Imatges de pÓgina

“Don't grieve for that, but rejoice that I overheard his father commanding him to we owe no one a single dollar. Besides, leave me alone, threatening himn with his the Aspinwalls have a magnificent grand, displeasure and punishment if he followed and of course I shall use it frequently. after one he scornfully termed a beggar But I'm thinking I shall long to change its and pauper, whose only refuge would be sweetest note for a sound of your voice, the charity asylum. And after that I even in chiding.”

would not permit Harry's visits. Was I And the hands clung together more right, mother?! closely yet, and a few weak womanish “I begin to think you cannot do othertears were shed. It was Mrs. Lermont wise than right, Winnifred. What a herowho roused herself, to say, bravely:

ine you have proved yourself! How proud "Now tell me what you are going to do your father would be would be-nay, is withi me.

I see the necessity indeed of my now, my child, if he can see what tranusing every exertion to get well and strong spires in the world he has left behind.” as soon as possible. I must take my share Winnie's eyes shone brightly, and a tenof the burden soon, dear child.”

der glow brightened her pale face. “ I wrote to Aunt Nancy, and she has "I do not mean to be unworthy of my answered me, very kindly, I am sure she father's name, though I am stripped of the ineant it to be. She must show her queer paltry fortune he ineant to give to me. kinky ways, as father used to call thein. How contemptible it is to value people for She will take you and Ned with her, and such evanescent trappings, that a dozen nurse you faithfully. That beautiful accidents may tear away, as that disastrous mountain air is just what you need, the shipwreck and my father's loss tore away doctor says, and we ought to be thankful froin us what made us acceptable in Squiro that such an opportunity is open to you. Warner's eyes. I am nobler, and more And she will only take half of my wages; worthy of Harry than I could have been that is magnanimous, now, isn't it? for she before the trial came. There is comfort in is none too well-to-do, and she is fond of the thought, mother. I don't mean to be gain too. And you will get well there. O, miserable, if only you will be cheerful, I am ungrateful to dread avytbing, after and grow strong and well." knowing that.”

“ If I did not I should be a craven in“It will be a sore trial to your proud deed; after the example you set me,” respirit, iny Winnie,” said the mother, slow- turned Mrs. Lermont, kissing her fondly. ly and sorrowfully. “It will be a new po- “I will go at once to Nancy, and make it sition for Matthew Lermont's daughter to my chief business to get strong and well, take. I think I could be more coutent if that I may be able to coinc back, and you went away among strangers."

make a humble home for you. Yes, my “Ah, but then I could obtain no situa- child, we will be happy, and honorable, tion. It is a healthy discipline for a proud and good, in spite of poverty.spirit, after all,” returned Winnie, gravely. * Now I have heart for anything!" cried

Besides, I am not really lowered. Nay, I Winnie, triumphantly. “I was so afraid am nobler, better than that thoughtless that you would be crushed and wretched. merry creature who was too happy in her Hark! some one is knocking; I must go to own pleasures to stop to heed other peo- the door." ple's needs; who used to be courted as She returned in another moment, with a Matthew Lermont's heiress. Dear mother, letter in her hand. perhaps we shall yet look upon this disci- “A letter for you mother, and in a pline as the richest blessing of our lives. strange hand, with an unfamiliar postWe shall learn who are fortune's friends, mark. What can it mean?" and who are our own."

Mrs. Lermont opened it hastily, and Harry Warner is one of the last, I am glanced along its few delicately written sure," said Mrs. Lermont, confidently, lines. longing to give some ray of comfort.

“Mrs. Arnold Atherton. How long it is “He would have been, I am sure," an- since I have heard the name! She sent me swered Winnie, tushing brightly again. a lovely lace shawl, and a set of coral when “ But, mamma, I have repulsed his atten- we were married. It is from your father's lions. I have refused to read his letters. cousin, a grand lady who lived abroad most


of the time, in princely style. So she has air of calm dignity and pride as she turned come hoine to die. And she has lost her toward the manly figure waiting there. two nc ble sons by one dread stroke. Poor “O Winnie, don't look so angry! Though lady! poor lady! Read the letter, Winnie. indeed I can't blame you, knowing you She asks for a visit from my little girl, of heard all that hateful talk. But, Winnie whose birih she remembers hearing. Win- darling, oughtn't you to remember that it nic, Winnie, perhaps it means something is my father, and not me?” wonderful again!"

“I am not angry with you, Ilarry. I Winnie siniled at the earnestness with know it is your father. But that parts us which her mother spoke, and taking the all the same.

You should not have come letter, perused it carefully.

here," slic answered, softly. “I will certainly obey the summons," “But I wont be parted from you, Winhe said, slowly; "the moment I have seen nie!" retorted the youth, vehemently. “I you safely into Aunt Nancy's clean sweet love you, Winnie, and I shall never love chamber, I will make the visit she de

one else." sires. But I would not build any lopes, “Hush, Harry, or I shall go away at little mother. There is a coldness visible

You have no right to talk to me in here, and don't you see slic says there are that way now-for your father's sake" other relatives inviteil at the same time? “Hang my father! He has great conIt is dangerous cherishing wild visions, sideration for me, hasn't he? He knows it dearic. But for my father's sake, I will will ruin my life to lose you!" cried he, in obey his cousin's summons, and try to a fierce voice. show her a daughter, in ber poor measure, “For my sake, then. For I am too worthy of bearing that father's name." proud to listen to vows that are forbid

“We liad better lose no time then," ob- den !" continued Winnic, steadily. “I amı served Mrs. Lermont. “I am keenly aux- glad to have this last opportunity speak ious that you should make this visit. Send with you. I would rather tell you myself me away as soon as you can.”

that-that-we are to give up our home, “Yes, mother, for more reasons than and I am going to be the governess at the one. We can go now, and have the money Aspin walls, over at the Oaks.” to defray travelling expenses, which I can- “A governess! O Winnie, how terrible !" not promise if there is a fortnight longer “I don't see it in any such frightful asa here. Let me show you what I have pect, sir,"' retorted she, proudly, her graceplanned to sell off, what we can spare with ful lead cresting itself haughtily. “The the least pang, the newest things, that 'simple circumstance of teaching those have no tender remembrance of my father pretty children to read, and write, and clinging to them.”

play, does not degrade my character, or And the next hour they spent with pen- soil my reputation, or injure iny goodness. cil and paper, reckoning up their meagre I am not going to be sentimental or mock funds and humble expenses. After which heroic, if I can help it. I am simply facing Winnie brought the invalid's toast and tea, the situation that is thrust upon me, manand then put her peremplorily to bed to fully, I was going to say, but that would rest. She gave Ned his supper, and set not be called becoming to a woman. Never liim to work upon a picture puzzle for en- mind. I think the spirit we praise as mantertainment. Then slipped away out of

liness is full often seen in lacroic women, the bouse, into the yard, and presently and not amiss, cither. We are poor, and slie turned with slow liogering steps into my mother and Ned just now are lielpless. the street, and down a by-path to the I stand between them and charity, as much, brook, which purled inerrily along, thread- as between them and want, and am not ing its way in and out the huge cluinp of ashamed to do it."

* You, so young, and tender, and love

ly!" cried the young man, hotly. “O, it's She did not look very startled or fright- wicked, shameful, Wmuie! Ten thousand ened at the call, but she put off the sorrow- fathers shall not hold me back from rushful wistfulness that had been in her droop- ing to your relief. I am strong. What ing eye and quivering lip, and assumed an better am I good for than to work for you 4

and yours? Winnie darling, let me take

stunted willows.


care of you. Let me leave the lawyer's be, she was not adamant or iron, but every office, where I am crippled, and find some pulse thrilled and quivered in fond yearnhonest manual labor that will yield us all ing for response. bread, and if we have love also, will that “ It can only be a crumb-a tiniest atom not be enough? O Winnie, my treasure, of sweetness with the bitter morsel I must you are worth more to me than a dozen also give,” she murmured to herself. And fortunes, and a score of favor-granting rel- then answered, shy and low: atives! Come to me, Winnie, for my own!"

“I should bave answered yes, Harry, He was rushing toward hier, with glow- then. Now I can never say anything but ing eyes and outstretched arms, but though no, unless-unless" her tears fell fast, she waved him back. “Unless what, my darling, my angel.” “If there were really sore need of it,

. Unless your father asks with you, Harry, I would not consent to the sacrifice. which well enough I know is among the But there is not. We shall do very well, impossibilities." and be comfortable, iny mother and I. Yet “Alas, I fear so! He is as obdurate in I thank you for the generosity of your the wrong, as you are flinty to your convicpurpose."

tions of duty. But you have given me O Winnie, if you orly loved me!” he great happiness, Winnie. And you have cried, passionately.

shown me, too, how the governess can be She smiled sorrowfully, but made no nobler and grander than ever the heiress other answer.

was. God bless you! Surely he will. You “And if you were not so proud," he went will let me speak with you now and then? on, complainingly.

My seeing you, thank Heaven, you cannot “Yes, I am proud; too proud to be hinder. I am going away shortly upon an abased when a paltry fortune slips away

odious errand. I think it is this new exfrom me.

Too proud to be a whit lowered pectation that has so bewitched ny father, when I am the governess yonder, but yet and fired his ambition. A wealthy relative free to thank you, Harry Warner, for your

of his lias just lost lier two sons, and has truth and allegiance to me, in spite of my

sent for me to visit her. He thinks I am fallen estate. Heaven bless you, Harry,

to be the heir. If I thought it would and good-by.

further my independence, I should pray “Winnie, Winnie, you must not leave for it, too. As it is, it only looks like a me without a word of comfort! Good new weariness. But I shall work with a heavens! low cruel you are, to punish me

purpose now. I shall put myself in an infor my father's fault! Think how wretch- dependent position as soon as possible, and ed, low miserable I shall be !"

then, Winnie_" “O IIarry, you need not," came in “Harry! Harry Warner, how dare you !" tremulous tones; “ the world is wide, and

came in a hoarse voice of rage from over time works wonders. Do yon need a weak

the other side. I expected to find you girl to counsel you to be brave and strong ?”

somewhere with this intriguing minx !" “If only I thought you would love me

“Sir," returned the younger man, in a stiil,” he demanded, eagerly, “ Winnie,

still fiercer tone, “the audacity is on your you have never yet said you did love me. side, and the shamelessness !” Do you remember how I was asking the

Then turning, le lifted his hat with very question when that terrible telegram courtly grace. broke in upon us like a thunder-clap, tell

“ Miss Lermont, I beg your pardon for ing of the awful shipwreck, and the losses

detaining you against your will to listen to and disaster everywhere? How many times

my unavailing plea. I wish you every since I have wished there had been a sin- blessing in life with my good-night.” gle instant's delay, long enough for me to

Weary-eyed and pale, but still with a liave received just the monosyllable needed

dauntless spirit within to sustain lier iwder in answer! Winnie, give me a crumb of

whatever trial lay before her, Winnie Lercomfort. Tell me what you would have

mont crept back to the cottage which, answered then."

humble as it was, was so soon to refuse She was trembling beneath the passion

them shelter. ato pleading of the tender tone. Brave and steady as she had compelled herself to

II. MRS. ARNOLD ATHERTON had come, all at once, to be the focus of many ardent hopes and undivulged misgivings. Hitherto the lady had moved on gracefully in her high orbit, without coming in contact with any of those who now floated around her, an anxious group of satellites. An occasional present, sent across the water, revealed the grand relative's knowledge of their existence; but concerning her, or her life, and character, and hopes, none of tho cousins had any knowledge or revelation. Now and then Squire Warner had boasted to a city friend of the grand relation out in Paris, or Vienna, or Petersburg, whichever city at the time might be the place of her abiding. But the others liad kept no track of her flitting whatever, and it came upon them like a dizzy stroke of fortune when they learned that her terrible misfortune, the sinking of a yacht containing her husband and two children, brought within the possibility of their grasp the inagnificent fortune which, to their unsophisticated minds, seemed little short of that of Monte Christo. No wonder, then, that to those who understood the case, the simple coolly-worded invitation to come 10 ler home, and make Mrs. Arnold Atherton's acquaintance, seemed the “open

to undreamed-of riches. There were five cousins in all to be represented. Three of her own, two of her liusband's. The children of these were summoned, and seven individuals comprised the number, for one of the cousins was childless, and in the other families, with the exception of Squire Warner's, there were two members. Two children, two young ladies and three gentlemen, found themselves in a handsome drawing-room, one afternoon, bowing most respectfully to a pale baggard woman, clad in the deepest

With the exception of the two who gave each other a swift glance of tender joy, and murmured under breathi, “O Harry!" “Why, my darling Winnie !” the heirs elect had never met before, and tliey gave each other sundry inquiring jealous glances as they received their introductions.

Miss Clarice Atherton made much of her possessing the family name, and swept a scornful glance over the quiet retiring fig. ure that crept into the shade of the window drapery when the pompous Squire War

ner made his appearance. Miss Atherton was very tall, very decided in manner and appearance, and her brilliant brunette beauty evidently made its impression upon the entlemen of the party.

If Winnie thought her manners loud and coarse, betraying a mind lacking refinement and culture, nothing in her demeanor showed it, even when Miss Clarice chose to assume an authoritative, arrogant way toward herself when they were left to entertain themselves, upou Mrs. Arnold Atherton's retirement. As little did she resent the contemptuous ignoring of her presence, which the stranger gentlemen adopted, taking their cue, perhaps, from Squire Warner, who fell into the mistake of supposing that Winnie was a hired companion, to beguile the weariness of the invalid's sorrowful life, when the latter called her to place a footstool, and then quietly detained her by her side.

Mrs. Arnold Atherton did not, however, allow them much opportunity to make a mutual acquaintance. She saw them all separately an hour or so in her boudoir, and talked with each one quietly and kindly, without in the least betraying any hint of the result of the subtle analysis of character she thus obtained. Then she performed the duties of a hostess, invalided, to be sure, but still with that wellbred grace of manner that gave them a hint of what her happy prime must have been, and so kept them in an attentive circle about her chair.

She was a sad broken-hearted woman, whose interest in life had been suddenly and sharply wrenched away. For all her courteous graceful ways, they were never allowed to forget that. Her talk was seldom of her own sorrow, but often of the disappointments and trials of life. She read them many a homily upon the duties of a worthy life--upon the perils of gliding gayly upon a prosperous wave, unprepared for the unseen dangers lurking near. And always she ended by turning upon them her sweet grave face, and saying, with a gentle smile, as she laid her thin white land on the well-worn velvet-bound Bible which was her constant companion:

“Ah, iny friends, if there is one thing more than another I would bave you take as a legacy of mine, it is this abjuration: Search the Scriptures. They alone will satisfy and sustain you.”




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Before the week was out I am not sure “0, my noble husband! ny beautiful but every one of the guests found them- brave boys! My all, my all snatched away selves depressed in spirit, and longing for from me one ruthless grasp !-and I a change from the grave still nonotony of dancing at the moment at a court ball, the sick woman's life. I kuow that the triumphing in my proud position, and squire would gladly have left his son 10 boasting of my security!" care for his own chances, if he had not The low tone of horror thrilled Winnie's. been afraid of Winnifred Lermont's secret heart. Her own tears fell warm and fast influence, and that Jiss Clarice Atherton as she kissed the cold hands, and stroked secretly declared to the young gentlemen the throbbing temples, and tried to murthat she should die of ennui if compelled mur her feeble words of comfort. Mrs. io remain a day over the allotted time. Aiherton kept her with her until her comWinnifred Lermont herself had no com- posure returned, and when she dismissed plaint to make. She was resting in mind ler she kissed her young relative, and said, and body, serenely happy in Harry's silent again: presence, and the earnest loving glances * Remember the lesson I bequeatlie; which even the squire's vigilance could there is but one hope that can sustain. not restrain. She was, moreover, moved Search the Scriptures till you find it.” by a profound sympathy for the stricken But when she met her again the hostess heart whose sufferings were one day acci- wore the same grave, sad, reserved air, and dentally revealed to her.

there was no allusion to the little scene. She liad been wandering alone in the And the week was soon ar, and the guests upper ball, and stopped to look long and were quietly dismissed, each instinctively intently at a thrilling picture of the Apostle understanding from her manner that the at Patmos. The weird grand prophecy of parting was final, and no one receiving any the eyes that seemed to see so far and high tangible encouragement or hint of the fascinated her, and she was standing before lady's intentions. the canvas breatlıless and spellbound, when Winnie took her place quietly as the the nuistress of the house came gliding to governess of the Aspinwalls, and it was her, and laying a cold hand on hers, asked: there that the black-edged letter came three “What are you thinking, child ?"

months afterward, which announced the “() madam, of more than I can tell you! release of the weary spirit, and summoned How sublime that face is! It awes and the san.e party to Mrs. Arnold Atherton's frightens me as well as fills me with sol- fueral. einu joy. It seems to prophesy still.”'

If there had been jealous glances and “Ay, so it does, so it did !" came in a low plentiful signs of suppressed eagerness befierce whisper. “ He asked me what it fore, the excitement of the summoned said to me-my husband-when he brought relatives inight well liave warmed to fever it to me. It was one of his last gifts, and heat when, after the funeral, they were I answered bin lightly that it could not requested by the lawyer to remain at the have much dark prophecy for us. O mansion over night, and listen to the readHeaven, the careless heedless creature that ing of the will the next day. I was! so inadly gay, so secure in my liap- Winnie was too profoundly impressed piness and safety that very day when iny with the sadness of the scene to join Miss all went down! Child, child, do not trust Clarice, when that young lady gathered too much ever to prosperous circumstances! the gentlemen about her in the grand There is but one Rock, one Refuge, one drawmg-room, which had not been opened abiding Anchor!”

to them on their previous visit, and enterThe last words came forth gaspingly. tained herself by examining the costly The lady was deadly pale; she treinbled bijouterie that had been gathered from all from head to foot as with an ague.

quarters of the globe. Neither would she Winnie passed her strong young arm comply with Harry's coaxing glance, and around her, and helped her back to her follow bim to the library, rich in rare and couch, and ministered to her, while the costly volumes. The whole house was wild storm of sobs and tears lasted. She open to then-even the clamber of the learned at length all the auguish of the departed, where everything was arranged tortured heart, while those low passionate as the mistress had chosen to have it in cries pierced her ears.

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