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The sunny South. (Atlanta, Ga.) 1875-1907, October 09, 1875, Image 1

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I f [For The Sunny South.] HWEET AXD FLEET. BY FLOY FAY. “Joy, who*te hand u ever at hi* lip*, iiidding adiru.** What ia joy but the trauHient glory That blooms on a morn of May? The blue and golden brightness Ere ’tis marred by a shade of gray ? Joy is a quivering sunbeam Gilding a mountain stream, Then flitting away, while the shadows But darker, gloomier seem. Where the ripples dance no longer. But creep by the cold, gray stone. The fitful ray has vanished, To gild a realm unknown. Joy is a strain of music, Bearing us on its crest As a flower is borne for a moment On a billow’s heaving breast; Then down sinks wave and blossom. Of grace and bloom bereft, Ami only a mocking bubble On the water's brim is left. Ever the grief-cloud rises, And shrouds from mortal sight The light of the shining heavens And the mountain’s rosy height; But a rift is seeu in the vapor. Made by the breath of prayer, And through it a star is shining Eternally calm and fair. [Written for The Sunny South.] FIGHTING AGAINST FATE; OR, Alone in the World. BY DIARY K. BRYAN. CHAPTER L It grew lute; eleven chimes from the silver- toned time-piece down stairs had just echoed through the silent house. Yictorine, who. sit- I ting on the rug at Miss Grant's feet, had been puzzling over a mythological enigma, had kissed the governess in good-night, and gone to her I room, which joined Mi«j Grant’s, and was shared \j> '• -V a’- .:*g » F • •••■ had not retired, as the governess knew by the light from her room that still shone through the glass transom above the door, and by the scratch ing sound of her rapid pen, which could be heard in the profound hush of the hour. Es ther was writing again —writing, without doubt, for that New York story-paper which paid her scantily indeed for those brilliantly imaginative, but carelessly and faultily constructed stories which she secretly sent for its pages. Since that discovery which Miss Grant had made during Esther’s illness, of the secret work in which the girl was engaged, there had been no mention of it between her and her reserved, abstracted pupil. Knowing well that the secret had become liers through no willingness on Esther's part, she felt reluctant to allude to it after the girl’s recovery. But she ceased to won der how it was that she thus wasted health and leisure, the hours that young girls love to de vote to pretty feminine occupations, or to lavish in indolent, anticipative dreams—why it was that Esther Craig chose to spend these in work which (performed in haste and anonymously) neither brought her fame nor as much money as would be thought a sufficient object to the step-daughter of the wealthy Col. Haywood, who kept her wants supplied for his own credit’s sake. Miss Grant felt convinced, however, that the money Esther received was the object of her writing, and that not only this, but the greater part of the sum allowed her quarterly by her step-father, with which to purchase clothes, went to another than herself. She knew that the fifty-dollar remittance which, during her ill ness, Esther had looked for so anxiously from the New York journal, and had received with such trembling eagerness) had been sealed up by her immediately as she lay upon her pillow, and sent off to that mysterious correspondent, of whom Miss Grant could find out nothing, save that the initials of his name were (probably) H. B. To the knowledge of who he was, and in what way he was linked with the life of Esther Craig, the governess could gain no clue. She ' had made close—though cautious and seemingly , inadvertent—inquiry into the life of her myste- rious pupil, and had f®und that life to have been strictly secluded—to have been spent from her sixth year (at which time she had come here with her sad-eyed Italian mother) -within sight of the Haywood Lodge, and to have been shared by no intimates, and by hardly an acquaintance out side the family circle. As a child, and espe cially after her mother's death, she had clung with childish devotion and dependence to John Haywood, the son of her step-father. Indeed, it was to John that the mother on her death-bed had commended the little orphan, alien child she was leaving behind her. It was to his care she commended Esther, rather than to that of her own son, Willard Craig, who, with all his bril liant gifts, was erratic and reckless, though so fascinating, bright and daring, that he won all hearts save that of his step-father. Esther, his sister, loved him passionately despite his faults, and warmly espoused his cause against Col. Haywood, who hated him, and only gave him opportunities of education through* fear of be ing censured by that “society” which was his idol and his tyrant. He secretly exulted when the boy, whose ruin he had foretold, came back to Haywood expelled from the college where he had distinguished himself at the beginning of the course, and won a name as a youth of most bril liant promise. Returning home under a cloud, he had been scornfully received by his step-father and taunted covertly with his disgrace, his pov erty and dependence—taunts which, while they embittered him, had caused his sister to devote herself yet more passionately to this reckless young genius whose ruin her love could not avbrt. She was a changed being after the final wreck that befel him ; after his ignominious ex posure as a forger of his step-father's name to a check: he had drawn, followed by his arrest and conviction through Col. Haywood's activ- ' ity—his escape and flight, and the news of his SsA death from yellow fever, while trying to hide \FPfrom justice in the heart of a pestilence-stricken Scene In Chapter IV.—Next AVeek. city. After this, Esther Craig, so the governess bad learned, had wholly changed from the shy, yet warm-hearted, impulsive child, tothesilent, brooding, reserved girl, who moved apart from all, shunning sympathy and tenderness, with a shadow of pain and mystery darkening her brow, a lip that rarely smiled, and eyes that had an abstracted, stony look, that only relented (when alone) to the sweet influences of nature, or else to the caresses of Yictorine, her bright, frank-natured, affectionate little half-sister, the only fruit of Col. Haywood’s strange marriage with that “foreign singer woman,” as his out raged “society” characterized his second wife. Even from her true friend John -now Dr. Haywood - Esther shrank with a morbid sensi tiveness that troubled him sadly even in the midst of his present happiness as the betrothed ! lover—the husband soon to be—of his lovely S cousin, Anna Leigh, an orphan heiress and his father’s ward. Miss Grant’s mind went rapidly over these circumstances in the life of Esther Craig, as she sat trying to solve the mystery that enfolded her gifted pupil, and that had culminated in last night's strange occurrence, her secretly leav ing the house after midnight, and returning hours after, gliding up to her room like a ghost, with only the trail of her dew-damp garments to startle the wakeful governess, and cause her to open the door as the stealthy figure was passing along the corridor. Through the rest of the night, Miss Grant had lain awake, excitedly thinking of that vision which had confronted her as she threw open the door—that white face, with the wild, wet eyes and disheveled hair. It seemed the face of a somnambulist. For a second, the governess be lieved it to be so, but the startled glance, quickly succeeded by a half-defiant, half-appealing look, left no room to doubt the girl’s consciousness, though no word escaped her lips as she hur riedly glided past, reached her room, and shut and locked it swiftly but noiselessly. The next morning she was in her usual place in the school-room, her recitations perfect, her face calm, except for an occasional wild glance that she threw around her. Not once did she give Miss Grant an opportunity to speak of the last night’s occurrence. She avoided her per sistently, though with no show of doing so. Once, when she was alone in the music-room, and (her practice hour being over) had glided into those strange, beautiful improvisations, played with the delicate touch she had learned from her mother. Miss Grant rose, thinking it would be her best opportunity to seek the ex-' planation she desired, but as she opened the door the music ceased, and the musician, es caping through another door, glided swiftly down stairs. So the governess was forced to wait for a solu tion of the mystery, which she connected in her mind with "that unknown correspondent to whom Esther wrote and to whom she had sent the money received for her story. Could he have come into the neighborhood, and be now haunting around the premises, seeking stolen interviews with Esther Craig ? Was it to meet him that she had crept out under cover of the darkness ? She, this girl, whose proud, abstracted face and intellectual nature had won the respect of her governess in spite of a prejudice con ceived at first because of her cold, ungenial, almost sullen seeming. Could she stoop to de ception and intrigue ? The governess could not believe it. Yet she recalled two circumstances that puzzled and troubled her. She remem bered Esther’s agitation upon breaking open her letter at the breakfast-table a few mornings be fore, and unrolling the circus hand-bill it con tained: her anxiety to keep it from Victorina’s eves an 1 grasp until she hal dexterously torn off a strip of pencil writing from the margin. Could it be that this mysterious friend or lover was in any way associated wit 1 the circus troupe now in the neighboring town? That he was some dissipated, worthless character Miss Grant was almost sure, else he would not accept—per- j haps solicit—the earnings of a worn in —earnings acquired (as he probably guessed) at the expense ; of health, rest, and an open, candid life. Another circumstance which recurred to the governess at this moment had happened the day i before, as she was coming from the bick-garden. Upon suddenly turning an single of the path, j hidden by a clump of my rill- bushes, she had : seen Esther standing un ler the back window of ; the kitchen, from which Aunt Jane, the negro ; cook, was leaning, and speaking to her in a stealthy way. She had the glimpse of a small, | folded note, that was passed into Esther's hand and quickly thrust into her bosom. She then j remembered her finding out, daring Esther’s sickness, that she sent letters to the post-office secretly by the cook’s son, who worked in town, j Dwelling upon these circumstances perplexed and distressed her no little. She hardly knew j what was best for her to do. She was undecided I how to approach with words of suspicion a na- j ture so sensitive and proud as Esther's. She i had determined to wait, believing that to-night [ would bring further developments, which it was ! her duty to watch carefully before she made any exposure of what had happened. For the sake of Esther’s happiness and reputation, she shrank from going with it to Col. Haywood, who was disposed to think only evil of the step daughter he bitterly disliked, not only because her large, free nature was wholly foreign to his narrow, conventional one, but because she was the child of the young artist husband, whose memory he knew his wife had loved with a de votion she never gave to him, although, to save her babes from want, she had consented to marry him. That one passion—born of the grace, beauty and magical charm of t%,e Italian singer — was the only strong feelling Lol. Haywood had ever known, and it was mixed with mortification and self-reproach for having, as he mentally phrased it, lowered himself in the eyes of society by a marriage with her. To-night would probably bring further devel opments, mused the governess, so she sat per fectly still in the darkness, and listened for the 'sound of the light step that had before betrayed the girl’s departure from the house. But she heard nothing. The light still burned in Es- j ther’s chamber, though the sound of her rapid pen had ceased, and the room was quiet At length, the governess rose and knocked softly upon the door which opened into Esther’s room. There was no answer, and upon trying the door, she found it locked. There was an other door which opened upon the corridor, and to this Miss Grant made her way at once. She ’ found it slightly ajar, and after rapping upon it with no response, went in. The lamp was burning dimly. Yictorine lay soundly asleep in bed, but Esther was nowhere to be seen ! Without doubt, she had suspected that a watch would be put upon her movements, and had acted with double caution, not even clos ing the door, lest she should make a noise, and stealing down stairs as silently as an Indian. Troubled exceedingly, Mis* Grant spent the next two hours in walking up and down the back gallery, upon which her room opened, won dering what could be the meaning of this strange proceeding, and trying to decide what steps it , behooved her to take in the case. It was two o’clock. The moon had risen and its light lay upon the orchards and meadows that sloped away to the woods in the rear of Haywood Lodge. Through these, wound that foot-path to Melvin which the negroes, who used it most, called the “nigh cut to town,’’and which, passing through the orchar 1 and vineyard, took its course through the shady wood’s pasture and came into town at the foot of the suburban hill, upon which was perched Dr. Haywood’s pretty home to which he had given the name of “Bachelor’s Roost.” ’j As Miss Grant, pausing in her restless walk, stood with her hand upon the balustrade, look ing out upon the moonlit orchard, she caught sight of a gray shape in the misty distance which seemed to move. Watching it intently, she saw that it did move—that it was a woman’s figure, and that it was approaching the house. The next moment she knew the figure to be Esther's. As she came nearer, the governess saw that she moved languidly as if wearied out, or hopeless in mind. Once she stopped and pressed her hand upon her heart. As she ap proached the house, she scanned the outside of the building rapidly, and seemed to move with more caution. She did not turn her head, or she might have seen, as the go verness did, a tall man’s figure following her at a distance, and seeming to watch her movements closely, while remaining for the most part in the shadow. Miss Grant’s elevated position gave her a view of this figure that followed and watched Esther Craig. Just before she reached the house, he emerged from the shadow and stepped forth into full view, revealing the stiff, spare form and lean, closely- shaven face of Colonel Haywood. At this instant, Esther turned her head and caught sight of him standing motionless a few feet from her. She started back and involuntarily clasped her hands; then, hurrying forward, placed her foot upon the steps. “Don’t trouble yourself to fasten the door,” he called out to her in the measured, coldly-distinct tones that with him always indicated restrained wrath. This was all he said. She entered the house, and he followed after. Miss Grant heard Esther’s step, slow and spiritless, as if heavy with fatigne or hopelessness, as she passed on to her room. Shortly after, she caught the sound of a dry sob. soon stifled, but followed after an interval by a | long, quivering sigh that went to the heart of I the sympathizing governess. She foreboded that : morning would bring sharp trials to this girl, ^ whose genius, whose isolated orphanhood, and j whose unshared, mysterious sorrow had awak ened her deepest interest. “If Dr. Haywood were only here,” she thought, I as she tossed sleeplessly upon her pillow. “He is so true and kind, so calm and strong, he might exert some influence over Colonel Haywood; he might stand between Esther and the exposure and disgrace that will come to-morrow; he might even win her confidence and clear up the mys tery that will end in the poor child’s ruin.” But Dr. Haywood was away for an indefinite I time. A telegram had called him to a distant part of the state - to attend an intimate friend and college-mate who had been given over to die by his physicians. There was no one at his home of “ Bacheror’s Roost ” but his eccentric Bohe- mian friend and guest—Karl Werter. “ Friend to Dr. Haywood he is not—however friendly John, in his unsuspecting trustfulness, may consider him,” added Miss Grant, mentally. J And then, for a second, the thought occurred to . her, might it not be he—Karl Werter, with his handsome, * graceful person and his magnetic j charm of mind and manner—who was Esther’s secret lover and correspondent? But she im mediately remembered that Werter was the first to discover this mysterious connection; that it ! was he who had picked up the letter directed to H. B., as it had accidentally dropped from Es ther’s hand; it was he who had intimated that he knew her correspondent; and Miss Grant remem bered the unmistakable confusion and agitation of Esther on that occasion. She was sure that her aversion for Dr. Haywood’s brilliant guest— an aversion mingled, so it seemed to the govern ess, with fear—was too genuine to be assumed. No; Mr. Werter was not involved in the mys tery, though his keen, watchful eye had first detected its existence, and he had evidently pen etrated farther into it than Miss Grant had been able to do. Perhaps he held clues unknown to her. Evidently, he had some secret hold upon her which Miss Grant believed he was unprin cipled enough to try to use for his own ungen erous purposes. Her singular, changeful beauty, her rich gift of song, her genius, her peculiarly isolated positon, and above all, her reserve and avoidance of him, had excited his imagination, piqued his curiosity, and inflamed his passion to a degree that would have led him to pursue her with ardor had he not another object in view. There was other game at Haywood which the ne cessities of this handsome adventurer, rather than his inclinations, urged him to follow up in his own wily and insidious way. CHAPTER IL Miss Grant arose next morning with the feel ing that there was a crisis at hand. There seemed to be thunder in the air. Mr. Haywood’s coun tenance at the table, though studiously calm, indicated to her eye the shadow of the coming storm. She began her school programme with the restless feeling that made her move about the room and look and listen as though for something that would occur to break the routine of the day. At the recreation hour, Miss Leigh came into the room, as she often did, and stood by the teacher’s desk, looking at the flower pieces that Miss Grant had begun to paint. Victorine sat in the shaded window that commanded a par tial view of the approach to the honse. “Goodness!” she cried suddenly. “Yonder are the Birds of prey alighting at the gate —and from our carriage, too ! Papa must have seat it . for them.” • Wnat on earth no yau n- asked Miss Leigh. “The two Misses Bird-cousin Anna, don’t yon remember them ? Gaunt, tell old maids, with frost-and-vinegar faces, keen eyes and hooked, buzzard-beaked noses that are always scenting out scandal. Just come and look at them—all in black, as vultures ought to be. And see ! there hops out Madame Magpie—alias Mrs. Jeremiah Pve, widow of Parson Pye, and renowned for her piety, always cringing and fawning, or lamenting and weeping over the de pravity of poor, sinful creatures; see how hypo critically she rolls up her eyes at papa! What can be to pay, that the three champion gossips of the town are here together !—by papa's ex press invitation, too, it seems. ‘ Where the car- ! cass is, there shall the vultures gather.’ Isn’t j that scripture, Miss Grant? What prey can the vultures be after, here at poor Haywood, I won der? Surely ” “She stopped and turned pale as her eye fell upon Esther, sitting white and still at her desk. Then, her look went over at once to Miss Grant with a scared expression. Miss Grant felt herself trembling in every limb. Anne Leigh sat at the window, curiously watching the entrance of the trio into the house. Fifteen minutes elapsed, and there was a knock at the door, and a summons for Esther Craig to go down to Mr. Haywood in the library. Esther rose at once—her marble face set in its expression of resignation and resolve—a look that might suggest that of “Cenci” on her way to the torture. Minutes passed so slowly that they seemed hours to the governess, and then there was another summons—this time for Miss Grant. When the governess entered the library, her glance took in the following tableau : Mr. Hay wood, sitting at the table, resting his forehead on his hand, his countenance wearing an ex pression of profound grief and injured good ness. His daughter, Isabel, sat near him, more flashed than usual, but composed; the two Misses Bird occupied the sofa—drawn up to their severest height, and clipping Esther with their looks as though their eyes were tongs and she some vile thing held by them at arm’s length. Just as the governess opened the door, Mrs. Pye dropped on her knees beside Esther, and raising her eyes to the ceiling, exclaimed in a lachrymose voice. “ Oh ! my poor, lost child, my heart bleeds at your hardened depravity! Oh! be humbled — make a clean breast of it all, here before us. Confession is good for the soul; confess the par ticulars of your transgression that we may pray for you. ” “That your curiosity may be gratified and the story completed for circulation,” said Esther, with a bitter curve of her colorless lips. “Ah !” sighed Mrs. Pye, shaking her head and wiping her eyes as she rose from her seat, “so young and so hardened!” “She will not make a clean breast of it, you see.” “She has owned to enough, dear knows,’’said one of the Misses Bird. “Quite enough,” echoed the other, “to show us what a miserable creature she is. If any farther proof were needed, there are the letters, and the evidence of the young men, and Mr. Haywood’s own eyesight I never knew anything so plain. And I never beheld such an abandoned person.” “And after all the pious instruction she has received in this excellent family ! After all her step-father’s liberality and kindness,” ejaculated Mrs. Pye, again having recourse to her hand kerchief. Miss Grant had advanced into the room and quietly seated herself, apart from the group. Mr. Haywood turned his head in her direction. “Miss Grant," he said coldly, “as the instruct ress of Esther Craig, it is proper that you be in formed that she is no longer a member of my family. Her conduct has been such that I can not permit her to associate with my daughters— not an hour longer. It will be necessary for me briefly to repeat what I have just told these la- £/* dies. " Yesterday morning, I received an anony- rTj INSTINCT PRINT