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ing; how could she ever have thought would congratulate them both with a smilthem sweet? thought poor Katharine; and ing face. Yes, they would marry, and she the gay tantalizing strains of music would should go on living for years and years, find their way even down this long wind- perhaps, with the world grown so black, ing path. Still, it was better here than on and that bitter, bitter pain at her heart. the piazza, where somebody would be sure The music sounded like a wail; a chill to find her, and to stay in the drawing wind had arisen, and made a melancholy room, after she had heard that snatch of sound in the rosevines. Katharine shivthe conversation between her stepinother ered, whether with the cold or the thought and Mr. Waldron, was impossible. She of the long dreary years that stretched behad been sitting alone in the shadow of a fore her, she could hardly tell. Suddenly curtain, to rest between the dances, Dick something white in the midst of the red Bentley, who had persisted in being her rose petals which the wind was whirling shadow all the evening, having gone for a about her feet, caught her eye. Something glass of water for her.
prompted her to pick it up; it was a care“Yes, she is rather pretty," she heard, fully folded note. in her stepmother's soft languid voice, She opened it, half mechanically, think“but only a child, as you say. I think, ing that nothing could be of any interest to considering that, Mr. Waldron, you are a
her now. little too severe upon her rude and awk
“MY DEAREST MARION," —Katharine's ward ways. She may improve.”
heart gave a sudden leap; her stepmother's Dick Bentley had appeared with the wa
name was Marion,-"You do not show ter just then, and she did not hear Mr. Waldron's reply. She was so thankful to
that ardent pleasure at seeing me again Dick! She could not have borne any more.
which I had fondly hoped you would feel.
Is the old love quite dead? I do not see It was evident that Mr. Waldron had been “ severe" upon her, and her stepmother
why my presence here should cause you was defending her. She smiled upon Dick
any alarm, now that your husband is dead. with such unusual sweetness that he did
Are you afraid of that doll-faced child, not notice the quivering lips, and began to
your husband's daughter, who is forever think his star was in the ascendancy. Then
in the way? I should think you might be she had sent him with some trifling mes
able to manage her. I must see you. If
you have any love for me left, you cannot sage to Tom, and escaped to the piazza. He-Mr. Waldron-could not even come
deny ine that privilege; but I am perfectly
willing that our interviews should be sub to seek her for the dance she had promised him without her stepmother! He had
rosa, if it is more agreeable to you. What
ever you may be to me, I am been hanging about her all the evening.
“ Yours always,
J. H. W." This was what his constant visits all the summer bad meant. How blind she had The note had evidently been blown been !-what a fool! What reason had she about by winds and soaked by rains; it was for that foolish fancy she had indulged with difficulty that Katharine deciphered that he cared for her? Only soft lingering it in the moonlight. It was dated May 3d. glances, and low tender tones; but so soft, “ J. H. W.-John H. Waldron and 80 tender! Did he think she, with her written six weeks ago, when he first came eighteen years, so much a child as to be re- here!" gardless of them? No! he had been amus- Katharine grew faint and sick. She had ing himself with her; he liked to see her not known how much of hope had, after flush and tremble under his gaze; perhaps all, been mingled with her jealous fears. he had even spoken to her stepmother But this was certainty-dreadful, bitter about it, and they had laughed together at certainty, with no room for a shadow of her folly.
hope. And they had been lovers before; That thought aroused Katharine's pride, it was nothing new; and he whom she had and kept back the flood of hot tears that believed the soul of goodness and honor rushed to her eyes.
had written that letter! Surely, life was He should never know that she had cared too hard a thing to bear! for him! They would tell her soon that A step sounded suddenly on the path-a he was to marry her stepmother, and she hurried eager step. Katharine had scarce
ly time to thrust the letter into her pocket anxiety to escape from his raptures; but it when Dick Bentley stood beside her. was late, and her absence must have been
The sight of Dick's. honest anxious noticed long ago. That was a reason for face was a relief to her; she had been so it. The guests were fast dispersing when afraid it was that other one!
they reached the house, much to Katha“I have been searching everywhere for
rine's relief. you. Why did you run away? You're Her stepmother chided her playfully for not ill or anything? You look so awfully running away. Mr. Waldron stood apart, white !'' said honest Dick.
looking pale and grave. Had not his woo“O no. I was tired, and wanted to get ing prospered, after all? Katharine wonout of the crowd; that is all. The moon- dered. Her stepmother expressed the right always gives one a sort of ghostly greatest delight at the engagement, which look, you know.”
Dick insisted upon announcing the next Katharine tried to speak gayly, but the day. voice sounded so unlike her own that it “It is just what I have been planning startled her.
and hoping for, Katharine dear," she said. But Dick was not suspicious, and seemed “Mr. Bentley is altogether the most eligiperfectly satisfied with her explanation. ble young man of our acquaintance, and
“I can't go back, I don't want to go in you are so perfectly suited to each other in quite yet, it is so warm there, and I am age and temperament !" tired of dancing. Let us just walk to the Her brother Tom was not so enthusiastic. end of this path and back," said Katharine, • If you like him, it's all right, of course, thoughtless of what people would say, Katty, and Dick is a right-down good felthoughtless of poor Dick, and the declara- low. He isn't what you could call briltion which she had been trying for the last liant, you know; we used to think him a week to prevent him from making.
little-well, softish. I thought-it's none Dick, thanking his ars for the opportu- of my business—but I thought there was nity, poured his love tale into Katharine's something between you and Waldron.” ears before they had reached the end of Katharine was thankful that her stepthe path. Very fervent and passionate it mother interrupted them just then; she was, but it fell, at first, upon almost utter- could not help flushing painfully under ly unheeding ears. Suddenly a thought Tom's keen eyes. flushed across Katharine's mind-here was Mr. Waldron's estate, an old family a way of escape! They could not laugh at homestead, to which he had lately fallen her or pity her, and she could go away, heir, adjoined theirs, and since he had first quite away from them both !
come there in the spring, he had been a “I don't love you, Dick, you know. I daily visitor, but now for nearly a week he don't think I ever could; but I like you did not come. Could her stepmother have very much. If you are sure you can be refused him ? Katharine wondered. But content with that, I will be your wife; if that did not seem likely, for she was eviyou'll take me away, Dick, if you'll only dently disturbed by his absence, and she take me away, and never bring me back vented her ill-nature upon Katharine, as if here!"
she were the cause of it. Katharine was If it was not quite the answer that Dick puzzled; but as she had resolved, dutifully, could have wished for, it was even better to put him quite out of her mind, she than he bad hoped to have. He was very would not allow herself to think about it. easy-going and matter-of-fact, and if Kath- She had determined to give the place in arine's manner did seem a little strange, he her heart that he held, as was her bounden reflected that there was no understand- duty, to poor, blundering, impetuous, afing girls;" as for her desire to go away, fectionate Dick, who followed her about which surprised and puzzled him for a mo- like a spaniel, and drove her almost to ment, that might be attributed to her step- frenzy with his demonstrations of affecmnother; stepmothers were always ogresses, tion. He had come to the Cedars to spend in books, at least, and this one, though she the summer, as Tom's guest, and there was seemed so amiable and lovely, might be no no probability of his shortening his visit, exception to the rule.
under existing circumstances. Unless she He was a little chilled by Katharine's should run away or drown herself in we
river, there was no way to escape from him The “ melancholy days” had come, and for a single day. And one or the other dead leaves were whirling in the garden Katharine was sometimes tempted to do. paths, where the rose petals had been,
* If he would only go away, I might when, ove dreary afternoon, Katharine learn to care for him-possibly-but I took her way down to that rustic arbor, never can while he stays here!" she said, where, since that June night, she had to herself, despairingly, only a week after never been. She had avoided it carefully, she had given him her promise.
but now something drew her there. As She had escaped into the garden, while she stepped inside, she was startled by the Tom-good, keen-sighted fellow-had pin- sight of a figure half reclining on one of ned Dick down to a game of billiards. In the rustic seats-a man-she hardly knew all that week she had not once seen Mr. by his appearance whether to call him a Waldron. Was it any wonder that shie gentleman or not—who lose to his feet at could not keep back the flush that rose to sight of her, and made her a most elaboher face as a turn in the garden path re- rate bow. He was dressed like a gentlevealed him to her gaze? She tried hard to man, but his clothes were worn and shabgreet him as she would have greeted an or- by, and there was something wild in his dinary friend-Dick, for instance—and he manner, and a strange glitter in his eye. was so grave and composed, that after the Katharine's impulse was to fly, but before first moment it grew easy. He had been she could carry it out, he had put his hand "busy," was the only excuse he gave for on her shoulder, holding her tirinly. She bis absence, when Katharine reminded tried to cry for help, but terror made her him of it.
voice fail utterly. Besides, at such a dis“And you haven't congratulated ne tance from the house, who could hear ber? yet, Mr. Waldron," something prompted she thought, despairingly. Katharine to say.
“You are my lovely litlle niece, whose He grew paler, and looked away from her. acquaintance I have long been wishing to
“I hope you may be very happy," he an- make; but my charming sister, madam, swered, coldly and gravely.
your mother, has denied me that felicity. And then he passed her with a stiff bow, She has also, of late, fallen into the danand went on towards the house.
gerous error of refusing to recognize me And Katharine went on, with her heart herself-me, her only brother, a gentlebeating wildly. What did it mean? Sure- man of birth and education, as you may ly, only very deep feeling could make a easily see, merely because misfortune has strong man like him change color. What overtaken me! Ah, well! perhaps it may if she had not been mistaken-what if he be because she suspects that if misfortune had really loved her? But the next mo- had not overtaken me, that misfortune ment she thought of the letter, the leart- which, in this ill-regulated mundane chilling proof, that left no room for doubt. sphere, alas! befalls often the noblest and
The summer days slipped slowly by. Mr. most gifted—I refer to the want of filthy Waldron was only an infrequent visitor, lucre-I should never have forced myself and between her stepmother's ill-nature into her charming society. We had one aud Dick's excessive devotion, Katharine's little interview here, in which she belife was growing unendurable. In the first stowed upon me a meagre pittance out of cool days of October, Dick went-not so her abundant store, but she never condehappy a lover as he had been on that June scended to reply to any of the notes which night when he had won Katharine's prom- I told her I should deposit here for her.” ise. It was too evident that his captive Katharine almost forgot her terror of was tugging at her chains. She was so this strange being-who she began to suscold and capricious that his temper was pect had been drinking-in the light that orely tried. Even his favorite maxim, broke upon her mind. “J. II. W?" She " there's no understanding girls,” failed to remembered having heard that her stepsatisfy him. If he were only a little less mother had a brother, John H. Wilton, in love, if she were only a little less pretty but she had understood that he had died and bewitching, he would give her back her freedom! he said to himself, a dozen Now, you see, I am getting desperate; Upes.
it is very sad that gisted beings should be
disturbed by these paltry needs, but I must rive, with a shuddering gasp. “Is he have money! My dear, as your beautiful -dead ?" step-mamma proves obdurate, I must ask “O no, dear," said Tom, cheerfully. you for a small loan, as a token of regard, “Only a rather agly wound. The doctor your watch, for instance, and what other says he'll pull through it if he doesn't get trinkets you may have about you; and be- too weak from loss of blood. I don't fore I consent to deprive myself of your know what might have happened, if I had delightful society, I want your promise- not got there just in time. That vagabond which I know you will keep-to bring me creature was perfectly desperate." to this place, this evening, a small addition “I-I am going to him—to Mr. Waldron, to your loan in the shape of money."
Tom! I must see him!” "I will promise to bring you the money, “Katharine, aren't you ashamed of if you will let me go, and let me keep my yourself? Have you lost all sense of prowatch; it was my own mother's, and I priety?" said her stepinother, tartly, reprize it more than anything else in tbe covering and sitting up with amazing sudworld !” said poor Katharine.
denness. “My dearest niece! I cannot express my
“ You'll take me, Tom? I must go!" grief at being obliged to insist; but when said Katharine. one has been so buffeted about by fate as Why, yes, Katty, if you must go,” said your unfortunate uncle has been, he grows Tom, who would have gone through fire cautious—and this represents so much of and flood for her, without a moment's hesthe vulgar metal which is necessary to one!” itation.
He had taken the watch from her belt, Katharine did not mind the wondering looking with greedy eyes at its rich crust- looks of Mr. Waldron's housekeeper or sering of jewels, and was coolly transferring it vants. She had forgotten everything but to his own pocket, when poor Katharine, her love and his danger. scarcely knowing what she did, uttered a How his eyes lighted at sight of her! faint cry of “help! help!”
“My darling! I have been fancying you It was answered. They both heard a were here. I knew you would come !-and rapid step.
you look as I haven't seen you since that "O Mr. Waldron! help me! save me !" night-don't you know? the night of the cried Katharine, as his face looked in at party, when she told me that you loved the door.
young Bentley." With one strong arm he freed Katharine The voice was very faint and feeble, but from the man's grasp, but the next mo
Katharine heard every word, and her heart ment Katharine heard the report of a pis filled with a great joy. tol, saw Mr. Waldron reel, then fall heav- “She told you that? It wasn't-it isn't ily to the floor. Then everything whirled
You around her, and grew dark, and she knew
There is no need of telling more. nothing more.
can already hear wedding-bells, and see a When she came to herself, she was at
vision of white favors. home, with Tom's anxious face bending And poor Dick? Well, Dick is already over her, and her stepmother on a sofa,
engaged to a dashing little belle, who is in violent hysterics, with three maids at
very much in love with him, and he tells tending her.
Tom he has decided that it is better to “O Tom! Mr. Waldron ?" said Katha
have the excess of love on that side.
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AY ONLY CHILD.
Mrs. Markham thrust him aside with an “O dear, Freddy, you'll spoil my dress !”
“I love you!" persisted the naughty boy, “Yes, I will! Yes, you shall! Give it again attempting to caress her. to me, give it to me, give it to me!" And Mrs. Markham hastily summoned Bridget young Fred Markham seized with both to take him away. hands the dish of preserve which his moth- " Wash him from head to foot," she er was endeavoring gently to remove from said, while Bridget surveyed the young him, and succeeded in overturning the reprobate with anything but an approving contents upon the table-cover, much to his glance. own delight and his mother's dismay. “Go’way!" he screamed, disappearing Spreading itself into a sweet and limpid under the table. lake, the preserve ambitiously branched Bridget, unmindful, dragged him thence, thence into a thousand little streams that and, struggling and screaming, bore him ran ad libitum, threatening Mrs. Markham's off, silk and Fred's new jacket.
“There's no need of being rough, Brid“I've half a mind to box your ears, get," called Mrs. Markham after them. Freddy,” said his mother, in a voice by no Do not hurt the dear child." means alarming to the youthful offender, Rough is it that I am ?" growled who devoted himself to licking up the pre- Bridget. “ Saints preserve us !" serve, then to licking his fingers and his • They shan't!" screamed Fred; "they plate, both of which he wiped unreservedly can't! The preserve is all gone.” on his hair; after which pleasing perform- Bridget's reply was in washing off his ance, he pushed aside his chair and pre- preservation to the best of her ability, after cipitated himself into his mother's arms which she began to comb his hair. with anything but a show of sweetness, Fred uttered a shriek of dismay not save so far as his hair was stiffly standing wholly uncalled for. Bridget persisted reon end, and his face ridiculously daubed. lentlessly in her task. Fred began to kick He was, no doubt, a dear sweet child, but and to scream, and presently the door