Imatges de pÓgina

where the river ran wanton, curving itself his dinner and supper in one, and you needn't into a dozen fantastic scallops.

see him to-night.” “ It is so peaceful-so deliciously natural !" The young ladies maile no comment, but she added, leaning out, and quite forgetting went off to the parlor to try a duet on the the demands of toilet; “O Mrs. Dalryınple, I piano. And all through the pleasant twilight foresee that I am going to enjoy the most hour they sent their bird-like voices trilling delightful visit of my life.”

forth in song after song, at first in madcap “I hope so, dear child," answered Mrs. glee; but, as the shadows deepened, the IIortense, well pleased at the girl's enthusi- strains of harmony grew slow and rich with asm; "though I wont answer for the disap- tender melancholy. pointment and chagrin of the gay friends and They won Wharton Berne away from his sighing lovers left behind. Are you quite sure solitary arbor, out to the rustic seat in front you can do without them, Queen Sibyl ?” of the parlor window, and even compelled hiin

“Quite sure, indeed! I have been in a per- to throw away his half-smoked cigar. fect fever of delighted anticipation ever since What would Mrs. Hortense have said, had I received your letter. Such a letter as that she seen? But all was dark in the parlor, the was! Why, it almost took away my breath instrument, it was evident, touched by fingers to read. You could not have guessed out, familiar enough to find their way without the. had you been with me all the time, balf so help of sight. Presently the last strain died well just what was the lunging of my whole out, and some one came to the window and heart. Yes indeed, it will be refreshing to sat down. slip away for a little while out of our bustling, “Now, Sibyl, play us a farewell, and let us frivolous, deceitfuil world of fashion, to be hie away to slumber at this iinmaculate hour," romping children again, free from formality, said the voice of the lady at the window. laughing at etiquette. We haven't a silk dress And willing fingers again touched the keys, with us, nor any of the fancy fixings. Only and after the low, dreamy prelude, a clear, think how delicious, Lucia, to spring up to- full, won sly sweet voice sang the ballad: morrow morning, knot up your hair carelessly. slip into a common morning dress without

“O, I hare had sweet dreams! I have had

sweet dreams!" any fussings, and run down stairs secure from any impertinent masculine observation. Dear

It was an old song now, but Wharton Berne Mrs. Dalrymple! I've been puzzling whatever remembered when it was new; when some it was that made you offer me the kindness; one had sung it over and over again, at his that you should have selected me from all fond request. That voice was silenced foryour acquaintances."

ever for earth, years gone! Those lips he “Because I like you, first, and then, because knew had returned to dust, and yet, as he sat I know you are just the girl to help me enjoy there, it seemed to him as if it must be she it. Come now, just brush off the dust, and who was singing to him. He sat in a sort of come down to luncheon. There are straw

trance, the tears slipping slowly down his berries, with the dew still on them, waiting.” cheeks.

A few hasty touches and the girls, arm in A gathering glow from the window behind arm, tripped down the stairs following Mrs. him showed that lights had been introduced. Dalrymple's gliding step. The three ladies He heard a sudden bustle, loud voices, and a gathered around the oval table, spread out shriek in a woman's voice. These roused him with such d-licacies as can only come from a effectually. He sprang to the window, seeing farm close at land, and a merry, sparkling at once in the brilliant illumination what had conversation ensued. Then they all went out happened. One of the Auid lamps, brought to the grassy bank under the great locust for the chambers, had been upset and broken. trees, and spent the rest of the day in careless, The flames had spread, and in endeavoring to indolent ease.

extinguish them, one of the ladies had caught Mrs. Hortense caught sight of a figure stalk- her white cambric dress in the flames. She ing across the distant valley, and discreetly rushed across the room, and as Mr. Berne's proposed an adjournment to the parlor. swift hand flung open the French window,

“That's my cousin Wharton coming. I she sprang out. He caught her in his arms, wrote you how he wasn't in the least in any wrapped her quickly in the broadcloth coat body's way, and is always content, if only he flung off from his own form, and crushed ladies are kept away from him. He'll have out the blaze.

Sibyl Aubrey caught the low, passionate back to give him passage. "I hope you wont words, “O my darling, O my saint!" as with take ine for å house-breaker, but I have beone strong shudder he put her down, and she come possessed to obtain a piece of ice from ran hastily back, frightened at the white that great pitcher on the sideboard. It seems anguish on his face.

as if that would cure the pain in my arm; and A few moments of agitation and confusion, as I didn't wish to disturb anybody, I came and all the danger was over. No one was in- on an exploring expedition myself.” jured, and only the burnt carpet and Sibyl's He turned back promptly, just glancing tolight drapery gave token of the catastrophe. ward the arm whose sleeve, turned back,

“What a fortunate escape!” repeated Mrs. showed the cruel blister. Dalrymple, again and again. “O Sibyl, what " Come with me, and I will get you a dish should we have done, if you had been of ice. All the rest are asleep. They are injured ?"

used to me, and don't mind my prowling The young lady shuddered, and scarcely around at uncanny hours." glanced at the fair arm disfigured by a cruel He led ber into the dining-room and put blister.

her into an arm-chair, while he went further, "As I might have been, but for the gentle after discovering that the pitcher was empty. man. And I never thanked him. But it She sat quietly, hearing him rattling around was your cousin, I suppose, and he did not the refrigerator in the adjoining room, until wislı it. How strangely he looked, and how he came back in triumph, a huge square of deadly pale he was !"

ice on the tray in his hand. “ Poor Whart! I suppose it brought every- “O, that is refreshing!” cried Sibyl Aubrey. thing back to him. No wonder he was so “Give me a piece, I pray you, to ease this overcome.”

torture." " Brought. what back?" demanded Miss He saw the swollen veins beneath the Aubrey.

slender wrist, and bent carefully to examine “Poor Marcia's death. He was engaged to the burn. a very sweet girl. One can scarcely believe “Dear child?" exclaimed he, in a voice full it now, but when he was a young gentleman of tenderest compassion, “ you must not he was very gay. He was to take her to a have ice there, or you will have a worse inparty one night. She was all dressed, the flammation to-morrow. I will wet a cool wraps lying on the chair beside her, when liis bandage, and relieve the torment a little, carriage was announced. I don't know ex- while I am preparing something to remove actly how it happened, but she approached the fire. Why didn't you rouse up the whole the mantel for her bouquet or something, and house, rather than suffer so ?" her lace skirt fluttered into the open grate. “O, I hoped it would soon stop, but it grew Of course she was instantly in one light blaze. worse, and then I thought of the ice," she She ran shrieking past the servants, down the answered, trustfully submitting her arm to steps, and Whart caught her, but only to see Iris careful fingers. hier heu fall back, and her limbs drop help- In a little while he had made some sort of lessly. She died in terrible agony that night, poultice and bound it around her arm. and Wharton Berne left all the old scenes, “Now come into the library and sit awhile. and came here, and became what he is.” You wont sleep, I am sure, for an hour or

* Poor man! hapless creature!" ejaculated two yet, but in half an hour you will find Lucia Gramont, pityingly.

ease, I promise you. Till that time let me But Sibyl Aubrey, with grare eye fixed on help you fight the pain.” her burnt arm, said never a word.

And he gave her the easiest chair in the That night, just before midnight, as Whar- library, brought cushions for her feet, and ton Berne unclosed the library door to leave hunted up an old book of engravings, and the scientific book with which he had tried showing them to her, one by one, told stories to quiet his unusual agitation, and seek concerning each. And presently the little slumber, he met a graceful figure on the lines in the forehead smoothed away, and the stairs, carelessly wrapped in dressing gown scarlet lips relinquished their stern comand shawl. The fair, young face was pale, pressure, and the soft splendor in the dark the lips feverishly bright, and the large, dark eye was that of pleased content, instead of eyes had a strange glitter in them.

feverish excitement; and looking up suddenly “I beg your pardon,” said she, stepping she exclaimed:

“ You are so kind to me, sir, sitting up at with a face of mingled consternation and this late hour to beguile the pain away from amusement, during the second week. ine. It is really better now. I don't think I “Girls, girls! whatever will you say to me? need stay up any longer."

Here's a pretty dilemma! If I hadn't promised “Well, you need the rest, to be sure. But you

should be free from all masculine intruI'll bind on a fresh poultice. Be careful not sion, it would be different.” to take cold 'to-morrow, and you are all “ Horrible!" ejaculated Miss Aubrey. “You right."

don't mean we are threatened with an invaThen, as she stood at the door, with the sion from those disagreeable lords of creation! taper in her hand, he said with a hungry Just when we are enjoying ourselves so wistfulness in his tone:

rationally, too. Now, Mrs. Dalrymple, don't " It was you who sang 'I have had dreams, tell us that." was it not ?"

Whatever can I do, if there was only time “ Yes sir, and it was you who saved me to write,” said Mrs. Dalrymple, in a tone of from a dreadful death. I did not dare to thank perplexity. “What could possess him to you then, you looked so deathly pale. I wish change his mind? And to think it should be there was something I might do to prove my Frank Dalrymple." gratitude for all your kindness."

“Frank Dalrymple!" repeated Lucia Gra Ile smiled slowly and dreamily.

mont, while a wave of soft pink swept across “Sometime you shall sing the song for me. her delicate cheek. A dear one, snatched away by the fiery torture “Frank Dalrymple!" echoed Miss Aubrey; wlich spared you, used to sing it once, and “ who is he? I am sure I don't know such a her voice and her eyes were like yours. It person." brings her back, to look at you."

“No indeed, of course you don't. But he Sibyl Aubrey's eyes were overflowing, is my son. And to think he should come

“I am so sorry for your great grief. I wishi intruding upon us now." I might comfort you, but I cannot think of “Why, Mrs. Dalrymple, have you a son? I anything to say which is not feeble and weak

never knew it; you never told me." in view of so sharp an affliction," she faltered. “Well, he was only a boy, you know, and

• You have a tender heart; don't vex it away at college. I do believe he is grown into with compassion for my trials. They are far a man by this time. He is all of twentyinto the past, and time heals over the wounds three, I declare. O Time, remorseless Tine! of the keenest suffering. Good-night!" how you fly! And I haven't seen the dear

fellow for eighteen months. He will tbink it hard if. I turn him back. It would seem

cruel.” CHAPTER II.

“ Very cruel,” ventured Lucia. MRS. HORTENSE DALRYMPLE congratu- “Of course it would, you mustn't do it," lated herself again and again upon the said Miss Aubrey, promptly. “My dear Mrs. promising results of her diplomacy. The Dalrymple, as long as it is your son, it will be ensuing week was one of keen enjoyment, very different. And really I have no doubt which did not seem to lose its zest as the we shall find it a great improvement. They days went on. Her cousin came to dinner are useful creatures sometimes, these men. twice with the guests, and was duly intro- You know how nearly we came into a serious duced, and made bimself just entertaining accident the other day when that strap gave enough to remove any suspicion of inhospi- way on my saddle, and none of us knew what tality, while he showed no symptoms of to do. Let him come, by all means." particular interest. He procured another And so Frank Dalrymple, handsome, and saddle-horse, and in various unostentatious gallant, and gay, came to make them merrier ways promoted their entertainment, but still still. remained in his seclusion. If there was one If there was a little glinting sparkle under who came to heed that, in all their move- Lucia's golden eyelashes when the young ments, he was sure to be lingering near their gentleman was introduced, and if the latter vicinity, that one was not Mrs. Hortense. gave her soft fingers a significant pressure, no But she came to the young ladies, as they one else was the wiser. were luxuriating in a fragrant couch in the Miss Aubrey made no concealment of her middle of a great lay-mound in the meadow, appreciation of the addition to the circle, and

to Mrs. Dalrymple's extreme satisfaction her Poor Mrs. Green could not repeat that son and her wealthy guest were straightway assertion from personal experience. It was a warm friends.

bewildering and vexatious time for her, *Only a few days after Frank's appearance, especially since her master has entered into Mrs. Dalrymple sprained her ankle. The ac- the gay doings of the guests, and she was not cident happened the day before a contem- positive half the time, that she was veritably plated excursion. On the following morning in possession of her right mind. she asked, hesitatingly, when the master of Miss Sibyl Aubrey and young Frank Dalthe house came to inquire into her trouble: rymple were really very warm friends. They

“Cousin Whart, I wonder if you would do held frequent and prolonged conversations in something to oblige me ever so much? You the garden, from which the gentleman always see, though I am quite comfortable, I can't returned looking brightened and encouraged, stir from this sofa, and to-day there's the ex- and the lady smiling and gracious. Mrs. Dalcursion. It is so awkward for three horse- rymple watched them froin her window one back riders to keep together, and I'm loath to afternoon, and her heart beat high with have the expedition spoiled. If you wouldn't assured hope. She looked up archly into be too much annoyed to accompany them—" Frank's face, as be came to say good-night.

“Bless your heart, Hortense, I'll go; don't “Well, Frank, have you nothing to say to fret about that," answered Cousin Whart, me?" with more alacrity than Mrs. Dalrymple “Why yes, mother; I said good-night.” suspected.

“Ah yes; but is there nothing else--no • You are so good! It will just save every- piece of welcome information? I hoped to thing from being spoiled,” answered she, hear it to-night!" gratefully.

The significance of look and tone could not And Cousin Whart rushed away, hunted be mistaken. The young gentleman blushed up a riding-suit, and Mrs. Dalrymple, stretch- to his very temples. ing her neck from the sofa, had the felicity of “Why, mother, have you guessed ? do yon watching the party cantering out the gate, know ?” he stammered. Frank and Miss Aubrey leading the way, her “As if, because a certain roguish little cousin and Lucia following.

archer has blinded your eyes, mine must also This move seemed to have broken the ice be dull! Of course, any one with half an eye for the master of the house. In future he can see that you are in love, and that she is was one of the group wherever it might be quite as deep in the grand passion." found. He came out of the dreamy laze “And you approve ?” he asked, hastily. with which the abstracted scholar had sur- “Of course I do, approve heartily. Why munded himself, and proved a wonderfully else do you think I got her here ?" gifted and entertaining companion. Mrs. Frai kissed both her hands in an unusual Dalrymple watched serenely the growing ardor of filial attachment, and went away to earnestness upon her son's face, and the rich dream of his lady-love. crimson which gathered on Sibyl Aubrey's Meantime, out in the arbor there was a cheek, and the starry splendor deepening in

still more refreshing scene. Miss Sibyl her beautiful eyes. The keen-witted widow Aubrey was too restless to think of sleep, and read its meaning.

leaving her friend in the chamber, she strolled "Ah ba, my lovely heiress! this summer off into the moon-lighted garden, and presholiday, which was to be so free from firta- ently ensconced herself into a seat in a rosetion, is teaching you a better lesson. Only draperied arbor, watching the silvery clouds love itself lights such glintings in the eyes, trooping across the deep-tinted sky, and and sends such rich overflow of crimsou from listening to the drowsy stir of whispering the heart to the cheek. My spells are work- leaves, and the plaintive call of a night biru ing marvellously. It is so good of Cousin in the neighboring wood. Whart to keep Lucia Gramont from med- A crunching step on the gravel, the aroma dling!"

of a fine cigar, and then a heavy sigh, gave And so Mrs. Dalrymple bore her temporary her warning that the master of the place was disability with admirable good-nature. She possessed of a like restlessness, and a similar sent the young people away, if they sought to desire to be soothed and calmed by the share her solitude, declaring she was never wondrous spell of the night. more comfortable in her life.

He came into the arbor and flung himself upon the seat, before he was aware of her "It is strange enough Frank could see presence. . Although Miss Aubrey's heart beauty in any other where you were present," beat with sudden vehemence, she quietly continued he, dreamily. “It is all strange.” drew aside her white drapery of flounced Many men, many ininds,” answered she, skirt, and said, calmly:

lightly. “So you have come to enjoy the moonlight “And then most girls would be impressed also, Mr. Berne ?"

with his gay manners, his ready grace, and He started nervously, and rose quickly fresh, young beauty." from the seat, throwing away the cigar.

"I never fancied young men,” retorted Miss “I beg your pardon, Miss Sibyl; I bad no Aubrey, half resentfully, and then stopped idea the arbor had an occupant."

sliort, as if conscious of some tacit confession. “Don't throw away your cigar. Out in "Sibyl Aubrey, you admitted that the this pure air, it could not offend the most moonlight had its spell. Call it that, if you fastidious. This moon is superb. I could think me mad, presumptuous, audacious; but not resist stealing away to enjoy it."

tell me, could you fancy a man forever .past Wharton Berne sighed again, and then the buoyancy of boyhood, a man grave, retirsaid, abruptly:

ing, pain-worn, but whose whole heart goes “I suppose you came to dream over sweet out to you with a passionate devotion he and delicious realities; but I hurried away to believed lost to him forever ?" escape goading thoughts, dreary ghosts. Tiis Her stately bead was drooping to the claspis indeed a lover's evening. From what ing hands, he caught her agitated sob. Frank so incoherently muttered, as I inter- "Sibyl, sweet Siby!, you have come to me cepted him at his mother's door, I judge that like an angel, waking from the black ashes of we shall soon have cause to offer congratula- desolation a resurrected love. From the tions. Dear child, Heaven knows, I wish yon first moment I heard your voice, my heart all happiness!"

stirred as beneath a potent spell. When you Me? I scarcely understand you," said came, flame-wrapped, into my arms, it seemed Miss Aubrey; and her voice took a little my lost darling restored to me by Heaven's huskiness.

beneficent hand. (Sibyl, if I dared be so "Are we all mistaken? Do you not requite selfish as to ask you to brighten and bless my the young man's evidently sincere attach- life-to give me the blessed privilege of ment?"

watching over you, of smoothing all possible A silvery ripple of laughter broke up the troubles from your pathway-of loving your hoarseness of her voice.

O, if I dared!" “Now, indeed, you have made a capital She drew away her hands, a glad smile blunder. Poor, dear Lucia! how lier blue flashing through the tears. eyes would pale with tears, if your suspicion "And if you dare not ask me, sir, you will were true! But it is not. Frank loves Lucia. never receive your reply." He made a confidant of ine long ago."

He caught the two white bands in his Her companion drew one long, gasping strong clasp, and his deep voice shook with breath. She could feel how it shook him, for the vibrating chords of hope and fear. he was leaning against the lattice on which “Sibyl Aubrey, will you give to me the her hand rested.

priceless gift I beg of you? Will you love me? “0, I am so glad !"

Will you be my wife?" “What delicate lines of shadowing there “Mr. Berne, I will; and I never answered are yonder," observed Miss Aubrey. “There yes before with half the gladness, and trnst, is truly a wondrous witchery in moonlight; and deep content, with which I speak it but I am not sure it is wise to indulge in it. now." Now I think I will return to the house." The moon alone should tell what followed

“Not quite yet-wait a moment,” pleaded as he drew her to him, exclaiming in the very he. “As you say, the moonlight has a witch- words with which he had first addressed her: ery of its own, and it will last for but so few "O my darling! O my saint !" nights, why not enjoy it? It is strange, after Mrs. Dalrymple was able to walk without all, that it is not you.”

aid the next day, and she made her appearShe stood leaning against the arbor, not ance in the parlor, to which the quartet yet returning to her seat, nor rudely persist- had retreated after dinner, smiling and ing in retreat.


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