ome Other Way By Mrs 'Beulah ^ Stevens
In Four Irasfrallmeikts
^ PART ONE ^
FOLLOWING is ihe first installment of the
serial vohich <won the $100 prize in the
contest inaugurated by The Sunny South, to
complete the story by Sir Walter Besant,
l&hich, because it forced the heroine into
marriage with a negro, was discarded as re
pugnant to southern sentiment■ Below is a
brief synopsis of the installments of Besant's
story, published in The Sunny South. cMrs.
Stevens' serial takes up “'the story at the end of the third installment
and completes it in a manner satisfactory to southern people.
Synopsis of Preceding; Chapters
Mrs. Isabel Weyland, a widow, 19.threatened with the debtor’s prison.
Her chief creditor, Mrs. Brymer, suggests a way out of the difficulty, mar
riage with an imprisoned debtor, who for a paltry sum will assume Mrs.
Weyland’s debts also, thus relieving her under the English law as it
then was. He proves to be a young lawyer, MacNamara, who
in pity, pays his small debt from what little there is left of her fortune—
not enough to free her—sets him free and agrees to marry a criminal
condemned to ,.ie in three days as the means to obtain the desired free
The opening scene of this first installment is laid fn the debtor's pris
on in London, where the marriage which will release the lady from her
debts, is about to be solemnized. For the sake of accuracy, the chapter
scheme used in thdBesant serial is retained, the beginning of Mrs. Stev
ens’ story concluding the third chapter.
CHAPTER THREE. CONCLUDED
iET us go. Our friend here will follow with our man,” said
Mrs. Brymer somewhat impatiently as she turned to Mrs. Wey
land and would have assisted her, but Isabel avoided her hand
with a pretense of gathering up her dress, and as the dress
maker led the way, she fell behind little by little. As they
were about to enter the cell, more gloomy, more dark, more
cold and tomblike than the one they had quitted,
the parson heard a sigh and felt a soft touch against his
shoulder. He turned in time to support Isabel’s drooping fig
ure, his ruddy fac£ softening into unwonted gentleness and
respect as he loosened the mask and bore her to the narrow
grating for what little air there might be. The manhood in him came to
------ ♦, -vid hi.- ■ "it of his’pM.-mg .ye*.’up n he la ly’s’’pair. : ;
and as she drew a quivering breath and opened her eyes, she did not
shrink from his support as she would have done a moment since, but rest
ed contentedly against his shoulder, making no effort to replace her
“I’ll trouble you but a moment,” she whispered with a tremulous
smile. “I am better now.”
“Rest, my dear lady,” he answered, respectfully. “You may trust the
old parson, and no one else can see your sweet face.”
The kindly, almost parental tone, brought sudden tears to her eyes,
but the words heartened her, neverthelss, and in a moment she withdrew
from his support and replaced her mask.
She kept her face resolutely turned from the cell door toward u-hich
all the rest were gazing, and even when the clank of the shackles was
heard and the turnkey entered with a blustery “Well, here we are,” she
did not turn. t
It seemed to her bewildered brain that two forces strove w.thin her,
tearing her heart with their opposing impulses. One urged her with almost
irresistible power to turn—to look—to know! The other held her in a
stony rigidity of fear as thjpigh to move were to hasten and seal the
dread doom that awaited her.
She heard Mrs. Brymer’s voice without understanding her words; she
felt that the parson had turned, that he stared violently and muttered
something fiercely under his breath. Then she was conscious of being
impelled toward the group in the center of the room, of Mrs.. Brymer at
her elbow urging the parson to begin. ’She heard him hesitate, stammer
and felt the hand that lay upon his arm inclosed in a strong clasp. Them
ho spoke: %
“This ia not"the man!”
There was something in his tone tfrat chilled her very marrow. She
must kn6\v! She raised her downcast eyes and looked full into the leering,
grinning, bestial face of a thick-lipped negro!
For some seconds there was a breathless silence in the cell; then the
stillness was broken by a low, embarrassed, yet withal exultant chuckle
from the prisoner. .
It broke the spell. In another instant Isabel had torn off her mask
and stood before them no longer a yielding, helpless tool in cruel hands,
but a woman strong in her wronged and indignant womanhood.
She turned upon Mrs. Brymer with the air of an offended empress.
“And you, madame, fancy for one moment that I would link myself
even in name to such a creature? Did you think that I would touch his
hand”—her voice trembled into fuller power as the God-given instinct of
white blood thrilled through every vein—“that I would allow his gaze to
rest upon me for one instant—as his wife!”
“But only in form, you know,” faltered the hard woman, cowed for
once by the righteous indignation of a nature too high for her comprehen
sion. “He was the only one available; the rest anf too young or already
married. There is no other way.”
“No other way! No other way! Ah, but there is one other way!
And the God who made me will forgive me for walking that lone path.”
She waved the sulky turnkey to the door.
“You may remove your prisoner,” she said; “you have done your
part; you shall not miss your fee; and all promises made to him shall be
kept, pray make him understand that.”
She slipped her hand again within the parson’s arm and without an
other look at the dressmaker, turned a face radiant with strong purpose
up to his friendly gaze.
“And now, my friend, will you take me to the carriage? I will trou
ble you to inform the person who brought me here that her claim shall be
settled in full today.”
“Today, men,” called out her creditor, already recovering her poise.
“Today and not an hour longer or you will yourself—”
" And ’'mill I wrong no one by taking the dead girl's name and place?”
"'Will you wrong him by making an old man happy for the few brief days left to
him? 1 pray do not leave us”
r But th., b-.d tv*, f, • i r the and..,-- .iuiulUo it be
hind him, left Mrs. Brymer to use her tongue in "solitude' until such time
as the turnkey should discover her predicament and release her.
It w r as a pretty young lady that walked down the busy street . Her
hair hung in one long, fair braid behind and peeped out in rebellious curls
from under the plain little hat around a face framed for smiles and sun
shine, but now pale and resolute with sad purpose. The color dyed her
cheek with transient, glow as she met the gaze of a passerby who marked
the incongruity of her gracious carriage with her humble garb.
She had started too early; darkness would not. fall for a good hou*
yet. But how could she sit at home and wait with folded hands to taka
such a journey? She had settled everything with the old parson’s kindly
aid. Little he guessed her purpose; the good old soul fancied that she had
turned from that scene in the jail to contract some other marriage less
distasteful if more binding. He had seen that all her wishes wero ful
filled. Mrs. Brymer’s claim was satisfied. Oliver McNamara was in a fair
way to be released with a snug little sum to his credit and a valuable
ring, which never left his finger. Parson Gaynham had delivered this to
him personally with the request that he cherish it as the gift of one who
unshed him well, but no other word would the usually loquacious par
son say in regard to the'matter.
And so, stripped of all worldly possessions, Isabel walked her lonely
way, surrounded on every side by living, breathing beings, not one of
whom guessed her purpose or stirred a finger to foil it. So isolated are
we often in this crowded, jostling life.
Yes, it was too early. She would walk on and leave the busy streets
behind. She must wait for night’s kindly veil to shield her from detec
The river would be beautiful by starlight. It would not look so fierce,
so deep, so pitiless in its relentless flow. Would it not be easy to lie
down in its soft, cool embrace and sleep forever under the stars?
She felt her thought suddenly interrupted by a sense of being watched.
Her blood ran cold on the instant. vV'as the law upon her track in the
very hour of her escape? That cruel law, fear of which had driven her
to walk the streets rather than sit at homo 1 in dread of its relentless
The momentary pang passed as her wandering thoughts collected them
selves and she saw mat it was an old man whose fixed gaze had burned
into her consciousness.
He was leaning over a narrow iron gate set in a high stone wall; and
as she came nearer he opened the gate with trembling fingers and ad
vanced, half timidly, half eagerly, to meet her. An elderly serving man
followed close behind with a troubled face and air.
When but a pace or two from her, the old gentleman stopped and
held out both tremulous hands. On the w r orn white face, haloed by
snowy hair, w r as a look of yearning, of longing appeal that brought the
tears to Isabel’s eyes.
“Jeanne!” he cried in a pleading whisper, “you have come at last,
Jeanne! You will stay with me no*w.' I have not long to live. Don’t
leave me again, my little Jeanne! ’ . .,
She put her hands in his as if compelled, and the man servant
prayed her by a gesture to humor i.lie illusion.
The old gentleman drew her along toward the gate, murmuring at
every step happy words of endearment and rejoicing.
“Go in with him if you can, Mamzelle,” the man whispered beseech
ingly. “There is nothing to harm you and you may give him one happy
As if in a dream Isabel obeyed her gentle guide’s Insistence and found
herself wandering down a rose-bordtered path amid a wilderness of bloom
and fragrance. On every side rose the 10-fcot wall, shutting out sight
and even sound of all extraneous life.
“‘You will stay, Jeanne?” the old man pleaded.
‘‘Yes, I will stay,” she murmured dreamily. “Oh, if I could but stay—•
always!” she added passionately to herself an instant after, turning from
her conductor and surveying the charming scene with a sudden longing
that was keen as pain. A moment before she had been a hunted, despair
ing creature only waiting for the sun to sink into the sea—
The valet had caught her whisper.
“If mamzelle could stay it would be a charity to my dear master, if
mamzelle will pardon me for presuming to say so.”
The old gentleman had sunk down in an easy chair set under the
shade of a flowering shrub.
“Look around, Jeanne,” he cried joyously. “You will find every flower
that you love. Only come back now and then that I may be sure you are
here and that it is not another happy dream to fly on sleep’s deceitful
Isabel laid her hand on the hoary head.
“I am here,” she said tenderly, “and I shall never leave you again—-
“No, no,” he cried, catching her hand and clasping it to his heart,
add nothing to that! When you come back to let me look at my darling
say it to me again—and again!”
■y - .
Isabel strolled down thefTpathu pausing now and then to turn and
smile back at the old man.jwho followed her so lovingly with his gaze.
She guessed the servant wished a word with her and was not sur
prised when at a turn of the path she found him awaiting her.
“You wish to speak to me,” she said as he bent before her in silent
“If mamzelle wdl! be so kfnd.”
“I am .ready to hear you.’ Of course I understand that your master
is not quite himself. He mistakes me for some one he knew and loved—
“Yes. Monsieur Richmond, my dear master, has been unbalanced these
five years ever since our poor Mamzelle Jeanne was killed. She was the
child of his only daughter, who died at her birth. She left us one morn
ing happy and bright as an angel and within an hour was brought home
dead. An accident that cost my master his reason and almost his life.”
- ‘ ° • r > nar ’ P -• MPn^c. t;ia.t. bed-be ■ ■_ *erl”, ,
“For him it may be,” he assented, sorrowfully, “but not for Francois;
not for poor old Francois!”
’fie is never violent? ’
“No, no, mamzelle. He is always as you see him, only sometimes so
sad, so sad. Today is the first time I have seen him smile in all these
years. If mamzelle could but stay!”
“1 would TTay; I would dearly like to stay—but—”
“But, mamzelle?” Francois prompted her after a moment of silence.
“But I am penniless. I have no home, no friends, no money.”
“Then why not stay?” he cried eagerly. “My master has more than
he will evet spend in his frail lifetime. Stay and be Mamzelle Jeanne.
I have hundreds of guineas put away that M’sieur insisted should be sent-
to her; why should you not use them and make him happy?”
A sudden noise from the street came floating to them among the
roses. Isabel shuddered and caught her breath. A horror of going again
into that crowded n.ghway where the law- might lay upon her its fierce,
firm clutch paled her cheek and chilled her heart.
Oh, her foolish thoughtlessness! She had meant no harm. If she had
the money she would gladly settle every claim and work-—work hard'for
her livelihood. But this was now impossible. Either there yawned for
her that prison grave where she must die daily till hunger and want
should break her heart and release her, or there was that other grave
w-here she might bury her identity and her troubles together at the cost
of one strangling breath.
As she looked about her—at the beauty, the f, igrance, the peace—
a sudden shrinking possessed her, a revolt front the deed she had contem
plated with calmness but a moment since. It seemed now a fearful thing
to throw awrny her young life.
And yet, would she be secure even here? She turned to Francois,
who was waiting in respectful patience.
“Tell me, my good Francois, am I safe here? I have an enemy who
will drag me away if he once finds out my whereabouts.
He answ'ered eagerly and convincingly.
“Mamzelle is perfectly safe wuth us. No one enters these walls. The
canaille hereabouts are fearful of my master—the dolts! There is no one
to see mamzelle or to w’hisper of her presence. Old Ann is deaf and
dumb and Francois is to be trustee. Indeed, mamzelle may have the
freedom of the garden without fear. See, a door of solid oak as high as
the wall closes in the gate and no prying eye may see aught within. I be
seech you, mamzelle, stay!”
“And will I W’rong no one by taking the dead girl’s name and place?”
“There is no one to be considered but. my master. Will you wrong
him by making an old man happy for the few brief days left to him? Oh,
mamzelle, I would kneel to you in humnlest entreaty, just to see for one
hour upon my poor master's face the look it now wears. I pray you do not
Isabel's color came back in a rosy flood. Her heart beat quick with
a sudden sweet reaction. She turned with a gentle smile for the old ser
vant and threaded the flowmry way back to the old man’s side. He was
watching for her with an intense and eager expectancy.
As she came smiling down between the nodding blossoms, he sank
back in his chair with a sigh of relief and a look of adoring welcome that
confirmed her decision. She knelt upon the velvet sod and laid her strong
young fingers over the frail white ones.
“I will stay, grandfather,” she said.
It was easy after all, this sudden dropping from the old life. Each
bright summer morning she woke to the happy thought of no creditors
to fear, no yawning prisons, no thought of expense or worry.
Francois managed to get her boxes which she had left packed and Mr.
Richmond would gladly have given her a golden guinea for each of the
golden days, had she permitted it. And the dreamy hours sped to days,
the peaceful days to weeks and the weeks into months that brought
naught but rest and contentment.
(To Be Continued.)
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