Imatges de pÓgina

“ Good

speakably bitter, fell from his lips. Then,

advice, Andrew; but quite slowly, and in an opposite direction, he thrown away. I, too, am an old sailor." rode away to the Fields.

The man unmoored the boat again, wonThe house had been thrown open, and dering what could send the master of the the servants were making a holiday. Who fields to Coltonsleigh that night; and he among them dared question their dark watched him as he pushed off from the stern master? He went directly to his shore, wondering still. room, and locked the door after bim. Once A wild sharp sheet of rain, stabbing like the bell rang for Pierre, and wine was car- spears as it struck, drove Andrew into ried up, but that was all.

shelter. His boat and its single occupant The day crept on apace. Nature, con- were just then across the white bar. Stern genial with all existing circumstances, be- and unmoved, St. Maur sat looking straight gan to frown in sulleu clouds as night into the storm before him, fearing its dandrew on. The wind rose up with a warn- gers far less than those he was leaving being cry along the sea. It was after the hind, his dark curls blown away from his sunset hour that St. Maur came out from haggard face, bis dark eyes filled with an his room, and took the path to the shore. unutterable despair.

Perbaps it was the chance of meeting Once only he looked back. Some vision Calvert there that impelled him. The sea of his wasted youth, his ruined manhood, fowl were screaming among the rocks; a his lost life, must have stirred him then few fishers' boats were coming in from -of all that night have been, that could across the bay, and the songs of the boat- never be. Vague pictures danced on the men were borne fitfully to his ear. O, the pitch-black night setting grimly in-Hadreary night-sky, and the cruel winds, and gar's golden hair; Nathalie Lermond's the unspeakable desolation of that sea! eyes; Ruby Hendee's fair young face. He

St. Maur paused upon the sands, and saw the lights twinkling on the distant looked out upon the angry surf-lines. His shore. Evening fires were burning there, face was haggard and worn; the teeth were and happy groups were gathered around set, the brows knit darkly. Who can tell them. The wind howled like a demon. what thoughts stirred him in that hour- Higher and wilder rolled the white and how that dark fierce soul rebelled against ravenous sea; a lighthouse lamp mocked its destiny of ruin and disgrace? He had him from a distant point. What had he to lost all-love, honor, fortune and fair do with peace, and love, and home-light fame. To-morrow meant exposure, degra- more? He looked out into the storm, and dation and the penalty of the law.

darkness, and swift hurrying waves. They Tbe thought of Calvert and of revenge were all that were left him. died, somehow, away. Nathalie Lermond's Andrew, the old fisherman, saw the little beautiful eyes, with the look that he had cuckleshell of a boat when it crossed the last seen in them, rose up one moment be- bar; he saw it even beyond. Then the tween him and that black leaving waste of blinding rain beat down like a veil besea, and then faded into its gathering tween. Midway to his door, he turned darkness. A fisberman was mooring his again, sweeping the low dark line of the boat a few feet distant from where St. stormy sea, with some whispered words Maur stood. He turned abruptly, and went rising to his lips. Nothing could be see towards him.

now but black sky blended in with blacker “Andrew," he said, “ what shall I give sea. Again and again he strained his keen you for this boat to go to Coltonsleigh ?” eyes to catch but a sign or sigual, listened

The man looked up, and seeing wlio it -to hear but the thunder of the surf.. A was, touched his tarry cap deferentially. night had settled too deep for his sight to

“ To Coltonsleigh, sir? Not to-night?” pierce, and the boat was seen no inore. “Yes."

"There's a storm brewing sir-a nor'easter."

CHAPTER XIII. “That does not matter,” gloomily.

And how fared it the wbile with Natha“Well, I'm sure you're welcome to the lic? While St. Maur was tossing in his boat, sir; but I'd advise you not to ven- boat on the stormy bay, gazing back so ture on the bay to-night.”

Lopelessly at the shore from which he was speeding, Marie had cloged the shutters, Lulled by the sound of the ocean's wind and drawn the curtains of her mistress's on the shutters, Nathalie threw herself on dressing-room, and departed therefrom on her bed, still dressed, and, in spite of a tiptoe, so afraid was she of disturbing the dull gnawing pain, born perhaps of Ruby's reclining figure on a low sofa by the fire, sorrow, she fell asleep. with closed eyes and drooping lashes.

She slept an hour. What was it that But Nathalie did not sleep-far from it. aroused her? Not the wind, surely; not She rose up after Marie had gone, and the storm beating against the casement? went to the window, sat down there, rest- Nathalie started up with a piercing cry, ing her head on her folded hands, and lis- gasping for breath. The lamp had gone tening to the wind and rain outside. The out, and the room was full of a dense darkevents of the day had been so startling, ness, surging thick around her, like waves and so strange withal, that, as yet, she

of the sea-choking her, stilling her breath could hardly comprehend thcm, only as a on her lips ! tired child knows that it has found rest; She flew to the door, and threw it wide only as we think of some whirlpool es- open. What a sight was there! The whole caped. A few grateful tears forced their dark length of the gallery, with its rare way from under the drooping eyelids, a tapestry, its paintings, its black oak panelnewborn thrill of youth, and hope, and ling, was wrapped in a sheet of blood-red thanksgiving bad stirred her numbed

crackling flame. Along the broad winding heart into life again-that was all.

stairway a thousand forked and red-hot Of Jobn Calvert's share in her deliver

tongues of fire were licking up the carving ance, she thought incessantly. Why had and gilding, and creeping with hisses along he thus come to save her from her fate ?

the wall, cutting off all hope of escape Why had he pursued the mystery and the down those broad stairs. Somewhere bewrong to the root for her sake? What yond that surging sea, over its roar, as in a could she now be to him? O weak heart!

dream, Nathalie heard the sound of voices Nothing, nothing-she repeated to herself and of shouting; then the black smoke, a thousand times. Had he not deceived lifted for a moment by some gust of wind, her? Was he not the betrothed-the wed- closed slowly in once more, and the hot ded husband, perhaps, of Rose Galbraith ? fire leaped after, and thrusting forth their She had that in her hand even then which hands at Nathalie, they drove her, shudcould convict him; she reread it again dering, back into her chamber, slowly lickwith a flusbed check and curling lip—that ing up her footsteps as she went. false letter to Felix Carleton.

In that terrible hour there was not a The door of the dressing-room opened thought of self in the girl's brave heart. softly, and Ruby Hendee came in—a poor Its first cry was for Ruby, for the servants, pale little shape, with all the life and color and, more than all these, for the maniac faded out of the small pinched face. She Hagar. Were they all aroused ? Could knelt at Nathalie's side, and looked wist- they be saved ? She sprung to the window fully, tearlessly into her face.

and threw it wide open. O that dizzy de"Are you glad, Nathalie ?” in a whisper. scent! With the hot flame at her shoulder, “Glad !-glad that I have escaped such pursuing her with not an instant's reprieve, a doom ?”

how could she ever make it? Yet it was “What will they do with him ?”'

hard to die so. She was young, and life lo “I do not know."

the young is always beautiful. The door of "How beautiful she is his wife! You her dressing-room stood open-there was a will be happy now, darling? You will for- refuge for a moment more, she flew through get him and his wickedness ?”

it, closing it behind her, and met Marie in Yes,” was the dreamy answer.

her nightdress on the threshold, white * But I,” said Ruby, flinging her arms with terror. op with a sudden passionate cry, “I loved O mon Dicu! mon Dieu!" she shrieked, him!”

“the house is on fire! Mademoiselle, we It was only one life wrecked forever- are lost!" only a new version of a story as old as the “Come,” cried Nathalie, drawing her hills. More would follow to blot it out to- away, “there is a back staircase across the morrow. So the world goes !

gallery-the fire may not have reached it."

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“Ah, how can we cross the gallery ?” where behind them, sent out a terrible sighed the poor little French maid. “See, warning. Leaping at a bound, a narrow mademoiselle, see wbat I bave found !" cbasm of fire which intervened betwixt.

She thrust into Nathalie's hand some- them and a door just fallen from its redthing small, and round, and glittering. hot hinges, Nathalie saw that they stood Even in that moment of deadly peril, Nath- in Hagar St. Maur's chamber, in the black alie recognized it with a cry. It was John and gold roon, on which she was looking Calvert's lost engagement ring.

her last forever. Jolin Calvert shivered at "Marie, where did you find this ?” a blow the glass door opening upon the

“I moved a drawer yonder by the win- balcony. Wind and rain dashed in. dow, mademoiselle, after you fell asleep. “Quick!" he cried, holding out his arms It lay beneath it. Ah, we can never es- towards her, with a face that was terrible; cape! We can never cross the gallery-we “the walls are falling !" must die."

One wild cry that might have pierced Not then. Unconscious of what she did, the heavens, as to and fro swayed the huge in the terror and bewilderment of the mo- framework of the burning roof and wall; ment, Nathalie slipped John Calvert's ring then, blindly into the black space, sprang to its lost place on her finger, and fairly Nathalie towards those arms; close as dragging Marie after her, rushed out into death they clasped her; then, a crash, a the burning gallery. It was her last hope pall, like midnight, settling slowly down, of escape.

and Nathalie knew uo more. How far she had proceeded-how many The prophecy of Hendee was fulfilled ! steps she had gained in the thick smoke she never knew. No staircase could be In a low room, with whitewashed walls found. Groping blindly with her white and bright chintz curtains, Nathalie Lerhands-hearing Marie's shrill cries on all mond next opened her brown eyes to the sides, as it seemed, and the roaring of the light of day. There was morning sunshine fire, Nathalie grew bewildered. She was on the floor, and a pleasant sound of bees stified by the hot air, terrified by the humning in some vines outside, and smoke and flame girding her closer and through the parted chintz curtains she saw closer in. Light and sense reeled.

the blue glimmer of the sea, rippling and “Marie! Marie !" she cried aloud in dancing in the sun, as calmly as if no anguish.

storm had ever swept it. Ruby Hendee Swift as a flash of thought, something. rose up from the foot of the couch on leaped forward, cleaving the cloud in which she was lying, and came to her side. which they stood enveloped. She was lift- There were traces of tears on the pale ed from her feet. Some heavy garinent cheeks and round violet eyes. was thrown about her, and an arm, strong “Nathalie, darling,” she said, bending and stout as iron, hurried her breathlessly over her, are you better?" forward.

“ Better!" answered Nathalie, “I have “ Cling to me, Nathalie !" said a deep not been ill." voice in her ear; “cling to me!"

“You were stunned by some portion of For life or death! Everything else for a the falling wall, just as John Calvert moment was forgotten. They had reached leaped with you from the balcony. His some passage now, for a draft of fresh air

arin was terribly crushed.” blew upon her. The stout arm withheld Natbalie raised herself up. its hold, and, Nathalie, tearing the cover- “ Where is hie?” she said. ing from her face, looked up into another “Here-with us all, waiting to see you." face bending above her, smoke-begrimmed "And Hagar, and Mrs. Roberts, and and haggard, but still the face of John Marie ?" Calvert.

“Safe. Marie is mourning for nothing “ The back staircase," she cried,

but the loss of her black curls. Mrs. Robwe not escape by it?"

erts has gone to the Fields. Nathalie, St. “ Great God! it has fallen!"

Maur is dead!" “O, must we die ?” said Nathalie.

“Dead! When-how did he die ?” He caught her to him in passionate de- “ He was drowned,” the poor pained litspair. The crash of burning timbers some- tle voice went on, hurriedly. “ They found



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the body this morning on the shore. He sunlight, and one bandaged arm lying in a started for Coltonsleigh last night, and the sling at his side. He heard her light footboat was upset in the storm. O Nathalie, step, and started up quickly. we can all forgive him now !”

“Nathalie!” he cried, holding out to Neither spoke for a long time. Natha- her the one sound arm. lie's lashes were heavy with tears; that which he might have craved in vain while Love forgives and forgets. Mortal enliving, out of her divine woman's pity she mities cease with that which is mortal. gave him freely now. Ruby came at last, Death cancels all this side of the grave! and knelt down beside her, and taid her and looking up through tears, into John curly golden bead in ber lap.

Calvert's true eyes that hour, with the sun"Ah, Nathalie, the old Hall is gone! Do shine falling over them, Nathalie read you remember that I used to ask you to there a shadowy prophecy of-light born build a villa like St. Maur's? You will, out of darkness-a love, a truth, a devo

Darling, do you think you have tion, that, in all the years before her, was quite forgiven him ?”'

never, never to sail! “Yes, Ruby.”

Long before the summer flowers faded “But if you koew he had wronged you as there were orange blossoms tangled again you had never dreamed-that he had stooped in Nathalie's tresses. A new Hall stands to falsehood and treachery; could you for- to-day on the site of the old one. Somegive himn then? I have been talking with times you may see there, if you will, a pale poor Calvert this morning, and I think he golden-haired woman, old beyond her wrote you letters, and sent the ring, and years, walking its terracos, perhaps, with not one knew of it but St. Maur, Nathalie.” the little dark-eyed heir-one whom all lit

“ But Rose Galbraith” gasped Natha- tle children love, one who goes upon her lie, in wild bewilderment.

daily way alone, patient, and sad, and still. Rose married Felix Carleton long ago, That is Ruby Hendee. and went abroad," said Ruby, quickly. Across the budding beech woods, in the

Was Nathalie awake or dreaming? She grand villa at the Fields, there is another clutched at the darkest of all the skeletons woman, always closely attended, goldenin her closet.

haired, too, and gloriously beautiful, “ That letter to Felix Carleton-did he watched over by a tall Scotch woman, with not write that ?" she cried.

a strong face and keen eyes, whom they Ruby's face was half smile half tears. call Alsie. You will see them in the great

“I am afraid not, Nathalie. He says it rooms, or the garden paths, where, all day is a forgery. Some one must have slipped long, sometimes, the fair-haired one will it into the cabinet unperceived. Darling, wander listlessly, counting the petals of if you had only read the letter he sent by flowers, or staring vacantly into space. Alsie !"

That is Hagar St. Maur. 0, the regret, the rapture, the penitence, In the yard of that gray stone church mingled together in that moment! How upon the hill there is a grave, swept by the the scales fell from her eyes! How blind sea winds, with a shaft of marble at its she had been! How recreant to her trust! head, a name and a date. It is carefully The royal head fell down on Ruby's enclosed. Shrubbery has been planted shoulder.

around it—daisies creep around the stone; "And I owe him my life now !" she mur- and there, silently under the Heaven that mured. “0, will be ever forgive me ?” avenges and forgives, lies one, heedless

Yes,” said Ruby, tearfully, “he will alike now of the lives he has blessed or forgive you, and you will be happy!" blighted-St. Maur!

So, by-and-by, Nathalie went down to him, with white lids adroop, and tremulous Neglect the duty of an hour, and it is an red lips proudly penitent, and on her hand hour irretrievably lost. Crowd this nega

lected duty into the next hour, and you He was sitting in a low easy-chair, in crowd out of it its own appointed task, and the little cottage whither they had been some task out of life. A lost hour is lost carried; his eyes closed, lhe pale face, beyond recall. Time not only lapses unstrong even in its suffering, turned to the improved, but it works changes.

his ring.



CHAPTER 1. ONE narrow purple-stained window, swung balfway round on its centre to let in the air, looked as if it opened right among boughs and green leaves, for behind the church the tall elms grew. Jean Argyle, raising her head after her first silent prayer, glanced over that way at once for a look out into the treetops. She was earlier than the rest of the choir that morning, although the bell had almost done ringing when she passed up the stairs and through the little side door into the gallery. Only the organist Mr. Siebert was there, and he did not notice her, for his head was resting dreamily on his hand. All the influences from without were holy and quieting as she looked up among the tall columns and arches, and over at the wonderful great chancel window, and then again at her own favorite purple one, with the cool, dark, silent depths of follage behind.

The people were gathering below, the bell ceased ringing, and the organist began a low sweet voluntary. Jean heard Charlio Thrale, the tenor, coine quietly to his place, and a moment after some one stumbled over a footstool; that was Orrin Drew, she was sure, but she never turned her head until a graceful little figure in tuttering muslin knelt for an instant beside her, and then, rising, whispered briskly in her ear:

“See, Jean; see those bonnet-strings ! Aren't they lovely? Just the new shade.”

“Where ?) asked Jean, looking over the rail.

“Those pink ones. Too lovely for anything! Where do you suppose she got them !

What's the matter, Clem ?" inquired Orrin Drew, in a loud whisper.

“ Hush! Dr. Rawley is looking up at us."

The voluntary ceased, and the rector's voice followed :

“ The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.”

The color tew into Jean's face. Sie rose hurriedly with the rest, and opened her prayer-book. Clementina Drew shook out the folds of her lace handkerchief, and

contentedly resumed her examination of bonnets, but Jean felt a little uneasy and abashed, as if she had somehow disturbed the harmony of things.

“And yet I did not whisper very much," she thought to herself; “but it always spoils everything. I'll begin Sunday over again with the Venite, and not look at. Clem after that."

Whoever in the congregation had glanced up at the singers during the next chant, might only have noticed how bright and young the faces were of the two girls standing side by side, never guessing how thoughtlessly and lightly the clear soprano ran up the high notes, nor how honestly and earnestly the alto sang.

Clementina Drew and Jean Argyle were cousins, of the same age, with the same pursuits, and interested in the same things, but with a difference. Jean was very sensitive to outer intluences; a picture, a tree could set her soul in tune, and a whisper could jar it again, but Clementina was never moved by such things. Jean acted as yet much more from impulse than principle, and so did Clementina, but the latter's impulses were inore purely thoughtless.

When Mr. Siebert formed his choir, assisted by the advice of Mrs. Marlowe, the rector's sister, he told that lady he hoped his singers might have souls to interpret music loftily and truly. She comprehended him, and arched her fine eyebrows a little, as she answered:

“ They have souls, and they have musical voices, but whether these help each other is more than I can say, Mr. Siebert. Your soprano, I imagine, will airily elude your suggestions, bu Jean Argyle's fancy is like morning-glory vines, very easily trained; give it but the least clue to hold by, and you'll find a soul there to interpret, I think." “And my young

men ?" asked Mr. Siebert..

Uuwrought material. Try your hand upon it. You have our four best voices; do what you can with them."

So at the first relearsal he told them they were to sing the Benedicite, and said

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