her half way and forced her gontly baot.
" It is no use, darling," oriod tho old lady.
" You cannot holp him now, lovo," sighed tho govornosB.
And then tho two womon began to sob.
" Ho is not dead !" oriod Goroldino. " Ah,
yoB, I know it by your faces. Lot mo go to
"Dead!" exclaimed Simoon. "Nonsonso! Womon nro frightonod to death by a faint. He'll oome to. Mr. Holmstono, whethor ho dooB or not you must finish marrying us. It's half done."
" The coromony might in this oaso bo oom plotod, oven in caso of tho worst, should both partios desire it," Baid tho old man, who trom Mod like a loaf with agitation.
Goraldino lifted hor oyes to his faco.
"Toll mo, dear old friend," abo said, " is it rosily BO P Is ho dood ? I bog you do not de
" Dr. Williams ?" said tho olorgyman, in a tono of inquiry.
The gentleman addrossod bowed with an air that told all but too plainly, advanced and whis- pered. ,
The olorgyman bent over the bride.
" Bear it bravely-boor it like a Christian to whom lifo ends not with tho breath," ho said. " All is ovor. Riohard is doad-WOB dood when ho fell at your foot."
" Thero is no hopo," sobbed Goraldino. "Nono, my door girl, none."
Thon Geraldine Osprey aroso, pallid as a statuo of marblo, and faced tho half angry bridegroom.
" Our wpdding is at an end, Mr. Blix," she sold. "It is over, nut tai lu-juy but fui over. Tho motivo whioh forced mo to tho Btop I havo so noarly taken exists no longer. You know why I would havo marriod you. You know why I now tell you, bofore this my door old friend, that I nevor will. It is enough. Oto and loave mo to my sorrow."
She spoke in low tones, and Simeon answered in a rapid whispor :
" No, by Jovo ! you can't gull mo so, Gorry. You belong to mo now. We're married al- ready."
" You oro not, Bir," said tbo olergyraan.
" By Jovo, wo will bo, then ! Go on Parson." " Speak moro rospeotfully, sir," said Mr.
"I didn't mean no disrospoot-I vow I didn't ; but an't this a thing to rile a man ? Ohangoyour mind on a sudden j you can't, you know, Gorry."
" I have nevor ohangod it," said Goraldino. " You know I always loathed you."
" Sir, no violent language," oriod tho olorgy-
"I'm not violent, am I? Oh, Lord! There, that's worse.-But I won't bo oheatod. Bo Dick alive or dead, you must finish this. I'vo a right to domand it, havon't I, Par-, I
moan Mr. Holmbtono ?"
" Tho lady is as froo as though she had nevor stood boforo mo with you," said Mr. Holmstono. " Respoot hor sorrow, and lot this scene ond."
" Tt's only tho ring, isn't it ?" asked Sim. " I'll finish it myself."
And ho oaught tho poor girl's hand.
" With this ring I thoo wod," ho said, trying to force the goldon cirolo over her finger.
But the clergyman strode botweon them. Taking the fainting girl ia his arms ho placed hor within tho sacred desk and stood boforo it.
" Place but a foot within those bounds at
your peril !" ho oriod. " I forbid it ! Free as she carno Bhe loaves this churoh ! Loave it and her ond go !"
Simeon Blix darod not resist. Amidst the whispering and wondering crowd he slunk away without a word, until ho reached tho door ; then, with clonohod hands and sot tooth, bo turned his faoo toward the spot whoro Goraldino lay in a swoon, ond muttered :
"Aye, you've booton mo this time! but take care-take caro ! I'll make you wish you had it all to do over again before I dio. I'll see your devilish black eyes blind with crying ! I'll see your beauty gono and your name a shame bofore I've done with you ! Oh, ourse you, and the parson too, and Dick for dying ! One hour moro and she would have been safe. YOB, CUTBO
them all! all! all!"
Not daring to speak aloud, there was a hor- rible meaning in his whisper, a eorpont-like hiss that made one think of Satan ; a look in his gipsy eyes the aroh-flond might have envied, and hate and murder in hÍB vory stop as he slunk across the fields over which mournfully and slow, were passing those who bore the body of poor Riohard Osprey back to Grontford Grange.
[TO ia CONTINUE».]
DON'T WEITE THEBB.-"Don't write there," said one to a lad who was writing with a dia- mond pin on a pane of glass in tho window of an hotel. " Why not ?" was the reply. "Bo cause you can't rub it out." Thero are other things which mon should not do, because thoy cannot rub thom out. A heart is aching for sympathy, and an unkind word|may make a more durable impression than that of the dia- mond on the glass.
WONDERFUL.-A contemporary, recording the fall of a person into a river, Bays, " It is a wonder that he oscapod with his life." Wouldn't it have been a still greater wonder if he had escaped without it ?
As the steeple of a church was being painted recently the attention of a little girl was at- tracted hy the staging put up about it. She appeared unable to comprehend it ; but finally, after a moment's reflection, paid, " Oh! it is the crinoline !"