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The wind just stirred the deep purple of human voice had broken suddenly into the the satin curtains around her, and the one thread of the music, so full of unearthly straight path of lamplight from the niche sweetness, so unlike all other voices she was clearing the black shadows of the had ever heard, that Nathalie stood frozen place in a long track of tremulous gold. in a great unutterable awe. Soft and low Through half-open doors, along the dim as they were, every word of the song was length of the gallery, half-obscured visions borne to her ear as distinct as dropping of the wedding paraphernalia-promises of water in an October calm. Liquid, what the morrow was to bring forth, still andering" Spanish words they were-words confronted her, and on the wide, black, which Nathalie could not understand, and polished window-ledge lay his white camels she stood listening, until from out their lias withering at her side.
dreamy labyrintbs stole forth at last a She shut it all from her sight, drawing plaintive snatch of melody in her own the purple curtains closer about her. To- tongue: morrow! To-morrow! She would be his
“ Lord Heron sits in his castle high, then, irretrievably—the successor of the Fair Rosamond lies on the shore below; ill-starred Hagar St. Maur. She shnd- Le loved to live, and she loved to diedered. How little she had ever dreamed Which loved the truest, the angels koow." of such a destiny.
A shrill twang, as of a breaking string, Suddenly, betwixt her and all else rose succeeded. The inusic died away in a holup the face of Jobu Calvert—that clear-cut low cry, which rang through the gallery powerful face. She shut ler eyes-she with terrible distinctuess. Nathalie could tried to put it away. In vain! He had hear the fall of the guitar, and the upsetwronged her; he had wounded her love- ting of a chair, or some heavier piece of stung her pride into high rebellion-grant- furniture, beyond the door of that dreadful ed! and yet to the very core of that proud
Mad with terror, lest its vision resentful heart of hers, Nathalie loved him should make a descent upon the gallery, still.
she sprang to Mrs. Roberts's door, in time A hot tear fell down in the darkness on to meet that worthy lady, in nightcap and the withering camellias. She sat with her dressing-gown, just coming forth. head bowed on her hand a long time, while “ Hush !” she cried, seizing the frightthe wind rustled the purple curtains, and ened girl in her arms; “don't raise an outsighed along the gallery. Starting at last cry-it can do no good. I heard it all. O, from her stupor, chilled and shivering, the Lord be good to us, Miss Lermond! I Nathalie rose up to close the window. thought this dreadful thing had passed
A low faint strain of music echoed along away, and now the very night before the the gallery, a sound like the vibration of wedding!" some instrument, touched by a dreamy She drew Nathalie with her along the wandering band. What could it be, at gallery as she was speaking. that hour, and in that place? The gallery “0, do not go in there!" cried the young was deserted, the rooms opening upon it girl, shrinking back. unoccupied, save by Ruby and Mrs. Rob- “But it might be burglars !" cried Roberts, and Ruby had gone to bed ill, and erts; "anyway, we ought to see. You Mrs. Roberts was not given to musical per- needn't come in, my dear. Bless me, what formances. Nathalie paused and listened. would St. Maur say?" It was the tinkle of a guitar, coming from She unlocked the door, somewhat unthat black and gold chamber far down the steadily, and shaking and shivering, Nathlength of the gallery.
alie at her shoulder, holding the flaring Nathalie's heart gave a great bound, then lamp, looked into the haunted room. Yes, grew still. Clearer and sweeter the sound surely there had been a visitor, though it rose up-it bad taken shape, as it were-it was empty now. A window, opening upon was a prelude, a soft, drowsy, tremulous the balcony, stood open wide; the curtain thing, balf passion, half repose. Should was put back, a chair beside it was overshe wake Mrs. Roberts ? Should she call turned, and there lay the guitar with its the servants? She fled along the gallery broken string against the wall, just as it toward Mrs. Roberts's door, only to pause had been dropped a moment before. Mrs. midway thereto, rooted in her cracks, for a Roberts entered to lower the window and curtain in nervous haste; then she re- mind as they rolled along the open highlocked the door, and taking the lamp way to the church? Once Ruby saw her from poor trembling Nathalie, returned start, and look around her wildly. Was across the gallery.
she debating the chances of escape at that “0," she sighed, under her breath, late hour? O, what mockery of rejoicing “what evil thing does this forebode for to- was there that day in the singing of the morrow?"
birds among the beech woods, in the flowers “What, indeed ?” murmured Nathalie. budding, in the warm spring sunshine! The
eyes of the two girls inet-the blue ones
full of misty tears—the dark ones growing CHAPTER XII.
suddenly calm and cold again. Nathalie CLEAR and cloudless, with sweet earthy
sank back passive among her cushions; scents filling the air, and a round red sun
the last struggle had passed. burning up the mists of the marshes and The doors of the gray stone church stood the sea, dawned Nathalie Lermond's bri
wide open. St. Maur was already there, dal morn. The ceremony was to take waiting impatiently for the coming of his place at twelve, in the gray stone church,
bride. Some few of the hamlet people which stood half a mile distant, on a bare
were scattered along the side aisles, among wind-beaten bill overlooking the sea.
whom the face of the old gude-wife McThere was to be a grand wedding dinner
Kensie looked forth, with restless gray given to a select few, but no further festiv- eyes. The sunshine fell through the ities, for both bride and groom seemed
stained glass of the windows in warm rich anxious to give the affair as little publicity patches; some birds were singing in the as possible.
low graveyard outside. “Are you done?” said Nathalie, in a
As Nathalie passed the inner door, some weary voice, as Marie moved away from one who had been standing near it drew the mirror.
suddenly back. She felt the movement “ Not yet. Mademoiselle forgets her
rather than saw it, and an indescribable inveil," answered Marie.
stinct prompted her to lift her eyes. LeanRuby fastened it to the beautiful dark ing against the pillar of an arch, with his head wreathed in orange blossoms-poor
cloak upon his arm, and his pale set face little Ruby, looking like a snow-breath, confronting her like a spectre, stood John but calmer even than Nathalie herself, in
Calvert. For a nioment his eyes looked this hour of martyrdom. One tear, and
straight into her own, not angrily, but one only, fell upon the spotless flowers. with a sad reproach in their depths which “ God bless you, darling!” she said, in a
cut her to the heart. Of all men, why was faint broken voice, passing her
he there? Why had he come to witness around the pale bride. “O, I do hope you
that ill-starred marriage, the bitter fruit of will be happy with him, Nathalie-so much his own folly and wrong-doing? Ruby happier than you think now!"
started a little as she saw him, and the pale With that strange apathetic calm that bride swept on to the altar, never faltering, seemed now to have redoubled in her man- indeed, but with a face whiter now than ner, Nathalie put her away, and rose up
her bridal dress. from the mirror. Was there ever such a
St. Maur came forward and took her white and queenly bride? More beautiful hand, flushed and feverish. Never in all than I can tell, looked she, in those float- her after life did she forget the passionate ing bridal garments of satin and lace, but remorse that darkened his face at that mnoit was a beauty that hushed the admiration ment-his wild earnest whisper: on the lips-it was the beauty of a statue, 'God forgive me! Darling, I will yet warmed only with the breath of life.
make amends for all." “It is time to go now," said Ruby, “tke Cold as a frozen thing, her hand lay in carriage is waiting.”
his. Like one bound in the spell of some The bridal party swept down the stairs. terrible nightmare, she suffered him to The carriages had been standing at the lead her to her place.
The ceremony door a half hour; Nathalie took her place began: mechanically.
“Wilt thou have this man to be thy wedWho shall say what thoughts were in her ded husband ?" said the voice of the cler
gyman; "to live together after God's ordi- A hand, stronger than Alsie's, cast him nance in the holy estate of matrimony? back. Wilt thou obey him and serve him, love, “You mistake,” said John Calvert, honor and keep him in sickness and in calmly; “I am your accuser!" health, and, forsaking all others, keep ye “And of what am I accused ?" demandunto him as long as ye both shall live ?!! ed the bridegroom, clenching his hands at
No response fell from Nathalie's lips; his side. they moved, indeed, but no sound-ber John Calveri's face grew lard. voice bad died within her. Like a light- “ The charges are three," he answered. ning-stroke, there flashed upon her, at “I accuse you of the attempted murder of those words, a terrible blinding sense of this unhappy woman, Hagar St. Maur, the falsity of her position of its unutter- eleven years ago, on your marriage night. able misery. With a start, she half with- I accuse you of casting the dced upon your drew her hand from St. Maur's.
brother, Robert Hendee, and of hunting He caught it again, his face darkening. him willfully to his doom. I accuse you of A dead pause. Every eye was directed withholding all knowledge of this woman's upon them-upon the pale girl standing, existence from the world since that time, voiceless and motionless, beside her wait- and of entering unlawfully into a second ing bridegroom. Slowly the clergyman re- marriage.” pcated the question.
A faint cry from the little group before The last words had not left his lips when, the altar, and Ruby Hendee had fallen noiselessly, out from the spectators around like a dead thing in their midst. the bridal party, two figures, closely veiled, “I will answer none of these charges glided up to the altar steps. One paused here,” said St. Maur, sullenly. there, throwing back her veil with a defi- “Then," answered Calvert, “ this cereant gesture, and showing to all eyes a mony cannot go on. Those assembled broad Scotch face, grim now with resolu- here had best disperse, and you will do well tion. It was Alsie McKensie. The other to follow me.” figure mounted the allar steps, and tearing They looked at each other defiantlythe bonnet from her head, went up to the
those two men. The bridal party were in astonished clergyman, and paused at his wild commotion; the clergyman quietly side, face to face with the bridal party, and closed the marriage service, and the pale the astonished spectators.
fair shape that had stood before him the It was a woman, clad in some shining whä-, glided back to Alsie through the gray stuff, with a shower of magnificent wondering spectators. Alsie stroked her hair falling in wild waves and curls far be- long golden hair, as she might have done low her waist. The face was pale and some petted child's. wan, the eyes wild, and large, and lustrous, “Puir leddy!" she said, groaning; “ she and fixed now on the livid face of the has been mad these mony years !" bridegroom, with a vacant wondering lock. St. Maur turned on his heel. She raised one thin white hand, and laid it “As you will !” he answered Calvert, upon the open marriage service.
with an air of desperate resolve. “I will "Hold!" said this woman, in a voice return with you to the Hall-further than that vibrated every corner of the church, that I will not go. Come, Nathalie, our like sweetest music.
blithe wedding is over for this day. You One terrible oath broke from the lips of shall hear the last of this accursed story, if St. Maur. He dashed Nathalie's hand aside.
“Who?" said the clergyman, looking at He strode out of the house, first of all, the strange fair shape at his side,
and entered the carriage. The others folyou who interrupts this ceremony?'
lowed him. "I?" answered the figure; “I am Ilagar “What you have to do, do quickly!" he St. Maur-wife of this man!”
said to Calvert; “had you given me but a With the bound of a wild creature leap- day longer, I would have foiled you-I ing upon its prey, St. Maur sprung upon
would have been beyond your reach." Alsie McKensie.
“ No!" was the stern auswer; "Accursed fool!" he hissed, through his
beyond my reach, while you remained this set teeth. "You have betrayed me!
side of the grave !"
ri who are
They went back to the Hall, a far differ- dilated, and filled now with an anntterable ent company, indeed, from the one which horror and loathing-he sank back against had left it but an hour before. John Cal- the wall. Alsie paused. vert rode in advance, his horse's flanks “Go on!” he commanded, contemptuwhite with foamı. He entered with the ously. others, and stood with his hat in his hand, “Aweel,” said Alsie, “he drew me out o' and his pale face turued steadily away the cot, and his grip on my arm left its from the still paler one of Nathalie. Alsie mark there for mony days after; and he and her beautiful charge had followed. told me, would I serve himn that night, and Grim and uncomprowising, the Scotch swear to keep what I should see a secret, he woman took her station directly facing St. would gi' me gowld and siller enough to Maur, the maniac clinging to her, and make a great leddy o' me till my dying looking from face to face with her large day. I was a silly lassie then, and a young wild Syrian eyes. Nathalie, gazing at her one, and, moreover, I was like to die wi' wonderful face, and the frail exquisite out- fright to see him looking so, an' I promline of the figure, marvelled no more that ised. I went back to tell the auld mither it had so often been mistaken for a visitant and Sandy, and to carry then the red from the other land. Alsie McKensie was gowld pieces St. Maur put in my hand, and the first to break the silence-caressing then, he brought this puir leduy into the Hagar's golden hair the while, and looking cot, and laid her on the auld mitber's bed, straight at St. Laur.
and her satin goun was all torn and cov“I maun speak the truth," she said; ered wi' blood, and so was her gowlden "and mickle glad am I to do it, for it has lair, and she had a great gash in her side, been a sair weight on my mind, and I and the blood soaked through the bed; wouldna fash mysel about it sae again for a' but no one dared to ask him who had done the siller o this mon. Il's eleven years the deed. We bound up the wounds—the agane, sin the night of the braw weddin', auld mither and I-and she moaned, so and Sandy, that's dead and gone now, lay that we knew she lived; and wben Master sair sick at the auld mither's cot, and I Gilbert had sworn us to all secrecy, wi' a asked my leddy-this puir mad thing—that dreadful oath, he told me I maun take the was to be a bride that e'en, wi' satin goun, puir dying lassie, and gae away. and red gowld in her hair, to e'en let me “I rode a' the long night, wi' her head gae and watch wi’ Sandy, while the danc- on my knee, and no one wi' me but the ing, and the feasting, and the inusic was mon that drove the horses, and whither, 1 going an, for the auld mither was sair didna ken nor care. At the gray dawn we
It was a clear starl t nigbt, and I stopped at a lone house in the woods, and took the beach way, and down on the the mon said I was to git down there wi' sands I saw Master Robert, who hadna the leddy, and bide there until St. Maur been at the Hall that night, ranting up cam. We had taken off her satins and her and down, as if he were clean daft, wi' jewels at the cot, and the folks asked me spurs on his heels, and his face half buried no questions. St. Maur came the next up in his great cloak. I wondered then morn, and gae me siller, and told me I how cain he there, when a' the ither folk must take care of her until she died. I had hied them to the weddin', and I won- knew then that it was he who had done dered while I sat in the cot wi’ Sandy. the deed. Aweel, it was nigh onto midniglit before “ But she did na die. I nursed her long, he would ha' me gae, and I ha' but just and she came to hersel, and knew me, and risen to wake the auld mither, when who one day, when she was sitting up for the should throw open the door and rush in, first time, she asked me where we were, as if the deil himsel was after him, but St. and where was Robert Hendee? And St. Maur, wi' his face as pale as a kelpie, and Maur cam in upon us, and there was a bis white ruffles, and his white bands, wi' dreadful scene betwixt him and iny leduy. the gowld ring on them, a' stained wi' red and she said how he bad tried to murder blood."
her, and liow he forced her wrongly to marSt. Maur interrupted the speaker, turn- ry him, and cried out and wailed for Robing upon her with a fierce gesture; but ert; and after St. Maur went away, swearmeeting Nathalie Lermond's eyes, dark, ing and cursing, she just lay down burniug
hot wi' fever, and from that day to this garments, who fell back, shuddering, as he she has been mad.
approached. "After a weary while, when I begged to Farewell !” he said, “men have staked see the auld unither and Sandy, St. Maur the world for love before, and lost! Faregie me the house at Coltonsleigh. I ha' well, Nathalie ! Whatever deeds I may kept my leddy there, and tended her, and have done that men might blush for, howkept his secret, too, though she would ha' ever dark my life may have been, I swear her times o' stealing away, when I did na my love for you might have redeemned see, and of coming back here nights, to them all! If I raised my hand against scare honest people; and although I would this mad creature's life, it was in a moment na have told the story had not Mr. Calvert of anger and revenge. She was flying to come to Coltonsleigh, and charged me wi’ my brother-she was disgracing my good the keeping o' my leddy, and told me o' name. Farewell, Nathalie, think kindly this second marriage, and threatened me of St. Maur!?' wi' the law, if I did na gi' her up, I am He caught her hand and lifted it to his mickle glad it is told, and that na mair o' lips. One kiss, that burned upon it long St. Maur's siller will ever touch ny hand after, and then Mrs. Roberts had flung heragen."
self before him in the doorway. Alsie drew a long deep breath as she “O Master Gilbert, where are you goended. Hagar was watching her intentlying?" she cried. with those wild dark eyes of hers, and with He put her away. faint flushes of light fitting now and then “ Bid Ruby good-by for me,” he said, over the pale spiritual face. The darkened with dark remorse; “poor little Ruby!" soul was groping vainly after Alsie's voice. Calvert went out with him. St. Maur She raised one hand, at last, in a sort of beckoned for him to mount, and they rode vague despair, and gently stroked the out together on the open high way. Scotchwoman's chcek.
“Calvert,” he said, leaning darkly to“Alsie!" murmured the marvellous wards him from the saddle, “you have voice, in a sad appeal; “Alsie !"
been my arch-enemy! You have robbed A tear fell down on the wild golden hair. me of the only woman I ever loved. If
"She kens no one but me,” said Alsie, Nathalie Lermond can never be mine, brokenly. “I canna be parted from her. neither shall sbe ever be yours! Let us Ye may do as ye will wi' me, if ye leave us settle this matter as becomes men.” togither."
John Calvert's face looked as if carred Mrs. Roberts came trembling and tear
in stone. ful, and knelt down at Hagar's side.
“I!” he said; “I measure swords or “O my lady!" she said; “my beautiful slots with you-the assassin of a woman!" lady! Do you not know me?"
St. Maur ground his teeth. No answer, but that vacant hopeless “Have I then forfeited all the rights of stare.
a gentleman ?” “Come away!" she whispered, pulling “In my sight-yes !" Alsie's sleeve; “ come away!"
He struck his spurs into his horse's. Harmless indeed-one who never raved flanks. or jibbered, but still a maniac!
“Well, be it so! but if you think to es John Calvert torned grimly round and cape me thus, John Calvert, you have reckfaced St. Maur. The latter spoke first. oned without your host. Keep this as a "Are you satisfied ?"
token !" * Yes," with curving lips, “I have ful- A buff gauntlet, still warm from his fiery filled my promise to the dead.”
hand, struck Calvert's saddle-bow, and "And through you," muttered St. Maur, clung there for a moment. He thrust it “his curse has fallen!"
contemptuously away. The next instant it “0,” cried Alsie, “the story is abroad lay in the gray dust of the road, ground at Coltonsleigh, and in the bamlet, I maun down by the iron-shod loofs, and he had say, it would be well to hasten from bere." turned him about leisurely, and was riding St. Maur turned on his heel with a face
off toward the low hamlet on the shore. like ashes, and went straight up to Natha
St. Maur gazed at the gauntlet, then at lie-to the shrinking woinau in her bridal the retreating rider, and a low laugh, un