Digital Library of Georgia Logo

The sunny South. (Atlanta, Ga.) 1875-1907, November 06, 1875, Image 6

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page.

[For The Sunny South.] THE BURDEN. BY MAKY E. BRYAN. Over her head, the sky wag drear; The wind was bleak, the way was rough; She had her heavy heart to bear, That seemed enough. But One who ordereth all things here, And watcheth human hopes and harms, Sent down a messenger, who laid A burden in her arras. Men shoqk their heads. “ This woman's way,’ They said, “was won with pain and fear; It is not well on her to lay pother care.” But angels smiled in sweet content, And .said: “'Tis well, for-He is wise, And oftenest a blessing sends In a disguise.” And lo! the woman on whose breast The burden had been laid Clasped it and smiled, and by new strength . Her feet seemed stayed. She saw not the dark sky—her look Was on her burden bent— Nor felt the biting wind, her care On this intent. She wiped away the tears, lest they Should dim her watching eyes. And oftentimes in kisses stopped Her weary sighs. With patient step and cheerful brow, The load of toil she bore, And in her seemed a hopeful power Not guessed before. Men marveled; they were not so wise As One who sent to her That burden about which their doubt Had made demur. “A heavy care,” they said, nor saw The truth well known above,— A burden that is not of self, But all for love, Is sweet to bear, and helps to ease The weight of selfish care; And Heaven’s dispensary holds no cup Of purer cheer Thau mother-love to one like her. Trampled and wronged and wild. To heal her breaking heart, God laid On it a child. there; and, ashamed of herterror at a picture her ! storm of rage and bitter invective against the flake was her touch; but the strong man trembled swer any questions. When the doctor was sum- own fancy had conjured up, she laughed and j recreant husband were perhaps the hardest and shuddered as if in a giant’s grasp. He turned moned, he pronounced it fever of a contagious said she was foolish and fanciful; he must not things that Hilda had to bear during the awful a despairing, anguished countenance upon her, nature, which the invalid’s constitution, weak- heed her. But live minutes later, happening days that followed her wedding-night. She sent and for one moment seemed enchained by the ' ened by long fasting, could ill resist, once more at the same point, she saw it again; for him very soon after the truth had dawned on large, gentle eyes and quivering lips, as by a Hilda banished all from the sick-room, and there could be no doubt of it now, of the flaming her, and glided down to meet him such a sad j spell. Then, thrusting her hand aside with a with her own hands ministered by the sufferer's eyes, the hot glow that burned on the olive j white-faced woman, that it seemed years, and j look and tone of horror— conch, bathed the hot brow and hands, and gave cheek, or the dangerous hate that sat naturally, not hours, had gone over her head since she stood “ Do not touch me !” he cried. “Ido not de- the medicines. The first day, as she brought a like a familiar spirit, on the full, sensuous lips, j before him a happy bride. Hers was not the tern- serve it after ruining your life. Good God, Hilda ! j potion to the bed-side, the dark eyes blazed with “There it is again, Laurence!” she whispered, perament that can hide its suffering, or draw a 1 why did you not forget me? I should have been sudden suspicion. “Yon may have poisoned it!” the sick woman said sharply. “ My poor woman, why should I do that ?” Mrs. Crosby answered gently. “Why?—why? Because it is my life that keeps you from happiness—bitter revenge that has darkened your existence.” “Poor thing, she is delirious,” Hilda mused softly. Laying her cool hand on the burning one, she said very gently: “I have chosen to nurse you because I did not care to expose my servants to infection, and because I wanted to feel quite sure you were properly cared for. Still, if yon cannot trust me, I will engage a hired nurse, or send yon to trusted it was fancy; but now I am quite sure. “ What did you see, love ?” he asked, gazing anxiously into her face, for one hasty glance toward the window had assured him that now, at any rate, there was only the autumn night looking in. “A woman’s face, Laurence, so wrathful and fierce; the same, it seemed to me, that stared at rough blast and cruel wave, he could not doubt. There was a quiver and droop about the pretty mouth, and dark rings under the eyes, that bore witness to a storm of weeping. And yet, to his utter astonishment, when she had repeated to him, word for word, her husband’s letter—when she had asserted with a quiet, sad simplicity with a mute reproach in her blue eyes. “Yes, yes! ’Twas the only way you could have found peace and happiness again.” “It was impossible,” she said, quietly, with such a sad and gentle firmness that he turned away and hid his face as if afraid to trust him self to look upon her. “It is forever impossi- that left no doubt of its sincerity, that the mys- ble.” Then, as he gave her no answer, she me so rudely when we were coming out of tery was as great a mystery to her as to him, she 1 added sorrowfullj’: “Could you not have trusted church.” ! concluded by looking up earnestly into his face, me with your reason for leaving me, Laurence? “ Some intruder peering in from curiosity,” with her brave blue eyes clouded with tears: It would have made my burden easier, and I he said; but the hand which held hers grew cold, , “But you must not blame him, Mr. Wool- 1 would not have gainsayed you. Why was it?” , and a strange look passed over the handsome worth; I do not understand it, but I can’t think Stiii he stood there, with his hidden face turned a hospital, just as you please.” fflpft. whir'll so nhiinlv—and that not onlv to her that Titinrarum \ a lvlomn ” 1 iron. her. if smitten dnmlt Then she asked “ Tu rmr uinl-nnco infontim [For The Sunny South.] A WOMAN S REVENGE. BY GRACE RAYMOND. The knot was tied in a grand old church, with “gorgeous storms of music” rolling down the marble aisles, with the soft, moony radiance bathiDg frelted arch and carven pillar, with still white brightness shimmering over the sweet be wilderment of gorgeous raiment, rare gems, and flower-like faces with which tire church was thronged, but illumining, as it seemed to all, the tall, fair woman kneeling at the altar, with its mellowest aud purest beams. The snowy lace which enveloped her was fine and soft as though only fairy fingers had touched it; the jewels that burned on neck, brow and bosom were pure as dew-drops on a lily; the fair, calm face had only the faintest touch of the rose, like the tint of color in the pearl. Hilda Ainsworth had never looked so serenely lovely as then. She was fitting upon her young neck no “yoke of gold;” she was kneeling no flower-crowned victim at a sac rificial altar, but only sealing before God and men the ties which already linked “heart to heart” in sweetest thralldom. Laurence Crosby, , though one “ Who loved that beauty should go beautifully,” thought not of his bride’s loveliness that night— was deaf even to the low murmurs of admiration when lie bore her proudly in. The nestling of the ' trembling little hand, like a frightened bird, in face, which so plainly—and that not only to her partial eyes—bore the stamp of one of “Na ture’s noblemen.” “I will go out myself, and warn her off,” he added. Hilda heard his voice tremble, saw that his face had grown very white and stern, and deemed him angry at the rudeness. “ Can’t one of the servants go as well?” she asked. “ No, no,” almost sharply. “ It would be best for me to speak to her myself.” “ Don’t be hard on her, Laurence, ” she pleaded, lifting her blue eyes to his face. Her own brim ming cup of bliss had made her heart very ten der. He promised hastily, then carrying her back to the other room, went quickly out into the verandah. A slender, willowy figure loomed up before him at once; a smile, cruel, triumpli- | ant and scornful, arched the red lips, and shot “ From under lashes black as doom.” “Do you know me?” she asked, with ill-con cealed exultation, as the courtly gentleman, the ' erst happy bridegroom, the man of honor, whose name and life were above a word of blame, shrank i fearfully from her, while his eyes seemed start- ! ing from their sockets. “Lucile!” He uttered the word as though 1 against his will it had been wrung from him. A | low, mocking laugh answered him. He put out ! his hand and touched her, as if to test her reality. | “Can the grave give up its dead !” he cried in a voice of mingled horror, anguish and despair, ; while he stared at her as if, siren-like, she lured | him on to his doom. “It has never claimed me yet, my love,” she retorted, an evil triumph flashing from her wide, j dark eyes. “Did that little ruse of mine really take you in ? Ah ! I wonder how many tears you shed for me, with how many sighs you embalmed my memory.” “None!” he retorted angrily, for his wrath now rose to white heat. “ You deserved neither, and I gave you neither. There is no love lost between us.” “None !” she echoed, showing her white teeth, with a fresh gleam of scorn. “And when love , dies in a heart like mine, it dies only to let hate spring, a full-fledged Phoenix, from the ashes.” i “We meet on equal ground,” he replied, with wrathy, white lips. “Why are you here now, and what was this lying part acted for ?” i “ Sweet is revenge—especially to women,” she quoted, with an evil smile. “I come to dash the cup of happiness from your lips and from your fair-haired bride’s—to ruin you, as far t m honor and happiness are concerned.” “ Fiend ! fiend !” he shrieked in her ears, with ; impotent rage. Hilda, moving gracefully among her guesjs at thatmoment,shiveredasif a breath of cold air had chilled her, and began to wonder why her hus band did .not return. When a little while later he did come in, it was not to approach her, but I to mingle among his guests with a strange glitter that Laurence is to blame. Her sweet appeals, however, only goaded him to a bitter outbreak: “It was terrible enough,” the stately old gen tleman declared, “that an Ainsworth should be cast aside in such a disgraceful manner; but more terrible still that an Ainsworth should brook the insult so tamely.” “ What do you want me to do?” she asked, turning her white, drooping face, like a lily that is beaten with rain, towards him; He made her no answer, but took to pacing the parlor angrily. “He shall be brought back!” he exclaimed. “If I have to send for him to the end of the earth, he shall be brought back and made to fulfill his contract,” “You must not do that!” she said, earnestly. “I could never think of letting you do that. You remember that he himself said ’twill be useless. And.” with a sudden flash of her tear- 1 from lier, as if smitten dumb. Then she asked with a tremor in her voice, “Not because you had ceased to love me?” The appeal roused him. “An inseparable line divides us,” he said, and his eyes caught the hem of her robe, as if unable to meet the wistful look in hers. “You have grown more angel-like than ever; I am scourged Is my sickness infectious?’ the woman asked, raising her head, and regarding the placid face beside her with amazement. “Are you not afraid to nurse me?” “No,” smiling a little sadly; “even should I take it, I am not afraid of death. Well, will you trust me now.” The sunken eyes gazed for a moment keenly by a thousand furies. What have we in com- j into Mrs. Crosby’s face, and then the strange mon? Only this: that the memory of you has patient said quietly: been a safeguard to me, keeping me from sink ing through, suffering to sin, warding me off from the suicide's grave, to which the fates seemed goading me, and pointing, with a finger of hope, in my gentler moments, to a reunion in another world, if one so wildly rebellious, so doubting and despairing, can ever share the same heaven with you.” “ I cannot believe yon are to blame,” she said softly, and the remembrance of the loving faith ful eyes, “I would not fulfill my part of the con- that lit her tearful eyes at that moment was his tract unless he returned of his own accord.' “What do you mean to do then?” he asked, stopping in undisguised amazement. “This, if you please.” Her quiet dignity as serted at once her right to decide for herself, but the meekness Witiv 1 which it was asserted dis armed him of his anger. “I shall remain here, anchor in many a soul-tempest in after years. “I cannot doubt you, Laurence, if I would. Yet, once again I ask you, let me share with you the mystery that parts us.” “The space between us is as wide as the gulf ’twixt heaven and hell,” he answered, almost tiercel}’^ “What it is you cannot, must not of course. His leaving the house to me inti- know. For God’s sake, Hilda,” he exclaimed, with mates, I think, that he would like me to stay here. I want to do all that he wished me to do— all except forgetting him. I cannot think that he really wished me to do that; I think he must have meant it was what he ought to wish.” “Hilda!” He regarded hersearchingly.“ You know more than you acknowledge.” “I know nothing,” she replied, meeting his gaze with eyes as blue and true as heaven. “Then you are the meanest-spirited girl I know,” lie said. “Any other woman would burn to revenge the insult, to wipe out. the stain from her name, even if it had to be done with his heart’s blood.” sudden passion, “upbraid me, taunt me, stab me with angry eyes, heap reproaches on my head, and I can bear it; but do not regard me with such gentle, wistful looks. It crazes me. Do you know that those eyes, which are such placid wells to calmer hearts, goad and spur me on to madness, echoing the temping devils in my own soul? We must never meet again: I would not answer for myself if we did. <>nce more I conjure you to forget me. Above all, never seek to know mhat divides us.” She stood quite still and silent as lie turned from her, leaped from the train, and hurried away, as though compelled by some invisible •You think only of the disgrace; nothing of power to flee her presence. But it was a very my broken heart, my blighted life,” Hilda sobbed, and then retreated into a woman’s last, strongest and most invincible argument, a flood of tears. “Much more natural,” Mr. Woolworih thought it; and yet at the sight of the slender, reed-like figure trembling under the storm of emotion, his wrath again broke bounds. He growled out sundry invectives, of which Hilda only caught “unmitigated rascal” and “cowardly villain.” She started up instantly, and dashing away the hot mist with one hand, laid the other implor ingly upon her guardian’s asm. “Mr. Woolwortli,” she said, with gentle dig nity, “you are speaking of my husband. I can not listen to such words of him.” He stared at her incredulously. “I will always be~3Irs."Crosby,” she wehf on tremulously. “I am his wife by the vow I made before God and man.” “ You are a willful girl, Hilda!” he said, after all his arguments had failed to shake her from in his eves and an unnatural gayety in manner ^* er purpose, and he rose to leave, “but very and speech. * j winsome withal. I think you are wrong, but “ Matrimony turns the best men fools,” said a whenever you need advice or help, appeal to me. cynical Ccelebs, watching with little favor his ^ you had better let me go on managing your friend’s nervous excitement, while his neighbor, ! property for you; you are not to be trusted with a “Son of Temperance,” looking at the frosted **- his; the trustful love in the soft, uplifted eyes; decanters and crystals on the sideboard, sug the music ot the low “yes that bound her his, gested that “perhaps our friend has taken a drop was the only language that moved his leaping too much.” Without appearing intentionally heart. With a quiet, loving triumph that now to avoid her, it was yet fifteen minutes after his she was altogether and unalterably his own, he reappearance before Mr. Crosby stood once turned with her from the altar. A wild, glad more by Hilda’s side. organ-peal trembled down the aisle with them, and rustling silks and soundless footfalls fol lowed. At the quaintly-paneled door, waiting the she sobbed. passing of the bridal company, stood a tall, dark woman, with a certain wild, fierce beauty in the gipsy-like face that peered out from under the scarlet hood. She was an unbidden guest; but the touch of the gold she had slipped into the sexton’s hand had opened the church-doors for her. As the bride—Hilda Crosby now—swept toward the door, leaning on her husband’s arm, the stranger pushed back the hood, with which “Did you send the woman away?” she asked softly. “Who?” as if the incident had slipped his memory for a moment. ‘Oh, that curious individual.” “Certainly, I sent her off, and with instruc tions to appear no more, of her annoy you.” “You are very kind, very good “I wish I deserved it.” “’Tis a confoundedly strange thing!" Mr. Wool- worth cogitated on his way down town that even ing. “I can’t make it out, and it's very certain she can’t. Crosby seemed every inch a gentleman, and the very soul of honor. Whew! how the tongues in this Babel will wag. There will be 1 plenty to make out that they know more about it than Hilda herself. It’s a bad piece of busi ness.” The desertion of such a beautiful and wealthy | Don't let the thought I bride, on her wedding-night, by a bridegroom who appeared to love her so devotedly, and ; white, downcast face and a sadly-aching heart that she carried back to her seat. The mystery had only grown more inexplicable, the cloud thicker and blacker, while the revelation of his suffering put sharper thorns in her path. The health she sought 'neath the bannered blue of Southern skies, and in the balmy warmth of its breezes, came to this sad-hearted woman, whose life was such a wildering one, as it has refused to come to far brighter lives and merrier hearts. In the early spring she returned home, began once more the routine of her quiet and secluded life, aud trod it year after year, striving to lose in “acts of mercy” the sense of her own sorrow. Three more springs transfigured hill and val ley. with their scripture of bud and bloom: three more autumns lit the trees in the city park op posite her house, with their “mock sunshine,” before she turned another leaf in the sibyl-like book of mystery in which her life was written. One windy October night, as she sat beside the fire in her quiet parlor, her white hands fluttering in a pretty, bird-like fashion about | her work, an apparition suddenly looked in through the window, just as a dark, angry face had done long years before. Some silent mag netism in the hollow, black eyes drew Hilda's glance from her work to meet them. She was no longer a timid girl, but a woman, whose sol itary life had inculcated courage and self-pos session; still, her cheek paled, and her heart throbbed fast, as she recognized the spectre like, sunken face that peered in at her, as the same that had frightened her on the wedding- night by its fiendish scowl. This time the face did not vanish as before, and had despair and desperation, not scorn or triumph, stamped on every lineament. Mrs. Crosby stepped quietly into the next room, where the gray-lieaded but ler nodded over the dining-room fire. “George,” she said, in a cautious voice, “there 1 Nothing, I think, will ever annoy me again,” "'hose name had been like untarnished gold, was | j s a strange woman on the verandah looking in she whispered, with a fond glance at him and “town talk’ and “nine days .wonder. at my window. I want to speak with her my- around her beautiful home, their home. Hilda knew it, divined it by subtle intuition, ; self, but you can stand guard for me in the hail “God grant not,” he said, with sudden pas- and shunned for awhile—like a wounded deer should I want you. She has such a wild look sion. “Yet life is no thornless Eden or tearless flies to the forest covert to hide its pain—even she may be insane. hitherto she had apparently endeavored to con- Paradise, though I would fain transform it to < the light of friendly faces, and lived alone with Mrs. Crosby thought her proposition almost ceal her lace, and stared with bold, black eyes such for your sake.” her sorrow, and two faithful old servants, in the correct when she stepped out onto the verandah, into the gentle lace. Hilda s color, always quick Night, star-crowned and robed with moonlight, home on which such a terrible blight had fallen, and encountered the gaunt, fierce-looking wreck ftTlfl KPTlKltlV** ft Pluld O niAimfn/1 • v i i i - • — • - - - - - - 1 - - - - - - in a few hours had wrapped the great city in But, as many othe-. sad women have done, as of humanity— nay, of beautiful womanhood, silence and repose, so deep, so undisturbed, time went on, she learned by God’s help “to “Do you know me, Hilda Ainsworth ?” asked while'“all that mighty heart was lying still,” suffer and be strong;” to tread her clouded way the stranger, shivering in her thread-bare shawi, that “the very houses seemed asleep.” Yet, in with brave and patient feet; to “soothe and as the night-wind whistled by them, and fasten- those peaceful, silent hours was wrought for sympathize ” in the interests of those around , ing on Mrs. Crosby a piercing gaze that seemed HildaCrosby “an irredeemable woe,”—onewhich her “with a heart at leisure with itself;” and to try and read her soul cast the darkest, most inexplicable shadow over gradually, as year after year slipped by, leaving her still with “the cloud on the way,” people began to forget the sad story of her youth, and the mystery which had never been explained. and sensitive as a child’s, mounted to her brow at the sudden rudeness. With sweet, habitual dignity she met the gaze of the flashing eyes onlv a moment, and then turned her face away. It was well tor the peace of her first married dreams that her glance did not stray to her husband’s focewhich, the moment it had encountered that of the strange intruder grew white to the very the best years of her life. A crucible was bein tips, while his eyes were set and horror-stricken, made for her, in which her love, her trust, all as though a spectre had crossed his path. The the good emotions of her heart were to be “tried instant the woman perceived his agitation, her as by fire,” in which was woven a terrible mys- ejes grew lurid and her lips curved defiantly, tery that was to baffle alike love, and reason, and then she suddenly vanished from before his and insight; long years of patient waiting and ey wnR „ „ , ... I pondering, which was to spread, like a pesti- " . a 8 B ®P of intense relief, as if he was now lential vapor, its miasma over her life’s journey, convinced that the sight had been only the When the early morning put a rosy face inside phantom ot an excded mind, and not “real flesh the lace-draped windows of her chamber, she and blood, his countenance regained its com- wakened to find herself alone! How alone, she posure. ft was only a moment’s work, this little did not dream, until, in dressing, she found by-play, which had stained the bride’s fair face lying, among the dainty auxiliaries of the toilet with crimson and drained color and smiles from ; on the marble slab of her dressing-table, a sealed the bridegrooms; no one had noticed it, and letter. She recognized her husband’s writing, be untangled; but when years crept by, .Laurence Crosby, as he took his seat beside his and tore it open with trembling fingers. j “stray threads of silver,” the first “foot-n “Yes, I will trust you,” and took the potion meekly as any child. She was only ill six days. On the fifth the fever passed off, and seeing her intelligent and quiet once more, Hilda began to think her better. She was sitting beside the bed, when she was startled by hearing the sick woman, who, during her rational moments, had remained obstinately silent, say: “You and the doctor think I am better, but I feel sure I’m dying! I would like to tell you my name, and something of my life before it is done. I was christened Lucile,” she went on without waiting for a reply, “and led a very- wild, unrestrained life from childhood to girl hood, in my uncle's house, for my parents had died in my infancy. When I was fifteen, I met a man whom f thought I loved passionately, who professed ardent affection for me. We were married, but soon discovered that we differed too widely for happiness. I was a willful, tiery- tempered girl; he, too. was passionate. In six months we parted in anger and hatred. I made my home in a far, far State, and ere long there was fresh fuel furnished to feed the fire of my hate, had I needed any. Another heart was laid at my feet; one to which my own responded with a fervor to which my first girlish fancy was puerile. I told this second lover my story, and he, a proud, aristocratic man.stung at the thought that he had ever breathed a word of love to an other man's wife, bade me an eternal farewell. When I tell you that on this, my dying-bed, I hate my husband with all the strength of my nature, you may imagine how I hated him then. I laid my blighted life, my hopeless love, at his door, and I resolved to make him feel my wrath. I had a notice published of my death in a pa per which I knew would meet his eye. In less than a year I heard—for I had spies watching him—that he was on the eve of marriage with a young, fair and wealthy woman. I traveled thither to meet my revenge. I stood at the churcli-door, and saw him turn from the altar with the lily-like woman who was his second choice. I crimsoned the bride’s face by my bold scrutiny; I shook the bridegroom out of his dream of joy *and bliss by one glimpse of my face—a fleeting vision of the dark gipsy-beauty he had praised in other days.” Such a ghastly paleness, such a strong shud der passed over the face and form of the lady be side her, that the woman was obliged to pause for a moment. “Go on,” gasped Hilda, at length, pressing her hand to her eyes to shut out the vision of the dusky orbs that seemed gloating over her suffering. “I see you recognize my tale,” Lucile Crosby said, with a sinister smile. “ Do you remember the face that frightened you at the window ? Do you remember sending the man you called your husband out to drive the intruder away? Shall I tell you what passed between us?” But a deadly faintness interrupted her. Hilda, like one moving in a dream, rose and brought her a cordial. After awhile, as quietly as if nothing had intervened, but in a weakened voice, the story was resumed. “AVe made a contract. I had threatened to enter the festive rooms and say certain hard truths to you in the hearing of all your guests. By the very strength of his love for you, I riveted my chains on him. To purchase my silence, he promised to come away with me that night, and to support me comfortably. Ah ! I drove the arrow into his most vulnerable part. He is a very proud man; the disgrace, the dishonor of the thing nearly made a maniac of him. The blot that must ever rest upon his name was a hard sword-thrust; but the thought of your an guish, your blighted life, all that you might have to endnre—ah ! that was far harder. It was the blow that told. Ay, revenge is sweet, I reaped in that hour my full harvest: his bleeding heart was the only antidote for the fierce pain in mine. I gloated over the sight of his powerlessness to resist my sway—at the thought of his bride's agony. I must make my story short. I have “No, my poor woman.” Soft and sweet as gen-] never s ?en him since that night; but I have held tie music the accents fell from the grave lips. “You have reason to, if you only knew it,” was the harsh retort, while a laugh, hollow as the carriage, said sottly to himself: “Farewell, Hilda,” he had written, “farewell It was only my fancy; the grave never re- forever. We will meet no more. Seek not to °P^. o those it once shuts upon.” find me, for it will be useless; neither to inter- “ Hilda, my wife !” he whispered tenderly, pret my action, for that is impossible. The house stooping to look into the shy, drooping eyes; and , and all it contains is yours. My one hope is that the smile that trembled like starlight on her God, and your own sweetness and goodness, will heaven-blue eyes and rippled rosily around her : lift you above the clouds. My one prayer is that BWG6t mouth swpnt, Awn v fim <1 mo a timf v»»*i nf you will forest me Mrs. Crosby grew into a fair, grave woman of echoes in a vault, made Hilda’s heart beat faster, “stately presence,” whom to know was both to \ “Can I do anything for you ?” she asked, pitv- reverence and to love, whose life was such a “self- ingly, believing the woman to be mad, and anx- less ” one, that few of her later acquaintances : ious to appease her. ever thought to ask what sorrow had left that pa- “ Aye ! I am starving and houseless. But, tient longing in the blue eyes, or that signet- mind you, I ask it not as charity, but as a right, ring of suffering on her brow—a record which, I’ve more claim now to this comfortable home, perchance, heaven’s bliss could never erase, and the warm stuffs that fence you from the cold though it might transform it into a mark of night, than you.” spirit-beauty. With a hope hard to die, Hilda ; At this point she paused, then staggered and Crosby believed that some day the riddle would swooned away. and | The old butler, hearing his mistress call, hur- marks ried out, to find her kneeling on the floor, with sweet mouth swept away the dread that brief vision had conferred. Merrily jingled the bells; merrily the swift steeds smote the echoing streets; merrily the bridegroom s heart kept time to the joyous sounds. But like a dark-winged bird of prey, a tall, swarthy-browed woman, wrapped in a long black cloak, followed in their wake through the lamp-lit streets. of time,” began to mingle with the gold upon her temples, she began to fear that for her, as for many another sad soul, the “some-day” waited for her across a dim river, in the land where time is not, where at last “the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places made plain.” the woman’s head on her arm. “She has fainted, George,” she explained, “probably from want of food; she said she was starving. Call your wife and we will have her carried in-doors. She seems to think she has some claim on me.” “Do you feel better now?” It was an hour a drawn sword over his head all these years by my threat that should he be one day behind in sending my monthly remittance—which I had arranged to be a very liberal one—or should he venture to leave the limits of the State I had chosen for his residence, I would come and tell you all. I had been starving for a week before I came to you. My last remittance had been lost at the card-table—the next, though due for a fortnight, was not forthcoming.” In a softened and lowered voice, gazing almost wistfully toward the bowed head and trembling fignre at the foot of the bed, Lucile Crosby con tinued: “ I only expected to force you into receiving me. I had no idea of revealing this, for by that I would have lost all power over him. But your kindness has disarmed me, vour gentleness has conquered me. Wild, bitter, vengeful and dark as is the heart in my breast— as different from yours as night from day—I have yet a sense of gratitude. Not for his sake, mark you, for I hate him with ‘a deadly hatred,’ but for yours— If every word had been a dagger's point, the letter could not more surely have stabbed to the heart the loving, trusting woman who read it. She turned from the mockeries of gem, ribbon and lace upon her table, to fall on her knees be side the bed, where the one untouched pillow told its own stor3 r . The sunshine stretched in - _ ... broader and brighter bands of gold acrors the 1 he evening sped gaily; festivity reigned in the room, the hum of life in the busy streets grew mansion of the bridegroom; the glimpses the louder and louder. Alone, utteriy alone! Or- passers-by caught through lighted windows of plianed in early youth, a child’s and a woman’s the happy inside world, was like a dream of en- , best blessings, a mother’s love and father’s care, ° w^fi UeI '^' were with her only blurred memories. The cradle j. 0 Hilda t rosby was passing through one of the over which Fortune had rained down showers of momentary and listless survey of the car. She apartments that opened on the verandah, leaning gold had been the threshold of a life which to 1 could see the well-remembered figure on the on her husband s arm, when she startled him by her was always an unsatisfied and lonely one platform outside, and her resolve was taken. a ‘1 cr y. _ until Laurence Crosby had loved and wooed her. Call it not unwomanly or poor-spirited; it had “What is it, my darling:' he asked tenderly, Her guardian had thought his duty amply ful- sprung from deep founts of love, which no looking with amazement on her paling cheek, filled by the clever management of her property stranger can estimate or fathom. The train was She was looking toward one of the windows, at and great care and painstaking in her education, not yet in motion, and rising quickly, she ran which she could have sworn she had seen, only \ He had regarded her marriage with a gentleman | down the car, opened the door, and stepped out. moment before, a dark face scowl at her with of her own station, of ample means and unsul- “Laurence!” she said gently, and laid her almost fiendish fury. But there was nothing j lied name, the utmost that could be desired. His hand on his arm. Light and delicate as a snow- That winter she traveled into the far Soutn, later, and Hilda was bending over her strange because, though a good, pure, stately lady, who to try to lose in its balmy atmosphere a little i guest, with a glass of warm milk in her hand, might well have scorned one like me, vou have cough that had hung about her ever since No vember’s inclement days. Sitting in a railway car, on the third day of her journey, suddenly the color natural to her face fled, leaving her cheeks and lips as white as snow, and a terrible shuddering fell on her—and all because of a face that had looked in at the door. Altered deeply, lined “ with scars from life’s hard battle,” bitter and cynical, she knew it instantly as that of the one she had deemed the noblest and purest among men. It was the countenance of Lau rence Crosby. He had not recognized her in his _ . „ me, you have The woman drained the glass greedily, before nursed me like a sister—have smoothed* my hair she roused herself to the laconic response, “ A and laid vour hands on m3’ brow with a gentle, little.” In a few moments she raised herself caressing touch Lucile Crosby never had from from the conch on which they had laid her, to a woman before, for yours I make this small rep- ! sitting posture, and looked curiously around aration. I am dying* and I have told you all, so her. She still bore the traces of a beaut3’ and that when I am gone no barrier may divide you. grace which, in her time, jnight have made her j This is where he lives.” She took a soiled scrap of paper, which she had kept concealed in a worn, greasy pack of cards about her neck, and put it into Hilda’s hand. Hilda lifted her white and tear-wet face. “I cannot speak to you 3-et,” she said, in a trembling voice. “I must go away by myself, where I can think.” In a moment the door closed after her. But admired and courted. From all the graceful and luxurious appurtenances of the room, her e3 r es strayed to Hilda’s face, and settled there. “ Does your fine house make you happy ?” she asked, with a fringe of scorn to the smile that glittered for a moment on her face. Mrs. Crosby liked neither smile nor question, and turned away without speaking. But pity- 1 an hour later a very pale face, yet with a new ing womanhood triumphed over the repugnance light upon it, like “clear shining after rain ” ap- she felt toward the stranger, and she ordered a j peared at Lucile’s bed-side. 1 warm bed in the servant’s dormitory for her. “Have you forgiven me your darkened life’” The next morning, however, she found that she she asked, feebly, when a spoonful of proffered had untertaken no light task. The woman lay nourishment first made her aware of Hilda’s re fever-flushed and dull-eyed, and refused to an- turn,