Loved you better than you knew


Loved You Better
Than You Knew

By Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller



Published By
Cleveland, O., U. S. A.


I.Cupid in the Rain5
II.One Golden Hour13
III.The Sweet Old Story21
IV.Breakers Ahead25
VII.“The Fates Forbid It”40
VIII.A Dark Secret45
IX.A Bunch of Roses51
X.A Feminine Weakness55
XI.Cinthia’s Elopement63
XIII.Oh, What a Night!74
XIV.Parted at the Altar79
XV.“An Eternal Farewell!”85
XVI.“Oh, What a Time!”90
XVII.A Deadly Feud95
XVIII.“Remember That I Loved You Well”103
XIX.A Tragic Past109
XX.Love and Loss113
XXI.A Quarrel with Fate119
XXII.When Years Had Fled127
XXIII.“I Can Not Love Again!”137
XXIV.“The Pangs That Rend My Heart in Twain!”144
XXV.“Like an Angel”147
XXVI.’Neath Southern Skies152
XXVII.“Where the Clematis Boughs Intwine”156
XXVIII.Only Friends161
XXIX.A Secret Sorrow169
XXXI.Most Bitterly Bereaved176
XXXII.“A Cold Gray Life”181
XXXIII.Puppets of Fate187
XXXIV.“The Weight of Cruel Years Piled Into One Long Agony”192
XXXV.Cinthia’s Betrothal197
XXXVI.An Obstinate Woman201
XXXVII.Beyond Forgiveness208
XXXVIII.Her Side of the Story214
XXXIX.A Mortal Wound219
XL.A Late Repentance224
XLI.“The Greed of Gold”230
XLII.In the Sunshine235

Loved You Better Than You Knew


“Love! It began with a glance,
Grew with the growing flowers,
Smiled in a dreamful trance,
Recked not the passage of hours.
“Grief! It began with a word,
Grew with the winds that raved,
A prayer for pardon unheard,
Pardon in turn uncraved.
The bridge so easy to sever,
The stream so swift to be free,
Till the brook became a river,
And the river became a sea.
“Life! It began with a sigh,
Grew with the leaves that are dead,
Its pleasures with wings to fly,
Its sorrows with wings of lead.”

Could one lift the impenetrable veil of mystery that hides the future from our curious eyes, what secrets would often be revealed, what shadows would fall upon hearts now light and thoughtless—shadows of grief, of horror, and despair!

“It is better not to know,” agree both the poets and sages.


Beautiful Cinthia Dawn did not think of that as she drummed upon the window-pane that rainy autumn day, exclaiming rebelliously:

“I wish something would happen to break up the dreadful monotony of my life.”

Widow Flint, who was her aunt and guardian, and as crabbed and crusty as her name, looked at her with dismay, and retorted:

“Some people don’t know when they’re well off. You have enough to eat, to drink, and to wear, and a good home. What more do you want?”

The girl looked at the dingy sitting-room, her own shabby gray gown, then out at the dismal landscape, blurred by the rain and low-hanging clouds, with something like frank contempt, and answered, recklessly:

“I want pretty clothes and jewels, beautiful surroundings, gay times, and lovers, such as other girls have instead of this humdrum, poky existence—so there!”


It was all Mrs. Flint said aloud, but to herself she added:

“Good land! I do wish my brother would come home from his eternal wanderings and take charge of his rattled-brained daughter. She’s too pretty and restless, and I don’t see how I’m going to hold her down much longer.”

Cinthia Dawn was seventeen now, and ever since she had been given into her aunt’s sole keeping at five years[7] old, the strait-laced soul, who was as prim and particular as an old maid, had been engaged in the difficult task of “holding down” her spirited young niece. She had even erred on the side of prudence, so great was her anxiety to bring her up in the way she should go.

When the lovely child first came her aunt said frankly to all:

“I don’t want anybody ever to tell Cinthy that she is pretty.”

“She can find it out for herself by just looking in the glass,” objected one of her cronies.

“I’ll tend to that,” said Mrs. Flint, crustily, and she furnished her rooms with cracked and distorted mirrors, whose blurred surfaces gave back indeed no fair reflection of the child’s beauty.

She carried out her programme further by dressing the child in the plainest, commonest clothing, and plaiting all her wealth of golden curls in a single tail down her back, though she could not prevent it even then from breaking out on her brow and neck in enchanting little ringlets that a ballroom belle might have envied.

To her dearest crony Mrs. Flint excused her course by saying, confidentially:

“Cinthy’s mother, who is dead now, was the vainest and prettiest creature on earth, and she did wicked work with her beauty. I don’t want to say aught against her now that she is dead; but Cinthy must have a different raising, that’s all. My brother said so when he put her[8] in my charge. ‘Bring her up good and simple in your old-fashion way, Rebecca,’ was what he said.”

“That’s right. ‘Favor is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.’ That’s Cinthy’s Bible verse, and I hope she’ll live up to it,” returned the good crony, Deacon Rood’s wife.

So Cinthia Dawn was reared simply and plainly almost to severity. She received her education at the public school, and at home helped her aunt with the house-work. Surreptitiously she read poetry and novels.

Such a simple, quiet life—just like thousands and thousands of others—but Cinthia was outgrowing it now. She was seventeen—the most romantic age in the world—and she chafed at the dreariness of her life.

School-days were ended now, and her merry mates had their new gowns, their dances, and their lovers. There were none of these for Cinthia Dawn.

Mrs. Flint said her niece was nothing but a child yet, so she was not permitted to attend parties, and she vowed she had no money to spend on finery. As for lovers, if she had any, the bravest would not have dared present himself at Mrs. Flint’s door. She would have said to him as to the veriest tramp:

“Be off!”

It was just the life to drive a pretty, spirited girl frantic with impatience of the present, and longings for something better than she had known—the longing that found impatient expression that afternoon when she watched the[9] dead leaves flying in sodden drifts beneath the chill November rain.

After Mrs. Flint’s curt rejoinder to her complaints she remained silent several minutes drumming impatiently on the pane, then burst out:

“Oh, Aunt Beck, don’t you want me to run down to the post-office for your Christian Advocate?”

“In all this storm?”

“Oh, I won’t mind it a bit! I’m in a mood for fighting the elements!”

“Then take your umbrella and overshoes, and hurry back.”

“Yes, aunt.”

Glad to escape from the monotony of the little brown house, she hurried out into the teeth of the storm, and made her way through the village streets to the little post-office. The rain blew in her face, and the wind crimsoned her cheeks and made her dark eyes flash like stars. Cinthia did not care. In her splendor of youth and health she found it exhilarating.

But going back, the storm, that had been gathering its forces for a fiercer onslaught, increased in angry violence.

She had left the paved main street, too, now, and was emerging into the thinly populated suburbs where her home was situated.

A great gust of wind met her at the corner of a street, taking her breath with its fierce onslaught, wrapping her damp skirts about her ankles, and whisking her umbrella[10] from her grasp. She chased it wildly almost a block, only to see it whirled into the middle of the street and crushed under the wheels of a heavily loaded farm wagon lumbering into the little town. Meanwhile, the vagrant wind pelted her with drifts of dead leaves, and the flood-gates of heaven opened and poured down torrents of water.

“Take my umbrella, Miss Dawn!” cried the gay musical voice of a young man who had been chasing her as fast as she flew after the umbrella.

Turning with a quick start, she looked into the face of Arthur Varian, a new comer in the town, with whom she had recently formed an acquaintance. His laughing blue eyes were irresistible, and she cried merrily as she took shelter under the umbrella:

“Didn’t I look comical chasing the parachute? I was hoping no one saw me. Thank you, but I can not deprive you of it.”

“Then you will let me hold it over you? It is large enough for both,” stepping along by her side, and giving her the best half of it as they struggled along against the high wind. “I saw you coming out of the post-office and have been trying to overtake you ever since. I thought perhaps you would allow me the pleasure of walking home with you,” continued Arthur Varian, bending his admiring blue eyes on the beautiful face by his side—the bright, arch face with its large, soft dark eyes set off by that aureole of curly golden hair, now blown into the most enchanting spiral rings by the wind and rain.


He had met her several times before, and he knew enough of her lonely life to make him sympathize with her forlornness, even if her beauty had not already charmed him with its girlish perfection.

Cinthia met that glance and looked down with a kindling blush and a wildly beating heart, for—it was of him she had been thinking when she uttered her complaints to Mrs. Flint, longing for the privileges of other young girls of her class that she might have opportunities of meeting him and winning his heart.

Who could blame her? for Arthur Varian was very winning and handsome—tall, with wavy brown hair, regular features, a slight brown mustache, a beautiful mouth—“just made for kissing,” vowed all the girls—well dressed, and having that indefinable air of ease and elegance that betokens good breeding joined to prosperity.

Perhaps the fates had heard Cinthia’s longing for something to happen, for the storm now gathered fresh force, and the darkening earth was irradiated by a vivid and brilliant flash of lightning, followed by a terrific thunder peal.

The rain poured out of heaven like a waterfall, and the fierce driving gale caught the frightened girl up like a feather and tossed her against the young man’s breast and into his arms, that clasped and held her protectingly, while all about them the air was darkened with flying débris and broken branches of trees that swayed, and[12] creaked, and bent, and crashed in agony beneath the cyclonic force of the elements.

Cinthia was not a coward, but the situation was enough to strike terror to the bravest heart. The edge of a cyclone had indeed struck the village, and in almost an instant of time dozens of trees had been uprooted, several houses unroofed, and the air filled with flying projectiles, one of which suddenly struck Arthur Varian with such force that both he and his companion were hurled to the ground. It was a portion of a tin roof, and cut a gash on the young man’s hand from which the blood began to stream in a ruddy tide.

In another minute the wind began to abate, and they struggled up to their feet.

“Oh, you are cut, you are bleeding! and you did it to save me! I saw you ward off that horrible missile from me with your hand. It must have killed me had I received the blow, for, as it was, it grazed my head. Oh, what can I do? Let me bind your hand to stop the blood,” sobbed Cinthia, unwinding the silk scarf from her neck and wrapping it tightly, with untaught skill, about his wrist above the wound to stop the spurting blood.



She trembled and paled as the warm blood spurted over her own white and dainty hands as she essayed the task, and her heart throbbed wildly with new and sweet emotion. She could have clasped her arms about his neck and wept over the cruel wound he had received in her defense and for her sake.

“Thank you. That will do very well,” Arthur Varian cried, gratefully; and taking her hand gently, he added: “I see we are almost at the gates of my home. You must come in with me till the storm is over, then I will take you home in the carriage.”

Thoroughly frightened, and glad of a shelter from the still angry elements, Cinthia accompanied him inside the gates of the finest residence in the county—Idlewild, as it was called—being a large rambling old stone mansion, exceedingly picturesque in style, and surrounded by a fine estate in lawns, gardens, and virgin woodlands. For many years the place had been tenantless, save for the old housekeeper in charge, but last summer it had been carefully renovated, and Arthur Varian and his widowed mother, who owned the place, had come there to live.

As the young man led Cinthia in, he added, thoughtfully:

“You are quite drenched, but my mother will give[14] you some hot tea and dry clothing, and perhaps that will prevent your getting sick.”

“Oh, I don’t think the wetting will hurt me. I’m very strong,” Cinthia answered; adding, bashfully: “I shouldn’t like your mother to see me looking like I had been fished out of the river. You had better take me to the housekeeper. I know her well. She has been lending me novels and poetry from your library ever since I was a little girl.”

And, in fact, before they rang the bell the front door flew open, and the old woman appeared, pouncing upon Cinthia, and exclaiming:

“Come right in out of the wet, you poor, dear child! I saw it all from the window, and I thought you both were killed when the piece of tin knocked you both down. I believe it is a piece off of our own roof. My heart jumped in my mouth, and I was about to faint when I saw you both rising to your feet, and I got better at once. But, law sakes! wasn’t it terrible? Your hand’s cut, too, ain’t it, Mr. Varian? Well, I’ll see to’t in a minute, as soon as I take Cinthy to my room.”

Leading the dripping girl along the corridors to a plain, neat bedroom, she produced a dainty white night-gown, saying:

“There, honey; jest strip off your wet clothes and put on that, and jump into my bed and kiver up warm, whiles I go and sew up that cut on Mr. Arthur’s hand, for I can do it jest as neat as any doctor. Then I’ll dry[15] your clothes and brew you both some bone-set tea to keep you from ketching cold.”

She bustled away, and Cinthia gladly did as she was bid, looking ruefully at the puddles of water that streamed from her clothing on to the neat Brussels carpet.

When Mrs. Bowles returned she was indeed covered up in the warm bed, with only her bright eyes and the top of her golden head visible.

“Do you feel chilly, dearie? Drink this, to warm your blood,” she said, forcing a bitter concoction of bone-set tea on the protesting girl; adding: “Law, now, ’tisn’t so bad, after all, is it? Why, Mr. Varian drank his dose without so much as a wry face. Law, honey, but that was a deep cut! It almost severed an artery. It took all my nerve to sew it up, I tell you, and he’ll have to carry his hand in a sling some time, sure.”

“He saved my life!” cried Cinthia, eagerly. “I would have received that blow on my head but that he so quickly warded it off with his hand. See, it just grazed my temple,” showing a little bleeding scratch under her ringlets.

“Dearie me, let me put a strip of court-plaster on it! There, it’ll be well in a day or two. Now, Cinthia, you take a little nap whiles I hang your clothes to dry in the laundry,” gathering them up into a bucket.

“I’ve ruined your carpet,” sighed the girl.

“Oh, no; it’ll be all right when it’s dry. Them colors[16] won’t run. Don’t worrit over that, but shet your eyes and go to sleep,” bustling out again.

“Dear old soul!” sighed Cinthia, grateful for the kiss pressed on top of her curly head. She shut her eyes, but she was too nervous to sleep.

She lay listening to the storm that still raged outside, and wondering what her aunt would think of her protracted stay, if she would be angry, or just frightened. Then her thoughts flew to Arthur Varian, his tender smiles, his bonny blue eyes.

“I will never marry any man but a blue-eyed one,” she thought, thrillingly, and at last fell into a gentle doze induced by weariness, the warmth of the bed, and the dose she had swallowed.

The nap lasted an hour, and when she opened her eyes Mrs. Bowles was rocking placidly by the cozy fire in the twilight.

“Oh, I have been asleep! How long?” she cried, uneasily.

“Most an hour. Do you feel rested?”

“Oh, yes, indeed, and I’d like to get up and go home. Are my clothes dry?”

“Oh, no—not yet; and as for that gray woolen frock of yours, it has shrunk that much you can never hook it up again, I can tell you that! But no matter. You’ve had it two years a’ready. I know, and it was too skimp for a growing girl, anyway. But Mrs. Varian has sent[17] you in a suit of her clothes to put on, and when you’re dressed you are to take tea with her and her son.”

“Oh, but, Mrs. Bowles, I ought to go home at once. Aunt Beck will be so uneasy over me.”

“Listen to the wind and the rain, child. The storm is still raging, and the horses can’t be taken out till the weather clears up. So make your mind easy, and get up and dress, for Mrs. Varian will be in to see you presently.”

Cinthia got up rather nervously, with a little dread of Mrs. Varian, whom she had seen at church and out riding—a beautiful, haughty-looking woman, with olive skin and flashing dark eyes, very young looking to have a grown son of twenty-three or four.

“I would rather have my own clothes,” she said pleadingly.

“They are all over mud and water, child, and I don’t think the maid can have them fit for you till to-morrow. Mrs. Varian very kindly offered the loan of hers, and unless you wear them, you’ll have to go to bed again, that’s all. Here, let me help you,” said Mrs. Bowles, beginning to slip the garments over Cinthia’s shining head.

“But this crimson silk with white lace trimmings—it is too fine for me, dear Mrs. Bowles.”

“It can’t be helped, for this is more likely to fit—too tight in the waist for her, she said, and she never wore it but twice; and see, it laps over two inches on you. But I can hide that with the lace at the neck and the bow at[18] the waist. Now let me comb your hair loose over your shoulders, it’s so damp yet. My! how it crimples up and curls, and shines in the light! You look well, Cinthy Dawn!” She would have said beautiful, but she was mindful of Mrs. Flint’s objection, though she said to herself:

“She can’t keep Mr. Arthur from finding it out, that’s sure. He knows it a’ready, by the look in his eyes when he brought her in. And it’s hot, impulsive blood that flows in the Varians’ veins. What is going to come of this accident, I wonder? for I saw love in her eyes when she told me how he saved her life. I hope he didn’t save it just to blight it.”

Cinthia went to the old woman’s mirror and looked at herself in the unaccustomed gown.

The glass was not blurred and cracked like those at home, and it gave back her charming reflection truthfully.

“Why, how pretty I look!” she cried, gazing in frank delight at the beautiful vision, the lissom form, just above medium height, the regular features, the fair arch face, the starry dark eyes, the rose-red mouth, the enchanting dimples, and the aureole of golden hair that set it off like a halo of light. “Why, Mrs. Bowles, I did not know I was so pretty! But perhaps it’s only the dress.”

“Fine feathers make fine birds,” returned the housekeeper, discreetly.

“Yes,” sighed Cinthia; but she continued to gaze at[19] herself in delight, wondering, shyly, what Arthur Varian would think of her in his mother’s fine gown.

Then she turned with a start, for a light tap at the door announced the entrance of Mrs. Varian, and the housekeeper hastened to present the young girl to her mistress.

Both thrilled with admiration, for both were rarely beautiful in their opposite types, the elder a brunette of the finest style, the younger a dark-eyed blonde, so rarely seen, so much admired.

“I hope you have quite recovered from your fright, Miss Dawn,” her hostess said, in a voice so exquisitely modulated that it was as pleasant as music.

Cinthia murmured in reply that she had enjoyed a delicious rest, and was so grateful for the loan of the clothes that made it possible for her to escape from bed.

“I dare say our good Mrs. Bowles would have liked to keep you there all night. She suggested that plan to Arthur after dosing him with bitter herb tea; but he disregarded her advice, and is now waiting impatiently for you,” rejoined the lady, casting an arch glance at the old woman while she took Cinthia’s hand and drew her toward the door.

When the door closed on them the old housekeeper wagged her head doubtfully.

“How sweet my mistress can be when she pleases; but I wonder if she would be as kind if she guessed what I have read in those young peoples’ eyes—that story of[20] love—love between a rich young man and a poor young girl, that folks like Mrs. Varian call misalliances?” she muttered, uneasily.

No matter what the outcome was to be, Cinthia Dawn had come to the happiest night of her life.

Though outside the windows the wild wind and rain swirled and beat with ghostly fingers, inside Mrs. Varian’s luxurious drawing-room all was warmth and light and pleasure.

The lady and her son exerted themselves to make their young guest happy, and she was so glad and grateful in her pleasant surroundings that all were mutually sorry when toward ten o’clock the storm abated, and the moon struggled fitfully through the lowering clouds.

“I must go home!” cried Cinthia, with wholesome dread of Mrs. Flint’s wrath; and their warmest urgings could not prevail on her to stay—though in her secret heart she longed to do so forever. “I shall bring back your clothes to-morrow,” she laughed, as Mrs. Varian bid her a cordial good-night.

Then Arthur handed her into the waiting carriage, stepped in by her side, and the driver closed the door; and of that ride home we shall hear more in our next chapter.



Mrs. Flint grew very uneasy over her absent niece as the short afternoon waned and the fury of the storm increased to positive danger for any luckless pedestrian. After fidgeting and worrying until the early twilight fell, she began to say to herself that Cinthia was probably all right, anyway. She had doubtless gone into some friend’s for shelter, and would not likely return until morning.

She took her frugal tea alone and in something like sadness, for Cinthia had seldom been absent from a meal before, and she began to feel what a loss it was to miss the fair young face about the house. She suddenly realized the tenderness lying dormant in her heart for the wilful girl.

She sat down by the cozy fire with her knitting, and listened to the tempest of wind and rain soughing in the trees outside, and Cinthia’s rebellion that afternoon kept repeating itself over and over in her brain until she muttered aloud:

“She wants fine things and parties and lovers, does she? Well, well, I s’pose it’s natural enough for her mother’s child, and for any young girl for that matter, but where’s she going to get them? The lovers would be easy enough—she’s as pretty as a pink—but I don’t want[22] to encourage her vanity, and it’s better to save the money her father sends till she needs it worse. What if he should die way off yonder somewhere, and maybe not leave her a penny? I wish he’d come home, I do, or I wish she was homely as sin, with red hair and freckles, and a snub nose like Jane Ann Johnson!”

So she fretted and fumed until past ten o’clock, and that was an hour beyond her usual bed-time; but somehow she could not get Cinthia out of her mind, could not bear to retire while she was away, so she kept glancing at the window, though scarcely expecting her to arrive before morning. How could she, in such a storm, though the wind had lulled somewhat, and the patter of the rain was dulled on the drifts of dead leaves that muffled the sound of carriage-wheels, pausing too, so that Mrs. Flint almost jumped out of her skin when there suddenly came a loud rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat, upon the front door.

But she was not naturally nervous, so after a moment’s startled indecision, she flew to the door and demanded, through the key-hole, to know who was there.

“It is Cinthia, aunt,” returned a sweet, mirthful voice.

With a sigh of relief the old lady unlocked the door, and there stepped into the narrow hall a vision that took her breath away.

Was it Cinthia Dawn or a fairy princess, this beautiful creature in the crimson silk and misty lace, the furred white opera-cloak falling from her shoulders, the rippling lengths of sunny hair enveloping her like a halo, the dark[23] eyes beaming with “that light that never was on sea or land,” but only in the glance of the happy and the loving?

“Cinthia Dawn!” she began, in a dazed voice; but just then she became aware that a tall and handsome young man, hat in hand, was standing on the threshold. She knew who he was. Her pastor had introduced her last Sunday, at church, to the master of Idlewild.

“Good-evening, Mrs. Flint,” he began, beamingly. “I have brought Cinthia home safe to you. My mother took care of her during the storm.” He paused, faintly hoping that she would ask him to enter, it was so early yet.

But he did not yet know Mrs. Flint, much as he had heard of her eccentricities. She simply bridled, and returned, in her stiffest manner:

“I’m sure we are very much obliged to your mother, and you, too. Good-evening.”

Thus curtly dismissed, the young man shot a tender glance at his sweetheart, and bowed himself out into the night again, the lady slamming the door behind him before he was fairly down the steps.

“Oh, Aunt Beck! how could you be so rude after all their kindness to me? And he saved my life, too. Didn’t you see his arm in a sling?” indignantly.

“I don’t know as I noticed it. I was so flustrated seeing you bringing a beau home, and you nothing but a child yet!” snapped the old lady.

Child!” echoed Cinthia, scornfully, as she held her[24] chilly fingers to the blaze and the ruddy light played over her beautiful garments.

“But what are you doing with the silk gown, and that grand white cloak, all brocade and ermine? I don’t understand!” cried the old lady, suspiciously.

Cinthia laughed out gayly, happily, her eyes shining, her voice as sweet as silver bells.

“Why, I was caught in the rain and almost drowned, Aunt Beck, and my wretched old duds were nothing but mud and water, so Mrs. Varian lent me these things to come home in. Aren’t they becoming? Don’t I look pretty?” setting her graceful head one side, like a bird.

“Humph! ‘Pretty is as pretty does,’” grunted her aunt, though she could not keep her eyes off the charming creature as she flung herself back in an easy-chair and continued, gayly:

“If you are not sleepy, Aunt Beck, I’ll tell you all about it.”

“I guess I can keep my eyes open!” ungraciously, though she was dying of curiosity.

Thereupon Cinthia related all the events of the evening, from the time she had left home until she bid Mrs. Varian good-night to return in the grand carriage with the handsome master of Idlewild. Clasping her tiny hands, she cried, in an ecstacy:

“Oh, aunt, I can’t tell you how I enjoyed it all! Mrs. Varian is as proud and beautiful as a queen; but she was so kind and sweet to me that I felt quite at home in[25] her grand house. As for her son—oh!” and Cinthia paused and blushed divinely.

Mrs. Flint snapped, irately:

“Now, Cinthia Dawn, don’t you go getting your head turned by idle flatteries from rich young men. Anybody but a silly child would know they don’t mean anything.”

“Oh, Aunt Beck, please don’t call me a child any more. I am as grown up as anybody, and you know it—seventeen last April. And—and”—wistfully and defiantly all at once—“he does mean it. He loves me dearly—and—we—are—engaged!”

Aunt Beck gave a jump of uncontrollable surprise.

“Cinthy Dawn, you don’t mean it?”

“Yes, I do, Aunt Beck. I have promised to marry Arthur Varian.”

“But, land sakes, child—oh, I forgot; well girl, then—you don’t hardly know each other!”

“Oh, yes, we do. We have been acquainted some time. We fell in love weeks ago, and—and—he told me in the carriage he loved me and wanted to marry me.”


Mrs. Flint was so surprised she could not speak; she could only stare in wonder at the beautiful, excited creature with her happy face.


“Oh, aunt, you are not angry, are you? He’s very, very nice, I’m sure—and rich, too! He said my every fancy should be gratified—that he would worship me. You will give your consent, won’t you, because he’s coming here to-morrow morning to ask you.”

Mrs. Flint found her voice, and muttered, sarcastically:

“A wonder he didn’t ask me to-night! Why didn’t you tell him you would have to get your father’s consent?”

“Because papa has deserted me ever since I was small, and cares nothing for me. It is you I’ve had to look for the care of father and mother both. Why, look you, papa has never written me a line all these years! He does not care what becomes of me. And we shall not ask him anything. You are my guardian, and will give us leave to marry, won’t you, dear?”

“When, Cinthy?”

“Oh, very soon, he said—not later than Christmas, anyway. We don’t want to wait long. You’ll be willing, won’t you?” impetuously.

“I don’t know, dear. I’ll have to sleep on it before I make up my mind; you’ve given me such a surprise. Though I don’t say but that it’s a grand match for a girl like you, Cinthy.”

“He said I was made for a prince.”

“Of course. People in love are silly enough to say anything. But take your candle and go to bed now, Cinthy, and we will talk about this again to-morrow.”


“Good-night, aunt,” and she lingered, perhaps hoping for a kindlier word.

The old lady, moved in spite of herself, and secretly proud of Cinthia’s conquest, actually kissed the rosy cheek, saying, merrily:

“Good-night—Mrs. Varian that is to be.”

Cinthia’s heart leaped with joy and pride, for she took this concession to mean approbation of her choice.

With the chorus of a love song Arthur had sung that evening on her happy lips, she went upstairs to her pretty bed-room, and was soon fast asleep and dreaming sweetly of her splendid lover.

But as for Mrs. Flint, she sat down again by the fire, in a sort of dazed condition, to think it all over.

Little Cinthia engaged to be married! Why, it was like some strange dream!

But the more she thought it over, the better pleased she was, for Cinthia’s future had been a burden to her mind, and this would be such a relief, marrying her off to such a good catch as Arthur Varian. Why, the little girl had done as well for herself as the most anxious father could desire, and she decided to give her consent to the match to-morrow without the formality of asking his advice.

Just as she came to this conclusion, she was startled again by another rat-a-tat upon the door.

“Good gracious! Who can it be knocking there at midnight almost? Some lunatic, surely! Or maybe Cinthia’s beau come back to ask for her to-night, too impatient[28] to wait for morning!” she soliloquized, as she sallied out into the hall, with the demand:

“Who’s there?”

To her utter consternation and amazement, a manly voice replied, impatiently:

“Your long-lost brother, Rebecca. Open the door. This wind is very cutting!”

Unlocking the door, a traveler stepped into the hall—a tall, brown-bearded man of perhaps forty-five, blue-eyed, and rarely handsome.

“Welcome, Everard!” she cried, and put her arm around his neck and kissed him with unwonted affection.

He had been her baby half-brother when she was married, the pet and pride of the family.

“Oh, I have such news for you! This return is very timely!” she exclaimed, when they were seated again by the fireside.

Thereupon she poured out the exciting story of his daughter’s engagement, dilating with unusual volubility on the eligibility of the suitor.

“I suppose I shall have to consent,” he said, carelessly; then: “Oh, by the way, what is the young man’s name?”

“Arthur Varian.”

The man sprung to his feet as if she had thrust a knife into his heart.

“Arthur Varian!” he repeated, trembling like a leaf in a storm, his face growing deathly white under the bronze of travel.


“Why, Everard, what is the matter? Do you know him? Is there anything wrong about him?”

“Yes, no—that is, I must see him first! Oh, Rebecca, this is a terrible thing! How fortunate that I came in time to nip this in the bud, for Arthur Varian can never marry my daughter.”

“You will break her heart.”

He dropped back into his seat, groaning:

“I can not help it, miserable man that I am; for Cinthia Dawn had better be dead than the bride of Arthur Varian!”


I remember I was young once,
Ah! how long ago it seems
Since the happy days and months
Passed away like pleasant dreams!
For I loved then. I can smile now
At myself. ’Twas long ago,
Ere time’s hand had sprinkled snow
To cool love’s fever on my brow.
Rosalie Osborne.

Everard Dawn’s words fell on his sister’s ears with a great shock, so deep was the anguish of his tone and the emotion of his face, his lips trembling under the rich brown beard, and his eyes gleaming under their heavy[30] brows like shadowed surfaces of deep blue pools, while the pallor of his face was ghastly to behold.

She studied the agitated man in wonder and terror, for he was almost like a stranger to his sister, having never met her since he was a youth of sixteen, just entering college.

Since she had married in Virginia while on a visit from her home in the far South, her communications with her relatives had been almost broken off; the death of her father soon followed her marriage, and her only visit home had been to the death-bed of her step-mother when Everard was just entering college.

She was his only near relative, and she had urged the lonely boy to visit her often, but he had never accepted the invitation but once, having to work too hard at his chosen profession—the law—to find time, he said.

Their correspondence had been infrequent, and she knew little of him, save that he had been married twice, and that on the death of his second wife he had brought her his child to raise, and gone away abruptly, a broken-hearted, lonely man.

Yet, as she looked at him sitting there, so handsome still in his young, splendid prime, with threads of premature silver creeping into the thick locks on his temples, and remembered how heavily the shadows of grief had stretched across his life, the woman’s heart was moved to pity and tenderness, such as she had felt in his babyhood[31] days, when he was the pet and darling of all. Her cold gray eyes softened with sympathy, as she cried:

“Surely, Everard, you have had more than your share of sorrow in life! What new trouble is this? For, of course, you would not oppose such a splendid match for your daughter without grave reasons.”

He lifted his heavy eyes to her troubled face, and answered, bitterly:

“Yes, I have reasons, grave and bitter reasons, for forbidding this marriage, and I thank Heaven I came in time to prevent it. But ask me nothing, Rebecca, for I shall never willingly divulge my reasons, not even to the man whom I must send away sorrowing to-morrow over a broken love-dream.”

His voice fell to exquisite pathos, as if he almost pitied the man he intended to wound so cruelly.

Mrs. Flint was disappointed, crest-fallen, she had been so elated over her niece’s prospects.

She rejoined, uneasily:

“I don’t know what Cinthy will say to this. Her heart is set on Arthur Varian. He stands for everything she longs for most, and her hatred of her life with me is intense and rebellious. You can never reconcile her to it again.”

“I must make a change in it, then, though my means are not large,” he sighed.

“So much the worse, for she loves luxury and pleasure, and her heart is almost starved for love. You know I[32] have a reserved nature, Everard, and never pet anything. I have brought her up kindly, but rigidly, and she resents my discipline and your neglect almost equally.”

“Poor girl! Perhaps she has cause. I have certainly almost forgotten her existence in these years of exile. But what alleviation was there to my misery except to forget?” he cried, passionately.

“Poor boy!” she sighed, forgetting that he was forty-five. She was twenty years older, and to her he appeared young.

He made a movement of keen self-scorn.

“I don’t deserve your pity!” he cried. “I have been a coward, shifting my burden on your shoulders, hating to come home, weary of my life. But at last the voice of duty clamored at my heart. I remembered you were growing old, and that the child was almost a woman. I came at last, but even then reluctantly. Can you ever forgive my fault?”

Many times she had said to herself, in her impatience of Cinthia’s discontent, that she could never forgive her brother for saddling her with the care of a child in her old age; but at the sight of him, so sad, so broken, so self-accusing, she could not utter the words of blame that at first had trembled on her tongue. She answered instead:

“What could you have done with a girl-child? And I was the only one you could turn to in your trouble. But I must warn you that you will not find an affectionate daughter. You have been away so long that she scarcely[33] remembers your face, and she has chafed bitterly at your neglect.”

“I suppose that is natural, and—I do not think we shall ever be very fond of each other,” he replied, with strange bitterness.

“When do you wish to see her, Everard? She is in bed now.”

“Do not disturb her sweet dreams. Our interview can easily wait till to-morrow,” he said, with strange coldness for a man whose nearest tie was this beautiful, neglected daughter.

He got up and stood with his back to the fire, his pale troubled face in shadow.

“Don’t let me keep you up longer. You look pale and tired, poor soul!” he said, kindly; adding: “Can you give me a bed, or shall I go to the hotel?”

“I can give you a room,” she answered, lighting a bedroom-candle for him and leading the way to a cozy down-stairs chamber.

“Good-night. I hope you will sleep well,” she said, leaving him to ascend to her own quarters opposite Cinthia’s own little white-hung room that she took much pains in beautifying after her girlish fancies.

She peeped in at the girl and saw that she was wrapped in pleasant dreams, for the murmured name of Arthur passed her lips, and she smiled in joy beneath the gazer’s troubled eyes.

“Poor little girl—poor little girl!” she murmured, as[34] she withdrew, her heart heavy with sympathy for the sweet love-dream so soon to be blighted by the father’s stern edict of separation.

“It is very, very, strange, the way Everard takes on about it. Why, he went wild just at the very name of Varian,” she said aloud to the large portrait of her long dead husband, Deacon Flint, good soul, that hung over her mantel. She had acquired a habit of talking absently to this portrait as if it were alive.

She read her short chapter in the Bible, mumbled over her prayer, and crept shivering into bed. But slumber was far from her eyes. The events of the evening had unstrung her nerves, and she lay awake, dreading the dawn of the morrow that was to usher in such disappointment and sorrow to the sleeping girl now dreaming so happily of the lover who was never to be her husband.


Cinthia would have slept later than usual that morning but for her aunt’s hand gently shaking her as she said:

“Get up, Cinthy. Breakfast is almost ready. Put on your Sunday gown, and try to look your best when you come down-stairs.”

“Is—is—Arthur here—already?” cried the girl, a beautiful flash of joy illuminating her face.


“Never mind about that; only come down as soon as you can, or the biscuit will be soggy,” returned the old lady, hurrying out in trepidation. The sight of the beautiful, happy face made her nervous.

Cinthia hurried her toilet, not taking time to plait her hair, but letting the bright mass fall in careless waves over the brown cloth gown—her “Sunday best.”

“How ugly it is!” she cried, with an envious glance at Mrs. Varian’s finery spread over a chair; then she sped down-stairs, wondering happily if Arthur had indeed arrived so soon to ask her aunt’s consent.

But a strange man, tall, grave, brown-bearded, stood with his back to the fire, scanning her with moody blue eyes as she fluttered in, and Aunt Beck said in nervous tones:

“Your father, Cinthy.”

“Oh!” she faltered, in more surprise than joy, and paused, irresolute.

“What a pretty girl you have grown, my dear!” said Everard Dawn, coming forward and giving her a careless kiss. Then he took her hand and seated her at the table, saying laughingly that her aunt had been fretting about the biscuits.

No emotion had been shown on either side. The man seemed indifferent, with an under-current of repressed agitation; the girl was secretly wounded and indignant. Her own father! yet he had never shown her a sign of[36] real love. Between this pair her poor heart had been starved for tenderness.

A little triumphant thought thrilled her through and through:

“What do I care for his coming or going now? I shall soon be happy with my darling!”

She was wondrously beautiful this morning, even in the plain dark gown that simply served as a foil to her fairness. Everard Dawn could not help from seeing it, and saying to himself:

“What peerless beauty! No wonder Arthur Varian lost his head!”

He felt like groaning aloud, his sudden home-coming had precipitated him into such a tragic plight, for the task that lay before him was most bitter.

He could not help from seeing the pride and resentment in her eyes, and something moved him to say, apologetically:

“I dare say you have been vexed with me for staying away so long, Cinthia; but I have been working for you, trying to lay aside a little pile, so that you could enjoy your young ladyhood. You shall have pretty gowns and pleasures henceforth. Are you not glad?”

It cost him effort to say so much, but there was no gratitude in his daughter’s proud face, only a mutinous flash of the great dark eyes as she answered:

“I shall not need your belated kindness now.”

“What do you mean?” impatiently.


“Haven’t you told him, Aunt Beck, about—about—Arthur?” blushing vividly.

“Yes—yes, dear.”

Cinthia nodded her head at him with a mixture of childish triumph and womanliness.

“You see,” she said, proudly, “I am going to be married soon. I shall have a husband who will give me all I want—even,” bitterly, “the love I have missed all my life!” tears sparkling into her eyes under the curling lashes.

He felt the keen reproach deeply, and exclaimed, gently and sadly:

“Poor little Cinthia.”

“Not poor now,” she answered, quickly. “It is rich Cinthia now—rich in Arthur’s love and the certainty of a happy future.”

She meant to be scathing, poor, neglected, wounded Cinthia, but she could never guess how the words cut into his heart and tortured him with secret agony—he who meant to lay her love and hopes in ruins, to blight all the joys of her life by the exercise of a father’s privilege of breaking her will.

But no shadow crossed his face, no trouble was apparent in his manner as he laughed easily, and answered:

“Nonsense! you are scarcely more than a child yet—too young to be dreaming of marriage. I shall send you to school to complete your education before you can begin to think of lovers.”


“I will not go!” she said rebelliously, with startled eyes upon his inscrutable face.

“Cinthy!” reproved her aunt.

“I will not go!” the girl repeated, defiantly. “I shall marry Arthur, as I promised, before Christmas!”

She sprung from her seat and rushed to the window, drumming tempestuously upon the pane, her habit when greatly excited.

Outside the prospect was dreary. The débris of yesterday’s storm littered the ground, the limbs of some of the trees hung broken, the sun was hidden under clouds that hinted at snow.

Mrs. Flint whispered to her brother, apprehensively:

“I told you so. She has a rebellious will, and she thinks you have no authority over her now, because you stayed away so long.”

“She will find out better about that before long,” he answered, decisively, though the curious paleness of last night settled again upon his handsome face.

He went over and stood by Cinthia’s side.

“It will snow before to-morrow,” he said, quietly.

“Yes;” and she looked around at him with a flushed face, crying: “Oh, papa, you were jesting?”

“No. I can not give you to Arthur Varian, Cinthia. You must forget him, my dear child.”

“I can not, will not! I should die without him!” passionately.

“No, no, you will soon get over this fancy, for you[39] have known Mr. Varian but a little time, and to-morrow I shall take you away from this place, and amid new surroundings you will forget the face that dazzled you here.”

“I will never forget Arthur, nor will I go away!” she protested.

“You can not set at naught a father’s authority, Cinthia.”

“I disclaim it, I defy it! You have given me neither love nor care, so you forfeit every right! Oh, I am sorry you ever came back here!” stormed the angry girl.

“Cinthy, Cinthy, come and help me with the work!” her aunt called, sharply; and she left him with the mien of an offended princess.

He took refuge in a cigar, and smoked moodily, till the click of the gate-latch made him look up, with a face working with emotion, at a handsome, elegantly clad young man walking up to the door.

Cinthia had gone upstairs to make the beds, and her aunt went to admit the caller.

In a minute she ushered him into the little sitting-room, saying nervously:

“Mr. Varian—my brother, Mr. Dawn.”



Arthur Varian gave a slight start of surprise as he was presented to Mr. Dawn, but the latter, more prepared for the encounter, bowed with gracious courtesy, frankly shook hands with the visitor, and pushed forward a chair.

Then they looked at each other silently a moment, and that glance prepossessed each in favor of the other—a natural sequence for Arthur, since he guessed that his new acquaintance must be Cinthia’s father.

They conversed several moments on indifferent subjects, both rather grave and constrained, with a feeling of something serious in the air, then Arthur came to the point with manly frankness:

“I have found you here most opportunely this morning, Mr. Dawn. I came to see Mrs. Flint on a particular subject, but of course you are the proper person to consult,” ingratiatingly.

“Cinthia has already told me of your suit for her hand, Mr. Varian,” gently helping him out, as if anxious for it to be over.

“You know, then, that I love your daughter—that she has promised me her hand. I can give you every assurance, sir, of my possession of those requisites every good man wishes to find in a suitor for his daughter. I am rich, of the best blood of the South, my character irreproachable. May I hope to have your approval?”


He spoke diffidently, yet eagerly and with superb manliness, his dark-blue eyes shining with hope, his cheek glowing with honest pride that he had so much to offer to the lady of his choice. Without vanity, he knew that he was, in worldly parlance, an eligible parti. No thought of refusal crossed his mind.

Yet Everard Dawn was slow in replying to what many might have considered a compliment.

His eyes rested steadily and gravely on Cinthia’s lover, while his cheek paled to an ashen hue, and the hand that rested on his knee trembled as with an ague chill.

Arthur Varian noticed these signs of deep agitation, and attributed them to parental love. He added, gently:

“It seems cruel to harass you, almost in the first moment of your return, with this matter; but it is not as if I proposed taking Cinthia away from you immediately. We had planned for a Christmas wedding.”

“This is the first of November, Mr. Varian,” he reminded him, coldly.

“Yes, sir; so it would be almost two months before I took Cinthia away,” smilingly.

“My daughter is too young to marry yet. I came home to place her at a convent school in Canada for two years, not dreaming that she had notions of lovers in her childish head,” Everard Dawn continued, gravely.

“You see, sir, we have made other plans,” said Arthur, lightly, not taking him au serieux.

To his surprise, Mr. Dawn answered, frigidly:


“Of course, those plans made without my consent do not carry.”

Arthur began to grow excited by the portentous gravity of the other. He exclaimed, almost pleadingly:

“Mr. Dawn, you do not surely mean that you will make me wait two years for Cinthia?”

And to his utter horror and despair, the gentleman replied slowly, sadly, and gravely, as if every word cost him a pang:

“No, I do not wish you to wait for Cinthia, Arthur Varian, for the truth may as well be known to you first as last, cruel as it must seem at first. Believe me, I am sorry for your disappointment, and I hope your fancy for Cinthia has not taken very deep root, for—she can never be your wife.”

“Mr. Dawn!”

Arthur Varian sprung to his feet, and faced the speaker, with such a grief and amazement on his handsome face as might have melted the sternest heart.

“Mr. Dawn, you can not surely mean this refusal! What reasons could exist for deliberately wrecking two fond, loving hearts?”

“Unfortunately, the reasons exist; but such as they are, I can not explain them, Mr. Varian.”

Arthur cried out, eagerly:

“If you are offended at my impatience to claim Cinthia for my own, I will agree to wait the two years you mentioned, or even more. Nay, so deep and constant is[43] my love, that I would rather serve seven years for her, as Jacob did for Rachel, than lose the dear hope of winning her at last for my own.”

Everard Dawn rose from his chair, and grasping the back, to still the great trembling of his frame, answered, with passionate energy:

“Arthur Varian, there can never be a marriage between you and my daughter. The fates forbid it, the unknown forces that control your life and hers cry out upon it. You must forget each other, for your love is the most ill-fated and hopeless the world ever knew. Arguments and entreaties are alike useless. You will believe that I am in terrible earnest when I tell you that I would sooner see my daughter dead than give her to you as a bride.”

“This is strange—passing strange, Mr. Dawn,” the young man uttered, indignantly, yet still not as angrily as might have been expected.

A subtle something about the man, with his grave, sad, handsome visage, claimed his respectful admiration, in spite of the mystery that surrounded his rejection of his daughter’s suitor.

“It is strange, but true,” answered Everard Dawn, wearily; and he added: “Do not let us prolong this most painful conversation. Nothing can change the decrees of relentless fate.”

Arthur felt himself politely dismissed, and turned toward the door.


“You will at least permit me a parting interview with Cinthia?” he murmured.

“You must forego it. It is better so. To-morrow she leaves this place with me forever. Your two lives must never cross again!”

With a heart full of pain, and anger, and silent rebellion, the young man bowed, and walked out of the house; but ere he reached the gate, he heard flying footsteps behind him, and turned to greet Cinthia, bareheaded and breathless, her cheeks pale, the tears hanging on the curly fringe of her dark lashes.

She clasped her tiny hands around his arm, reckless of her father’s eyes watching disapprovingly from the window, and murmured:


“He refuses his consent, Cinthia, and says he will take you away to-morrow where we shall never meet again.”

“Arthur, you will never let him do it; you will not forsake me if you love me!” wildly, passionately.

“My darling, you know I can not live without you! Would you elope with me?”

“Yes, yes!” she began, eagerly; but just then her father appeared at the door.

“Cinthia, you must come in out of the cold!” he called, sternly; and Arthur said:

“Go, my darling!”



Cinthia did not obey. She only clung closer to her sorrowing lover.

“Oh, Arthur, don’t leave me! Take me home with you to your sweet, kind mother! I hate that man!” she sobbed in wild abandon.

Her father came down the walk toward them, and Arthur bent and whispered rapidly in her ear:

“Go in with him now, my own sweet love, for we can not defy him openly, we can only defeat him by strategy. Be brave, darling, for—I will come for you and take you away to-night.”

He kissed her, in spite of Mr. Dawn’s great eyes, and pushed her from him with gentle violence just as her father came out and took her hand.

“Come, Cinthia,” he said, with gentle firmness, and she followed, though she shook off his touch as though it had been a viper.

“Don’t touch me! I hate you—hate you!” she cried, like a little fury, her eyes flashing fire. “Do you think I will go with you to-morrow? Never—never! You have made my life empty of joy, and now you envy the sunshine that love has brought me! But you shall not part me from Arthur—no, no, no!” and desperately sobbing, she flung herself face downward on the floor.


He sought Mrs. Flint in terrible perturbation.

“Come, she is in hysterics!” he exclaimed, anxiously.

“I told you it would go hard with Cinthy,” she answered, curtly.

“Yes, I feared she would grieve; but, good Heaven! she is a little fury—all rage and rebellion, swearing she will not go with me to-morrow. She must be closely watched to-day, for there is no telling what such a desperate girl may do,” he said in alarm mixed with anger.

“Pshaw! she will simmer down when her fit of crying is over. I’ll get her upstairs and give her a soothing dose. Her temper-fits never last long, for Cinthy is a good child, after all, and I am sorry over her disappointment, she sets such store by love,” returned the old woman, in real sympathy for the girl and secret disapproval of his cold attitude to his neglected daughter.

He felt the implied reproach and answered, in weary self-excuse:

“Rebecca, I know you think me hard and cold, but my heart seems dead within me.”

“That is no excuse for neglect of duty,” she answered with telling effect as she went to the difficult task of soothing Cinthia and getting her upstairs to her room.

“A bitter home-coming!” he muttered, as he went out into the bleak morning air, with its scurrying flakes of threatening snow, to try to walk off some of his perturbation.


Somehow the dreary day dragged through to the drearier late afternoon.

Upstairs, Cinthia lay still and exhausted upon the bed after such a day of tears, and sobs, and passionate rebellion as Mrs. Flint hoped never to go through again.

Everard Dawn took his hat and great-coat, and set out for another long walk—this time in the direction of Arthur Varian’s home.

Had he repented his harshness? Was he going to recall Cinthia’s banished lover?

The air was keen with a biting east wind, the sky was gray with threatening clouds, and occasional light scurries of snow flew in his face and flecked his thick brown beard as he stepped briskly along, gazing over the low evergreen hedge at the beautiful grounds of the fine old estate he had refused for his daughter.

As he almost paused in his walk to gaze with deep interest at the picturesque old stone house, he saw a lady come out of a side-door and turn into an avenue of tall dark cedars that made a pleasant promenade, shutting off the rigorous wind very effectively.

He followed her progress with wistful eyes and tense lips.

It was indeed the stately mistress of the mansion. Wearying of its warmth and luxury, she had come out, wrapped in sealskin, for her favorite constitutional along the cedar avenue.

She walked slowly, with her hands behind her, and[48] her large, flashing dark eyes bent on the ground, as if in profound thought.

Everard Dawn gazed eagerly after Mrs. Varian till she was lost to view among the cedars, then, searching for a gate in the hedge, he entered and turned his steps toward the avenue, so as to meet her on her lonely walk.

Slowly they came on toward each other, the echo of their footsteps dulled by the carpet of dead leaves, dank and sodden with last night’s rain, and the face of the man, with its gleaming eyes and deep pallor, bore signs of unusual agitation.

Suddenly the lowering clouds parted, and a dull sunset glow sent gleams of light down through the cedar boughs upon the sodden path. The woman lifted her large, passionate orbs to the sky.

Then she stopped short and uttered a startled cry.

She had caught sight of the advancing man, the intruder upon her grounds.

He removed his hat and stood bowing before her in the dying sunset glow, the light shining on his pallid face and the streaks of gray in his thick locks.

“Mrs. Varian!” he exclaimed.

“Everard Dawn!” she answered, in a hollow voice, and her eyes glowed like live coals among dead embers, so ashy-pale was her beautiful face.

Pressing her gloved hand upon her side, as if her heart’s wild throbbings threatened to suffocate her, she called, hoarsely:


“Why are you here? How dare you face me, traitor?”

“I have not come to forgive you, Mrs. Varian, be sure of that!” he answered, sternly.

“You do well to talk of forgiveness—you!” she sneered, stamping the ground with her dainty foot.

“And—you—madame—would—do—well to crave it—not that it would ever be granted you, remember. Only angels could forgive injuries like mine!” the man answered, stormily, with upraised hand, as if longing to strike her down in her defiant beauty.

She did not shrink nor blanch, but her face was a picture of emotional rage, dead white against the setting of satin-black tresses and rich seal fur, her eyes flashing as only great oriental black eyes can flash, and her rare beauty of form showing to advantage as she drew herself haughtily erect, hissing out:

“Go, Everard Dawn! Take your hated form from my sight ere I summon my servants to drive you from the grounds!”

Turning, as if to put her threat into execution, she was arrested by a stern voice that said significantly:

“It is more to your interest to listen to me one moment, Mrs. Varian.”

She whirled back toward him again, saying, imperiously:

“Be brief, then, Everard Dawn, for you should know[50] that it suffocates me to breathe the same air with such as you!”

Evidently there was some strange secret between this haughty pair, for he flashed her a glance of kindling scorn, as he returned:

“What I have to say needs but one sentence to assure you of its importance. Your son, Mrs. Varian, wishes to wed—my daughter!”

A hoarse, strangled cry, and she fell back against the trunk of a tree, clasping its great bole, as if to prevent herself from falling. Her face wore such a look of agony as if he had plunged a knife into her heart.

Everard Dawn impetuously started forward, as if to catch her in his arms—the natural impulse of manhood at seeing a woman suffer.

Then he suddenly remembered himself, and drew haughtily back, waiting for her to speak again; but she was silent several moments, gazing at him with the reproachful eyes of a wounded animal at bay.

Then she gasped, faintly:

“Is she—is she—that Cinthia Dawn?”

“Yes. Cinthia Dawn is my daughter,” finishing the unended sentence. “She lives here with my sister, and I came home last night, after being self-exiled for weary years, and found Arthur Varian and Cinthia plighted lovers. I have forbidden their love, and sent him away; but they are defiant and rebellious. I shall take her away[51] to-morrow—but in the meantime I came to you, for you must help me to keep them apart.”

“I—oh, Heaven! what is there I can do?” she moaned, in piteous distress.

He looked at her in dead silence a moment, then answered, firmly:

“Cinthia is only a tender girl, and I will not have her young life blasted with the hideous truth. Arthur is a man, and if the dark secret that comes between their love must ever be divulged, it is to him alone it need be revealed. Will you charge yourself with this duty should he persist in his resolve to marry Cinthia?”

“If you asked me for all my fortune, I would rather give it you—but you are right. The duty is mine. I will not shirk it, though it slay me. Poor, poor Arthur!”

“That is well. I shall depend on you to curb his passion. Farewell, Mrs. Varian;” and with a lingering glance, he turned away just as the last sun-ray glimmered and faded in the west.


Cinthia had never spent such an unhappy day in the whole of her young life. She could not realize that only yesterday she had been railing at the monotony of existence.


It was only twenty-four hours later, and a tragedy of woe had overwhelmed her in its grim embrace.

Only yesterday she had been planning, and hoping, and wishing for some way to know Arthur Varian better, and now he was won, now he was her promised husband; and through all the bitterness of her father’s cruelty, that thought made glad her warm heart.

She had shed little rivers of tears, she had sulked at her father and aunt, she had refused to eat her dinner, and pouted among the pillows all day long; but through it all ran one thrilling thought, Arthur was coming to take her away to-night. He had promised, and she knew he would keep his word.

When her aunt went down about her household duties, she laughed to herself at the thought of outwitting those two—her cold-hearted aunt and her cruel father. The thought of their surprise, when they should find her gone in the morning was pure delight.

“There he goes now. I wish he would go and stay forever!” she cried, petulantly, as she heard the gate-latch click, and springing to the window, saw her father walking away into the gloomy distance.

She sat down and watched him out of sight, adding:

“He is very handsome and noble looking, and if he had treated me better, I should have learned to love him well. But now I hate and fear him, and I would die before I would go with him to-morrow. Dear,[53] dear Arthur, I hope nothing will prevent him from taking me away to-night.”

And while she was moping, her aunt came up with a magnificent bunch of roses, saying kindly:

“Cheer up now, Cinthy! Here’s a splendid big nosegay for you, and a box of French candy. I ’spose your pa sent it, because he went down into the town a while ago, and said he’d get you a present.”

“I don’t want any of his presents! Take them away!” Cinthia answered, angrily.

“Don’t be a little fool, Cinthy. I’m getting out of patience with your airs,” Mrs. Flint returned, severely, putting down the gifts and slamming the door as she stalked out.

Cinthia loved flowers dearly, and the scent of the roses wooed her to caress them presently, burying her face in the fragrant red and white beauties.

A note hidden among them scratched the tip of her nose, and she drew it out with a cry of wonder.

It was from Arthur Varian, and ran thus:

“I have thought it all over, darling, and I think the only way for us is to elope to Washington to-night and be married. I do not like to steal a man’s daughter away from him this way, but his obstinacy leaves us no other hope, and as there is really no reason to prevent our marrying, I hope he will soon be reconciled. No doubt, mother will help us to bring him around afterward, she is so very clever. And I shall not let her into the secret of to-night, so that he can not accuse her of connivance[54] in our plans. I will be waiting near your house with a carriage at twelve o’clock to-night, and you must slip out and join me. Then it is only two miles to the station, and away we go on the midnight train to Washington. Keep up your courage, my sweet love, for we are going to be the happiest pair in the world.


Cinthia refused to go down to supper, and made a meal of sweetmeats. The hours between dark and midnight seemed endless. She heard her aunt retire to her room at an early hour, and her father later on. The house was wrapped for an hour in profound silence, then she heard the hall-clock chiming twelve.

Cinthia was all ready, even to her hat and jacket, her face pale with eagerness, her heart throbbing wildly. She stepped to the door and turned the knob. Horrors! it did not yield to her touch. They had suspected her and locked her into the room.

An impulse came to her to shriek aloud in her wrath and defiance, and to try and batter down the door and escape; but a timely thought restrained her, and she drew back from the temptation, her eyes flaming luridly, her temper raging.

“They shall not baffle us, the cunning wretches! Arthur, my love, I am coming to you, though the whole world oppose!” she cried, wildly, rushing to the window and throwing up the sash.

It had been snowing steadily for hours, though she[55] did not know it. As she leaned out into the darkness a great gust of wind and big swirling flakes of snow stormed into the room, blowing out the light and clasping her in a cold embrace.


In the small compass of thy clasping arms,
In reach and sight of thy dear lips and eyes,
There, there, for me the joy of Heaven lies.
Outside, lo! chaos, terrors, wild alarms,
And all the desolation fierce and fell
Of void and aching nothingness makes hell.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

The night was black as Erebus, the wind cut like a knife, and the air was full of blinding snow that must have been falling for hours, it was banked so heavily against the window-ledge, almost freezing Cinthia’s hands as they plunged into it on leaning forward, for though she gasped and caught her breath as the wild elements blew in her face and tried to beat her back, she did not recoil from her fixed purpose, which was to drop out upon the top of the porch and climb down to the ground by the aid of a honeysuckle vine that wreathed over the trellis frame at one end. The icy blast that shrieked in her ears was not enough to chill the fiery ardor of her resentment at her father, and the yearning of her heart[56] for the dear lover from whom she feared to be separated forever.

Her tender young heart went out to him with an intensity of feeling as she peered out into the stormy darkness of the night, wondering if he was there waiting, and if he was growing impatient at her delay.

“Ah, my love,” she murmured, impetuously, “I am coming to you—coming! Neither bolts nor bars, nor storm nor darkness, nor anything under Heaven, shall keep us apart!”

The wind whistled past the eaves and seemed to take on an almost human voice of sorrowing, as though it echoed those dismal words: “Shall keep us apart, shall keep us apart!”

Cinthia caught her breath and listened, it was so strange, that almost human wail of the wind sighing through the great pine tree on the corner. It seemed to be sobbing: “Apart, apart!”

“How mournful it sounds!” she uttered, in an awe-stricken tone; then she climbed through the window and dropped with a dull thud out on the porch. Mrs. Flint heard the sound in her adjoining room, and muttered, drowsily:

“It is the snow sliding down from off the roof.”

Cinthia crawled to edge of the porch, and felt out carefully for the thick mat of the honeysuckle.

She knew she was making a desperate venture, but she[57] said to herself, bitterly, that desperate emergencies require desperate remedies.

With infinite care and patience she managed to get hold of the strong matted vines, and swung herself carefully over the trellis, beginning to make the perilous descent with bated breath, for a fall might mean a broken limb, or, at the least, a sprained ankle.

The wet snow clung to her face and garments and chilled her to the bone; but she persevered, though the high wind threatened to loosen her hold and blow her down every instant. What did she care for it all, poor Cinthia fleeing from her dull life and her hated persecutors to the tender arms of love? She would endure anything rather than be cheated of her happiness.

The cold snow flecked her benumbed face and hands, the high wind swung her light form to and fro like a flower upon the vine, her breath seemed to freeze on her lips, but her courage never flagged. Out there in the night and the storm her lover was waiting. The thought kept her young heart warm.

She was more than half-way down now, and the wind began to lull. Courage, Cinthia; the danger will soon be over, sweetheart, and love rewarded for its brave struggles.

But, alas! how often bathos overcomes pathos.

Cinthia was only a girl, after all, with the usual feminine attributes.

As she swung herself carefully from branch to branch[58] of the vine, hoping and longing for her feet to touch terra firma, yet sustained by unfaltering courage, there came to her a sudden wild and terrifying thought that made the blood run colder in her veins than all the raging storm had force to do.

She had remembered that of late the immense vine to which she clung had afforded a delightful gymnasium for a score or so of large rodents, causing her aunt to threaten to cut it down.

The feminine mind has one idiosyncrasy known of all men, and accordingly ridiculed, but never overcome. Cinthia did not pretend to be stronger than her sex. With that sudden terrifying thought an uncontrollable shriek burst from her lips, her numb hands relaxed their grasp, and she went crashing down through space plump into a great, great bank of drifted snow blown into a heap below the vine.

Everard Dawn heard that shriek as he tossed on his pillow in restless dreams, and suddenly raised his head.

“What a night!” he cried, for he had been watching the storm ere he retired. “How the wind howls to-night, shrieking like a human voice through that splendid pine on the corner! How I used to love the wind in the pines in my far Southern home until—afterward! But since then it is an embodied grief to me, as in the plaint of one of our Southern poets:


“‘I hear the wind in the pines
With its soughing of wordless woe,
And the whisper of leafless vines,
Like a sad heart’s overflow.
Sigh on! they seem to say,
Sigh on, sad heart, to the night,
For the world is cold and gray,
And life has no delight.’”

He listened with his head on his arm but the wind had lulled for the moment, and the strangely human shriek he had heard began to affect him very unpleasantly.

“Was it really the wind?” he began to ask himself, wondering if it might not be an hysterical shriek of his rebellious daughter.

“Poor little Cinthia, God help her!” he uttered, sadly, and rising from his bed, began to dress hurriedly. “I will go and see if there is anything wrong,” he muttered.

He had been very angry when he returned at dusk from his strange interview with the scornful Mrs. Varian, and heard from his worried sister about the flowers and candy she had taken up to Cinthia.

“How is my little girl now?” he asked, anxiously, and started when she replied:

“She is in a dreadful temper, and when I took up the flowers and candy you sent her, she ordered me to throw them away.”

“Did you do it?”

“No; I told her not to be a little fool, put them down on the table, and came away.”


“Rebecca, I fear you have made a grave mistake. I did not send Cinthia anything. I intended to purchase a gift for her, but—I was—so troubled—I quite forgot it.”

Mrs. Flint studied a moment, then frankly admitted that the boy who brought the flowers had not said Mr. Dawn sent them, in fact, had merely said, “For Miss Cinthia,” and she had jumped at the conclusion that they came from her brother.

“They must have come from Arthur Varian. I take this very ill of him after what I said to him this morning,” angrily. “Are you sure,” he continued, “that no letter accompanied the flowers?”

“I did not see any,” the old lady replied, uneasily.

Everard Dawn was more versed in the ways of romantic lovers than his prosaic sister, so he said, with a troubled air:

“You may be sure that a sentimental note accompanied the gift, and they may possibly have planned an elopement this very night. I desire that you will lock her door on the outside without her knowledge when you retire to-night.”

“Very well,” she replied, and obeyed him to the letter.

Recalling all this, the thought came to him that perhaps Cinthia, finding her door locked, was indulging herself in a fit of hysterics.

“God help us all,” he sighed, as he finished dressing; and, taking his night-lamp, stole upstairs to listen outside her door.


But all was still as death at first, then the wind rose again, and he heard strange noises within the room. It was, in fact, the wind rushing through the window and banging things about in confusion.

He went and tapped on Mrs. Flint’s door, and she soon confronted him in her cap and gown, exclaiming:

“I thought I heard creaking steps in the hall. What is the matter? Are you ill, Everard?”

“No; but I fancied I heard strange noises from Cinthia’s room. Did you notice anything?”

“I heard the snow sliding off the roof, and the wind shrieking in the branches of that great pine out there. It always sounds so human in a storm, that I would cut it down only that Deacon Flint set store by it. He said he planted it when he was a little boy. But I will go in and peep at Cinthia just to ease your mind, Everard. ’Sh-h! we must not wake her if she is asleep,” turning the knob with a cautious hand and opening wide the door.

Whew! how the cold air rushed in her face and thrust her back. By the light that Everard carried she saw the window wide open and the snow-flakes flying in on the carpet.

“Why, how strange that the window should be open. Cinthia must be crazy. Wait till I shut it, Everard, and bring in the light,” she ejaculated.

He obeyed, and when he entered, they saw what had happened. The room was empty and Cinthia was gone.

Mrs. Flint could not believe it at first. She ran all[62] about the room, and then all over the house, crying in wild dismay:

“Cinthia! Cinthia! Cinthia! where are you hiding, honey?”

But no reply came back, and very soon the unhappy father found out the truth. She had actually escaped by way of the window. Securing a lantern from the kitchen, he went out for a short while, and returned with a very accurate report.

She had slid down the honeysuckle vine to the ground, and there were tracks in the snow leading to a sleigh that had been in waiting not far away. The marks of the runners were quite distinct, in spite of the drifting snow.

“She has eloped with Arthur Varian. I must follow and bring them back,” he said, with terrible calmness.

“Yes, for I found the letter that must have come with the flowers blowing about the floor of her room,” she answered, giving it to him.

He read it, groaned bitterly, and thrust it into his pocket.

“I must pursue them,” he said again. “Tell me where to find the nearest livery stable, Rebecca.”

“It is half a mile,” she said, giving him clear directions, but adding: “Oh, Everard, you will not venture out in such a storm. You may catch your death of cold!”

“You know not what you talk of, my sister. I would rather catch my death, as you say, than permit Arthur Varian to marry Cinthia Dawn!” he hurled back at her,[63] hoarsely, as he rushed from the house out into the night and storm.


Meanwhile Cinthia’s fall and shriek had been heard by other alert ears—no less than Arthur Varian’s, who had been waiting impatiently in the shadow of the trees for ten minutes, wondering whether Cinthia would come or not, fearing lest the fury of the storm should daunt her courage and hold her back.

With his eager eyes on her window, he presently saw the sash fly up and Cinthia’s beautiful face and form outlined against the background of the lighted room. The next moment the gale blew in and extinguished the lamp and darkened the beautiful picture.

But in that moment he saw enough to relieve his fears. Cinthia wore her hat and jacket ready for traveling. She was coming to him, his brave little darling, and out yonder waited a swift horse and sleigh, and plenty of cozy buffalo robes to shelter her from the cold in their swift drive to the station.

He advanced to the gate and stood with his eyes fixed on the door, eager to give her a joyous welcome when she appeared, lest the thick darkness frighten her back.


Then his ears caught the soft thud on the top of the porch, and, like Mrs. Flint, he thought at first it might be snow sliding off the roof.

The wind arose with a great bang and clatter among the loose shutters, deadening the sound of the branches as Cinthia swung herself off the vine and began her descent to the ground, while her eager lover strained his eyes through the thick darkness, watching the door to see her come.

Then suddenly the wind lulled so that he could catch his breath, and he heard a soft rustling in the vines, as if they strained under a dead weight.

“Heavens! what is that?” he muttered, with a half suspicion of the truth; and, tearing open the gate, he rushed across the yard through the wet, impeding snow, already half a foot deep, to the corner of the house just as Cinthia shrieked and fell into the little bank of drifted snow so soft and cold.

With a bound, Arthur was by her side, stretching out eager hands, crying, in a passion of love and grief:

“Cinthia, dearest, are you hurt?”

He reached down and gathered her up like a child in his strong arms.

“Oh, my love—my treasure! What a terrible risk you ran for me! Tell me if you are hurt!”

She whispered nervously against his breast:

“I don’t think I am, only frightened almost to death. I thought—thought—every bone—would be broken—but[65] the snow was as soft as a feather bed! Oh, let us get away, Arthur, before they hear us! You may carry me if you will—I am trembling so,” her teeth chattering so that she could scarcely speak.

“That’s what I meant to do,” Arthur replied, managing to find her face somehow in the darkness and imprint a kiss upon it ere he strode away with her to the sleigh, and tucked her in among the robes so that not a breath of cold could reach her, while he kept up her courage with the tenderest words, assuring her that she should never repent trusting herself to him.

“Oh, how dark it is! How shall you find your way along the dark country road?” she cried in alarm.

“Don’t you see my sleigh-lamps? Besides, I know the road well. I shall have to drive slowly, but that will not matter, as there is no one in pursuit, and the train is not due till one o’clock,” returned Arthur, confidently, as he seated himself, took the reins, and chirruped to his fleet pony.

Cinthia snuggled up to his side, and sobbed and laughed hysterically till he almost exhausted the whole vocabulary of love-words before she said:

“Oh, Arthur, I must tell you why I fell, and you will not call me your brave little heroine any more, but only the greatest coward in the world!”

And the wicked young elopers, flying through the storm and darkness of night toward the happy haven of marriage, laughed together till they almost forgot their surroundings[66] at Cinthia’s sudden fear, while vowing but a moment before to fly to Arthur though the whole world oppose.

“To be frightened at the thought of a rat—not at a rat, but just the bare thought of touching one lurking in the vines—was it not utterly ridiculous?” she queried, though not at all sure but that she would do the same thing again.

Arthur could only laugh at her confession, and rejoice that she had sustained no hurt from her fall, so they sped along through the night and storm, each very, very happy in their youthful love, and confident of forgiveness from the obdurate father when he should learn that they were married.

“We shall be in Washington by breakfast-time to-morrow, and we’ll go at once to a minister and have the ceremony over. Then we will telegraph your father and my mother that we are one, and that we shall spend our honey-moon North,” said the young man, planning everything happily without a thought of failure.

“Papa will be simply furious!” laughed Cinthia; “but he can not take me away from you and send me off to school, thank Heaven, as he proposed to do. And as for his forgiveness, I feel quite indifferent to it. I don’t care if I never see his face again. But your mother—what will she say, Arthur? Perhaps she preferred for you to marry some beautiful rich girl?” anxiously.


Arthur squeezed her to his side with one free arm, as he replied, gayly:

“Don’t worry over that, love, for my mother was so charmed with your beauty and sweetness last night, that I felt sure she would be glad to have you for a daughter, so I made bold to propose to you on the way to your house, and told her all about it at breakfast this morning. Dear heart, she has never crossed a wish of mine since I was born, and she said I had taken her by surprise, but she would give me her blessing, and did not care how soon we set the wedding-day, it would be so pleasant to have a young girl in the house. Was she not a darling? So when I came to ask for your hand this morning, and your father snubbed me so cruelly, I did not have the heart to go back to her then, for I feared she might not countenance an elopement, the Varians are so proud. I stayed away, making arrangements for our flitting, and sent her a note that I had gone off on a sudden trip, and would wire particulars. But, bless you, she will be all right when she hears we are married, though she will never forgive your father for crossing the will of her spoiled boy.”

Laughing and chatting happily in the joy of being together they drove along very slowly, for fear of an accident, and because Arthur thought they had plenty of time to reach the station.

But suddenly and most inexplicably, the gentle little[68] pony began to balk, starting backward so quickly as to almost throw the occupants out of the sleigh.

At the same time it began to neigh in a frightened way, requiring all of Arthur’s skill to reassure it.

Trembling violently and neighing distressfully, it stood still in the road, refusing to budge forward an inch.

“He is frightened, poor fellow, at some little obstruction in the road. I had better get out and remove it,” said Arthur, giving Cinthia the reins, and springing out into the snow.

Giving the trembling pony a reassuring pat and word, he passed him and went on to examine the road.

Cinthia heard him cry out in alarm and wonder as he stooped down.

“Oh, what is it?” she exclaimed, curiously.

“Cinthia, there is a human being lying here unconscious in the snow—a woman!”

“Oh, heavens!”

“What shall we do?” continued Arthur, distressfully.

“Oh, Arthur, we must take her into the sleigh with us and carry her to the station! Oh, how terrible to fall down unconscious in the snow on such a wild night!” cried Cinthia, beginning to sob with sympathy, the cold air turning the tears into pearls upon her cheeks.

Without more ado, Arthur dragged the inert form up out of the snow, and staggering under the heavy weight of a large, unconscious woman, managed to deposit his[69] burden in the bottom of the sleigh, after which he got in himself, saying, as he took up the reins:

“I am sorry this happened, because it will draw upon us undesirable notoriety at the station; but it can not be helped now, and I must hasten on, for I have driven so slowly that we have not much time to spare.”

But just as they started off, he caught the sudden sound of sleigh bells and the neigh of a horse quickly gaining on them, as a loud, angry voice thundered:

“Halt, or I fire! Choose death or instant surrender!”


As nearly hopeless as Everard Dawn’s pursuit of the fugitives had appeared even to himself when he began it, he had succeeded better than he could have expected.

His only hope had been to catch them at the station before the arrival of the train; but, owing to Arthur’s careful driving in the storm, and the stoppage to take in the woman found unconscious in the road, he had overtaken them while yet half a mile from the station.

He had run all the way to the livery stable, and as soon as a sleigh was furnished, leaped in and drove off at the highest speed possible in the condition of the weather, his mind wrought to the highest tension of trouble, rendering[70] him unconscious of personal danger. As the horse trotted briskly along, under the urging of voice and whip, the light sleigh rocked from side to side, almost overturning twice, but eventually gaining on Arthur’s horse, until he perceived the stoppage in the road by the light that streamed from Arthur’s lamps upon the snow.

He heard their voices blending with the wind, he saw something lifted into the sleigh, and wondered if his daughter had fallen out. Then, as Arthur leaped in and chirruped to his pony, he rose in his seat and shouted furiously:

“Halt, or I fire! Choose between death or instant surrender!”

And to emphasize his words, he instantly fired into the air, making both their horses snort and rear with terror.

Arthur’s only reply was to touch his horse with the whip, making it bound furiously forward.

A most unequal race ensued, Arthur’s sleigh being encumbered with the weight of three, while Mr. Dawn was quite alone.

One, two, three minutes, and Mr. Dawn’s horse flashed past Arthur’s. Then he drove across the front of the road, shouting, hoarsely:

“Stop! There will be a collision!”

Cinthia had slipped down senseless in her seat, and nothing but surrender was possible now. With a silent curse at his evil fate, Arthur pulled the lines, forcing[71] his plunging pony to a stand-still, as Everard Dawn continued, menacingly:

“I do not wish to harm you, Mr. Varian, but you must give me back my daughter!”

Arthur felt like a coward, but he realized that no other course was possible now. With a groan, he answered:

“I would rather part with my life than this dear girl, Mr. Dawn. Oh, think a moment, before you sunder our loving hearts, of the despair you are bringing into both our lives!”

Everard Dawn drove back to the side of the sleigh where Arthur waited, and said, sternly:


“She is unconscious, sir.”

“Ah, then, it was Cinthia you lifted into the sleigh. Is she hurt?”

“It was not Cinthia, but an unconscious woman I found in the road.”

“If Cinthia is unconscious, so much the better. We will have no scene with her in transferring her to my charge, and she will not hear what I must say to you.”

“Speak on, sir,” Arthur answered most bitterly in his keen resentment. And Mr. Dawn began:

“I think very hardly of you, Arthur Varian, for disregarding my words to you this morning. I said frankly to you that reasons of the gravest import forbid the marriage of yourself and Cinthia.”


“I had a right to be informed of those reasons, sir,” Arthur said, hotly.

“Say you so? Then go to your mother, Arthur Varian, and ask of her the reason why my daughter can never be your wife!”

Arthur started in surprise that this man should know aught of his mother, but answered, quickly:

“She can not know anything against it, since only this morning she gave her pleased consent.”

“She knows better now; and I say again, go to her and ask her for the truth,” replied Everard Dawn, as he stepped out of the sleigh to take possession of Cinthia.

Arthur was before him. He lifted the inanimate form in his arms, and kissed the cold, white face in despairing love before he resigned her to the impatient father’s arms.

“Ah, you can not surely guess of what a priceless treasure you are robbing me, Mr. Dawn! May Heaven judge between us whether you have been merciful to me!” he cried, reproachfully.

“I rest my cause with Heaven,” Mr. Dawn answered, reverently, as he placed Cinthia in the sleigh, covered her with warm robes, and drove away with a cold good-night to the young man, who continued his course to the station as fast as he could urge his horse to go.

In his agony of grief at losing his beautiful, promised bride, and in hot resentment of what he deemed hardness of heart in her father, Arthur Varian had yielded without[73] reflection upon the baseness of it, to a sudden, overmastering temptation.

His caresses and emotion on handing the unconscious woman to Mr. Dawn had been simply a superb bit of acting. It was the poor waif of the road he had placed in the arms of Everard Dawn, thus completely outwitting the unhappy father while he drove rapidly on to the station, hoping to board the train before his deception was discovered.

In a moment the few scattering midnight lights of the railway town began to appear, and Cinthia gasped and opened her eyes, beginning to sob with alarm:

“Oh, oh, oh!”

“It is all right, darling. We have distanced our pursuers,” said Arthur, cheerfully. “And here we are at the station, and the train is coming. We have not time to go into the waiting-room.”

He helped her out, and called a negro boy, to whom he intrusted his sleigh, telling him to return it to Idlewild next day, and pressing a liberal reward into his willing hand.

Then he helped the bewildered Cinthia aboard the train and led her at once to a stove, saying, tenderly:

“Warm yourself, my darling, while I try to secure seats in the parlor car.”

“It is very unfortunate, indeed,” said the conductor, “but the Pullman sleeper is crowded. Only one berth[74] was vacant when they came into the station, and it has just been engaged by a lady en route for New York.”

The lady had indeed just taken possession of her berth, brushing haughtily past without taking notice of either. Neither did Arthur notice her, or he would have seen with surprise that it was his own mother. Deeply chagrined that he could not get quarters for Cinthia in the parlor car, he returned to her side, and they spent the hours very happily till morning.


All unconscious of the deception that had been practiced on him, Everard Dawn drove briskly back to his home, making no effort to restore Cinthia, and, in fact, rather hoping that her unconsciousness would last until he could place her in Mrs. Flint’s care. In common with most men, he had a holy horror of sensational scenes, and shrunk from hearing his daughter’s reproaches when she should revive and find herself so cruelly sundered from her lover.

So he made haste to reach home, and his thoughts on the way were most sad and bitter, for in this man’s past was a tragedy of sorrow that might have driven a weaker man to cut loose the bonds of unbearable life with his own[75] hands and hurl himself recklessly into the great unknown future beyond.

With his return to his sister’s house, everything had rushed back upon him like the swell of some great river, and seared wounds had been opened afresh, bleeding in secret beneath his outward calmness. However handsome and prosperous he appeared to the outward eye, no man could have envied Everard Dawn, having looked once into his tortured heart and seen its secrets laid bare.

Mrs. Flint was watching and listening for him, and as soon as the sleigh stopped, she seized a lantern, and bundling herself in a shawl, rushed out to the gate.

Springing out and fastening the lines to a post, he said, triumphantly:

“I overtook them, Rebecca, and Cinthia fainted with fear. I brought her back in that condition, thus escaping a scene in the sleigh. I will carry her in, and you can revive her at your leisure, while I return the sleigh to the stable.”

He lifted out the form, carefully shrouded in a large, warm robe, and, almost staggering under the burden, followed the lead of his sister into the sitting-room, depositing it on the long sofa, panting:

“Cinthia looked so slender, I did not suppose she was so heavy. My arms fairly ache. Now do you revive her, Rebecca, and soothe the poor girl as tenderly as you can until I return presently.”

“Well, I declare, I never saw such an unfeeling[76] father in my life! There he rushes off again, without so much as glancing at her face to see if she is dead or alive. He doesn’t seem to bear one bit of love for the poor, neglected girl, and I wish in my heart she had got away with Arthur Varian and married him, that I do!” ejaculated the old lady, as she heard her brother drive away, her usually cold heart melting with sympathy for the hapless girl over whom she bent, drawing aside the folds of the heavy robe from her face, adding, sharply: “And a pretty how-d’ye-do there’ll be when she revives and finds herself parted from her lover. Not that I believe he can keep them apart, for there’s an old saying that true love always finds a way, and——Oh, my goodness gracious, what in the world——!”

With that dismayed exclamation, the Widow Flint dropped the corner of the robe, and recoiled as if she had encountered a nest of serpents.

It was not quite so bad as that, but she certainly had good reason for her surprise and dismay.

For instead of her beautiful niece, slender, golden-haired Cinthia, there lay a large woman of middle age, shabbily attired, with a pinched face, whose cadaverous hue was outlined by long, straggling locks of jet-black hair.

“Dead!” cried Mrs. Flint, in horror; and the shock to her nerves was so great that she rushed from the room and banged open the front door, calling wildly down the road: “Everard! Everard! Come back!”


But the homeless wind and vagrant snow blew mockingly in her face, and no other sound came back, so she knew it was all in vain to stand there shouting for one who could not hear.

She went in and shut the door, groaning loudly:

“What a night—what a night—and what a mistake Everard has made, or is he only playing a foolish joke on me? Who is the woman, anyway? I never saw her face in these parts before.”

And presently conquering her terror, she stole back into the room for a second look.

The strange intruder lay there speechless, motionless, as if life had indeed fled from her body. Mrs. Flint ventured to touch her hand, and it felt like ice.

“She is frozen to death!” she muttered, pityingly. “Oh, how I wish Everard would return and explain this mysterious thing. I had better feel her heart. Why, it seems to beat faintly, poor creature! I wish I knew just what to do to bring her to life, for this is just awful! Oh, what a night!

But, leaving poor Mrs. Flint to her dazed condition and perplexity, we must follow the eloping couple as their train rushed on through the night and darkness to Washington.

They had spent several happy hours together on the train, heedless of the other passengers, who mostly slept or talked together, apparently taking slight notice of the young pair who sat apart conversing with shy dignity[78] and permitting themselves no slightest caresses, such as might have drawn ready ridicule upon their love.

Almost before they realized it, the day dawned, and the train rushed into the city on time at eight o’clock.

Arthur took a carriage, and he and his bride to be were driven to a hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, where he always stopped when visiting the city.

Calling the proprietor aside, he said, in his most genial fashion:

“As I have known you a long time, sir, I wish to say that I desire to be married to the young lady who accompanies me before I register our names. Can you send out for the nearest minister?”

The host congratulated him, and answered laughingly:

“Cupid never was in such luck before, for the Reverend Doctor Sprague is in the office at this moment, having called in to inquire about a subscription for his new church. You will both please step into the parlor, and I will bring him there in a jiffy!”

Cinthia was all in a tremor now.

“Must I not even bathe my face and brush my hair first?” she queried, clinging to him.

“No, love, not till the little ceremony is over. I can not rest till I know you are mine and out of your father’s power,” Arthur cried, ardently. “And, see, there is the minister! Be brave, love; it will all be over in a moment.”

“Doctor Sprague—Mr. Varian and his intended bride. I am to be the best man, and give the bride away,” said[79] the host, genially; and the minister bowed, and opened his book, saying:

“I should like two witnesses, please. Perhaps that lady looking out of the window will oblige us.”


Doctor Sprague, the minister, had noticed on entering that a tall, stately lady in a long traveling-wrap stood at one of the windows, looking down absently on the busy avenue.

It was, in fact, Mrs. Varian, who had arrived but a few minutes ago, and was waiting in the parlor until her room should be made ready.

Tortured by a cruel unrest after her interview of the evening before with Everard Dawn, she had decided to leave Idlewild for a few days, until after he went away with his daughter.

Her mind was quite easy over the breaking up of the untoward love affair, as Arthur had written her a note earlier in the day, saying he was off on a short trip with a friend, and would wire particulars to-morrow.

On learning from Mr. Dawn that he had rejected Arthur’s suit for his daughter’s hand, she guessed readily enough that her boy had gone away to drown his sorrow.[80] She was glad of this, believing that change of scene is a great panacea for hopeless grief.

Acting on this idea herself, she determined to make a short journey to Washington, and perhaps New York, in the hope of obliterating from her mind certain painful impressions produced, or, rather, renewed on it by the encounter with Everard Dawn at Idlewild.

The man’s face and voice haunted her and brought back memories fraught with pain. To escape them, she had fled from her home that stormy night to seek “respite and nepenthe.”

“I would not dig my past
Up from its grave of weakness and regret,
Up from its hopes that glimmered but to set,
Its dreams that did not last.”

Absorbed in painful thought, she had not observed the entrance of any one until the raised voice of the minister made her look over her shoulder in cold inquiry:

“I shall need two witnesses, please. Perhaps that lady looking out of the window would oblige us.”

Then the host advanced toward her, saying, courteously:

“Madame, will you honor us by becoming the witness to a ceremony of marriage?”

Mrs. Varian inclined her proud, dark head in assent, and moved gracefully forward toward the young couple who stood before the minister, the girl bashful and trembling, the man pale, but with an eager smile on his handsome face.


The next moment a startled cry rang on the air.


The young man dropped Cinthia’s hand and looked around.

“Mother!” in surprise.

“Oh, Arthur! what is the meaning of this strange scene?” she cried, coming up between him and Cinthia.

The young man laughed easily, soon getting over his surprise, and answered:

“It means, mother, that Mr. Dawn refused to give me Cinthia, so we took the bit between our teeth and ran away. But how came you here? You did not pursue us, did you, dear?”

“No, no; for I did not dream of this. I made up my mind last night to come to Washington on a little—business trip while you were away. When—when—did you arrive?”

“Just a few minutes ago. And I thought we had better get married before we registered, or even had breakfast, for fear Mr. Dawn might be on our track.”

“We must have traveled on the same train. How strange we did not meet—how fortunate that we meet now!” she cried, with almost tragic emphasis.

“Yes, mother, for now you can witness our marriage and give us your blessing. Cinthia, dear, shake hands with my mother.”

Cinthia put out a little trembling hand, and looked[82] timidly out of the corner of her drooping eyes at the beautiful lady.

She met a cold glance, and the hand that just touched hers without the slightest pressure was icy.

“Are you ready now?” asked the minister, again opening his book.

“Yes,” answered Arthur, taking Cinthia’s hand, and turning to him eagerly.

But there came a low, heart-wrung cry from the mother’s lips:


All turned toward her in surprise.

Her eyes were like coals of fire, her face wore a bluish pallor, her very lips were white as she uttered, hoarsely:

“I beg pardon, but the ceremony must not go on—until—until—I speak—to—Arthur!”

Every word came jerkily between the pallid lips, and her outstretched hand clutched Arthur’s arm.

“Come with me—let me speak to you alone!” she implored.

Every one realized that she was laboring under the most terrible agitation. It seemed plain to all that she meant to forbid the marriage.

Arthur frowned at her—the son whose wishes she had never thwarted—and exclaimed, impatiently:

“Can you not wait till the ceremony is over? Remember, Mr. Dawn may come at any moment.”

“No—I can not wait! Come,” eagerly, “I will not[83] detain you long. Miss Dawn, will you not wait here just a few moments while—I—I—tell Arthur—the truth?”

“Go, Arthur,” answered the girl, faintly; and she sunk upon a chair, trembling in every limb, sure in her heart that something was going to happen.

Mrs. Varian was angry with her—she was sure. How coldly she had looked at her, how reluctantly she had touched her hand with icy fingers!

Mrs. Varian dragged Arthur away with her to her own room, and then the genial host said kindly, in sympathy for the suffering girl:

“I will send a maid to show you to a room to rest, Miss Dawn, while you are waiting for your friends.”

“Oh, I thank you,” she answered, gratefully, desperately glad to be alone.

When she was gone, the minister said, uneasily:

“I do not believe there is any use in my waiting. There will be no marriage if that proud Mrs. Varian can have her own way.”

“You are right,” returned the host. “I could see plainly that she intended to break off the marriage. I believe that she pursued them here, instead of just meeting them by accident, as she pretended. I never heard of such a coincidence. I suppose the girl is poor, as her clothing was plain and cheap, and the mother and son are rich. In fact, I know they are, because the young fellow has stayed here several times before and he throws money about like a young prince.”


“He said that her father had refused him her hand, so he must be a very black sheep, as poor men are usually glad to welcome a rich son-in-law,” said the minister; adding: “I believe I had better go, if you think I shall not be needed. I am sorry for that sweet young girl, for I am sure that proud lady will show her no mercy.”

“If you are needed, I will send to the parsonage for you, but it would be a surprise to me if the marriage comes off now,” the host said, candidly.

So presently the minister went away, rather disappointed at losing the expected liberal wedding fee.

Cinthia locked herself into the luxurious room, and laid aside her hat and jacket, so that she might bathe her face and neck, and brush out the golden waves of her beautiful hair.

When she had finished, she gazed at herself in the long mirror, and saw an exquisitely beautiful young creature, although her face was pale, and there were dark circles under her heavy eyes, caused by the excitement and emotion of the last thirty-six hours.

She sunk into a large easy-chair, and waited, with a wildly throbbing heart, for the end of the interview between Arthur and his mother.

She had a lurking presentiment of evil. It had fallen on her at the touch of Mrs. Varian’s cold hand, and the strange glance of her eyes—so different from her sweet friendliness the night she had been her guest at Idlewild.


Yet Arthur had said his mother was pleased at their engagement. What could it all mean?

The lids drooped over her tired young eyes, and in spite of her anxiety, weariness overcame her, and she fell into a heavy sleep—so she did not have to undergo the suspense of waiting, for more than half an hour passed away before there came a low, half-deprecating rap upon the door.

It startled Cinthia, and she sprung awake, looking about her in confusion, before she comprehended her position.

The rap came again, and a little impatiently, so she hastily opened the door to Mrs. Varian, saying:

“Pardon me if I have kept you waiting. I was fatigued with travel, and fell asleep.”


“I am glad you could sleep,” Mrs. Varian answered, as she stepped across the threshold and confronted the lovely girl whose heart she was about to wound so cruelly.

But, somehow, she did not shrink from the task for a change had come over her feelings toward Cinthia, and she experienced a sort of fierce pleasure in the task now[86] before her. In a way, it would be taking revenge on a woman who had wronged Mrs. Varian, and who was dead now—dead, but unforgiven in her lonely grave.

For this girl, her daughter, how could Mrs. Varian cherish any love?

Perhaps something like pity touched her heart as the large, soft dark eyes turned upon her so wistfully, but she fought down the sympathy, saying to herself:

“Her mother had no mercy on me—none! And the same blood runs in Cinthia’s veins. She could not be trusted to bring her husband anything but ill.”

She threw back her magnificent head with a haughty motion, and said, curtly:

“Sit down, Cinthia, for what I am about to tell you may possibly ruffle your nerves.”

Cinthia obeyed with surprising meekness for one so proud; but the imperious woman before her had the habit of command, and every one seemed to obey.

She, too, took a chair, as if perhaps her own nerves were not quite steady. Then she said:

“Cinthia, you have done wrong in disobeying your father’s commands, when he told you there were reasons why you should not marry my son.”

Cinthia bowed without answering. She had no defense to make, only the mute protest of her wistful eyes.

“I am here to tell you,” continued Mrs. Varian, “that on my side there exist as grave reasons as your father’s for protesting against your marrying Arthur.”


The blood rose in the girl’s face, mounted to her fair brow, and receded, leaving her pale as death, her eyes beginning to flash with pride. She essayed to speak, and faltered:

“Arthur told me—that you—were pleased—with our engagement. I—I—did not think it mattered much—disobeying a cold, unloving father who has neglected me all my life. If he had been fond of me, kind to me, I would have acted differently.”

A strange gleam shot into the brilliant eyes of Mrs. Varian, almost as if it pleased her to know that Everard Dawn had been cold and cruel to his only daughter. Then she looked down and played with the diamonds that flashed on her white hands, as she continued, gravely:

“Arthur and I have talked matters over together—there are things we would rather not confide to you, best for you not to hear—and we have decided that your father is right. You can never be Arthur’s wife.”

Perhaps Cinthia had expected something like this, but it struck her with the force of a great shock. She began to tremble like a leaf in a gale, crying out:

“You do not mean that he—Arthur—rejects me—after bringing me away from my father’s home to marry me—jilts me at the very altar!”

It was piteous, that heartcry wrung from the profoundest depths of feeling, and for a moment Mrs. Varian was silent, sympathetic. Then she looked down again at her rings, and answered:


“I beg that you will not blame Arthur; he is the soul of honor; but in this matter he has no choice save to give back your promise.”

“He sent you to tell me this? Why was he not brave enough to come himself?”

“He believed it was better not to see you again,” the lady answered; and Cinthia gasped in a sort of terror.

Not to see him again—her Arthur, her love, her king, who was just now to have been her happy bridegroom! Why, this was too terrible to believe! Parted in an hour, torn asunder at the altar by the cruelty of those cold hearts that age and time had taught forgetfulness of love. Why, this was too hard to bear!

It seemed to her that she was swooning, dying; the same sick feeling came to her that she had felt last night, when her father’s voice shouted to them in the blackness of the night; but a sudden hope, a lightning suspicion, restored her fainting senses, and she sat erect again.

“I—I—” she began incoherently. “Oh, Mrs. Varian, it would break my heart to believe the cruel thing you have just said! My Arthur—mine—who was to be my husband—to turn against me all in one moment, to wish never to see me again! You are deceiving me. I will not believe such an impossible story save from his own lips.”

With that passionate defiance she lay back pale and panting, gazing with half-shut eyes at her tormentor.

“Is it so?” said Mrs. Varian. “Then you shall be[89] satisfied. It was only to spare you and Arthur pain. But perhaps it will please you to hear that he suffers as much as you do over this pang of parting.”

There came to her the first intimation of an unsuspected nobility in the girl’s nature when Cinthia uttered, drearily:

“It would be cruel—nay, wicked—in me to wish any one to feel the agony of soul that is my portion.”

“Yet Arthur shares it with you, child, to the deepest, bitterest dregs. Come with me, and see.”

She took Cinthia’s cold, unresisting hand, and led her along the corridor; continuing in an explanatory manner:

“He should have come to you, but the shock of his broken love dream almost stretched him dead at my feet. I had to call in a physician, but he is better now.”

She pushed open a door, and led Cinthia in. She saw Arthur lying on a lounge, with a ghastly face and closed eyes.

“Are you asleep, my son? because, after all, it will be better for you to tell Cinthia yourself. She can not believe me.”

He started and opened his dark-blue eyes. When they fell on the placid sorrowful face of his lost little love, the burning tears sparkled into them and rolled down upon his cheeks. Years of anguish could not have changed him more than this keen stroke of an hour ago.

“Cinthia”—he breathed hollowly, and she came and bent over him, impulsively slipping her little hand into his[90] as he went on—“Cinthia, do not think me false or fickle, or turned against you by the arbitrary wishes of our parents. I never loved you better than in this hour when I must part from you forever. Cinthia, it is the most fortunate thing in the world that my mother chanced on us in time to prevent our mad marriage. A great gulf is fixed between us that neither our love nor our hopes can ever cross. My mother has telegraphed for your father to come and take you home, and we must bid each other an eternal farewell.”

Cinthia felt herself sinking, falling; but an arm slipped round her waist, and Mrs. Varian, with a sigh, pillowed the unconscious head against her breast.


Mrs. Flint was at her wits’ end to know what to do for the strange woman whom her brother had mistakenly brought home as his daughter.

The upshot was that she simply did nothing at all but to sit still and stare, and wonder where the woman came from, how Everard came to bring her home, and what had become of Cinthia.

Presently she heard steps and voices, and rushed to the door, glad that her vigil with the seemingly dead woman was ended.


Everard Dawn, alarmed at the duration of Cinthia’s swoon, had brought a physician with him, and exclaimed as soon as he saw his sister:

“Has Cinthia recovered yet?”

“You can see for yourself,” she answered, in a dazed way, as she ushered them into the room.

The two men, almost blinded by the brightness of the room, after the outer storm and darkness, advanced to the sofa and bent over the patient in keen anxiety, while Mrs. Flint blurted out, nervously:

“Everard; what is the matter? Why did you bring that strange woman here instead of Cinthia?”

At the same moment the old doctor added:

“It is not little Cinthia but a stranger.”

Everard Dawn bent down with an air of incredulity that quickly changed as he saw what a terrible mistake he had made.

The cry that rose from his tortured heart, the baffled purpose, the agony, the pain, rang forever in the ears of the two who heard it. Then exhausted nature gave way. He fell writhing to the floor in convulsions.

Then Mrs. Flint and the doctor had their hands full with the two patients.

They ignored the strange woman until Mr. Dawn had been quieted and removed to his bed, where the doctor kept him quiescent by the use of opiates while he turned his attention to his other charge.

“Who is she? Where did she come from? I’ve never[92] seen her face around here,” he said curiously to Mrs. Flint, who replied by confiding in him all that she knew, which, of course, threw no light upon the mystery; so without more ado they set to work to restore the poor creature to life.

It was a serious undertaking, and lasted until the gray dawn of another dreary day glimmered in through the windows of the sitting-room.

Then the woman lay asleep, having recovered sufficiently to open her eyes, stare at them uncomprehendingly, and to swallow some broth with the avidity produced by starvation.

“Poor soul! it is the want of food that has brought her to this pass. See how flabby her flesh is, and how loosely it hangs on her large frame! Look at her shabby, worn clothing, not much better than a tramp’s; and her broken shoes, how pitiful. It is doubtful if she survives even after the long spell of sickness that threatens her,” said the doctor.

“Good land, doctor, a long spell, you say? Why, what are you going to do about it? Can’t she be sent to the almshouse?”

“‘I was a stranger, and ye took me in!’” quoted the old physician, reverently.

The old lady thus referred to her bible, muttered repentantly:

“Lord, forgive my hardness of heart! I’ll do the best I can, Doctor Savoy; but I’m an old woman, and the[93] nursing will go hard with me, you see, along with my other troubles.”

“You shall have help—there are plenty good women willing to help you,” he replied, and rose to go, adding: “I will go and bring one right away.”

“Get me a trained nurse, doctor—I’ll pay the cost—for what with Everard and her sick on my hands, I’ll need skilled help.”

“Oh, Mr. Dawn will be up and about in twenty-four hours, I believe, and out and gone after his eloping daughter. You need not give him any more of that opiate, and he will be awake for his breakfast. Tell him to remain quiet in his room till I call again this afternoon.”

So saying, the good old physician bustled out and away, and he did not leave Mrs. Flint long alone with her burden of perplexities and worry, but directly sent to her the best nurse the neighborhood afforded, a stout middle-aged woman, with a keen eye and cheery smile, who at once took on her younger shoulders the burden of Mrs. Flint’s care.

Together they arranged a tiny hall bedroom—all there was to spare—and removed the sleeping woman to the comfortable bed.

“Now, Mrs. Flint, you go and lie down; you look dead beat, that’s a fact,” the nurse said, compassionately.

“I must start my kitchen fire and have a bite of breakfast first. Afterward I’ll rest.”

When the breakfast was over, she stole into her[94] brother’s room, but he was still sleeping heavily from the drug Doctor Savoy had administered.

Mrs. Flint went to her room and snatched two hours of rest, from which she was aroused by an impatient rapping on the door.

“Mercy sake, who can that be?” she ejaculated, making haste to answer the summons.

She opened the door, and found a telegraph-messenger with a message for her brother. He ran away shivering in the cold air as soon as she had signed the receipt.

Mrs. Flint turned it over in her shaking fingers, soliloquizing:

“From Washington—to tell us of course that they’re married! Oh, dear, what a time!” and she hurried to her brother’s room.

To her surprise, she found him up and dressed, putting the finishing touches to his toilet. The tears rushed to her eyes at the sight of his haggard, miserable face.

“Rebecca, I was fooled last night. Arthur Varian gave me that tramp he had picked up in the road for my own child, and I let him deceive me. But I shall go on their tracks at once,” he said weakly.

For answer she held out the telegram.

He snatched it with a cry of anguish, and quickly mastered the contents.

His face changed marvelously, and he exclaimed hoarsely:


“Thank God!” and tossed her the telegram. She read:

“Cinthia is here safe with me, and not married. Please come at once and take her home.

Mrs. Varian.

The address was carefully given, and the man’s face, from anger and distress, changed to keenest joy.

“This is better than I could have hoped,” he cried. “Can you give me some breakfast at once, Rebecca, for I must leave for Washington on the earliest train.”


When Cinthia recovered her senses she found herself lying on her bed and the air was heavy with the scent of eau-de-Cologne, with which Mrs. Varian was gently bathing her face and hands.

“Do you feel better now?” the lady gently inquired, and Cinthia mechanically answered:

“Oh, yes.”

In fact her head was aching wretchedly, and her heart was heavy as lead, but she would seek no sympathy from Arthur Varian’s mother, who had turned against her so cruelly.


“I am glad to hear it. Perhaps you will feel like taking breakfast now,” touching the bell.

“Oh, no, no, no!” cried Cinthia; feeling as if she could never swallow a morsel of food again.

“But yes,” returned Mrs. Varian, smiling, as she rose as if to go.

Cinthia raised her heavy head and held out a deprecatory hand.

“You are going,” she said, “and it is not likely that we shall ever meet again. Wait till I ask you one question. Why is it that you hate me?”

“I do not hate you, child.”

“Why deny it, when I have read it in your eyes?” cried the girl, accusingly.

Mrs. Varian’s face worked with emotion, and she started forward as if she would have embraced the girl, then suddenly drew back, saying huskily:

“Cinthia, you are mistaken. I—I—do not hate—you! It was—your mother!

“My mother!” the girl gasped, in bewilderment, gazing in wonder at the beautiful and agitated face of the lady.

Mrs. Varian continued, hoarsely:

“My feelings toward you are complex, Cinthia. For your own sake, I could love you—you are beautiful and winning, but between your parents and me there has been a deadly feud—they both wronged me! I have hated them both for years and years, and that hatred comes between you and me, child, like an impassable gulf. That[97] first night I saw you I did not guess at your parentage, hence my attraction to you. When I learned the truth upon the return of your father, my feelings changed. I do not deny it. I could not contemplate with any calmness the thought of a marriage between you and Arthur.

“Now ask me no more. I have said more than I intended to do, and can reveal nothing further of that past which lies like a dead weight on my happiness. I must leave you to return to my son, but I will come back when you have had your breakfast served to you, and—”

Cinthia was sitting up on the side of the bed, her hair a disheveled tangle of gold about her pallid face, with its great star-like eyes. They flashed with sudden pride now as she interrupted:

“Let me beg you to remain away, nor seek to cross again the gulf that you say yawns between us. I am better alone with my humiliation,” bitterly.

“Do not call it that, Cinthia—you do not understand! And I must take charge of you until your father comes,” insisted Mrs. Varian.

“I prefer to remain alone.”

“It would appear cruel in me to leave you like this, seemingly forlorn and friendless.”

Cinthia laughed mirthlessly, and reiterated:

“I prefer to wait alone for my father.”

“Very well, I must bow to your will. God bless you, my poor girl,” and the haughty woman moved with a stately step from the room.


Cinthia threw herself back upon the bed with closed eyes and pallid lips. The agony of that moment no pen could describe.

Was it only two days ago she had been wishing for something to occur and break up the monotony of her life, and resenting Mrs. Flint’s homilies upon her discontent?

Something had happened with a vengeance.

The love that had nestled in her heart that day, a shy, sweet new-comer, had been fanned into strong, passionate life by hurrying events that now closed round her like a grasp of steel threatening to crush out all the sweetness of life forever.

She had tasted the sweetness of loving and being loved, she who had been lonely and heart-hungry so long; but now the sweet cup of joy was dashed from her lips and bitter dregs offered in its stead.

They had parted her from her heart’s love, Arthur. With his own lips, that so lately had sworn eternal fealty to her, he had uttered the edict of their eternal separation, for no cause save that their parents cherished an old feud.

It was cruel, bitter, and Cinthia’s heart hardened with rebellion against her fate.

She longed desperately for death to end the agony of love and humiliation under which she suffered.

“Oh, if I could just slip away out of life now—this moment!” she cried, in fierce intolerance of her pain; and a lightning temptation came to her to end it all.


She began to pace restlessly up and down the room, wondering what would be the easiest way to take her own life—her life that was so unbearable now!

It would be so easy to close all the apertures for air, turn on the gas, and lie down on her bed until asphyxiation came to her relief and wrenched life out of its suffering frame.

“I wonder if it would be painful. I don’t want to suffer,” she said to herself, with keen physical shrinking, while her active mind pictured the scene when they should come to seek her and find her cold and dead—her cruel father, fickle Arthur, and his revengeful mother, who, for the sake of an old-time wrong, was willing to break two fond young hearts.

What keen remorse would pierce their hearts when they saw that they had driven her to desperation and death! Perhaps they would repent when it was all too late. At the moving thought, Cinthia dissolved into floods of tears.

She knelt down by a chair, with her head on her arm, and heavy sobs shook her slight frame like a reed in the wind.

She cried out that she wished she had never seen Arthur Varian, who had taught her the sweet meaning of love only to make her more lonely and wretched than she had been before.

But a rap on the door made her start up in alarm and hastily dash away her tears before she opened it to a[100] white-clad waiter bearing a tray containing a dainty breakfast, which he arranged on a little table, then withdrew.

Then Cinthia, in spite of her grief, discovered that she was unromantically hungry.

On yesterday, while sulking in her chamber at home she had refused food all day, and on the train last night had only taken some fruit.

The appetizing aroma of hot rolls, broiled birds, and steaming chocolate began to appeal to her irresistibly, and she ended by drawing up a chair and making a tolerable meal for a girl who thought her heart was broken and was actually contemplating suicide.

She did not feel half so morbid when she finished her chocolate. Life was bitter still, but death did not seem so desirable.

Her first temptation to suicide changed to a thought of flight.

“What if I should slip away and hide myself in the great world, where they could never find me again? I might make a career for myself, become a great actress, maybe, and when they saw me successful on the stage, they would think I had forgotten cruel Arthur, as I wish them to do, for I would not have him think I love him still,” she thought, bitterly, her mind running on novels she had read in which romantic girls, thrown alone on the world, had encountered wonderful adventures, and finally carved their names on the rock of love.


Cinthia was utterly wretched and despairing, and in the mood for anything reckless.

She flung on her hat and jacket, and turned toward the door.

She was actually going to venture out into the world alone, a desperate victim whom fate had used most cruelly, and who longed to escape from everything she had known into some new, untried sphere.

She had no idea where she was going. She would escape into the street, and wander aimlessly up and down with the busy throngs; that was just now her only thought.

She stretched out her hand to the door-knob, and at the instant a light rap on the outside startled her.

“It is Mrs. Varian; but she cannot forbid my going,” she thought, defiantly, and flung wide the door.

A stranger stood on the threshold—a lovely woman richly dressed, faint, delicate perfume exhaling from her silks and furs.

“Ah, you are going out? I beg pardon; but will you permit me to enter your room for a moment? I have lately occupied it—in fact, only went away this morning—and I have discovered that I forgot two of my rings,” she exclaimed in a sweet, silvery voice like liquid music.

Cinthia stood aside to let her enter; and, floating to the dressing-case, she lifted the scarf and displayed two sparkling rings.

“See! It is fortunate that the chamber-maid is honest,[102] or that she did not discover these. I thank you for your courtesy. But, excuse me, you were going out. My dear young lady are you feeling well? I assure you that you look extremely ill; and there is a sharp east wind blowing outside. You are trembling; your face is as pale as chalk; your beautiful hair is all in disorder. You ought to be in bed with your mother watching over you.”

“My mother, alas!” cried Cinthia; and again her slight form shook with a tempest of sobs and tears that startled the handsome stranger, who forced her gently into a chair.

Meanwhile, Everard Dawn was speeding to Washington on the fastest train. He arrived there at dusk, and took a cab to the hotel where Mrs. Varian was staying, immediately sending up his card to that lady, and receiving a summons to her private parlor.

She was waiting there alone, and their greeting was cold and formal, though she could not help noting the signs of last night’s agitation on his pale face.

Waving him to a seat, she recounted briefly all that had transpired since their meeting yesterday.

“I came away last night—frankly, I could not breathe the same air with you—and I found them here. It was one of the greatest shocks of my life,” she said, and he bowed coldly.

She continued, stiffly:

“She is here waiting for you, but in a most rebellious mood: in fact, forbade me to re-enter her room to-day, so she must have spent a lonely time, poor girl! But before[103] you go to her, Arthur wishes an interview with you on a very particular subject relating to Cinthia. You will find him alone in there,” indicating a door.

Everard Dawn looked fixedly at her a moment then bowed and left her standing there, while he went in to Arthur Varian.


The beautiful stranger pushed Cinthia gently into a chair, and sat down by her side.

“I hope you will not think me intruding, my dear girl; but you inspire me with a strange interest. Are you here alone?” she cried, earnestly.

“Alone!” answered Cinthia in a tragic tone, as she lifted her anguished dark eyes and scanned the other’s face.

She beheld one of the sweetest, fairest faces she had ever beheld.

The lady might have been thirty-five or more, but she possessed that charm of beauty that always suggests youth—perfect features, a complexion fresh as the morning; large, tender eyes of the brightest blue, and abundant tresses of shining golden brown hair, while a mouth like Cupid’s bow in form, and crimson as a rose, revealed in a[104] dazzling smile small pearly white teeth, that added the last charm to her winsome loveliness.

Cinthia gazed fixedly at that winning face, drew a long breath of emotion, and instantly became captive to beauty’s bow and spear.

She was irresistibly drawn to the graceful woman whose sweet, silvery voice sounded like music in her ears as she exclaimed:

“You are in trouble, dear; I feel it, see it in your pale face and sad eyes. I hear it in the anguish of your voice. And you are alone, you say! Then I dare not go away and leave you like this, lest harm befall you. Let me help you!”

“No one can help me,” Cinthia answered in stubborn despair; but all the while that voice and smile were thrilling her heart with subtle tenderness.

“Then the case must indeed be serious,” cried the lady, gently slipping her arm around Cinthia’s waist, moved by an impulse she scarcely understood herself; while she continued, gently:

“My heart aches for your sorrow, dear, and although we are strangers to each other, I long to comfort you. Confide in me, and perhaps I can help you. Is it a question of lack of means? Or, sadder still, of—love?”

“Of love!” burst out Cinthia; and she dropped her head on that silken shoulder in a passionate outburst of tears, won in spite of herself by the divine art of sympathy.


And then, since both were strangely, magnetically attracted to each other, it was not hard for her to draw from Cinthia the brief, sad story of her life and love down to the very moment when she had opened the door to fly out into the street with the half-formed plan of suicide yet in her mind.

Oh, what a pathetic, moving story it was! And how it touched the listener’s tender heart, moving her to tears!

She could sympathize with all that Cinthia told her, and could share in her resentment against her unloving father, her strict aunt, and the lover whose affection had not been proof against the schemes of his proud mother. To her eyes, as to Cinthia’s, it all looked as if Mrs. Varian and Everard Dawn had made of the hapless lovers a sacrifice to a family feud vaguely hinted at in the lady’s confession to Cinthia, that her mother had been her bitterest enemy and was unforgiven in her grave.

With all her heart she espoused Cinthia’s side, and freely expressed contempt for Arthur’s part in the girl’s sorrow.

“He has acted the part of a coward, forsaking you thus at the command of his haughty mother, and I would think no more of him, dear, for he is not worth it,” she exclaimed, warmly.

Cinthia only sighed. She did not believe now that she could ever put Arthur out of her thoughts.

In spite of his seeming injustice to her, and the humiliation[106] he had put upon her, something in her heart vaguely pleaded in his defense—perhaps his illness and pallor, and the keen anguish of his voice when he had said to her so sadly that they must bid each other an eternal farewell.

There had been something solemn, even tragic, in that parting, almost like the farewell of death. Resentment did not have any part in its supreme despair. It was rather

“As those who love
Are parted by the hand of death,
And one stands hushed, with reverent breath,
Gazing on funeral bier and pall.
But ere we close the coffin lid,
Let bitter memories all be hid;
If memory needs must break the spell,
Remember that I loved you well,
And o’er the rest let silence fall.”

The lovely stranger continued earnestly;

“You are young yet, and in time a new love may replace this lost one, and bring you great happiness.”

“Happiness is not for me. I am ill-fated!” moaned Cinthia.

“Do not feel so despondent. The young are naturally morbid. I know that by experience. I have had a great sorrow in my own life, and overlived it.”

Cinthia looked at her almost incredulously, she seemed so fair and bright, and her inexperienced eyes could not read the signs of a past grief in the delicate lines about the lips and eyes.


“I have overlived it, and so will you,” repeated the lady.

“Tell me how to do it. Help me!” cried Cinthia, appealingly; and as the lady remained gravely silent a moment, she added:

“Oh, if I could be filled with some great excitement that would occupy my thoughts, I believe I could put him out of my mind, except in very quiet moments. I was thinking just before you came in that I would like to go on the stage to become a great actress.”

An expression of dismay lowered over the fair face regarding her so intently, as Cinthia continued, eagerly:

“As we came to the hotel this morning, I saw through the carriage windows large posters announcing the appearance of a great actress to-night and this afternoon in a popular play. I have been thinking of her, and that I would like to have such a life. Do you think if I tried that I—might succeed?”

“Ah, child, you do not know what labor and trouble would be involved in such an undertaking.”

“I should not care for that—it would be what I need to turn my thoughts away from Arthur. And, indeed, the desire has taken hold on me, fascinates me. I intend to try.”

“No, dear, you must not do it. It is not wise, nor desirable. I am glad that I happened in on you this morning, for there is no one more capable of advising you in this crisis of your life. I tell you stage-work is heartache[108] and sorrow even when crowned with a little success such as Madame Ray’s, whose name you read on the posters this morning. I tell you this, and I ought to know, for I am that woman!”

“You?” Cinthia cried, wide-eyed and wondering, and with a sad smile. The other answered:


Taking Cinthia’s hand, and caressing it softly in both her own, she added:

“When I was young, like you, I had a great sorrow that sent my thoughts wandering, like yours, in search of a sensation in which to drown memory and grief. I turned to the stage, and after a period of drudgery and patience most painful to remember, earned a measure of success; so I am in a position to know what I am talking about, and to advise you against the course that I myself adopted. Not for worlds, my dear, would I have you go on the stage. No, no; it is a feverish life in the glare of the foot-lights. When I am rich enough to live without my work, I shall immediately retire to a private life.”

But she saw that her words had not convinced Cinthia. The feverish fascination was still in her mind, the longing to escape from the painful present into something new and strange.

But she persevered:

“If you will listen to me, dear child, you will yield to your father’s wish to place you in school for two years. Believe me, the course of study will be far less hard[109] than the training for the stage. Suppose you come with me now to our rehearsal, and remain for our matinée performance? It will give you a glimpse of theatrical life behind the scenes that may perhaps turn your mind from this fascination.”

“I will be glad to go with you,” answered Cinthia, eager for escape from the wretched present, and with strange reluctance to part from the charming actress.

“We will go at once, then,” said Madame Ray, rising, and adding: “Perhaps you should ask Mrs. Varian’s leave?”

“I shall do nothing of the kind,” Cinthia answered, rebelliously. “I have told her I wished to be alone, and she will not even know I am gone.”

“But your father might arrive.”

“He can not do so until very late, and I will probably be back when he comes,” Cinthia answered, but wishing in her heart that she were going this moment so far out of her old life that she need never encounter her father again—the stern, unloving father for whom she did not pretend an affection.


The actress did not urge her any further. Taking her hand as fondly as if she had been her own daughter, she led her from the room, down to her waiting carriage. At[110] dusk that evening she had not returned, and when Everard Dawn went to seek her, in company with Mrs. Varian, they found the room untenanted.

Mr. Dawn had come out of Arthur’s room with a pale, agitated face, and a look about the eyes that in a woman would have betokened recent tears. It had, in fact, been a most emotional interview, and one from which he was glad to escape.

But the softness of his expression gave place to pride and coldness when he saw Mrs. Varian waiting for him, and he said, with a haughtiness that equaled her own:

“Will you have the kindness to conduct me to Cinthia?”

She wondered why he did not say “my daughter,” instead of Cinthia; but it pleased her, nevertheless, the indifference he showed toward his child. She was selfish enough to feel glad that he had no love for the daughter of the woman who had been her enemy in life, and whose sin against her had been too heinous for any possibility of forgiveness.

With a slight bow of assent she moved on by his side to Cinthia’s room, where she knocked several times without receiving any answer.

With a sudden misgiving at the memory of the girl’s desperate mood that morning, she opened the door and looked inside.

“Good heavens, she is gone!” turning to him with startled eyes.


He answered sternly, rebukingly:

“She should not have been left alone. But, of course, I could not expect you to watch over her mother’s daughter.”

Her great eyes flashed in her pale face as she retorted:

“I certainly had no cause to love her, but I would not wish her any ill. We had better inquire about her down at the office.”

They did so, and were startled and mystified by the news that Madame Ray, the actress, had called on Miss Dawn that morning, and soon afterward took her away with her in the carriage.

“The lady is playing at the Metropolitan Theater. Perhaps the young lady has gone to the matinée,” said the polite clerk, wondering at their blank faces.

“Yes, yes, of course,” Mr. Dawn returned, unwilling to make his perturbation known. He turned away with Mrs. Varian, saying to her in an undertone: “I will go in search of her, and—you had better keep this news from Arthur.”

“I will,” she answered; and he left her with a slight, cold bow.

She stood still in the corridor and watched him out of sight with a stony gaze ere she retreated to her own room and sunk half fainting upon a chair, murmuring:

“Ah! cruel fate that made him cross my path again! Was I not wretched enough already?”

Whatever there had been in the past between those two[112] it had surely been most tragic, judging by their present scorn of each other, and their impatience of the fate that had brought them together again.

For more than an hour she crouched in her chair with drooping head and a gray, ashen face, from which her great burning eyes shone like live coals; then she rose and stared at herself in the long mirror, muttering, bleakly:

“What a wreck I look after one of those spells, wan and gray, like a woman aged in an hour. It would frighten Arthur to see me like this, and he would surely guess at the hidden fires that slumber, volcano-like, in my breast, eating away love and hope and joy. He must not see me thus;” and with the aid of cosmetics, skillfully applied, she soon hid the traces of the passion-storm that had swept with devastating force over her soul. Then swallowing a light draught of wine, she sought her son.

He lay quiescent upon the couch, as he had lain all day, after his illness of the morning, with his white hand before his eyes. There had been a most exciting interview between him and Mr. Dawn, and he was now temporarily utterly worn out and exhausted.

The unhappy mother sat down by her son and ran her slender fingers caressingly through the soft clustering locks of his abundant hair.

She saw his pale face writhe with a spasm of inward feeling, as he muttered through trembling lips:

“Are they gone?”

She answered, evasively:




Meanwhile, Everard Dawn flung himself into a cab and hurried to the theater, his mind divided between thoughts of his daughter and the magnificent woman he had left behind him.

Arrived at the theater, he purchased a ticket, and entered just as the last act was being performed; but without glancing at the stage, he threw a hurried, anxious glance around the glittering horseshoe in search of Cinthia’s face.

To his surprise and unutterable relief, he presently beheld her fair face and shining hair half hidden behind the sweeping curtain in a private box, from which she watched the stage with kindling eyes of delight.

Quickly he made his way to her side, and she glanced around at him with suddenly gloomy eyes of fear and dislike.

Bending over her, he whispered, agitatedly:

“Cinthia, do not look at me so coldly and angrily. I am your father.”

“You do well to remind me of your claim,” she answered, bitterly, turning her glance back to the stage.

The keen reproach cut deep, and for a moment he found no words for reply, only followed her eyes to the scene where Madame Ray, magnificently beautiful in[114] white brocade and diamonds, was the center of an emotional scene.

“What a fascinating woman! It is the star, of course?” he exclaimed.

“Yes; it is Madame Ray. She is more than fascinating. She is an angel,” his daughter returned, warmly.

“May I ask how long you have known the lady?”

Cinthia looked around at him, and answered, perversely:

“Long enough to love her better than any one else that I know.”

“Is she so charming?”


“And Mrs. Varian?” anxiously.

“I hate her!” Cinthia answered, frankly, with a flash of the eyes.

“Because she parted you from Arthur?” he asked, anxiously.

“Yes,” mutinously.

“Ah, Cinthia, in that act she only showed you truest kindness.”

“She hated my mother!”

“And with good reason!” he replied, with a transient flash in his dark blue eyes.

Cinthia looked suddenly curious.

“I should like to hear all about it!” she exclaimed.

“Ah, my child, it is too sad a story for your ears, that old feud. I pray Heaven you need never hear it all. We[115] will go away to-morrow, and bury the dead past forever,” he answered, earnestly, while he wondered over and over how she had formed Madame Ray’s acquaintance, though he saw that in her present perverse mood she would disclose nothing.

They both watched the stage in silence for some moments, then she startled him by saying:

“I believe my kind friend Madame Ray would help me to become an actress if I insist upon it. Would you consent?”

“Certainly not. I have other plans for you,” he answered, with instant decision.

“But, I can not bear the idea of that boarding-school! I give you fair notice that I am likely to run away from it and drown myself.”

“Poor Cinthia, poor unhappy child!” and his voice grew suddenly deep and tender, while he gazed with dim eyes at her flushed, defiant face.

A great pity and sympathy rose in his heart for the hapless girl whose life was blighted in its dawning by a hopeless love.

He said to himself that he must rise superior to the self-absorption of years and give time and thought to brightening his daughter’s life.

Perhaps she might turn out more lovable than he had ever dared hope; but even if not, there was his neglected duty staring him in the face. He could not shirk it any longer, now that Cinthia had cut adrift from the old life,[116] and had no one to depend on but him. He must win her from the despair and desperation of her present mood to contentment with life.

Speaking very gently and kindly, he said:

“If you think you can not endure the school, I must make other plans for you. How would you like to travel awhile?”

Her dark eyes gleamed with sudden interest, and she cried, quickly:

“It would please me more than anything else you can offer. I tell you frankly that I am wretched, and that change of scene and constant excitement offer the only panacea for my troubles.”

“You shall have it; and I pray Heaven it may effect a cure. Listen, Cinthia, I have very agreeable news for you.”

She looked at him with a slightly incredulous air, and he continued:

“A relative of ours has recently left you a small fortune, that will enable you to lead a very pleasant future life according to your own wishes. I am appointed your guardian, and you will have an income of ten thousand a year.”

“Ten thousand a year!” gasped Cinthia, in surprise and delight at her good luck, for it seemed a great fortune to one who had been reared so plainly and frugally.

She was young and beautiful and always longed for the pleasures that money could buy, and the sudden news[117] that she was to realize her dream did indeed dazzle her so that a smile came to her sad lips and a flash of pleasure to her eyes.

Her father thought, cynically:

“Her sorrow did not lie so deep after all, and it will easily be soothed by the gewgaws foolish women prize. Well, I am glad that it is so.”

He resumed, cordially:

“I am glad of this good luck for you, Cinthia, for I have never been rich myself, and my income has never been more than half what yours is now, and that was earned by diligent practice at the law. I had intended to do my best toward brightening your sad young life, but this legacy comes most opportunely to enable you to gratify your desires.”

“Yes, I am very grateful for it. Now I can seek constant diversion to drown memory,” she answered, with a long-drawn sigh that showed him she would not forget so easily as he had hoped.

It did not occur to her to ask the name of the relative who had left her so handsome a legacy, or to notice that her father had not spoken of any one’s death. In her eagerness she accepted her good fortune without curiosity, and clasping her little hands in growing excitement, cried:

“Papa, I have always wished to cross the sea. Will you take me?”

“Yes, Cinthia; but should you not see something of your own land first?”


“That can wait, papa. My first wish is to put the whole breadth of the world between me and Arthur Varian.”

“Perhaps that will be best,” he assented; for her words touched an aching chord in his own heart.

Who could know better the aching pangs of love and loss than Everard Dawn, who had tasted both to the bitter dregs?

And how could he blame any one for the mad instinct of flight from memory when he had been a restless exile weary years for no better reason?

“And I have wandered far away to quell my spirit’s wild unrest,
From place to place a lonely one,
And rocked on ocean’s heaving breast.
“But in the sound of winds and waves
For evermore I heard thy tone,
Gazed down the mountain’s verdant slope,
And thought of thee, and thee alone.
“The eyes whose sparkling light I loved
Shone on me from the midnight stars,
The crimson of the lips once kissed
Glowed in the sunset’s rosy bars.”

The curtain fell to the crash of orchestra music and the crowded building began to be emptied and the lights turned low.

Both rose, and Cinthia’s father said, abruptly:

“Shall we return to the hotel? Or would you like to go on to New York to-night to get ready for sailing on the first steamer?”


“We will go to New York to-night, but first let me go and say farewell to my dear friend Madame Ray,” she said, hurrying to the greenroom.

Everard Dawn went out and sent a note to Mrs. Varian, while he waited for his daughter.

It ran simply:

“I found Cinthia at the theater, and we go on at once to New York, to sail this week for Europe, by her earnestly expressed wish. In change of scene and the rush of excitement she will seek oblivion of this painful episode in her life.

“E. D.”

Presently Cinthia came to him from Madame Ray’s dressing-room, where she had spent a long half hour, and her father saw that the dew of tears hung heavily on the thick fringe of her dark lashes. Wondering greatly at this mysterious friendship, he drew her hand through his arm and led her away to the new life that lay before her in the untried future.


Mrs. Flint would have been very lonely after her brother’s departure, but for the fact that she had her hands and her mind both full with helping the nurse to care for the poor wayfarer so strangely thrown on her hands.


As it was, her anxiety over Cinthia was soon dissipated by the receipt of a telegram from Mr. Dawn, announcing that he had found his daughter safe in Washington, and that they would go on a trip to New York.

Several days later a short letter followed the telegram, saying they had concluded to take a run over to Europe for an indefinite stay. He believed that change of scene was the best way to wean Cinthia from her infatuation for Arthur Varian.

No mention was made of the legacy that had so opportunely fallen to Cinthia, but Mr. Dawn inclosed a liberal check to his sister, and asked that she would use some of it in behalf of the woman he had brought home that night, stating that he had recognized in her a former servant of Cinthia’s mother.

Mrs. Flint began to take considerable more interest in the invalid when she learned this interesting fact.

She had always cherished a lively curiosity over Cinthia’s mother, and it had never been properly gratified, but the little knowledge she had made her thirsty for more. That she was beautiful, vain, and unprincipled, Everard Dawn had acknowledged; but he did not even possess a picture of her, although Mrs. Flint fancied he must have loved her well from the way he had exiled himself at her death.

She was anxious for the sick woman’s recovery, for she fancied the woman could tell her more of Everard’s[121] dead wife than her brother had ever chosen to divulge himself.

So she was unremitting in her care, as were also Doctor Savoy and the trained nurse; but for several weeks the woman’s life hung on a thread, and it was evident that exposure of that wintery night had been preceded by keen privation and almost starvation, making her hold on life so frail that she had almost let it go.

It was far into December before she became convalescent enough to impart her name and some curt information about herself.

“My name is Rachel Dane, and I came from Florida in search of work,” she said, rather sullenly; adding: “I’m a capital sick-nurse, but I could get no more work of that kind, and I thought I’d hire out for a ladies’-maid, or even a cook, for I can do anything I have a mind to turn my hand to.”

Old Doctor Savoy to whom she was talking, smiled benevolently, and beaming on Mrs. Flint, remarked:

“I don’t think you’ll have to fare any further for a job as maid of all work when you get strong enough, for my old friend here certainly needs a good domestic, now that she isn’t as young as she once was.”

Mrs. Flint had never thought of the subject in that way before, but when her old friend, Doctor Savoy, presented it so artfully to her mind, she consented to the plan, knowing that she would be very lonely in the quiet[122] house, now that willful Cinthia’s bright presence was removed.

So when the snows of Christmas lay deep on the ground, the new servant was up and about the little house, serving her new mistress skillfully and well, but preserving a rather sullen and taciturn demeanor, as if somehow she had a quarrel with fate and could not be reconciled to some scurvy trick it had played upon her now or in past days.

While Mrs. Flint was wondering how to put to her some plain questions as to her service with her brother’s wife, Rachel Dane forestalled her by saying, in a sort of casual way:

“When I got off the train at the station, I saw a man I used to know—Mr. Everard Dawn. Does he live hereabout?”

“No,” replied Mrs. Flint.

“Visiting, maybe?” with veiled anxiety.


“Oh! At whose house?”

“At mine; but he has gone to Europe, now,” returned Mrs. Flint, succinctly.

The woman started, and muttered some inaudible words, as though she had received an unpleasant surprise.

“Perhaps you don’t know that it was Everard Dawn—my brother—who brought you in here out of the snow that night?” added Mrs. Flint.


“So he saved my life,” Rachel Dane muttered, grimly; “and you say he is your brother, Mrs. Flint?”

“Yes, and he told me he recognized you as a former servant. Is it true?”

“Yes; I lived with Mrs. Dawn two years. It was when her eldest child was born—before they left the South and moved North. I suppose she has several children now, ma’am?” with eager inquiry.

Mrs. Flint stared at her in surprise.

“Then you haven’t heard—you don’t know—that Mrs. Dawn died when little Cinthia was five years old and there never was any other child?”

“Dead! Mrs. Dawn dead!” the woman cried with sharp regret, while a spasm of pain passed over her face, and she sprung excitedly to her feet.

“You must have been very fond of her,” remarked Mrs. Flint, curiously.

“Fond of her! Oh, yes, naturally. I lived with her some time, you see, as maid of all work. Mr. Dawn wasn’t rich then, but perhaps he’s better off now,” with keen interest.

“No, and never will be; for it sort of took the heart out of him when Cinthia’s mother died. He brought me the child to raise, and went off wandering over the world to drown his sorrow.”

Rachel Dane’s glum face related in surprise, as she exclaimed:


“Humph! I never thought he was so fond of her as that! All the love seemed to be on her side!”

“So she was fond of him?”

“Fond ain’t no word for it. She just worshiped the ground he walked on. Her sun rose and set in him. She was grateful for a smile or a kind word, and mighty few she got for all that; for of all the glum, moody men I ever saw, Mr. Dawn was the worst. I believe he hated his own life!”

“It was a guilty conscience maybe,” suggested Mrs. Flint, watching her out of the corner of her eye, to see how much she knew.

“You mean that he had treated his first wife bad for her sake—yes, maybe it was remorse. I don’t rightly know the facts, but I heard whispers,” answered Rachel Dane, coolly; adding: “There was something strange about it—his indifference to his wife, even after the child was born, that she thought would bring them closer together. But, la,” bringing herself up with a jerk, “this is all guesswork on my part. Maybe he loved her in a reserved kind of way. Anyway, I’m mighty sorry she’s dead. But where’s the child?”

“Cinthia? Her father came and took her away while you were sick. They have gone to Europe.”

“There! the kettle’s boiling over!” exclaimed Rachel Dane, rushing to the stove; and after that she avoided the subject of the deceased Mrs. Dawn.

But there could be no doubt that she was sincerely[125] sorry over her death, for she became glummer and more taciturn from that hour, and her quarrel with fate grew more bitter.

But she stayed on and on with the lonely widow, giving good service, and perhaps grateful for the comfortable home she enjoyed, while she certainly relieved the loneliness of the quiet home that echoed no more to the girlish footsteps of Cinthia.

Mrs. Flint missed the girl more than she could have deemed possible. She had secret spasms of remorse over the rigid life she had led the poor girl, all on account of having had a poor opinion of her mother.

“I was trying to bring her up right, so she might not follow in her mother’s footsteps; but maybe I was too hard on her,” she mused, “and if I had her back here, I’d try to act a little different to the poor girl. Still, I can’t think that anything I did to her was half as bad as Everard’s refusing to let her marry Arthur Varian. To the day of my death that’ll be a mystery to me why he refused such a good chance for Cinthy. A poor girl like her ain’t never going to get such another offer. And they do say that since the Varians came back to Idlewild, that Arthur looks like a ghost. Mrs. Bowles says they have a house-party for Christmas, with lots of awful pretty girls, but that he don’t care for any of them, though his proud mother’s trying her hardest to marry him off to one of them. Well, well, maybe his luck and[126] Cinthy’s may turn, and they’ll marry yet. I do hope so, for I love to see a girl marry her first love.”

There was one thing about her hand-maid that did not altogether please the pious Mrs. Flint.

She discovered that Rachel Dane was wholly irreligious.

She neither attended church, read the Bible, nor said her prayers at night—three facts that quite shocked her employer.

In kindly remonstrating with the woman, the widow found out that she cherished a grievance.

Her quarrel with fate was poverty.

“I will not worship a Being who makes such a difference between His creatures, blessing some with riches and happiness, and cursing others with poverty and woe,” she said, rebelliously.

And all Mrs. Flint’s pious arguments made no change in her mood. She only answered, flatly:

“I beg that you will not waste arguments on me, ma’am. I’ve heard all that before, and it don’t alter my opinion at all.”

Mrs. Flint found out that the desire of the woman’s heart was to have a snug little fortune of her own, and she would never have a good opinion of the Lord until her desire was gratified.

One day, while she was looking out of the front window, she saw Arthur Varian going past in a sleigh with his mother, the silver bells ringing out gayly as they sped[127] over the snow, while their rich fur robes and seal-skin garments gave evidence of their wealth and position.

“Who are those grand, rich people?” she asked, enviously.

Mrs. Flint told her, and added with pardonable pride, that the young man had been a suitor for Cinthia’s hand, but her father had separated the lovers.

“He was very foolish, unless he had some good reason,” exclaimed Rachel Dane.

“He did not have any good reason that I could find out,” returned Mrs. Flint; adding, regretfully: “It would have been a splendid match for Cinthia. I have heard that Arthur’s grandfather, a Southern planter, left him a million dollars in his own right.”

“I wish I knew how to get some of it from him!” murmured Rachel Dane, gazing with covetous eyes after the vanishing sleigh with its fortunate occupants.

And no thought crossed her mind that she was the possessor of a secret that the rich Arthur Varian would have sacrificed his whole great fortune to know.


“I thought of thee—I thought of thee,
On ocean many a weary night,
When heaved the long and sullen sea,
With only waves and stars in sight.
We stole along the isles of balm,
We furled before the coming gale,
We slept amid the breathless calm,
We flew before the straining sail;
But thou wert lost for years to me,
And day and night I thought of thee.”

One golden July day almost three years later than the events of our last chapter, a little group of three persons stood on the deck of a steamer homeward-bound, plowing her way through the blue waves toward the harbor of New York.

They were Everard Dawn, his daughter, and her friend, Madame Ray, the latter having joined them abroad three months ago, after a long correspondence, dating from the time of their meeting in Washington on the occasion of the frustrated elopement.

The actress had retired from the stage at last with a fair competency, declaring that she was weary of the exciting life, and desired to spend the rest of her days in quiet, away from the glare of the foot-lights. At Cinthia’s wish, she had gone abroad in the spring, traveling with her young friend for several months, while every day of their companionship added to the strength of the bond of affection between their responsive hearts.

“I love you more than any one else in the world,” Cinthia had said to her ardently more than once.

And the actress had answered as ardently:

“And I you, my dear. I wish you were my daughter.”

The words put a new thought in Cinthia’s head.


Why couldn’t clear, beautiful Madame Ray become her mamma?

What was to hinder her father falling in love with the charming woman, and making her Mrs. Dawn, and thereby her step-mamma?

Cinthia felt sure that she could love her as dearly as her own mamma—much more dearly, in fact, than she did her father.

For, though she saw a hundred admirable things about him, and felt rather proud of him than otherwise, Cinthia had never tried to overcome her resentment of the past for those years of neglect, and the cruel parting from her lover. She believed that Mr. Dawn and Mrs. Varian had acted a wicked part in preventing her marriage, because of some old family feud that would have been healed by her union with Arthur.

So she still preserved toward her father a certain amount of reserve, like a thin crust of ice, and he, on his part, although admiring her grace and beauty, and sedulously careful and attentive to all her whims, still brooded over secret sorrows that made him half oblivious to the present with the best of his heart buried in the dead past.

To Cinthia there came the sudden thought that to make a match between this strange father of hers and lovely Madame Ray might be conducive to the happiness of all three. Of herself she was sure that life would be far brighter with this fair woman for a companion than spent[130] alone with Everard Dawn, who would always represent to her the blighting of the fairest love-dream maiden ever cherished.

She became the most designing little match-maker in the world, but she was so transparent that she could not hide her plans from the objects of her care.

They detected her schemes with secret amusement, and pretended unconsciousness, while inwardly rather amused at the little by-play. That each admired the other was natural, but it was not the admiration that deepens into love. Both had been deeply bereaved in a way that left no room for the budding of a second passion.

As for Cinthia, those years abroad had been like the bursting of a promising bud into a perfect flower.

In a few months she would be twenty years old, and the promise of seventeen was more than fulfilled.

Her slight figure was somewhat taller and more rounded in its gracious contour, and her lovely face and large, soft, dark eyes had gained a depth of expression—spirit blended with pathos—almost irresistible.

The gold of her luxurious, curling hair had a deeper, richer sheen as it rippled in a loose knot beneath the brim of her becoming little hat, a Parisian affair that matched her stylish traveling gown, for Cinthia had developed a perfect taste in dress that was very gratifying to her father’s pride.

Wherever she moved, she was the cynosure of admiring[131] eyes, and a score of hearts had been laid at her feet—some of them most true and manly; but she turned from them with indifference, saying to herself that her life was spoiled by Arthur’s falsity, and she could never love again.

She called it Arthur’s falsity, always refusing to believe that there existed any better reason than a former feud between their parents for the breaking of their troth.

She believed that Arthur was a coward, that he had too easily given her up; but for all that she had not ceased to love him, though she did not acknowledge this to her own heart.

If you had asked her the question, she would have sworn to you that she hated and despised Arthur Varian and would not have forgiven him the slight he had put on her if he had implored her on bended knees, so strong is woman’s pride.

Yet, so weak is woman’s heart that she shrined his image still in its deepest depths, and could not bid memory down—memory of the brief, blissful time of love when the world seemed to hold nothing for either save the other, when they had tried to thrust aside, with the passionate obstinacy of youth, every obstacle to their happiness.

“If Arthur had been as brave as I was, less under the control of his mother, we might have been so happy!”[132] she had said, regretfully, more than once to Madame Ray, who agreed with her views, and always answered:

“You are right, dear. He was weak and cowardly, unworthy of such a golden heart as yours. I would forget him!”

“Oh, I will forget him. I despise him now!” Cinthia answered out of her wounded pride.

Yet, as the prow of their noble steamer cleaved the blue waves, and she stood on deck under the blue sky and burning sun of July, her thoughts went before to her native land and to her lost lover, so dearly loved, so strangely lost.

She wondered where he was now, and if he was married yet, for Aunt Flint, in one of her letters, had not failed to mention that there was such a report in the town. She added that it would not be Mrs. Varian’s fault if her son did not find a wife, for she kept Idlewild full of visitors the year round, when she was at home, with pretty girls of all complexions, from brunette to blonde.

Cinthia’s thoughts often wandered to Idlewild, wondering what was transpiring there, and trying to picture to herself the beauty of the gay young girls with whom Mrs. Varian surrounded her son, trying to win his love from Cinthia. It filled the girl’s heart with secret, jealous agony that brought shadows of pain into her large, soft eyes as she leaned against the rail and watched the dancing waves.


“How grave you look, Miss Dawn, while every one else is rejoicing at the home-coming. One would think you had left your heart behind you on foreign shores!” gayly exclaimed a young man, approaching her and gazing at her with admiring eyes.

He was a young New Yorker—one of the jeunesse dorée—returning home after three months’ absence. On the first day out he had fallen a victim to Cinthia’s charms, and gladly renewed a former acquaintance with Madame Ray, in order to secure an introduction to the beauty.

As the actress knew him to be in every respect a most desirable parti, she was very glad to present him to Cinthia, secretly hoping that he might manage to supplant Arthur Varian in her tender heart.

Cinthia certainly found him interesting, he was so good-looking, with his six feet of athletic manhood, flashing dark eyes, and jetty hair and mustache, while with his ready flow of small-talk he was very amusing. She accepted his patent admiration and his respectful attentions with the coolness of a belle accustomed to adulation, letting him entertain her when she chose, and carelessly dismissing him when not in the mood.

Her mood was not very propitious now, and it was a very cold smile she gave in answer to his remark that she must have left her heart behind on foreign shores.

“All the heart I have I brought back with me, although I must confess to a fondness for the Old World,”[134] she answered; adding: “I am not enthusiastic over my return, because I have really no near relatives in America, and papa and I intend to resume our wanderings in our own country after a short rest.”

Frederick Foster exclaimed, eagerly:

“May I be permitted to know where the foot of the dove will first rest?”

“I think we shall probably spend a few days at Newport while maturing our plans,” Cinthia answered, carelessly.

Foster’s handsome countenance beamed with frank delight.

He cried, joyously:

“To Newport? How glad I am! Why, that is where I am going.”

“Indeed?” smiled Cinthia.

“Yes, if you do not forbid my following you there, which I should certainly do, even if I had not already made my plans. Oh, please don’t frown upon me so, for, indeed I have promised my aunt and cousin—who are there from the South—that I will stay there with them a while. In fact, I shouldn’t be surprised if Arthur came to New York just to meet me.”

Arthur—Arthur! The name struck her sharply, like a blow. She shut her lips tightly, and turned her head aside, lest he should see the mortal paleness that she felt overspreading it, while she chided herself for her weakness.


“Archie Dean, Archie Dean!—’tis the sweetest name I know,
’Tis writ on my heart; but o’er it now is drifting the cold, cold snow.”

Suddenly a great shout arose from the crowd on deck.

They were steaming majestically into port, and on the shore they saw eager throngs of friends waiting to welcome their loved ones home.

Answering shouts came back from the pier, and handkerchiefs were waved while glad tears started into many eyes, it was such a glorious thing to be safe in port, having weathered all the dangers of the sea.

“Home again! Home again!
From a foreign shore.
And, oh! it makes my heart rejoice
To meet old friends once more!”

“Do you see any familiar faces on the pier, Miss Dawn?” queried Frederick Foster, wondering why Cinthia had turned her lovely face away so abruptly.

She looked back at him, pale, but composed.

“No, there is no one that I know,” she answered; and in spite of her pride, her lip quivered.

It was such a dreary home-coming, after all, with no one to welcome her and smile a glad welcome. She felt a keen pang of envy of the happier ones by whom she was surrounded.

Madame Ray and Mr. Dawn came up to them, and the actress said with a little smothered sigh:

“What a scene of joyous excitement and confusion![136] Parents waiting to greet sons and daughters, lovers to greet sweethearts! I am almost sad that there is no one to welcome us, Cinthia!”

“Madame, you are mistaken on your part,” laughed Foster. “I see a group of reporters with their eyes fixed on you already, and only waiting till the gang-plank is thrown out to rush upon you, demanding to know if it is not likely you will return to the stage again. To-morrow morning they will report in their papers that you have returned from Europe more beautiful than ever from your long rest, and with a new play that will charm the theater-going public this winter.”

Madame Ray darted behind him, exclaiming:

“Do help me to escape them. I do not wish to be interviewed. I belong to private life now.”

“Mr. Dawn, will you kindly help the madame to escape the newspaper men, and I will lead Miss Dawn ashore,” exclaimed Frederick Foster, coolly drawing Cinthia’s arm through his, and rushing forward with the tumultuous throng as the gang-plank was thrown out.

Oh, what a Babel of noise and confusion! but through it all Cinthia could hear the young man whispering ardent words to her, vowing that the past week had been the happiest of his life, that he adored her, and would ask no greater joy than to walk with her through life arm in arm as now, heedless of the rushing, jostling throng.

Would she give him one little word of hope to live on[137] till they met again at Newport? He knew he was presumptuous, but love was his excuse.

“Oh, you must not talk to me any more like this. I—I——” began Cinthia in confusion; but just at that moment they stepped on terra-firma, and came face to face with a young man waiting there with a lady on his arm, at sight of whom Foster whispered to his companion:

“My aunt and cousin, the Varians!”

Sky and earth, and sea seemed to jumble and blend together in Cinthia’s confused consciousness as her startled eyes met the equally surprised ones of Arthur Varian.


It was the most surprising and unwelcome rencontre in the world, that meeting between those four, Everard Dawn and his daughter and Mrs. Varian and her son.

Frederick Foster was the son of Mrs. Varian’s eldest sister, long since dead, and therefore peculiarly dear to her, so that wherever he went, he always kept up a correspondence with Arthur, of whom he was very fond. So it chanced that they had written him while he was abroad of their sojourn at Newport, and begged him to join them there on his return.

Later on the mother and son decided to meet him at[138] the steamer, as he might feel it a lonely home-coming, his father also being dead, and his two married sisters being absent from the city.

From the pier they had recognized Frederick on the steamer’s deck, but as he stood in front of his three companions, they had not been identified, otherwise Arthur would have gone away to avoid a meeting.

It seemed to Mrs. Varian as if a most malignant fate had sent them there when she lifted her eyes and saw before her Frederick, her handsome nephew, arm in arm with Cinthia, while behind them walked Everard Dawn with the beautiful Madame Ray.

It was a painful, almost a tragic rencontre, and entirely unavoidable, for Frederick Foster, unconscious of anything wrong, cried out almost boisterously:

“How do you do, my dear aunt? Happy to see you, Arthur!” embracing them with effusion, and adding, to the pale, silent girl who clung to his arm: “Miss Dawn, let me present my aunt, Mrs. Varian, and my cousin, Arthur Varian.”

A moment of shocked embarrassment was followed by formal greetings—greetings as of strangers who had never met before.

Mrs. Varian and Cinthia simply bowed to each other, both pale and cold, but Arthur held out his hand, saying, almost inaudibly:

“I am glad to meet you.”

Cinthia bowed without speaking, and gave him her icy[139] fingers in response. Their hands just touched and fell apart, and their faces were as pale as they would ever be in their coffins.

Frederick Foster, without observing anything unusual in the air, proceeded to present the others.

“Mr. Dawn and Madame Ray, let me present my aunt and cousin, Mrs. Varian and her son.”

Again there were cold, surprised bows on either side, and the next moment Frederick found that Cinthia’s fingers had dropped from his arm, and the heedless, jostling, happy throng had closed in between the two little groups, cutting them off from each other.

“Oh, I say!” he cried, in dismay, “we have quite lost my friends. Will you excuse me one moment while I follow and bid them good-bye?”

But Arthur answered in a troubled voice:

“My mother is almost fainting, Fred. Will you help me take her to the carriage?”

It was quite true what Arthur said. Mrs. Varian’s proud, dark head had drooped heavily against his shoulder, and her face was marble-pale, with half-closed eyes, while her breath came in slow, labored gasps.

Somehow, the sight of Everard Dawn with the beautiful actress by his side had given her an almost insupportable shock.

Frederick Foster instantly became all anxiety and attention, and with Arthur’s assistance he supported her to the waiting carriage.


She leaned back among the cushions with shut eyes, while Arthur stroked her brow and hands with tender touches, and her nephew exhausted himself in wondering what had made her ill.

Arthur answered evasively:

“It must have been the great heat of the sun. She complained of the warmth of the weather while we were watching the steamer come into port.”

The carriage rolled along toward their hotel, and Mrs. Varian grew gradually better, opening her eyes presently and faintly apologizing for the fright she had given them.

“I am almost well again, and I think we can return to Newport to-night,” she said.

Foster’s thoughts recurred again to his friends, and he exclaimed, regretfully:

“I am very sorry that I lost sight of my friends, the Dawns and Madame Ray. They, too, are going to Newport, and if I only knew at what hotel they intended to stop, I would go and persuade them to make a party with us going there.”

“Please do not, Fred. They might think us officious, being strangers,” Mrs. Varian cried, hastily.

Frederick laughed roguishly, and answered:

“I serve notice on you that you will not be strangers long, for I intend to make Miss Dawn your niece, if she will give her consent!”

“Ah!” cried Arthur, in a strange tone of suppressed[141] emotion; but Frederick did not notice, he was so absorbed in the thought of Cinthia.

“Did you notice how radiantly beautiful she was?” he cried. “She is as graceful and stately as a young princess, and her feet and hands are exquisitely small and dainty. Her hair is a shower of gold, and such beautiful, large, soft dark eyes, so haunting and mesmeric, I never saw in another woman’s face. The first moment I met their full glance, I realized that all was over with Frederick Foster.”

“How long have you known the young lady, Fred?” his aunt asked.

“Only from the first day we sailed for New York; but the moment I saw her I was done for, and I believe if I had not secured an introduction to her soon, I should have jumped overboard and drowned myself. Oh, I tell you, it was a case of love at first sight—on my side, at least. I don’t know how it is with her; but I was actually proposing to her as we came down the gang-plank and met you, so I did not get her answer. But I shall at Newport, of course. But, as I was saying, I got an introduction through the lovely actress, Madame Ray, who had been with them several months in Europe. She has retired from the stage now, and I’m rather sorry. I’ve known her several years, and she was an ornament to the profession—as good a woman as ever stepped.”

“Perhaps she is going to marry Miss Dawn’s father?” ventured his aunt, inquiringly.


“I don’t know. They would make a splendid couple, wouldn’t they? And I know that the lovely Cinthia would give anything to bring it about. She is devoted to the charming actress.”

“How I hate that girl!” Mrs. Varian thought, with secret, irrepressible bitterness.

“They are all coming to Newport, and I hope you and Arthur will find them as charming as I do—only Arthur must not fall in love with my princess,” continued Foster, blithely.

Arthur only laughed, and just then the carriage drew up at the entrance to their hotel.

As Arthur was helping his mother out, she whispered:

“If they come to Newport, we will go away the same day.”

Meanwhile, the other party, quite as much disconcerted, had sought another hotel.

Cinthia lay sobbing on a low couch, and Madame Ray knelt by her side, caressing her and murmuring low words of comfort.

“Do not think of him, my darling. He is not worthy of one regret. Only a coward would have deserted you as Arthur Varian did. I am sorry that Fred Foster is his cousin, but that need not matter. He loves you very much, and I would be charmed to see you marry this manly young man.”

“Oh, I can never love again! My heart was broken by Arthur’s falsity!” moaned Cinthia, sobbing in unrestrained[143] grief that she would not have shown to any one on earth but this sympathetic friend she loved so well.

“Forget him, dear,” the other answered, as she had often done before, laying the golden head caressingly against her breast, and kissing the tears from the sad, dark eyes.

When Cinthia had sobbed herself into calmness, she said:

“Of course, we will not go to Newport now. I must not meet them again.”

“No, we must not go to Newport now,” Madame Ray agreed; adding: “I shall go on from New York to my home in Florida—a pretty estate left to me last year by an old maiden aunt—and, Cinthia, I want you and your father to come with me as my guests.”

“But perhaps we ought to go and visit Aunt Flint first,” suggested Cinthia.

“No; for you are in danger of meeting the Varians there.”

“That is true,” sighed Cinthia.

“So you will promise to come with me, dear?”

“If papa is willing.”

When Mr. Dawn was consulted, he accepted the invitation for Cinthia, saying that he had business that would take him to California for a short while, but would join them later in the South.



Madame Ray despised Arthur Varian so much that she was bitterly chagrined on learning that he was related to her favorite, Frederick Foster, whom she hoped to see Cinthia marry.

Foster had frankly confided his hopes to the actress, and elicited her sympathy in his love. She had promised to do all she could to help him win Cinthia, and it annoyed her very much that, for a time at least, the ardent lover would be debarred from seeing the object of his love.

Perhaps, too, if he should find out that love episode with his cousin Arthur, he would not wish to marry a girl who had been so cruelly deserted on the eve of marriage. She guessed wrongly that the Varians would very likely use all their influence against Cinthia.

But, however much she worried, she could see no way out of the dilemma. Foster had been abruptly parted from Cinthia before he had taught her to love him, and she saw no safe way of bringing them together again in the present. Time alone could solve the problem.

It was a great disappointment not to be able to take Cinthia to Newport, where she knew that the girl’s grace and beauty would create a sensation; but, of course, it was not to be thought of now. Cinthia and Arthur Varian must be kept apart for the sake of the young girl’s peace of mind.


But how handsome and manly he had looked—not at all like the weak coward Madame Ray deemed him. She found herself dwelling with pleasure on his handsome face and form, his dark-blue eyes, and brown, clustering hair.

“Much after the style of Cinthia’s handsome father. I fancy he might have looked like that when he was a young man, before the gray came into his brown locks, and the anxious lines into his face,” she mused, thoughtfully; and her eyes grew grave, and her cheek pale with a sudden, startling thought that made her exclaim: “Good heavens! could it be?”

The line of thought thus started was most distressing, as evinced by the agitation of her face, and presently she muttered:

“There may be a mystery, after all. I will try to get at the bottom of it.”

Meanwhile, Cinthia, struggling with the heartache renewed by her encounter with her lost love, or her false love, as she preferred to call him, made a great effort to throw off the weight on her spirits and become herself again.

“One struggle more, and I am free
From pangs that rend my heart in twain.
One last farewell to love and thee,
Then back to busy, life again.
It suits me well to mingle now
With things that never pleased before;
Now every joy is fled below,
What future grief can touch me more?
“By many a shore, and many a sea,
Divided, loving all in vain,
The past, the future, fled to thee,
To bid us meet—no—ne’er again!
’Tis silent all; but on my ear
The well-remembered echoes thrill;
I hear a voice I would not hear,
A voice that now might well be still.”

Cinthia could not thrust Arthur’s image from her heart however much she tried and longed to do so. She could wear the mask of pride over her sorrow, that was all.

Her father hoped and believed that she was overcoming her trouble, and would have rejoiced as much as Madame Ray if she could have transferred her heart to Frederick Foster. He who had known the pangs of wounded love so well was eager to find a cure for his daughter’s heart.

But all chance of this had been temporarily frustrated by her unexpected rencontre with Arthur Varian.

He felt that all the old ground would have to be gone over now again, and cursed the evil fates that had worked against him.

He regretted that a sudden weariness of foreign shores had decided him to return to America, and made up his mind to take Cinthia away again out of reach of the Varians. This was why he had said that he was going to California.

He had decided to make a home for himself and daughter under those blue and sunny skies, among orange groves and bowers of bloom, where life would glide so softly[147] amid wooing zephyrs, that it would seem like an Arcadia even to disappointed hearts like his own and Cinthia’s. There they would win forgetfulness of the past and hope for the future.


Madame Ray guessed not of the intentions of Everard Dawn, or she would have been most unhappy at the thought of parting from Cinthia.

With each day the girl grew dearer to her heart, and it had become her secret fixed intention to make her home near to Cinthia’s, wherever it should be, and never lose sight of her again.

Her love for the fair young girl was a passion of devotion. She would have sacrificed all she possessed to secure her happiness.

Yet Cinthia seemed further away than ever from it now.

“Ah, my darling, you should not brood so morbidly over the past!” she cried, winding her arms around the fair girl’s waist. “You have lost a lover, it is true; but think how much more I have suffered, when scarcely as old as you, losing a beloved husband and darling infant.”

“You have lost a child? Dear heart, how I pity you!” Cinthia cried, tenderly.


“Yes, Cinthia, I have lost a little daughter, who would be as old as you are. It is for her sake I love you so dearly, because you are motherless, and I, alas! childless. It is a sad story, and some day I will tell it to you. Then you will see that my sorrow is greater than yours,” sighed the lovely actress.

Cinthia pressed her hand, and murmured:

“You had their love till they died, and in heaven they are waiting to welcome you home, still your own, still fond and true. But he I loved proved false, and another may win him from me. Were it not better if he had really died and belonged to me truly in heaven?”

Oh, how sad the pathetic voice, how mournful the far-off gaze, piercing the listener’s heart like an arrow!

She cried out, bitterly:

“Ah, Cinthia, you know not the depth of my bereavement. My husband is dead, it is true. I had his love but a little while, but it was bliss while it was mine, and I know it is waiting for me in heaven, but oh, Cinthia, my little one, my baby—oh! oh! oh!” and she dissolved in a passion of tears that startled Cinthia from her own morbid grief and turned her to the task of the consoler.

Most gently, most fondly, most lovingly she caressed the agitated mourner, murmuring to her of the beautiful home, not made with hands, where her dead child was a precious angel.

“Think what sorrows she may have escaped by her early translation to heaven. Is it not better thus than[149] to have reached girlhood, as I did, to have her faith and love trampled in the dust, and her life saddened forever?” she cried, earnestly.

“Ah, my dear, you do not understand. I had not finished telling you. She—my little darling, my unnamed daughter, did not die.”

“Not die!” Cinthia echoed, in bewilderment.

“No, she did not die, and I know not to this day whether she is alive or dead. She—was stolen—from me,” sobbed the bereaved mother, letting her head fall on the sill of the open window where they were sitting.

Cinthia was so shocked for a moment that she could not speak. She could only throw her arms about the mourner and clasp her close with a love as true and warm as if she had been the dear lost daughter.

The balmy summer breeze swept in caressingly over the two fair heads nestled close together, while Madame Ray sobbed:

“Now you understand why I love you so, my dear. Not but that your own beauty and sweetness is enough to charm any heart. But when I found you in Washington that first day, a motherless girl scarcely past childhood, forsaken by your lover, wretched, desperate, almost driven to suicide, my heart went out to you in a passion of pitying love as I thought, my own child, if alive, is no older than this one. Who can tell but that she may be in an even more grievous strait than this poor girl, whom[150] I will try to advise and befriend, praying Heaven to deal as kindly with my dear lost little one.”

“Oh, you were an angel to me in that hour!” cried Cinthia, eagerly, gratefully. “Oh, I was wretched and desperate, as you say, weary of life and longing for death, almost driven by my humiliation to the awful sin of suicide. When I opened that door, intending to rush recklessly into the streets, careless of my fate, what terrible calamity might have happened me if I had not found you standing like an angel on the threshold, sent by God Himself to save me from myself. You drew me back, you pitied and advised me, you made me a better girl than I ever was before. And since that hour your love has been to me more than words can express, my anchor of hope in a stormy life, my refuge from despair, my haven of love. Oh, I have been ungrateful, nursing my woe in spite of all your goodness and patience. I will try to be braver and stronger, indeed I will. I will always remember the keen sorrows you have borne while you wore a smile of comfort and cheer for me. And, oh, I pray that God has given to your lost child as dear a comforter as I have found in you.”

The words, poured forth in a passion of grateful emotion, ended in a burst of sobs, and they mingled their tears together and found subtle relief in each other’s sympathy.

When they grew calmer, Madame Ray said softly in her low, flute-like voice:


“I am glad indeed if I have been to you all that you say, Cinthia, dear, for you were indeed in need of love and care when we first met. I have lavished on you a mother’s love, while you have repaid me with a daughter’s, I know.”

“Yes—yes; but I could not fill up the void caused by your own child’s loss.”

“You have been a great comfort to me, dear, and I hope never to be parted from you in life unless you marry, and even then, dear, I shall manage to see you often, as a mother clings to a married daughter.”

“How I wish that you and papa would marry!” cried the eager girl.

“My dear, do not nourish such a thought. It can never be. I am sure that both our hearts are buried in our dear ones’ graves.”

“It does not seem as if papa really loved my mother much, or he would care more for me,” Cinthia exclaimed, with the old resentment of her father’s strange indifference.

“My dear, do not judge him harshly. Mr. Dawn looks to me like a man capable of strong affections, but he also bears on his face the signs of tragic happenings that have blighted the promise of his life. If you will take my judgment for it, dearest, your father is a most unhappy and weary man!” continued Madame Ray.



“A fairy land of flowers and fruits and sunshine
And crystal lakes and overarching forests.”

“Oh, madame, what a perfect morning! There is not the slightest cloud in the clear blue sky, and the sheen of sunlight on the lake is dazzling. The air is odorous with the scent of flowers, and the little birds are almost splitting their throats with divine melody. What a contrast to the bleakness of November in the North, or even in my own loved Virginia, that three years ago I left in the midst of a whirling snow-storm!” cried Cinthia Dawn, as she walked out on the long broad gallery that surrounded her friend’s Floridian home.

A fairer scene or a sweeter home would be hard to find than the pretty estate that the actress had opportunely inherited a year before from a deceased great aunt.

It was situated in Marion County, on the suburbs of the pretty village Weir Park, near the crystal Weir Lake famed as being the prettiest lake in Florida, several miles in extent, with a magnificent expanse of white sandy beach glittering in the golden sunlight.

Lodge Delight was the suggestive name of the white villa, surrounded by beautiful flowers and trees, where Madame Ray had brought her beloved young guest, and[153] for several months they had sojourned here almost happily but for the haunting memories that made real happiness impossible to either, even in so Eden-like a scene.

But at least they were devoted to each other, and led an almost idyllic life in the beautiful health-giving country so much sought in winter by visitors from the frozen North, while Cinthia’s father still lingered in California, though he wrote his daughter that she might expect him now at any time.

When Cinthia and Madame Ray came out on the broad rose-wreathed gallery of Lodge Delight, in their peerless beauty, like the perfect rose and the unfolding bud, they added the only wanting touch to the lovely scene—the touch of human life.

The young girl’s beautiful dark eyes beamed with fresh delight at the fair prospect spread before them, while she cried out in rapture at the lovely day.

Madame Ray smiled with pleasure at the girl’s enthusiasm, and answered:

“It is indeed beautiful, and I am rejoiced that you love my home so well. It makes me grateful to my dead aunt who left me this idyllic estate. It is quite too lovely a day to spend indoors. What shall we do? Go walking, driving, or rowing?”

Cinthia, with her golden head one side like a bird, cogitated a moment, then decided on a long drive into the country.

The carriage was ordered, and in a short while they[154] were resting luxuriously among the cushions, while a typical Florida darky handled the reins, and sent the handsome black ponies spinning at a lively rate along the road, past glistening orange-groves laden with golden globes of fruit, and lovely homes where art and nature combined to make an earthly paradise.

“Take us a new route,” Madame Ray had said to him and he had chosen a most attractive one, keeping them keenly interested all the while, until about three miles out, Cinthia called to him, saying:

“Let the ponies rest a minute, Uncle Rube, while you tell us about those picturesque ruins over there.”

They had just come opposite the remains of a once palatial mansion that had been destroyed by fire, one of the long stone wings still standing, a melancholy, dismantled ruin through which voices of the past might fitly echo with the raving of the night-winds. Around it were neglected lawns and gardens, the shrubbery growing in rank luxuriance about the broken fountains, whose tinkling waters had once laughed in the sun. An air of neglect, desertion and dreariness hung about the place, in spite of all the brightness of the day and scene, that sent a chill through the hearts of the gazers.

“What a magnificent place this must once have been, and what a pity it has not been rebuilt! Who owns it, Uncle Rube?” inquired Madame Ray, with deep interest, and the old man said, with conscious pride:

“It b’longs to we—all—all dat’s leff ob ole marster’s[155] fam’bly dat I use to b’long to. Dis place used to be de country-seat ob de fam’bly, tell three years agone, when it burned down, and de mistis moved ’way off to Virginia to anurr gran’ place she had called Idlewhiles.”

Madame Ray and Cinthia both started violently, and looked significantly at each other.

Then the actress recovered herself, and whispered:

“A mere coincidence. Dozens of places are called Idlewild.”

The old negro let the reins rest on the horses’ glossy backs, flicked a fly from one of their heads with his whip, and continued, retrospectively:

“Dis place now dey name Love’s Retreat, an’ no wonder, fer sech a place fer courtin’ an’ sparkin’ sho’ly nebber was seen. Ole marster and mistis had four chillun—two sons and two daughters—all four beautiful as cud be, an’ all de young folks in de kentry used to be comin’ an’ goin’ here; an’ de sparkin’ dat went on in dem flower-gyardens an’ rose-arbors was a caution—you hear me! Umme, but dem was gay times ’fore de war! But, umme, when ’twas all ober, an’ Marse Captain Varian comes home wid his arm gone, an’ his two sons dead on de feil o’ battle, an’ de niggers all free, an’ eb’ryt’ing gone to wrack an’ ruin, why, ole mistis nebber hole up her head no more—she jest died, dey say, ob a broken heart for her poor boys lost an’ gone. An’ bime-by de oldest geerl she fell in lub wid a Yank she met up North, an’ married him spite o’ all de ’jections ob old marse,[156] who, naterally, hated de Yanks, dough dey say dat Marse Fred Foster was a mighty fine gen’l’man, all de same, an’ rich as we all’s folks. But Miss P’liny—de youngest geerl, she made a missallyance, too, so her pa said—up an’ married a poor lawyer, an’ bime-by she got divossed from him, an’ no wonder; it was a shame de way he kerried on wid dat ward ob his, de brazen creeter! So now, when marse captain died, five years ago, dey warn’t no one left at Love’s Retreat but Mrs. Varian an’ her little son. Dey travel ’bout a great deal now, so I’se ’feard dey’ll never build up dis ole place ag’in.”


Uncle Rube had rambled on heedlessly as though he loved his subject while his hearers listened in painful wonder; but now Madame Ray brought him up suddenly by saying, nervously:

“That is enough, Uncle Rube. Drive on a few miles further and we will return.”

A strange terror was stirring in her breast—terror of some startling revelation that might shock Cinthia in the old man’s rambling talk. She dared not let him utter another word; but strange suspicions were awakened in her breast, and she resolved to have a private conversation with Uncle Rube to solve her doubts.


One of his statements had struck her with peculiar force.

He had spoken of Captain Varian’s youngest daughter’s marriage and divorce from her husband.

In the next breath he had called her Mrs. Varian, Varian being her maiden name.

Why did the divorced woman and her son both bear the family name? And who was the divorced husband? Of his name Madame Ray began to have a secret prescient dread.

Was she about to stumble on the mystery that had sundered Arthur’s and Cinthia’s lives?

She glanced nervously at Cinthia, but beyond a deep pallor saw no sign of shock such as she had secretly experienced. Feeling thankful that it was so, she exclaimed:

“Uncle Rube’s story has given me the horrors! How sad to think of such a happy family so broken up by the cruel, desolating war! But there were many such. One could almost fancy the ghost of the past haunting that desolate ruin!”

They looked back with troubled eyes at the wrecked home that had sheltered Arthur Varian’s forefathers and his own saddened youth. How strange that he should thus be recalled to memory again when Cinthia was just getting over their last ill-fated meeting.

She read Madame Ray’s perturbed thoughts and feigned indifference, saying:


“It certainly gives one a sort of ghostly chill to gaze on the ruins of such a home. Do you remember Byron’s lines on his old home?” repeating softly:

“‘Through thy battlements, Newstead, the hollow winds whistle,
Thou, the halls of my fathers have gone to decay,
In thy once smiling garden the hemlock and thistle
Have choked up the rose which late bloomed in the way.’”

They rode on along the broad, level road, finding always something new to admire, but they did not talk so much or so brightly as before. Their faces were pale and thoughtful, and a shadow had fallen on their spirits—the shadow that always fell when they were reminded of the Varians.

Memory was poison to their hearts.

“My heart hath but one passion
To forget.
Ah, is there nothing in the world then
To take away the soul’s divine regret?”

But when they were returning along the same road, both craned their necks eagerly toward the ruined home which had aroused in them so much painful interest.

They looked half questioningly toward each other, and Cinthia murmured:

“I—I—should like to walk among the ruins—should you?”

“I am always walking among ruins—the ruins of a life’s happiness,” the actress answered, sadly enough; then added: “But yes, we can easily spare time to go[159] through the place. Uncle Rube, are strangers permitted to enter Love’s Retreat?”

“Oh, sartainly, mistis. De big gates ain’t never locked. Anybody is free to go in and gather all de flowers dey want. It seem to me like I seen some folkses dodgin’ ’bout de trees when we went pas’, but guess dey’s all gone now. Shall I drive you in at the kerridge road?”

“No; you may wait for us here in the shade of these trees while we walk. We will return in fifteen minutes.”

They pushed open the wrought iron front gates that clanged heavily to behind them, and turning from the broad graveled walk, plunged into the miniature thickets of blossoming shrubbery, shaking out odors of rose and jasmine with the slightest touches as they walked along toward a graceful little summer-house, heavily matted with rich purple clematis bells starring the dark green of the leaves.

“Let us go in,” said Madame Ray, stepping over the threshold closely followed by Cinthia.

Then both recoiled with a startled cry.

Two young men in cycling suits were in the summer-house.

They had slipped in there to hide when they saw a carriage stop at the gate and two ladies entering the grounds.

“Sight-seers whom we do not know, I suppose, so let us hide in here and finish our talk and our cigars till they leave. I care no more for womankind, be she never[160] so fair, since I have lost the lovely queen of my heart,” one said to the other; so they fled the scene till it should be safe to venture out.

He was dark and striking in appearance, the other was fairer and younger than his companion by several years. His clustering locks were light golden brown, and the beauty of his face was enhanced by the expressive dark-blue eyes, where shadows of secret sorrow seemed to lurk in half-discovered ambush.

“Fred they are coming this way by their voices. Let us turn our backs to the door, so that they will see we are not anxious to be disturbed,” he said, presently.

“A good idea, Arthur,” and suiting the action to the word, they presented two broad backs toward the new-comers, who had barely stepped across the threshold ere they recoiled, each with a stifled cry of surprise.

The Mother Eve that is in all men just as much as in all women made the two smokers spring up and look around at the intruders.

Then there were more startled exclamations all around.

For the fate that seemed to pursue Cinthia Dawn with its cruelest irony had followed her even here.

She had fled from the far North to the far South to escape Arthur Varian, and she had hoped never to gaze again in life on his too fatally fascinating beauty—the manly beauty that had lured the girlish heart from her breast only to toss it back to her at the command of cruel parents, who seemed to have forgotten the fervor[161] of youthful love, or they never could have been so harsh to their tortured children.

Yet, here stood Arthur Varian before her again—Arthur Varian pale to the very lips, Arthur Varian with unmasked despair in his beautiful, dark-blue eyes.


“I ask no pledge to make me blest
In gazing when alone,
Nor one memorial for a breast
Whose thoughts are all thine own.
“By day or night, in weal or woe,
That heart no longer free
Must bear the love it can not show
And silent ache for thee.”

But whatever cruel pain this unexpected meeting produced on Arthur and Cinthia, its effect on Frederick Foster was wholly joyful.

He could scarcely believe his own joyful sight when he saw Cinthia again.

For weary months, ever since their abrupt parting on the New York pier, she had been lost to him as wholly as if she were already in her grave.

The most eager and anxious inquiry on his part had failed to disclose her whereabouts.


With genuine grief—for he was most passionately in love with Cinthia—he had given up the hopeless quest, realizing that nothing but blind chance would ever bring them together again.

His pride was cruelly wounded, too, for he felt that if Cinthia had cared for him, she must surely have sent him an answer to the interrupted proposal he had made while they were leaving the steamer arm in arm.

“I spoke too soon and just frightened the shy darling, big, blundering fool that I was!” he thought, with keen humiliation, though he knew perfectly well that many a girl would have simply jumped at such a chance.

But he had realized that Cinthia was not one of them, and made up his mind, if he ever met her again, to besiege her heart with the most chivalrous wooing that ever won a maiden.

“Learn to win a lady’s faith
Nobly, as the thing is high,
Bravely, as for life or death
With a loyal gravity.
“Lead her from the festive boards,
Point her to the starry skies,
Guard her, by your truthful words,
Free from courtship’s flatteries.
“By your truth she shall be true.
Ever true, as wives of yore;
And her ‘Yes’ once said to you
Shall be ‘Yes’ for evermore.”

When the hope of his heart was suddenly realized by the appearance of Cinthia at the door of the summer-house,[163] he fairly gasped with joy and surprise as he sprung to meet her, exclaiming:

“Do my anxious eyes deceive me, or is it Miss Dawn?”

“You are not mistaken,” she answered, coldly, turning her eyes from Arthur, whose presence she had acknowledged by a slight and formal bow, and giving Frederick Foster her hand.

He clasped it eagerly, almost forgetting Madame Ray, who in her turn was greeting Arthur more cordially than Cinthia had done.

For something in the woman’s deep nature was touched to sympathy by the secret suffering evinced by his deathly pale face and troubled eyes.

She said, gently:

“This is a surprise, Mr. Varian, meeting you here among the picturesque ruins of your old home.”

“Yes,” he answered, huskily; and she saw that he also had received a great shock and was struggling for calmness.

She continued, trying to place him at his ease by saying:

“When our driver told us this morning to whom these picturesque ruins belonged, we were quite surprised, and took a fancy to explore them. I hope we are not intruding. Of course we were not aware that any member of the family was in the neighborhood.”

“There is no intrusion. I will take pleasure in showing[164] you around, Madame Ray,” he answered, in that deep musical voice that so charmed every hearer; adding: “My cousin and I only arrived last evening, and our stay will be short, only long enough to make arrangements for rebuilding Love’s Retreat.”

“Ah!” she said, and the thought came to her that perhaps he was about to marry.

Perhaps he read the thought, for he flushed slightly as he added:

“My mother wishes it, as she is very fond of Lake Weir, and anxious to return to her old home. Fred and I are stopping at Weir Park Hotel. Have you been long in this neighborhood?”

“Yes, for several months. You see, it is my home now. I inherited a little estate—Lodge Delight—from a deceased great-aunt.”

“I knew your aunt well in my boyhood. She was a friend of my mother’s, and Lodge Delight is little short of fairy-land. You have Miss Dawn as a guest?”

“Yes, for a long time, I hope. Her father is in California.”

Fred Foster came up, beaming with joy and pride.

“Madame Ray, the gods have surely favored me. Have you been hiding at Weir Park all this time while I have roamed up and down the world in weary search for you?”

She answered with careless badinage, and Arthur[165] moved away from them to Cinthia, who stood apart outside the door with a cloud on her bonny face.

In hoarse, indistinct accents, he murmured:

“Miss Dawn, will you permit me the favor of a few words with you? We can walk along this rose-alley, and the others will follow presently.”

She bowed silently, and moved on by his side between the rows of blossoming rose-trees that, neglected and untrimmed, threw out long briery arms across the weed-grown path, obliging Arthur now and then to stoop and hold them aside from contact with her rustling silken gown.

For a few moments they were quite silent—dangerously silent for two who had not quite unlearned “the sweet, sweet lesson of loving;” for in this charmed spot, that held the echo of lovers’ vows, beneath that blue and sunny sky, with the zephyrs wooing the flowers, were a hundred temptations to go back to the old days and the old love, whose summer had been so brief, whose winter so dark and endless.

They both felt it subtly, painfully. Their beautiful faces were pale with secret anguish, their lips trembled with emotion, tears hid beneath the drooping lids of the eyes they dared not raise to each other.

But Arthur knew that he must not linger in idle dalliance, that he must break away from the spell of her beauty, that because he was a man, and the stronger one[166] of the two, that for her own sake his hand must break the bonds of loving.

He said tremulously, though he tried to make his voice firm:

“You must not be angry with me, Cinthia, if I may call you so, for what I am going to say.”

She answered not a word, she only trembled like a reed in the wind.

Not all her pride, nor all her scorn of his weakness, could make her indifferent to Arthur Varian.

He continued, in that low, sad voice:

“We have put the past away forever, have we not Cinthia?”

What a strange question that was. It made her heart leap with a strangled hope. Did he wish to go back to that past, regretting his folly, craving her pardon and her love again?

She flashed him such a swift, startled glance that, misinterpreting it, he cried out, quickly:

“Ah, I knew that you could never forgive me. I could never dare to ask it. It is not for myself I wish to plead, but for another.”

“Another?” she echoed, faintly.

“My cousin Fred loves you madly,” Arthur went on hoarsely. “He is a noble fellow, with but few faults, and has a most lovable nature. Oh, Cinthia, it would make me almost happy if he could win your heart and make you—my cousin.”


He paused, and Cinthia uttered one strangling gasp of surprise and pain, and was silent.

But in that moment the whole bright, sunny world seemed to go under a pall of inky blackness. The birds seemed to cease their singing, the flowers faded and turned to ashes, the last hope, for now she knew that she had always cherished a faint, piteous hope, seemed to die in her heart.

She would have liked to shriek aloud in her pain and shame, like one who felt herself falling down, down, down into a bottomless gulf.

Now she knew indeed that Arthur’s love had been of little worth. It was dead, dead—or he could never plead with her the cause of another.

She felt as if she must faint in the extremity of her agony, but she made a terrible effort to rally her strength and courage, and the next moment she heard her own voice laughing hollowly, like a thing apart from herself.

“I have amused you,” Arthur cried.

“Yes, very much,” she replied, laughing more and more, as if at some great joke.

In fact, she could not stop herself. She was on the border of an hysterical outbreak.

But Arthur was deceived by her seeming levity, and suffered a pang of outraged dignity.

“I see that you do not take me seriously, though I am very much in earnest,” he exclaimed, stiffly.

“So am I,” she answered, trying to subdue herself, and[168] wiping her eyes on a tiny square of lace. With another ripple of laughter, she added, lightly: “I have often heard of match-making mammas, but a match-making cousin is something new, ha! ha! and I am surprised at Fred Foster getting another man to do his courting for him.”

“Oh, Cinthia, you have quite misunderstood me!” he cried, in alarm. “Fred has no thought of what I have said to you. He is indeed capable of wooing for himself, and I think he has already told you of his love. Do not, I pray you, be angry at him for my blundering. When I spoke to you I had but one thought in my mind—my great desire to see you happy.”

His voice was humble, imploring, but she checked her wild laughter with a strong effort of will, and turned on him the fire of dark, resentful eyes.

“How dare you imply that I am unhappy? Can you dream I cling to the dead past still, that I remember it with aught but relief that I escaped you?” imperiously.

“Is it so indeed, Cinthia? Then I am rejoiced to hear it, unselfishly glad that I have not spoiled your life. The day may come when you and I, each married to another, may yet become dear friends,” he cried, earnestly, pleadingly.

Cinthia felt that indeed she hated him now, but pride rose in arms to mask every emotion.

She laughed again and actually held out her hand to him, saying carelessly:


“A pleasant prophecy! Let us begin our friendship now.”

He took the hand and bent his head over it. She felt a hot, burning tear fall on it as he murmured:

“Thank you and bless you Cinthia. We will soon get used to the new role of friendship, and no woman ever found truer friend than I will prove to you.”

Then they heard the other two coming, and stopped to wait for them, relieved at the interruption.


“I dreamed that time, I dreamed that pride,
Had quenched at length my early flame,
Nor knew till seated by thy side,
My heart in all save hope the same.”

Cinthia had made a rash promise, and she realized it; but her pride would not permit her to retract.

She knew well that Arthur Varian was still too fatally dear to her heart for her to meet him daily on mere friendly grounds; that would only augment her love and her despair, since neither pride nor reason had sufficed to quench the smoldering flame.

Since Arthur was not conceited, and was unversed in the complex windings of a woman’s nature, he was mystified, if not entirely deceived, by the words in which[170] she gave him to understand that she loved him no longer, but was willing to let friendship take the place of passion.

Although he did not quite understand her manner, he was more than glad to find that her love had been more shallow than at first appeared and more easily conquered. He had been in deep earnest when he told her he hoped that the day might come when each of them, married to another, might yet become dear friends.

His dearest hope now was to see her married to his cousin, or to any man who could secure to her the happiness that had been so fatally jeopardized by her broken betrothal with himself.

As for his own marriage, at which he had hinted, his mother was trying to bring that about with all the finesse of which she was capable. She surrounded herself constantly with fair young girls, and went much into society solely on Arthur’s account, but she could not see that she was making any progress in her desires.

Arthur was equally courteous to all, but he never betrayed any preference for any. There lingered about him a secret sadness that in truth found no mitigation with time. There was a subtle change in him only to be interpreted by the poet’s lines.

“I have a secret sorrow here,
A grief I’ll never impart;
It heaves no sigh, it sheds no tear,
But it consumes my heart.”

In secret he deplored this meeting with Cinthia, that[171] had so suddenly reopened the seared wounds of the past, but her assumed indifference gave him a new thought.

Perhaps if they were to meet daily on the new terms of friendship the old bitterness might gradually be dispelled and better feelings result.

He might also in this way help his cousin to prosecute his suit with Cinthia.

So Arthur fell into the net that Cinthia’s pride spread for his feet, and it was written in the book of fate that he and Cinthia were to meet daily for weeks, for with the arrival of winter guests at Weir Park Hotel and vicinity, a little season of mild gayety set in, in which every one in the neighborhood bore part. And as for Frederick Foster, it seemed as if he could hardly exist away from Lodge Delight.

Not that Cinthia gave him any particular encouragement to come, beyond simple courtesy; but he was vexed at himself for former rashness, and determined to try the effect of patient devotion in besieging her heart. Besides, there were other men now trying to rival him, and he must spare no effort to distance these rivals.

Arthur did not always accompany his cousin on his visits; but he could not avoid meeting Cinthia often in the social life at Weir Park, and it seemed to him that she grew more bright and beautiful daily as the unattainable always grows more lovely to our eyes.

Whether she appeared in silk and lace and nodding plumes at some garden-party, or in yacht costume for a[172] lake excursion, or in cycling suit on her wheel, or in evening-dress at some gay reception, Cinthia was always lovelier than before to his admiring eyes, and he thought, generously:

“I thank Heaven that the dear girl has the means to gratify her expensive tastes, for who knows how much it has helped in the cure of her heart. Besides, she has now several lovers every way as desirable as I ever was, and even if she refuses Fred she is sure to choose one of the others.”

Why was she sure to do so? Had not his mother presented to him scores of pretty girls without touching his heart? Why should Cinthia’s fancy be turned aside more lightly than his own?

“The wind bloweth where it listeth,
And so with Love.”


Madame Ray looked on at the little by-play with rather puzzled eyes.

For once Cinthia’s pride had enabled her to keep her own confidence. She told her friend nothing of what had passed between her and Arthur Varian, choosing to let her believe that indifference had triumphed over love at last.


Madame Ray simply did not believe it, but she was mystified by the new attitude of the quondam lovers, and she resented in secret Arthur’s reappearance on the scene. She wished eagerly that Cinthia would lose her heart to Fred Foster or some of her other lovers, but she did not believe that there was the least chance of it.

But the more she saw of Arthur Varian the more she was attracted by his true manliness, until her first opinion of him, her preconceived detestation, dissolved into thin air, and she became more and more convinced that not simply a slavish submission to his mother’s will, but some mysterious, impassable barrier, separated him from Cinthia.

She had carried out her intention of questioning old Uncle Rube as to the name of Mrs. Varian’s divorced husband, but he had suddenly pretended an amazing stupidity and loss of memory that was inconceivable, measured by his former sprightliness. On being perniciously pressed by the lady, he admitted that the name, “as well as he could recomember, was Brown.”

She did not guess that an interview with Arthur Varian had caused the loss of memory in the old servitor of the Varian family.

“It was money in his pocket to forget the past when questioned by any one,” Arthur cautioned him.

“Brown, Brown—that sounds rather like Dawn,” cogitated Madame Ray; but she could make nothing further of the old negro, and desisted, thinking that after all[174] she was sure to blunder on the truth at last, being in the neighborhood of the Varians.

Perhaps Arthur felt this also. They were bitter days for him when he felt as if he were walking over a powder mine that might at any moment explode and bring ruin and disaster.

In his earnest way he fathomed Madame Ray’s feelings closely enough to feel her vague suspicions, and he was sorely tempted to confide his trouble to her sympathetic keeping, and beg her to assist him in getting Cinthia happily married. That fact accomplished, nothing else mattered. The whole world was welcome to his sad story.

It was pitiful, his eagerness over Cinthia’s happiness. Madame Ray observed it and marveled, saying to herself:

“He put upon her the greatest insult almost that man can offer woman, deserting her at the very altar; but he is as eager for her happiness as if she belonged to him by the dearest ties. I believe he would give his life freely to save her one pang. What is the mystery? Is there insanity in one family or the other? Or were some of her relations hung or in prison, thus making her ineligible for alliance with the noble Varians? I would give the world to know the truth, for Cinthia’s sake.”

She and Arthur became almost unconsciously great friends, for when the cousins came to call together at Lodge Delight, Fred Foster always tacitly appropriated[175] Cinthia, while the hostess was left to Arthur, who never failed to make himself entertaining.

He, too, had his little curiosity over certain things—namely, the connection between the actress and Cinthia.

“Are you related, you two, who are so fond of each other?” he asked her, frankly, one day, when they had been acquainted going on three weeks.

“No, we are not related at all. I suppose it looks like it to you because we are so exceedingly fond of each other,” she replied, with a gentle sigh.

“You surprise me,” he replied, in wonder. “There is so marked a resemblance between you that I do not see how you escaped relationship.”

“It must be your fancy, that is all. My eyes are blue and Cinthia’s dark, my hair is light-brown and hers pure gold. Still, I might have had a dark-eyed daughter, but I lost her in her infancy, and that is one reason why I love Cinthia so—first, because she is so near the age of my lost daughter, and again, because she is so sweet and good—and unhappy,” she replied, pointedly.

Arthur Varian winced, and replied:

“I insist that Cinthia resembles you closely enough to be your own child.”

“Alas, I would that she were!” she cried, with sudden emotion.



“Where’er I go I hear her low and plaintive murmuring,
I feel her little fairy clasp around my finger cling;
“I hope—I pray—that she is blest; but, oh, I pine to see
Once more the pretty pleading smile she used to give me!
“I pine to hear the low, sweet trill with which, whene’er I came,
Her little soft voice called to me, half welcome and half blame.
“I am so weary of the world, its falsehood and its strife,
So weary of the wrong and ruth that mar our human life.
“Oh, God! give back—give back my child, if but one hour, that I
May tell her all my passionate love for once before I die!”

Arthur Varian was somewhat startled by Madame Ray’s emotion. He looked at her in gentle sympathy as she dashed the fugitive tears from her eyes.

She read his thoughts, and after a short silence said gravely:

“You are surprised at my emotion, and you think me a very mysterious woman. Perhaps you are even curious over my history.”

“You have read my thoughts,” he answered. “But, believe me, it is not vulgar curiosity, but the keen interest awakened by one so charming, we would fain know more.”

She acknowledged the pretty compliment by a grateful smile, and the words:


“I am tempted to gratify your wish by giving you a brief synopsis of my life.”

“I should be proud to be thus honored with your confidence,” he answered, gratefully and truthfully, for he found her most interesting, and guessed that some sad story lay masked behind the occasional pathos of her smile.

“‘If I dared leave this smile,’ she said,
‘And take a moan upon my mouth,
And tie a cypress round my head,
And let my tears run smooth,
It were the happier way,’ she said.”

It was not often that Madame Ray bestowed confidence on any one. She was naturally a reserved woman, but she had grown fond of Arthur, and read his friendly curiosity over her past. She determined to gratify it, perhaps hoping for a like confidence from him.

Glancing toward the open door of the drawing-room, where they sat to see that no one was near, she began:

“I was born in Macon, Georgia, about thirty-nine years ago, and was married at eighteen to Richard Ray, a young man I had known from childhood, and who had been my school-boy lover. We were devoted to each other, and never had any girl better reason for devotion; for, besides being magnificently handsome in a dark and manly style, he was one of the noblest of men.

“To refer briefly to our family history, Richard was the only son of a Georgia planter ruined by the late war, and at the time of our marriage both his parents were[178] dead, while my father and sisters had died of fever in my childhood, leaving mother and I alone in the world almost save for her rich aunt who lived at Lodge Delight, and took scant notice of our existence.

“My mother had but a small property, and Richard was not rich; but at his business—a real estate agency—he earned a fair competency, and when we were married, we three, mamma, Richard and I, lived together very happily until—alas!” she bowed her head and wept bitterly.

“Do not continue if it pains you so,” Arthur cried, with keen sympathy; but she checked a rising sob, and continued:

“I have been most bitterly bereaved, for when only eight months a bride, my dear mother was taken from me by an attack of heart failure. Her death was very sudden, and without premonition. She was gathering some flowers to take to the cemetery to place on the graves of her husband and children, when she suddenly fell forward, and expired painlessly among the roses.

“It was a cruel blow, but I bore it bravely, because I knew that she was reunited to her dear ones gone before, and I had my dear Richard left to comfort me, besides the hope of a future blessing.”

Again that heavy sigh from the depths of a burdened heart, whose agony had been almost unendurable. Then she took up the thread of her story again, murmuring:

“I was so young; and I loved my husband so dearly, and he made me so blissfully happy, that I was getting over my mother’s loss just a little, when two months later—oh, Heaven, only two months later—God took away my Richard!”


Again her voice broke, and she remained sad and silent until she could regain it, then went on:

“On a trip away from home, in the interest of some intending land buyers, he was killed instantly in a railroad wreck. Oh, my God! how did I live through that sorrow? Only, by Thine infinite grace and love, and the hope of that which was coming to me soon to fill the void of my two sudden and awful bereavements. I almost went mad at first, and I prayed for death to remove me from the life that was now only misery.

“But kind friends and neighbors took charge of me. I was placed in the care of a noble physician and skillful nurse. The days dragged on in illness, wretchedness, and rebellion until I had been widowed six weeks, then God sent me a child to love—a little dark-eyed daughter.

“At first I was disappointed with my fate, I had so longed for a boy to bear Richard’s name and to grow up in his image. But kind friends soothed me, and I grew to dote on my lovely babe. But nothing was to be left me to love, it seemed, for when baby, as I called her, not having chosen a name yet, was only a month old, I woke up one night, missing the little darling from my arms, and crying out in alarm.

“Alas! she too was gone, and so was the nurse who slept on a cot in my room. She had stolen baby, for what purpose I can not guess, and gone away, and so carefully had she covered her flight, that after spending every dollar of my little competency in the vain effort to trace her, not a single clew was gained.”

With a shaking voice she added:

“I can not tell you why God made me live after all my tribulations. I longed for death, but it did not come, and I dared not hurl myself out of existence, having been[180] raised by a Christian mother. So I lived, though weary of life, and in the struggle for existence I became an actress, having always possessed talents for the stage, and finding in its arduous work relief from the pangs of memory.

“This is, in brief, my story, and it will show you in part why Cinthia Dawn is so dear to me. Although her beauty and sweetness are most attractive, still it is not those alone that draw her to my heart. It is because of her orphanage and sorrow, for Everard Dawn, from some cause, does not give her a real fatherly love, and she is lonely at heart beyond expression.”

“Poor, poor Cinthia!” he breathed, with deep emotion.

She dried her tearful eyes, and continued, with a searching glance at his perturbed face:

“Perhaps you would like to hear under what circumstances I first met Cinthia?”

He replied very readily:


“It seemed like chance at first, but ever since I have thought that Providence itself sent me to the poor girl’s aid in that hour. It was in Washington, on the morning of your interrupted marriage, when she was waiting for her father to come and take her home. I had been a guest of the hotel the night before, and on removing to one nearer the theater, I found I had left two handsome rings. I returned for them, and met Cinthia just leaving her room to go upon the street, a reckless, desperate girl, maddened by misery and humiliation, her head filled with insane ideas of suicide, of going on the stage, of anything to escape from herself and her despair. I drew her back, my heart full of love and pity, and in an hour we changed from strangers to loving friends. I put new[181] hope in her heart, or at least courage to bear the ills she could not cure, so that when her father came for her she went with him readily to the new future he had planned by the aid of a little fortune that had suddenly fallen to her from some distant relative.”

“You saved her from herself and from the keenest pangs of the sorrow I had unwittingly brought upon her by my enforced renunciation of our betrothal. God forever bless you, noble woman!” cried Arthur, crushing her hand in his in the exuberance of his gratitude, and adding, warmly: “You wondered why you could not die when bereaved of all that made life worth living; but do you not see that Heaven spared you to be an angel of mercy to this young girl?”

He was tempted to confide his own story to her ears, that she might not blame him so bitterly for Cinthia’s grief, but prudence intervened, whispering that it were wiser to keep the cruel secret.


Arthur Varian and his mother were the closest and dearest friends, and since his elopement, that had ended so unhappily, he had never kept a secret from her, believing that she was his best adviser.

So he had written to her frankly of all that had happened since he came to Florida.

He knew how sorry she would be that he had chanced upon Cinthia Dawn again, but he knew also that the sorrow[182] would be offset by the knowledge that the young girl had overcome her unhappy love, and would in all probability be won by Frederick Foster.

He wrote of their pledge of friendship, their frequent meetings, her apparent indifference to himself, and her preference for Fred’s society.

Although the proud mother was pleased to know all these things, yet she railed in secret at Cinthia’s indifference.

“Fickle and unstable, like her father! Who could expect anything else of such a parentage?” she thought, bitterly, the somber dark eyes flashing with passion.

On this dreary December day, at Idlewild, she was shut into her luxurious boudoir, away from the rain and sleet of a most inclement day, cradled in warmth and luxury, the air sweet with flowers, and melodious with the songs of a large cage of canaries. A morning-robe of purple brocade, bordered with rich fur, wrapped the queenly form from the slightest breath of cold.

But with all her luxury and grandeur she was not happy, this proud woman, who turned her eyes from the beautiful room to gaze through the richly curtained windows at the dreary day, as perhaps more in consonance with her gray mood.

Certainly there was much in the past to darken her life with an ineffaceable shadow, and nothing in the future to throw any light on the present.

Once her life had been radiantly happy in the sunlight of wedded love, but a terrible trial had come upon her which ended in divorce and a desolated home.

The passionate pride of a strong nature had helped her to bear it before the eyes of the world. What she suffered in secret only Heaven knew.


In her pride she would have perished rather than unmask her secret suffering.

“Through many a clime ’twas mine to go,
With many a retrospection curst,
And all my solace is to know,
Whate’er betides I’ve known the worst.
What is that worst? Ah, do not ask,
In pity from the search forbear;
Smile on, nor venture to unmask
My heart and view the hell that’s there.”

She tapped with restless fingers on the windowpane, muttering:

“What a dismal, dreary day! I wish I had gone to Florida with Arthur and Fred. There all is sunshine and beauty, while here in Virginia the rain drips down the pane like tears, the winds howl like a banshee, and the leafless vines tap against the walls like ghostly fingers. I hate it all, I hate my life that is gray and cold like the day.”

A sudden thought came to her like an inspiration:

“I will join Arthur at Weir Lake. True, that girl is there; but what of that? Her father is in California, they say, so he will not be there to trouble my peace. Why should he trouble it anyway? He is nothing to me, less than nothing. I hate him. I suppose that woman who was with them abroad, that beautiful, blue-eyed actress, means to marry him in the end. That is why she clings so close to the daughter. Time was when he cared nothing for these vivacious blondes, and adored dark eyes as if he saw heaven reflected in them. That is all past now. He knows the devil that lurks in a woman wronged. Yes—yes, I will join Arthur. I ought to see about the rebuilding of the old home myself.”

She strained her eyes through the murky rain toward[184] the gate at a man who was striding along under an umbrella with a free, swinging gait too fatally familiar to her memory.

She pressed her hand to her throbbing heart.

“It is he! He has come back to see that old woman, his sister! How the old feelings stir in me at sight of him again. I wonder if—if—there was the least truth in his words that I had wronged him. His anger was most bitter and unforgiving. Yes—yes, I will leave here to-morrow. I can not breathe the same air with him!”

It was indeed Everard Dawn passing the gates of Idlewild without a glance at the windows where those anguished dark eyes watched him so eagerly between the blur of rain and mist.

He was coming, as before, in storm and gloom, to his sister’s home. An impulse of tenderness had moved him to turn aside on his way to his daughter, to visit the lonely old woman.

“It is well you came, for she is ill, and a week ago I hardly thought she would live till your return,” grumbled Rachel Dane, as she admitted him into the narrow hall.

“You should have telegraphed me,” he answered.

“She would not allow it. She said no one cared whether an old woman like her lived or died.”

“She is mistaken. I have neglected her in my selfishness, but I love her dearly,” he said, huskily, adding: “And as for you, Rachel Dane, the sight of you stirs up unpleasant memories, but I hope I see you well?”

“Well and hearty, sir, thanks to you for saving my life that night, and to your sister for giving me a home afterward. But I have tried to repay it by faithful service,”[185] she added, as she ushered him into the lonely sitting-room, and stirred the fire into a brighter blaze.

“I thank you for that. She must have had a lonely life since I took my daughter away,” he replied throwing himself in a chair, and stretching his feet to the grateful warmth.

“My daughter! My daughter!” thought Rachel Dane, grimly. “How he would hate me if he knew the truth! And I should never dare to tell him! No, no; I don’t care to be bundled out-of-doors in my old age, when I have wound myself so closely around old Mrs. Flint that she is likely to leave me her property when she dies.”

She bustled about, watching him narrowly, thinking what a handsome man he was still, in spite of his probable fifty years.

Then she inquired if he would not have luncheon before he went up to the sick-room.

“No, I had a substantial breakfast on the train, and would like to see my sister as soon as possible,” he replied.

“Oh, then you may come upstairs at once. The sight of you will be good for her old eyes.”

He followed her up to the sick-room, that Rachel Dane had made as cheerful and bright as possible, and there lay poor Mrs. Flint among her pillows, wan and aged in the three years that had elapsed since last they met, but with a light of joy in her dim eyes as they rested again on his face.

“My dear sister!”

And he stooped and kissed her most affectionately.

“How long you have been away—you and Cinthy!—and I have missed her so, dear girl, though maybe I wasn’t none too good to her when she was here, but I[186] thought she ought to be brought up strict,” she murmured, plaintively.

“It was my fault. I told you to do it,” he answered, with a sigh; and his eyes wandered around the room, noting vases of hot-house flowers and plates of fruit, purple grapes, contrasted with the delicate green of malagas, golden oranges, and crimson-cheeked apples.

“You have kind neighbors,” he said.

“Oh, yes; all the church people come to see me, and the preacher—though Rachel there doesn’t care about him,” reproachfully. “Mrs. Bowles, the housekeeper at Idlewild, comes often, too. She brought me the fruit and flowers from up there. Her mistress sent them—that grand Mrs. Varian, you know. I think it was kind in her after the way you treated her son.”

“Yes,” and he paled to the lips under his rich brown beard. “Well, and so they are there still?”

“She is. Arthur’s gone off somewhere, Mrs. Bowles said. I don’t know where.”

Mr. Dawn had no idea either. His daughter had not written him of her meeting with Arthur.

Presently he said, with a smile:

“Rebecca, I have a bright idea. Hurry up and get strong enough to travel, and I’ll take you and Rachel South with me on a visit to Cinthia, if you would like it.”

“Like it! Oh,” she cried, with sudden, pleasurable excitement, “indeed I should, Everard. It will take the rheumatism out of my old bones, the blessed sunshine of the warm South.”

“Yes; all you need is a change. You are not so much sick as just pining,” commented Rachel Dane.



No ordinary circumstance would have availed to keep Mrs. Varian at Idlewild after she had discovered Everard Dawn’s return to the neighborhood, but on the same day of her sudden determination to leave, fate intervened to prevent her immediate flight.

Her clever, skillful maid, the faithful attendant of many years, without whom Mrs. Varian was as helpless as a child, was taken ill with a serious cold and confined to her bed for several days.

Her mistress was in despair, but even her imperious will was powerless now against the inroads of illness. She had to abide the woman’s recovery with patience, however much she chafed in secret against the unwelcome delay.

Mrs. Bowles cheerfully took on herself the duties of lady’s-maid in addition to her housekeeping tasks, and called in a sick-nurse from the neighborhood to attend to the invalid. In about three days she began to convalesce, though it was five before she was able to assist Mrs. Bowles with the necessary packing for the southward fight.

In the meantime, Mrs. Flint was also improving fast, the pleasing prospect of the journey southward having exerted on her mind a more beneficial effect than all Doctor Savoy’s pills and potions.

She dwelt with keen delight on the thought of seeing her niece again, and disconcerted her brother by wondering[188] if Cinthia had recovered from her disappointment at losing Arthur Varian.

“Oh, yes, yes; she was over all that long ago,” he replied, hastily, anxious to dismiss the subject.

But Mrs. Flint continued, feelingly:

“Poor Cinthy! it was hard on her to have to give him up, he was such a dear young man. And such a grand match, too, for a poor girl like her! Oh, I never can forget the night she came home from Idlewild in the grand carriage with Arthur, in his mother’s grand dress and cloak, and told me she was engaged to him. It was all so sudden, it nearly took my breath away. And what a beauty she looked! and how happy she was! Oh, my! Poor Cinthy!”

She sighed deeply, but Everard Dawn made no comment, only looked out of the window at the cold winter sunshine on the leaf-strewn garden-walks, where a light snow of last night’s falling was fast melting away.

Mrs. Flint continued, retrospectively:

“She told me how sweet and kind Mrs. Varian was to her that night—not proud and haughty as she had imagined she would be. She could see plainly that she did not mind it a bit for Arthur to fall in love with her, though she was a poor girl. And how bad that kind lady must have felt when Arthur told her you would not let him have your daughter.”

“It is all past and done now, Rebecca, and no use discussing it,” her brother said, restlessly.

“I know—but I have just been wondering whether you had changed your mind yet, seeing as they are both single, and maybe anxious to make it up with each other.”

“I have not changed my mind,” he answered, watching[189] the loosened icicles drop crackling from the eaves, and wishing she would change the subject.

She went on sadly:

“I would give anything to see poor Cinthy real happy again like she was that night. I used to be too strict with the child, I know, and I’ve repented it now. How happy she might have been if she’d had such a mother as Mrs. Varian, who would have spoiled and petted her as mothers do, and made her life so bright. I tell you, Everard, she is a good woman in spite of her pride. Our minister says she is so good to the poor, and, besides, she has given a thousand dollars to repair the church. He told me he did not believe she was so proud and exclusive as some people thought. He had called on her once, and she was very kind and sweet in a way, but there was something rather sad in her manner, or cynical, maybe, as if she had some trouble and was not resigned to it.”

Would she never get done talking on this (to her) most interesting subject?

Everard Dawn yawned impatiently, and answered thoughtlessly:

“Yes, she was always like that, generous to a fault, noble at heart, charming, but jealous, passionate, unreasonable.”

“Why, Everard, did you know her some time?” she exclaimed.

“I know a nun who did,” he answered curtly, getting up from his seat, and adding: “Rebecca, it is about sunset, and I will take a walk and a smoke before our early tea.”

Donning great-coat and hat, he hurried out-of-doors, thinking:

“If I had not got away from her chatter of Pauline[190] Varian, I should have screamed out aloud like a nervous woman, I verily believe.”

He walked away in the dying glow of the rosy sunset toward the little town, passing Idlewild, as he did daily, and watched by eyes of which he little recked, for he was too proud to glance toward her windows.

Every day, with an angry pain, she had seen him pass and she thanked fate there would be but one day more of it, for the maid was well again now, though why she should have watched him when she need not, no man could have told, since the sex is rather obtuse on feminine caprices.

Why need she follow him with such straining gaze, she, the proud, wealthy Mrs. Varian, admired of men, envied of women, no less for her charms than her gifts of fortune? She had everything life could give but happiness. He—and she knew it—was but a poor lawyer, too careless of fortune to woo her successfully, too weary of life to find pleasure in it; not quite so blue-blooded as the Varians, either, yet not a man to look down on, for nature at least had been lavish of brains and beauty and stubborn pride, not to mention an unenviable capacity for suffering stolidly borne.

In her heart she believed him weak and unstable and scorned him accordingly; but as for him, he understood her better than she did herself, yet never relaxed his resentment over a cruel wrong, never contemplated forgiveness, even if she should pray for it.

Watching her carriage yesterday, as it dashed past the steps where he had stood, he had recalled with grim pain some fitting words:


“You walk the sunny side of fate,
The wise world smiles and calls you great,
The golden fruitage of success
Drops at your feet in plenteousness;
And you have blessings manifold,
Renown and power, and friends and gold,
They build a wall between us twain
That may not be thrown down again,
Alas! for I, the long time through,
Have loved you better than you knew.”

It was no more pleasant for him than for her that they should meet again, and he also was glad that to-morrow would be the last day of it. His sister would be able to travel then, and they would start for Florida.

Since the maid’s sickness Mrs. Bowles had not come to see Mrs. Flint any more. The occupants of the grand mansion and the lofty cottage did not know they had each planned for a flitting the same day, by the same train, and to the same destination.

They could not have believed that the grim fates would have so mocked them, but yet, when Mrs. Varian and her maid swept to their seats in the train that Thursday, Everard Dawn and his party had already arrived, and he had arranged the still weak invalid very comfortably with the load of shawls and cushions carried by Rachel Dane.

Mrs. Varian, ignoring the passengers with her usual queenly air, sunk to her seat in blissful unconsciousness, and buried herself in her novel. Not for two hours did she discover the identity of her traveling companions, because at first she did not vouchsafe them even one curious glance.

Not so Everard Dawn, who had started in surprise and perturbation at her first entrance.

“The fates have made us traveling companions—not[192] for the first time, but I pray Heaven for the last!” was his grim thought.

He was sitting some seats ahead, and he resolutely turned his back to her, hoping not to disturb her peace by the disclosure of her identity, and thinking it hardly possible they should be fellow-travelers long. She was probably going to Richmond or Washington.

There were but few passengers, and they were very quiet as the train rushed on through the dull gray afternoon. Mrs. Flint, weary from the getting ready for the journey, dozed fitfully among her cushions, and Rachel Dane glued her face to the window-pane, and watched the flying landscape. As for Everard Dawn, he looked neither to the right nor left, but stared straight before him in a brown study. Mrs. Varian’s maid amused herself by studying the passengers, and discovered that some of them belonged to the town they had just left, though she did not suppose her haughty mistress would take any interest in that fact.


Mrs. Varian read on and on until her eyes grew weary, then closing them, she leaned back with a tired sigh, and fell to musing.

Perhaps the musings were not pleasant, for presently she sighed deeply again, and raising her head began to look around her in a listless way at the passengers.


She gave a violent start, and stared fixedly at the handsome head and broad shoulders a few seats ahead.

Could it be? Or was she dreaming? Surely those outlines were too familiar for her to be mistaken.

It was he! She saw him lean forward to answer the women in the next seat. The outline of his handsome profile was clear for a moment.

She fell back almost stunned, secretly railing at her ill fortune.

Janetta, the maid, leaned forward from the back seat.

“Do you wish anything, madame? You seem ill.”

She whispered back:

“Who are those people in front of us there?”

“Some people from your own town, madame; a Mrs. Flint, her brother, and her servant. The lady has been sick, and I heard the conductor telling some one back there that they were going South for her health.”

“Ah!” and Mrs. Varian shut her eyes and relapsed into pallor and silence again.

Janetta, good, faithful soul, watched her uneasily, feeling she was not well.

She was inwardly ill indeed—raging at the trick fate had played on her this day.

“To endure this thirty-six hours—the sight of him whenever I open my eyes—it is impossible!” she said to herself, in a sort of blank terror.

Janetta touched her gently, whispering:

“You are very pale—I hope not ill.”

She could fancy that she was ghastly to evoke this anxiety, so she answered:

“I do not feel quite my usual self. I am thinking of not going on to-night any further than Charlottesville, and resuming our journey to-morrow, if I am better.”


“Perhaps that is the better plan,” the maid returned, respectfully, though secretly rather disappointed at delaying the journey.

But she was used to her mistress and her capricious notions. She had simply to obey.

So when they reached the university town a little further on, the mistress and maid left the train, to the great relief of Everard Dawn, who thought:

“I was right. She is en route for Washington. She will board the Northern train at this point. But how lonely it seemed, just the two women traveling together. I remember she used to be one of those dependent women, always preferring a man’s escort. Arthur ought to be with her now, poor Paulina!”

Mrs. Flint exclaimed:

“Was not that Mrs. Varian leaving the train?”

“I believe so,” he replied, carelessly; and then the brief wait at the station being over, the train rushed on into the deep gloom of twilight.

It was scarcely a mile further on that, lying back with shut eyes and confused thoughts that mostly centered around the lonely figure of the woman just gone, he was roused by a terrible roar, a jumble of horrible sound, movement, and stifled shrieks of fear and pain, then consciousness gave way, and he lay still and death-like under the débris of a dreadful railway wreck—a collision caused by the misplacing of a switch.

Mrs. Varian revived out in the cold evening air, and she congratulated herself on her lucky escape, as she and Janetta sought the nearest hotel.

They had supper, and went to their rooms, a luxurious connecting suite.


Mrs. Varian was nervous and hysterically gay, laughing to herself at the clever coup by which she had outwitted fate.

“I wonder if he saw me—if he guessed why I left the train—but perhaps he was glad of it,” she thought.

She walked restlessly up and down the room, chafing under a weight that seemed to rest like a pall on her spirits—a weight of prescient gloom.

“Mrs. Varian, you are nervous. You ought to take some drops and retire, or you will not be fit to resume your journey in the morning,” the maid remonstrated, when she had watched her restless movements some time in silence.

“You are right Janetta, and I will take your advice. I should like to sleep, for my thoughts are not pleasant to-night,” the lady returned, docilely.

But sleep would not come to the heavy lids, for all she tried to deceive Janetta by lying as still as a mouse, with her cheek in the hollow of her little hand.

Strange tears crept under the black-fringed lashes and dampened the pillow. The maid caught a stifled sob.

“Ah, madame, it is bad dreams you’re having!” she murmured, stroking the dark head gently.

“Yes, yes, bad dreams, Janetta.”

“And no wonder, with the noise and confusion going on down-stairs, tramping like horses the last ten minutes. I can’t imagine what all the racket means, and if you don’t object, madame, I’ll go down and ask the clerk to have the noise stopped, so you may sleep better.”

“You may go.”

When Janetta was gone, she sat up in bed, throwing her jeweled hands wildly about crying:


“How I deceived that kind, faithful creature! I have not slept a moment. I have been too wretched. There is too great a weight on my heart—the whole weight of cruel years piled into one wild agony to-night! Oh, death were better than this pain!”

Janetta was gone fully fifteen minutes before she returned, pale, and tearfully excited, wringing her hands.

“Oh, madame, you are still awake! Then thank God for the lucky inspiration that came to you at Charlottesville to leave the train! It was surely Heaven that prompted you, for else we might now both be dead!”

“Janetta!” wildly.

“Oh, madame, the train was wrecked scarcely a mile further on, and people were killed—some of them—others were wounded, and may die! They are bringing them back here—that was the noise we heard—the tramping of feet that woke you. Oh, I have shocked you, breaking this so abruptly; but I did not think, I was so excited. Pardon me, dear lady. Of course there were none of your friends, as all were strangers to us.”

“All strangers!” gasped Mrs. Varian in a hollow voice, with terror in her eyes, as she clung to Janetta’s soothing hands.

The excited maid ran on breathlessly:

“Those people you noticed in front of us, madame—oh, it was dreadful! The sick woman escaped unhurt, but the servant was badly injured, and the man—Mr. Dawn they say his name is—was killed outright.”



Arthur Varian was roused at midnight by the reception of a startling telegram from his mother:

“Everard Dawn fatally injured in a railway accident here. Come at once, and bring Cinthia.”

He staggered to a chair, groaning aloud!

“So this is the sorrowful end!”

Conquering an onrushing flood of painful emotion, he sought Frederick Foster, and imparted the sad news.

“Heavens, how shocking! And I had only a few hours ago written to ask him for his daughter’s hand!” exclaimed the young man.

“Then Cinthia has accepted you!” Arthur cried, with emotion.

“Yes, only yesterday, and I intended to tell you to-morrow. Can you wish me joy, old fellow?” inquired Fred Foster, anxiously, for his cousin had made him acquainted with all his sad past story, and he felt the keenest sympathy with his unhappiness.

Arthur held out a cordial hand.

“It is good news to me—under the circumstances. May you both be very happy!” he exclaimed, generously.

“Thank you, Arthur. I will do my part toward it,” returned the young man, in a hopeful tone, adding: “We had better go at once to Lodge Delight for Cinthia. I will go with you to Virginia, and no doubt Madame Ray will give us the comfort of her company.”

“I shall beg her to do so,” said Arthur. “I am sure she will not refuse, for my mother would be perhaps but[198] a poor consoler in the hour of grief. Indeed, I am puzzled to know how she and Mr. Dawn ever happened to be together at Charlottesville, for they have always avoided each other. But the mystery can not be solved until we reach her side.”

Making the most hasty preparations possible for leaving, they set out for Lodge Delight, having first sent a telegram to Mrs. Varian at Charlottesville, assuring her that they would start at once.

So expeditious were their movements, that before daylight the four were on the train speeding to Virginia, Madame Ray having gladly acceded to their request for her company.

“Of course I would not permit Cinthia to go alone to so sad a scene as her father’s death-bed, poor dear!” she said, with warm sympathy.

Cinthia was shocked and grieved at the news of Everard Dawn’s accident and impending death, but her grief lacked the depth of a filial bereavement. Owing to her strong resentment at his own coldness, the girl had never felt the sentiment of love for him. If Madame Ray had died she would have been inconsolable, but in the case of her father she felt quite differently.

She was shocked and pained, but she would have felt almost as deeply over any well-known friend who had met with such an accident. His death would not mean any serious affliction to her. Indeed, when the first shock was over, she remembered that perhaps now she would never have to leave dear Madame Ray for another home. True, in a moment of madness and resentment at Arthur’s coldness, she had rashly consented to marry his cousin, but she was not at all certain that she would keep her promise.


She had told him frankly that she admired and esteemed him, but had no love to give. If he was willing to wait, to give her time to cultivate a warmer feeling, she would try her best to learn, and on these terms he based their betrothal. To Cinthia herself it seemed as if she must surely grow fond of him in time, he was so handsome, so splendid, so devoted. She argued to herself that in time her love for Arthur must surely be overcome by her contempt for his weakness and cowardice that had brought sorrow into both their lives.

Yet, as she watched his pale and sorrowful face while the train sped on its way, she felt a rush of painful tenderness flooding her heart, while she wondered why he was taking so much to heart the trouble that had fallen on herself. Everard Dawn was nothing to him—nothing except a man he had cause to dislike, because he had prevented his marriage to his daughter—yet his pallor, his sadness, his preoccupation were effects that might have been produced by the death of a near relative.

Cinthia, drooping in her seat, with a thick veil drawn over her pallid face, could not keep her eyes from her old lover, could not repress the rush of tenderness that made her heart ache.

She would have liked—she, the promised bride of Frederick Foster—to have thrown her arms about Arthur Varian’s neck, pressed her pale cheek to his, and whispered in the passion of her womanly love:

“Why are you so pale, so sad, my best beloved? Is it for me? Has Frederick told you that I have promised to marry him, and are you grieved? Perhaps the old love is not dead yet in your heart, perhaps it cries for me in the dead of night as my heart for you. Oh,[200] is it too late to go back, to thrust aside everything but the imperious demands of our love, and be happy yet?”

A sudden wild thought yet came to her and made her heart leap:

“Only let me find my father yet alive, and he shall explain the mystery of his opposition to my marriage with Arthur. She, too, is there, Arthur’s mother, who for the sake of her hatred of my father and mother was willing to wreck our happiness forever. Who knows but that when both are dead, both my mother and father, her cruel revenge may be satiated so that she may be willing to let love have its way.”

It would have startled Frederick Foster, who hovered near her with eager attentions, to find how little part he had in her thoughts and dreams, for a faint trembling hope had come to her heart that perhaps the death of her father might have some effect on her relations with Arthur, might possibly restore them to happiness.

Arthur, meanwhile, knowing the futility of all hope in Cinthia’s direction, gave himself up to unrestrained melancholy, in which blended considerable curiosity as to how it happened that his mother and Mr. Dawn had been together at Charlottesville.

Everard Dawn, who had an aversion to letter-writing, corresponded but infrequently with his daughter, hence had left her in ignorance of the date of his return from California.

Mrs. Varian, on the other hand, had not apprised her son of her suddenly decided upon journey to Florida.

So he could only nurse his wonder and melancholy together while looking back in a painful retrospection over the tangled web of what had been and what might have been, those “saddest of all sad words.”


There was a silent prayer in his heart, too, that Everard Dawn might survive till he reached his bedside, so that some last words might be said between them, some news be told, and perhaps some death-bed revelations be made to Cinthia.


Janetta, the indiscreet maid, would never forget the night when she blurted out the news of the railway wreck to her ailing mistress and sent her into that long, deathly swoon.

Mrs. Varian was not in the habit of fainting, and it gave Janetta a terrible scare, especially when the usual simple remedies failed to revive the unconscious lady.

Pale as a marble figure, her pallor heightened by the loosened tresses of raven hair and the inky lashes lying heavily against her cheek, she lay among the pillows, and though Janetta tried frantically first one thing and then another, no breath stirred the pulseless bosom of her mistress.

She ran down-stairs for a doctor, but every medico in the neighborhood had been summoned to the relief of the victims of the wreck. She could get no assistance for an hour, except that of terrified women.

Among them they succeeded in rousing her momentarily to a consciousness of the situation; but almost as soon as her dark eyes opened, she closed them again, murmuring mournfully:


“Let me die.”

And the remembrance of her trouble sent her immediately off into another spell almost as long as the first one.

The frightened and sympathetic women helped Janetta with all their skill and knowledge, until in about half an hour they saw Mrs. Varian’s breast heave faintly and her eyelids flutter.

“She’s coming to again, thank the Lord!” sobbed Janetta. “Now one of you women step in the next room and ask that doctor in there trying to bring a dead man to life to come in here and help us, and if he won’t come, to send me word how to stop her from going off again as soon as she opens her eyes and remembers.”

The house-maid went, and the housekeeper said:

“The man looked dead to me, but that doctor thought it might be temporary unconsciousness, and won’t leave off trying to save him till he’s sure. But, la! his leg was broke, and there’s a cut on the head—concussion of the brain, maybe, so the doctor said. It’s a pity for the poor man. He was a beauty of a fellow.”

“Wonder who he was?” observed another, while Mrs. Varian’s breathing grew more pronounced, and her dark eyes opened eagerly, as the housekeeper replied:

“His sister was with him—an old lady that didn’t get hurt at all, though her servant did. She said his name was Dawn.”

There was a faint, strangled gasp from the bed, and at that moment the physician entered the room.

“Oh, doctor, that poor man! did he ever come to?” eagerly inquired one of the women.

He answered in his quiet, professional tone:


“Yes; he recovered consciousness ten minutes ago; but I almost fear I had as well have let him go without disturbing his peace. He is more than likely fatally injured.”

Then he turned his attention to the patient, almost starting in alarm at the preternaturally solemn look of the great, wide open dark eyes.

But if he had but known it, his first words had been more potent than medicine in aiding her recovery.

“You have received a great shock, and I must immediately quiet your nerves,” he said, as his cool, steady fingers touched her pulse.

“Bend lower. I must speak to you,” she murmured, faintly.

He stooped down, and she whispered:

“Send away all but my maid.”

He looked around, and repeated:

“It is better for all these kind friends to withdraw now, as my patient will need absolute quiet. Her maid, of course, will remain.”

They all stole away very quietly, and he began to prepare a soothing potion for his strangely beautiful patient.

He was startled when she murmured:

“Doctor, you may give me something to strengthen me, but I will not take an opiate.”

“But, my dear lady—” he began, only to be interrupted by a feeble but resolute voice:

“No buts, my dear doctor, for my maid here can tell you that no one ever disputes my will. I must be strengthened, I tell you, for in a few minutes I shall go into the next room to visit your fatally injured patient.[204] He is an old—friend—of mine, and I shall get you to send a telegram for me summoning his relations to his death-bed.”

“His sister is here,” he replied, pressing to her lips the strengthening draught she demanded.

She swallowed it, sighed and replied:

“There are others, sir—a daughter for one, and—but, Janetta, bring pencil and paper, and copy what I dictate.”

With wonderful strength and self-command for one recovering from such a seizure, she dictated the message that Arthur received the same night.

“Doctor, can you have this sent at once?” she inquired.

He replied dubiously:

“I will do so as soon as possible, but the telegraph line is very busy. There are seven victims.”

“Poor souls!—this must go at once at any cost. Do you hear, doctor? Send it at once if it costs a little fortune! They are so far away, his friends—and what if they come—too late!” her proud voice breaking.

“I will do my best—and as for you, madame, I advise you to rest quietly in your bed all night, or I will not answer for the consequences to your outraged nerves.”

“I tell you, sir, I will get up and go to that dying man at whatever cost to myself.”

“What an imperious woman!” he thought, and answered aloud:

“At least lie here until I send off the telegram and bring you news of my patient.”

“Tell me first, is there any immediate prospect of his death?” shudderingly.


“None that I could see. There is a fracture of the left leg and a cut on his head. Unless there are internal injuries, he might stand a chance, a bare chance, for recovery, but that long syncope was so alarming that I have scarcely any hope of saving him.”

“I will rest here till you return, doctor, then I must go to him. I tell you no one shall prevent me. I knew him long ago. My duty is by his side now.”

He saw by her frantic obstinacy that there was more beneath the surface than her words revealed. To oppose her would be quite useless.

So he said, assentingly:

“It shall be as you wish, and perhaps his sister will be glad of your help. She is a feeble old woman, sadly shaken by the shock. But at least lie quiet till my return, perfectly quiet, please.”

“I will,” she replied, reluctantly enough; and when he was gone, she turned toward Janetta, saying:

“This wounded man, Mr. Dawn, was a dear friend of my youth, and for the sake of past days, we must help his sister to nurse him till his daughter comes—or till he dies,” shudderingly again.

Janetta replied with secret amazement:

“I will do my best, madame, and I have been counted a skillful nurse, but I think you are quite too ill to leave your room—at least till to-morrow.”

“I am stronger than you think. My will-power will help me through,” replied the obstinate lady; and then she asked Janetta to dim the light and throw a gauze handkerchief over her face.

Janetta obeyed, then lay down on a sofa to watch and[206] wait for the doctor’s return. She pretended to be asleep, thinking that this would suit her mistress best.

Soon she heard low, stifled sobs from beneath the tiny handkerchief, and guessed that an hysterical mood had followed on Mrs. Varian’s startling illness and agitation.

It was remarkable for Mrs. Varian—the proud, the cold, the imperious woman—but Janetta knew it was best to take no notice and attempt no soothing. The icy crust of years was broken up at last, and tears must have their way. They were the greatest panacea for hidden grief. But the alert maid said to herself:

“Such grief is not for an old friend simply. Doubtless he was once her lover. Then estrangement followed and broke their vows. I remember now that she became ill on the train at the sight of him, and abruptly changed her mind, getting off here to spend the night. Well, the Lord’s hand was in it, for we might have been killed had we stayed on the train,” she concluded, without stopping to ask herself why she and Mrs. Varian should have been of so much more value to the world than others that He should have taken special care to save their lives.

It touched her deeply to hear that stifled sobbing, and she longed to speak some comforting words; but she knew it was not best, but lay still till the passion exhausted itself and Mrs. Varian was passive once more awaiting the doctor’s return.

It was an hour before he returned, and said:

“I have succeeded in sending off the telegram, and I find Mr. Dawn in a comatose state from which nothing perhaps can rouse him till to-morrow. It would be quite useless your going to him.”


“Yet, doctor, I must look upon his face to-night!” And she raised herself in bed, throwing out beseeching hands.

“I will wait then in the corridor for you and your maid,” he replied, withdrawing.

Janetta quickly attired her mistress in a comfortable robe, and gathered her dark, streaming tresses into a loose knot. Giving her the support of her arm, she led her out to the old doctor, who quickly came forward to meet them.

“I have just sent the sister—old Mrs. Flint—to bed, as she will not be needed now,” he said, leading Mrs. Varian into his patient’s room.

She needed his arm, for she trembled like a leaf in a gale. All her pride was trampled in the dust by the love of old days that rushed over her like a storm, laying waste all the barriers that anger and scorn had raised between her heart and the man lying there so deathly white and still, as if hovering Death had already claimed him for his victim.

Doctor Deane drew forward a large arm-chair to the side of the bed, placed Mrs. Varian in it, and abruptly withdrew, beckoning Janetta to follow.

“You may wait outside the door while I go in to see another patient. I think the lady would prefer to be alone for a time,” he said; for he also had his suspicions of something uncommon in the past of his two strange patients.

He was right. Mrs. Varian was glad at last to be alone with Everard Dawn.

She gazed with despairing eyes at his bandaged head, silent, pallid lips and closed blue eyes.


She bent her haughty head and pressed her fevered lips on the cold white hand that lay outside the cover, murmuring passionate words:

“Oh, Everard, it is Pauline! Do you not know it is Pauline? Oh, do not die without one word to me, one word of love and pity—you who used to love me so! Is all the old love dead? Oh, you wronged me bitterly, Everard, but I can not hate you any longer. The old love rises in me like an ice-bound stream released by the sunlight, and drowns me in its overflow. Oh, Everard, my loved and lost!”


Janetta, close against the door outside, caught low, passionate murmurs from within in her mistress’s voice, and guessed that she was pouring out her heart’s wild grief in the insensate ears of the unconscious man. It was pitiful, and tears overflowed Janetta’s eyes.

For some time the low murmuring continued, then all grew still as death.

She waited awhile, then fearful that the lady had fainted again, opened the door and went softly in.

Everard Dawn lay still and silent, just faintly breathing, as before, and Mrs. Varian’s dark head was bent down, resting upon the patient’s hand.

She motioned Janetta to her side, saying, gently:


“You may share my vigil, Janetta, and because I know this seems strange to you, I will confide in you. We loved each other very dearly once, this man and I, but a wicked woman came between us and wrecked my happiness. I tried to hate him, but now that he is dying, the old love rises in me again, and my heart is breaking.”

That was all; but she knew she was sure of the other woman’s sympathy.

Janetta might marvel at the utter breaking down of the proudest woman she had ever known, but she would love her better for her constancy and her womanly tenderness.

So they kept their lonely vigils by the sufferer, who for twenty-four hours gave no sign of knowing aught, until they began to fear that he would pass into the other world without a sign or token to those left on earth.

Mrs. Flint had been told that an old friend of her brother would help to nurse him; but when she saw that it was Mrs. Varian, she was filled with secret wonder that found expression in the words:

“He never told me that he knew you, madame; but I do not see how he could have forgotten one like you.”

Mrs. Varian smiled with transient bitterness, but made no reply to the frank compliment, only showing her appreciation of it by simple, unaffected kindness to the grieving sister.

The night and the day wore away, and in the early dusk of the December eve Everard Dawn suddenly opened his eyes with full consciousness in them, and met the eager glance of large, dark, sorrowful orbs.

“Oh, Everard, it is I—Paulina! Do you know me?” she murmured, prayerfully.


In a broken whisper, he answered:

“I know you.”

Then his eyes closed again, and with a stifled sob, Mrs. Varian sent Janetta to tell the doctor.

He hastened to his side, delighted to find that his patient had rallied; but he whispered to the anxious watcher:

“I do not dare bid you hope anything from this. The case is most uncertain.”

She bowed her head in silence; but from that moment not a movement of the invalid passed unwatched.

He had recovered his consciousness, but the doctor saw in him as yet no certain chance of recovery. He was very still and quiet, speaking only when addressed, and lying always with half-closed eyes that seemed to notice nothing. At times they opened wider and followed Mrs. Varian’s movements about the room, but he did not permit her to surprise that scrutiny.

She was tender, but very timid, scarcely daring to offer the least attention, lest it be repulsed. There rang in her memory always some words he had uttered long ago:

“Paulina, you have put upon me an unmerited disgrace and a cruel wrong. I will never forgive you as long as I live!”

Again, in the garden at Idlewild, three years ago, he had said to her most bitterly:

“Do not think I have come to forgive you!”

She had never forgotten the bitterness of those words. They dazed her, too, for in her own opinion she had been the only wronged one, he the transgressor.

He was going out of life now, and she read in his silence that he would keep his word, that for the grievance he cherished he would not grant forgiveness.


Neither would he plead with her for pardon for the wrong that he had done.

It was a cruel position for both, and she felt that he only endured her presence for cold pity’s sake, while secretly wishing her away.

“God help me. I can not bear to leave him!” she thought, despairingly.

The next morning the travelers from Florida arrived.

Cinthia and her aunt had a most affecting meeting, though it was the elder woman who broke down and forced the other to tears.

“Oh, Cinthy, you never loved him as I did! You never knew him at his best—before sorrow came to him and spoiled his nature,” she sobbed.

Cinthia could only weep.

“It is not my fault that I was lacking in sympathy. I was never told of his troubles.”

“He did not wish for you to know, dear, lest your young life should be saddened more than it was already.”

“Dear aunt, I am very sorry for him, and grieved to see you looking so pale and thin. Tell me how all this came about,” pleaded Cinthia. And while they are exchanging confidences, we will return to Arthur and his mother.

She had gone to her room to receive him alone, and he clasped her tenderly in his arms.

“Poor mother!” he sighed, with deep compassion, and then they sat down and talked awhile together.

“I have one pleasant piece of news for you. Cinthia and Fred are engaged,” he said.

“I am glad of it—under the circumstances,” she replied,[212] exactly as he had replied to Frederick’s announcement of the betrothal.

She mused silently a moment, then added:

“It will be good news for her father. He can die easier.”

“You are sure that he must die, dear mother?”

“You will not doubt it when you see him, Arthur; and the physician does not hold out any hope, though he thinks that the end may be lingering.”

She spoke with the steady calmness of despair, and her son looked at her with uneasy eyes, wondering how she felt, how she was bearing it.

Perhaps she read his thoughts, for she said quickly:

“Go to him as soon as you can, dear. Perhaps it may give him some pleasure to see you by him now. Be kind and tender—for the sake of old days.”

“And you, mother?”

“I have done what I could—for duty’s sake.”

“Only for that?” he wondered, but dared not ask, and soon left her to seek Mr. Dawn.

Between the two there was a touching greeting—a strange one for two men who could only be supposed to harbor resentment against each other.

Arthur was not ashamed to shed tears when he saw that helpless form and pallid face with the bandaged head. His voice trembled while he talked, and Mr. Dawn’s replies were low and gentle.

“I have kept very quiet. I have saved my strength till you and Cinthia came. I felt I would have much to bear then,” he said feebly.

Arthur answered, hopefully:


“I have good news for you. Cinthia has promised to marry my cousin Frederick Foster. Perhaps she might bear to know our secret now.”

“Perhaps so,” he replied, with a heavy sigh; and just then the door opened softly again, admitting Mrs. Flint with his daughter and Madame Ray.

Arthur drew aside and returned to his mother, who was still alone, having sent Janetta to help with the wounded woman just across the hall—Rachel Dane.

Mrs. Varian clung to her son, whispering wildly:

“Tell me what brought her here, that beautiful Madame Ray? Is she aught to him?”

“His daughter’s friend—nothing more, dear mother.”

“Are you sure—quite sure? For Frederick hinted once that Cinthia wished them to marry. And she is so charming—perhaps he loves her, Arthur?” jealously.

“No, mother, they are nothing but friends. Her heart is in the grave. Come, let me tell you her sad, touching story.”

He drew her to a seat, and went over the sad details Madame Ray had given him in Florida, drawing bright tears from his mother’s eyes.

Then some one knocked on the door. It was Doctor Deane.

“I have been with my patient, Mr. Dawn,” he said, “and the coming of his daughter has greatly excited him, causing an improvement for the time, though how long it may last I can not say. It seems as if there is something on his mind that he wishes to communicate before he dies, and he begs you and your son to join him at once with the others.”



Everard Dawn’s haggard eyes marked the entrance of the doctor and the Varians, and he said feebly:

“Are you all here, Cinthia, Arthur, his mother, my sister, and my kind friend, Madame Ray?”

“They are all here,” Doctor Deane replied; and Everard Dawn continued:

“I should like Mr. Foster to be present, too—and Mrs. Varian’s maid. She may need her ministrations in a trying scene. You, too, doctor, I would like to have stay if you can bear the disclosure of family secrets.”

The old doctor answered, genially:

“I have no wish to pry into family secrets, but it is best that I should stay, that I may render assistance should you overtax your feeble powers.”

They brought Frederick Foster and Janetta, and there were eight of them forming a curious, anxious group about the bed.

Across the hall, gasping for breath, and tossing restlessly from side to side in the pain of internal injuries, was a woman who would have taken as great an interest as any in the novel scene transpiring so close to her; but no one gave her a single thought, no one supposed that the humble servant, Rachel Dane, could have taken any interest in the event, much less have thrown a light on[215] the dark mystery that had saddened several hopeful lives. Everything had been so closely guarded that little of it had come to her knowledge. Janetta had told her that Mr. Dawn’s daughter and her friends had come, that was all.

The suffering woman had a lively interest to see Cinthia, whom she had nursed as a little child, and of whom her aunt had talked so much, but she knew that her curiosity must bide the proper time.

A house-maid had come in just now, and said:

“Janetta, you are wanted in Mr. Dawn’s room. I will stay here until you come back.”

Janetta went as bidden, and stationed herself at the back of the arm-chair where her mistress was sitting, close to the bed.

Then Everard Dawn exclaimed, clearly:


Mrs. Varian gave a convulsive start and looked fearfully at the speaker.

His blue eyes met hers full with a commanding expression, as he continued:

“Paulina, in meeting my daughter here on my dying bed she has demanded to know the details of the feud as she believes it, that shadowed so darkly the last three years of her young life. Once I would have died to shield her from such sorrow, but now she declares that certainty of sorrow is better than the pangs of suspense. She demands[216] the truth. It is our bitter duty to yield to her desires.”

A hushed murmur of surprise went around the group, and Cinthia buried her face on Madame Ray’s bosom.

She had indeed pleaded with her father for the truth, and he had promised to gratify her wish, though she wondered why he added:

“There was indeed a terrible reason why you could not marry Arthur, my dear child, and it would have killed you at first to know it, but now that you love another man, and are engaged to marry him, you will not mind so much.”

They had startled her strangely, those words, and she hung tremblingly on every sentence that fell now from her father’s lips, and before she hid her pallid face she had seen Arthur draw his chair close to his mother’s side—the mother he loved so dearly still, though she had parted him so cruelly from his beautiful betrothed.

Again Everard Dawn breathed through pallid, pain-drawn lips:

“All I ask of you, Paulina, is that you shall tell your side of our marriage and divorce. I will follow with my version of the story.”

The listeners could scarcely express outcries of surprise.

Everard Dawn had revealed to them all in one brief sentence a totally unsuspected fact.


Mrs. Varian, the wealthy, beautiful, haughty woman, was his divorced wife.

Cinthia trembled with surprise, and clung closer to her loving friend, who thought quickly.

“My suspicions and forebodings are about to be verified. Alas, poor Cinthia!”

Arthur Varian drew his arm about his mother, whispering to her of courage in this trying hour, begging her to gratify the sick man’s request.

Everard Dawn waited a moment, then added:

“You may make the story as short as you please, only let it come from your own lips.”

Mrs. Varian lifted her head with something of her old haughty pride, and looked at Cinthia where she drooped against her friend’s breast, but her voice was slightly tremulous as she began:

“When I first met your father, Cinthia, he was a rising young lawyer employed by my father to attend to some complicated business matters. Our acquaintance ripened into love, and he became a suitor for my hand against my father’s wishes. But as my lover’s only fault was poverty and we were rich, I soon persuaded papa to withdraw his objections. So we were married.”

She paused and sighed, and every one heard Everard Dawn re-echo that sigh heavily.

“Go on, dear,” whispered Arthur, encouragingly, with an anxious look at Cinthia.


“We were very happy, for my husband seemed a model of manly perfection,” continued Mrs. Varian. “We lived in Florida with my dear father, who made Everard the manager of all his investments, thus insuring him independence of my fortune, for he was very proud and impatient of being thought a fortune-hunter. Arthur was born when I had been married one year, and until he was four years old I was the happiest woman on earth.”

Everard Dawn gave her a sudden bright look that she did not perceive, as if grateful for those words.

Again sighing, she continued:

“Then a dark shadow fell over Love’s Retreat—the shadow of a beautiful young girl, the daughter of a former client of my husband. She arrived suddenly at our home one day, bearing a letter from her father who had recently died. In it he commended the girl—Gladys Lowe—to the guardianship of my husband, begging that he would keep her at his home till she married. To be brief, her father’s property dwindled to nothing when it came to be settled up, leaving her penniless on our hands—a charge I would most generously have undertaken but for the predilection Miss Lowe immediately manifested for my husband, driving me wild with her kittenish coquetries, for she was very charming, with abundant tawny locks and effective hazel eyes, that were always fixed on Everard with a passion she could not disguise. The Varians are charged with being jealous people, and I do not deny it; I feared she would win my husband with[219] her blandishments, and I imperiously demanded of him that he send Miss Lowe away.”


Every one in the room was listening with suppressed excitement to Mrs. Varian’s story, every eye was fixed on her mortally pale face, so deathlike in its pallor save for the great Oriental dark eyes burning like coals of fire.

Cinthia had grown ghastly, too, as she rested in the clasp of Madame Ray’s arm, taking no heed of her handsome betrothed on the other side, hovering near to console her in the terrible revelation soon coming.

The lady paused, drew her breath in sharply, like one in pain, and resumed:

“I could not bring my husband to believe in the sincerity of my objections to his ward. He first laughed at my jealousy, then upbraided me with my injustice to a homeless orphan girl. He could not send her away penniless into the world, for he had been under obligations to her father, in whose office he had gained his first law practice. He begged me to have patience and charity toward Miss Lowe until her superior attractions should win her a husband. Heaven knows I was never lacking in Christian charity toward any unfortunate person, but[220] Gladys Lowe was not a good girl. A flirt to her fingertips, and totally without principle or conscience, she discovered my jealousy and played on it cleverly, augmenting it by cunning schemes that my husband never suspected, and that I, in my bitter pride and jealousy, never betrayed to him. So matters went on for a year, and in that interval of time I several times surprised my husband in compromising situations with his ward. By my father’s advice, I ordered her to leave my house, and there was a stormy scene.

“Miss Lowe threw shame to the winds. She refused to go, and taunted me with having won my husband from me. I threatened to sue him for divorce, naming her as co-respondent. She retorted that it was what they both wished, in order that he might obtain his freedom to marry her. Without a word to my husband—for we had long been estranged through our differences over her—I left my home, taking my little son, and accompanied by my father, who fully sympathized with my grievances and despised the authors of my unhappiness. I then carried out my threat of suing my husband for divorce, implicating Miss Lowe. To cut the story short, my husband fought against the divorce; but his shameless ward helped it on by every art in her power, never denying the charges against her; and it was soon granted, giving me the custody of our son and the liberty to resume my maiden name. Mr. Dawn removed from Florida to Georgia, where Miss Lowe followed him, and[221] within a few months he married her, thus proving his falsity to me.”

Her story was ended, and she leaned her head back against Arthur’s shoulder, closing her eyes to shut out the sight of the surprised and pitying faces to whom she had just confessed the story of her life’s humiliation.

“Bravely done, dear mother!” whispered Arthur, with a gentle kiss on her cold cheek.

“It is my turn now,” said Everard Dawn, with a heavy sigh, and Doctor Deane rejoined:

“I can not permit you to talk very long, my dear patient.”

“It will not be necessary, sir, for Mrs. Varian has saved me the trouble of a long explanation. What she has related is perfectly true on the face of it, but behind the tragedy of our divorce lie the actual facts of the terrible mistakes of a jealous woman and a heedless man too secure of his great happiness to guard it close enough.”

A great thrill ran through the listeners, as he continued:

“I hold myself to blame that I was impatient of my wife’s jealousy, and laughed at her fears that Miss Lowe was trying to win my heart. I pitied my ward for her orphanage and poverty, and I was too generous to believe that she was aught but a joyous-hearted girl whose little kittenish coquetries amounted to nothing. I was simply blind, besides being inordinately proud and passionately resentful of my wife’s unjust suspicions. I loved[222] her to idolatry, and her lack of faith angered me. I carried everything with too high a hand, perhaps, but I did not dream to what lengths the affair was going.”

Doctor Deane interposed gently:

“You are exhausting your strength by too long a discourse.”

“Doctor, what difference can it make to a dying man whether his little stock of strength is exhausted sooner or later?” wearily.

“Go on then; but be brief.”

“I found out too late,” continued Everard Dawn, “that Miss Lowe was different from what I thought. She had indeed conceived a mad love for me that had driven her to desperate lengths to win me. It is true that she followed me to Georgia, true that I married her, but only because of her passionate pleadings and assertions that through my wife’s jealousy her character had been ruined. I gave her the shelter of my name, but, God forgive me, I hated her as long as she lived, and could not help rejoicing when she was dead. I obtained a position as a commercial traveler, so that I could spend most of my time away from her side, so her victory was a poor one after all, for she had wrecked two lives without gaining any happiness for herself. As for the rest, I affirm now on my death-bed and on my hopes of heaven, that Gladys Lowe and I were as innocent of wrong-doing before my divorce as the purest angel. She was wicked enough to[223] make my wife believe it, through her jealousy so easily imposed on, but she was not guilty, so help me Heaven!”

He paused, and there rose a stifled cry of bitter anguish. It came from Cinthia’s ghastly lips as the cruel truth began to dawn on her bewildered brain.

Everard Dawn looked at her pityingly, and said:

“Ah, Cinthia, you understand it all now. She was your mother. Perhaps you will not blame me now that I failed in love to you, that I forgot my duty to you in resentment at what you represented—the wicked love of a woman who wrecked my life in parting me from all that made it dear.”

A low moan came from her blanched lips and Arthur Varian left his mother’s side and approached her with leaden-weighted feet and a look as of death’s agony in his fixed blue eyes. He took her hand, and said, hollowly:

“Cinthia, you understand it all now, but you will not mind it, I know, because Fred is going to make you very happy, my dear little sister.”

No one in that room ever forgot the white agony of Cinthia Dawn’s face as she sprung to her feet, with outstretched arms, quivering all over as if a bullet had pierced her heart, pushing Arthur away as if his hand had given the mortal wound.

“Oh, God, let me die!” she shrieked, in her despair, and sunk senseless in Madame Ray’s arms.



Doctor Deane feared that all that excitement must hurt his patient very much, so he cleared the room as soon as possible, letting no one stay but Mrs. Flint and himself.

She, poor old lady, was terribly shocked at hearing the full story of her brother’s life, having only known a few hazy details before.

But she pulled herself together the best she could, and hung tenderly over the bedside, chafing her brother’s cold hands, and murmuring:

“Poor Everard! how cruelly you have been wronged, and how sad your life has been! If I had known all the truth, I could never have blamed you for neglecting Cinthy, though it is a pity, for a sweeter girl never lived, I am sure. She can not have inherited her disposition from her wicked mother.”

He looked at her kindly, but he was too exhausted by all he had endured to answer, but lay, pale and gasping, among the pillows, while the doctor busied himself with restoratives.

“All this excitement has been very bad for him, and he must have quiet and sleep the rest of the day,” he said uneasily, before he went out to see after his other patients.


They had carried Cinthia to her own room, where Madame Ray hung over her with tearful devotion excluding every one else, even her anxious betrothed, who hung about in most disconsolate fashion.

Janetta returned to her watch by Rachel Dane, and Arthur accompanied his mother to her own apartments, mastering his own agitation in his tenderness for her trouble.

“You will lie down and rest, dear mother, or you will be ill after this fatiguing ordeal,” he pleaded.

She was pacing restlessly up and down the floor, a picture of nervous suffering painful to gaze upon. Pausing in the center of the room, her white, jeweled fingers locked together as if in pain, she looked at him with burning eyes, crying wildly:

“Oh, Arthur, how can I rest, how can I sleep? He is dying, and I—I am full of doubt and terror! Awakened conscience daunts me. Have I wronged him or not? Is he innocent, or is he guilty?”

“Mother you heard him swear to his innocence by all his hopes of heaven!”

“He swore to it before, Arthur, on the day when I sued him for divorce. He came to me swearing his innocence, pleading for mercy. I turned from him in anger, refusing to believe him, scorning all his prayers.”

“How could you be so hard, mother?”

“I was mad with wounded love and jealousy. I had let that fiendish girl destroy, with cunning arts, all my[226] faith in him. Besides, my father was against him. He feared he had married me for my wealth alone.”

“Poor mother, how you were tortured! No wonder you made such a fatal mistake.”

“Arthur, Arthur,” her voice rang out wildly, “you believe that it was a mistake?”

He came up to her, put his hands on her shoulders, and looked at her earnestly, tenderly.

“Mother, must I tell you frankly what I believe, what I have believed in my soul ever since my first interview with my father, that day in Washington?”

“Yes; speak the whole truth, though it crushes me!” sighed the unhappy woman; and he answered:

“I do not mean to be cruel to you, dear mother, I pity you, and I understand your terrible provocation for all you did, but I believe in my father’s innocence and his perfect nobility. He told me his full story in Washington, and I have believed in him, loved him, revered him ever since, and his death will be a blow to me only second to your own.”

“Then, Arthur, I am a miserable sinner. I have wrecked his life!” contritely.

“Then you must acknowledge your fault, and beg his forgiveness.”

“He has sworn that he will never forgive me as long as I live. Oh, my heart, what a cruel wretch I have been to him! And I loved him so! I do not merit his forgiveness.”


“But he shall grant it, mother. I will add my prayers to yours.”

“Oh, Arthur, shall we go to him now, my poor, wronged love?” weeping.

“Not now, dear mother, because he is exhausted, and needs rest. We must wait.”

“Oh, if he could know my shame and repentance! And how I have loved him always in spite of myself! Might it not comfort him, Arthur?”

“I will find out when he can see you, and tell you himself, mother, if you will be very patient, and let him rest awhile first, mother.”

“I will wait as long as you wish me, Arthur, my poor boy, for I need your forgiveness, too. I have wronged you also, depriving you these long and weary years of a father’s love. Besides, there was all your bitter trouble over Cinthia. But thank Heaven, it is all over now, that sorrow.”

“Yes, it is all over now,” he said, calmly, but with white lips.

And then he went away to his father’s room, where Mrs. Flint was sitting alone, wishing he were not so restless, fearing it was a bad sign.

Arthur bent over him caressingly, and whispered:

“My poor mother, after years of sorrow, divided between doubt and anger, is at last convinced of your innocence, and her poor heart is breaking with remorse for her sin and love that she could never conquer.”


He saw a strange gleam in the deep blue eyes, and the pale lips twitched with emotion.

He continued, almost pleadingly:

“Her pride is humbled in the dust, and her dearest wish is to express her penitence and pray for forgiveness. Her sin was great, but, dear father, you have a noble heart. Is it shut against her forever?”

What a light came over the pallid face, what strange new fire to the dim eyes, what deep emotion quivered in the voice that answered:

“When your mother first entered into my heart Arthur, she locked the door and threw away the key forever. How could I bar her out after lifelong possession?”

“Oh, father, what a constant heart! Yet she fears that you can never forgive her.”

“In the passion of wounded love and anger, I swore that I would not, Arthur; but that was long ago, and in the face of death, how puerile these worldy resentments seem! Then, too, I believed she had wearied of me, believed me a fortune-hunter. Her wealth and her pride raised a wall between us. I could not dream that lips like hers could ever stoop to that word ‘forgive.’”

“Would you like to hear her say it now, my father?”

“No, Arthur, for it is needless. If she could come to me with another word—the dear word love—it would pay for all. How sweet to die with her hand in mine, her lips on my brow!”


Ah, what a love was here!—so patient under cruel wrong, so faithful, so forgiving! Arthur’s nature bowed in reverence to its holiness.

“She will come when you wish,” he said gently.

“Let it be now, Arthur.”

“But Doctor Deane said——” began his sister, uneasily.

“I can not permit any one to dictate in this. Every moment of suspense counts against my life,” the patient answered, firmly, and Arthur went.

It was but a little while before he returned with a drooping figure on his arm.

Mrs. Flint safely withdrew to a window, with her back to the bed.

Arthur led his mother to the bedside, and placed her in a chair. Then he took her cold and trembling hand, and placed it in that of his father.

She thrilled with a passion of joy at the feeble pressure, and bent forward, pressing her quivering lips to his pale brow, whispering in a tempest of restrained emotion:

“Oh, Everard, I wronged you—but I never ceased to love you!”

And there was deep silence and rare happiness—even though the shadow of death hovered over the room. And presently she whispered, entreatingly:

“Oh, Everard, do not die and leave me now! I can not let you go again! I will nurse you and tend you so faithfully that surely Heaven will give you back to me! And some day, when I have somewhat atoned by penitence[230] and devotion, perhaps you will let me be your wife again.”

“Ah, Paulina, if it might be now, for the doctor does not hold out any hope of life. But at least I should die happy, knowing you were mine again.”

“You shall have your wish!” cried Arthur, hastening from the room.

Then Everard Dawn called his sister to make friends with Paulina.

“I should like for you to love each other when I am gone,” he said gently.

“Oh, brother, we can not let you go now, when happiness has come to you again! I am praying for you every moment!” cried the kind old lady, clasping hands with the beautiful woman whom she would be proud to call sister.


Meanwhile, Janetta, watching by the bedside of Rachel Dane, did not like the looks of her patient.

The woman had been very bad from the first, her body covered with bruises, and complaining of severe inward pains that indicated internal injuries.

All that medical skill could do, combined with careful[231] nursing, had been lavished on the sufferer; but it was quite evident that her days were numbered.

To-day she was restless and querulous, sliding down in bed, and picking at the covers in an ominous way.

“Where is my mistress?” she inquired, presently: adding in a fretful tone; “she has entirely neglected me to-day.”

Janetta soothingly made excuses for Mrs. Flint, saying that her niece had arrived that morning, and they had been together in the room of Mr. Dawn, who was not expected to live long.

“I should like to see Miss Dawn,” Rachel Dane muttered, curiously.

“That would be impossible, for the young lady was quite prostrated by the excitement in her father’s room, and was carried to bed just now, with the doctor in attendance,” replied Janetta.

Rachel Dane kept silence quite a little while, then she sharply ordered Janetta to go away and send Mrs. Flint.

The maid obeyed, only too glad to get away from the grewsome company of the dying woman.

Mrs. Flint came at once, wan and weary from excitement, but full of kindly sympathy.

“Rachel, I am sorry to see that you are not so well to-day,” she said.

“So you can see it? Well, I felt it myself; that’s why I wanted you. I knew you would tell me the truth. Am I going to die?” querulously.


Mrs. Flint had been by many a death-bed, and she saw the signs here, so she answered, frankly:

“Rachel, I don’t want to frighten you, but it’s time you should make your peace with God.”

The poor wretch shuddered and moaned:

“Are you sure? Did the doctor say so, ma’am?”

“He has never had any hope of your recovery, Rachel, and you are failing fast to-day. You will soon be done with this world; but, alas! you are not ready for the next one.”

She did not want to frighten the parting soul but she was sorrowful over the life going out into eternal darkness.

Rachel Dane shuddered, and cried:

“I always meant to get ready when the time came but it caught me unprepared. I’m only fifty odd years old, and I hoped to live to ninety. Oh, tell me what to do! help me, pray for me!”

“I’ve prayed for you, Rachel Dane, ever since you made your home under my roof, and I’m glad your heart is softened at last. Try to love God and believe in His goodness. Say after me: ‘Lord, forgive a dying sinner, and save me, for Christ’s sake! Amen.’”

The dying creature clutched at the bed-clothes, and mumbled the words in pitiful earnest, after which Mrs. Flint knelt by the bed, and herself offered up a fervent prayer.

“Oh, I’ve been bad and wicked all my life, hating God[233] because I was poor! I don’t know how to get His favor now,” sighed the dying sinner; and Mrs. Flint answered, soothingly:

“If you have done anything wicked that you can undo, now is the time to repent and get God’s forgiveness.”

She saw a look of alarm come into the fading eyes, and Rachel plucked wildly at the counterpane, muttering:

“I did a cruel wrong twenty years ago. I stole the baby daughter of a heart-broken young widow.”

“Good heavens! how dreadful! Tell me all about it quickly, and perhaps something may yet be done to right the wrong,” cried Mrs. Flint, in dismay.

But at that moment they were interrupted by the opening of the door, and Madame Ray glided in, murmuring in her sweet, soft voice:

“They told me you were watching by a very sick woman, and as Cinthia is asleep, I thought I might be of some assistance to you.”

She had never heard the name of Rachel Dane, and she came and stood by the bed, looking down, with pity and sympathy, at the poor soul.

Rachel Dane turned her heavy eyes upward to the lovely face, and then uttered a cry of deadly fear:

“My God! it is Mrs. Ray, come to haunt me in my dying hour!”

“Rachel Dane, where is my child, my baby daughter?” cried the other, wildly; and, shaking with excitement, she[234] added: “Do not die, miserable wretch, till you reveal the truth.”

Mrs. Flint stared in wonder, and exclaimed:

“The poor woman was just confessing to me that she had stolen a young widow’s child twenty years ago. Go on with your story, Rachel.”

She pushed the agitated lady into a chair as she spoke, and waited with eager curiosity and sympathy for the next words.

Rachel looked fearfully at the woman she had wronged, and muttered:

“Do not look so wretched, lady, for all is well with your daughter, and she shall be restored to your arms.”

“Thank God—thank God!” cried the mother, with a rush of glad tears.

“So it was Madame Ray’s child that you stole, Rachel? But why did you do such a wicked thing?” cried her mistress.

“Oh, Mrs. Flint, it was for the greed of gold, that has always cursed my life—the longing for gold and pleasure! A beautiful woman came to me, and said: ‘I have been married two years, and I have no child. My husband will never love me till I give him an heir. I would like a little girl because his first wife had a boy, and I hate it. Find me a pretty baby, and help me to impose it on him as my own when he returns from his long journey, and you shall live with me, and I will make you rich.’ Wretch that I was, I stole Mrs. Ray’s sweet baby, and helped the other[235] woman to fool her husband. She paid me well; but growing weary of my extortions after two years, she and her husband stole away North, where I could never trace them, till one night I saw him on the train and followed him, only to find that his wife had died years before.”

“But my child, my darling, where is she?” sobbed the eager mother.

“Where is the child?” echoed Mrs. Flint, suspiciously, and Rachel Dane answered, gladly:

“Oh, how glad I am to restore her safe to her mother’s arms! She is here with you, Mrs. Flint—the girl called Cinthia Dawn, but no kin of yours, for she is the baby I stole for Mrs. Dawn, the unloved wife—the child of Mrs. Richard Ray, and may Heaven forgive my sin!”


“He laughed a laugh of merry scorn;
He turned and kissed her where she stood;
‘If you are not the heiress born,
And I,’ said he, ‘the next in blood—
“‘If you are not the heiress born,
And I,’ said he, ‘the lawful heir,
We two will wed to-morrow morn,
And you shall still be Lady Clare!’”


When Arthur Varian Dawn left his father’s room so hastily that day, it was with the firm determination to see his parents married again before the set of sun, if it could possibly be accomplished without injury to his father’s poor hold on life.

He had a brief talk with Doctor Deane, who agreed with him that the consummation of so joyful an event ought to do good to the patient, giving him new hold on life, if such a thing were possible in his precarious state.

“I do not wish to deceive you,” he said, with professional frankness. “The case is serious. I am not frightened at the scalp-wound, because it is doing nicely, and the compound fracture of the leg, below the knee, might get well in six weeks if the patient will lie in bed all that time; but there are symptoms of internal injuries that make me uneasy. If I am mistaken about that, he may pull through.”

“God grant it!” cried Arthur, fervently.

“And as you say,” continued the doctor, “whether he lives or dies, it will be a comfort to him to marry his divorced wife over again, so I will go with you to get the license and the preacher.”

So, together with Frederick Foster, they went to arrange the necessary details, and in their absence there occurred that scene by the death-bed of Rachel Dane that was to make such a change in the destinies of Arthur and Cinthia, the sorely tried lovers.

When they returned, several hours later, with the minister,[237] Mrs. Flint was informed of what was about to occur, and begged her new-found nephew to let her have the services of the man of God first for a dying sinner.

“Poor Rachel Dane is going fast, and she is afraid to die, poor soul! We must try to hold a light for her feet, as she goes groping down into the dark valley,” she said, pitifully.

“Has her life been so wicked?” he asked, wonderingly; and the old lady answered:

“She has lived without God, and her sins are many. She made a most interesting confession awhile ago, and I would like for you to go and hear it, dear nephew, from Madame Ray, while the minister is engaged with Rachel.”

Mrs. Flint spoke with such a glad and cheerful smile, that he was quite puzzled.

He was sorry for the dying woman, but not much interested in her sins and confessions. His thoughts were hovering around Cinthia.

She had been carried unconscious from Mr. Dawn’s room, and only revived to go into such hysterical spasms that they almost feared for her life. It was thought best to quiet her by strong opiates, and she had been sleeping heavily now for hours.

Poor Cinthia! They had thought the truth would not shock her now, because she was betrothed to another; but they had been terribly mistaken. The hopeless love that had tortured her heart with secret pain threatened to[238] end in death or madness, now that they had told her that Arthur was her brother.

With an aching heart, the young man turned his steps to her door to ask Madame Ray how the hapless girl fared.

Meanwhile, the lady had hurried from Rachel’s death-bed back to Cinthia’s room.

Kneeling down, she pressed joyful kisses on the sleeping face, so pale and woeful even in slumber, so that it was easy to guess at last the guarded secret of that young heart—the love that had never strayed from its object through long and hopeless years.

Softly, tenderly the happy mother drew aside the soft folds of lace and lines, and laid bare the beautiful white bosom of her daughter, searching until she found, just above the heart a remembered birthmark—a tiny crimson cross.

“The birthmark of the Rays! Oh, how well I remember this! Oh, my darling, my own, you are indeed my lost treasure! No wonder that I have always loved you so! It was the mother-heart that claimed you!” she cried, gladly, longing for Cinthia to awake and learn the happy truth that she was her own daughter, and not at all related to Arthur, whom she might marry when she would, only for the rash promise given to Fred Foster in a moment of reckless pride.

“Poor fellow! This will be sad news for him; but I believe that he will be generous to dear Cinthia,” she[239] concluded; and sat down to watch the sleeper with the glad eyes of love.

It was awhile later that she heard a timid rap at the door, and found Arthur waiting outside, with a grave, sad face, though he said cheerfully:

“I have come to invite you and Cinthia to a wedding.”

“A wedding?”

In a few words he told her of the reconciliation between his father and mother, and the impending marriage.

She congratulated him warmly, and said, meaningly:

“I will be glad to be present at the ceremony, but my daughter is asleep.”

Arthur started wildly, and echoed:

“Your daughter!”

“Yes, Arthur;” and she drew him gently into the room. “Come and look at her, how pale and ill she lies, almost stricken to death by the thought that she was your sister. Oh, I have such happy news for you both, Arthur!”

“She is stirring, she is waking!” he exclaimed, eagerly; and indeed at that moment the girl opened wide her large dark eyes, with a dazed look.

Madame Ray, all joyful excitement, covered her daughter’s face with kisses, exclaiming:

“Oh, Cinthia, oh, Arthur, such joyful news! I have found out that you are my lost daughter, my darling! You know, Arthur, you always declared we resembled each other. Well, the nurse stole her from me to sell her to[240] your father’s second wife; for she deceived her husband, the wicked woman; she never had a child of her own. That dying woman in yonder, Rachel Dane, has confessed everything. You and Cinthia are not brother and sister at all, but lovers as in past days. Kiss her, Arthur, if you wish, and be happy again.”

He bent down to obey, but drew back again, with a cry of grief:

“I can not! She is promised to my cousin.”

“He will give her back her freedom when he learns the truth, for he has a noble nature,” cried Madame Ray; and the event proved that she was right.

Fred Foster’s heart was very sad already, for Cinthia’s grief had shown him, but awhile ago, that he could never hope to win her heart; so, when he heard the wonderful news, and saw the new joy on Cinthia’s lovely face, he said, generously:

“Cinthia, I have long known of your past love affair with Arthur, and since things have fallen out so happily for you, I will restore you the troth-plight so lately given, and trust to time to heal my heart-wound. To-morrow is Christmas you know, and I shall present you as a precious gift to Arthur.”

Oh, how thankful they were for his generosity, and how glad that another love cured his heart in a year, though they were touched when they saw that she resembled Cinthia in her type—dark eyes and golden hair. It showed them plainly how deep had been his love.


Cinthia was well again almost in a minute, in her new joy, and anxious to witness the second marriage ceremony between Arthur’s parents; so presently the same group of the morning gathered in the room, and the grave minister who had just closed the eyes of Rachel Dane, after teaching her soul to find rest in God, joined the hands of Everard Dawn and his Paulina for the journey of life, while he solemnly invoked God’s blessing on them all.

Everard Dawn could not die now. Life had grown too sweet again. Events proved that the physician’s fear of internal injuries was unfounded. He began to convalesce slowly but surely under his wife’s love and care, looking forward to happy years together in the golden future.

Rachel Dane was buried at Charlottesville, and as she had no known relatives anywhere, Mrs. Flint was the chief mourner at the funeral, and she took care to have a neat stone raised above the grave.

In a few days the party at the hotel separated, Everard Dawn’s wife and son remaining with him to aid in the tedious convalescence, and Madame Ray returning to Florida with her daughter, taking the ailing Mrs. Flint as their guest.

“I am real down sorry to lose you as a niece, Cinthy,” sighed the old lady, who was greatly softened now by the hurrying events.

“Do not grieve over that, dear aunt, for I will restore[242] the kinship in the spring, and in the meantime you have gained me as a nephew!” laughed Arthur, who was handsome as a picture in his new happiness.

“That is true; and I am real down proud of my new nephew, and his mother, too!” cried the old lady.

Arthur’s mother had taken the first opportunity to make her peace with Cinthia.

“Dearest, I was cruel to you once, but I am a changed woman now, and I love you dearly since I know that you never belonged to that woman I hated so. Can you forgive me—if not for my own sake, because you will be Arthur’s wife!”

Cinthia, understanding everything now, gladly accorded forgiveness and sympathy that soon ripened into love.

In the spring, when Mr. Dawn was well and strong again, his son was married to Cinthia at her mother’s home—Lodge Delight. It was a grand wedding, and Cinthia the fairest bride ever seen. They remained with Madame Ray until Love’s Retreat was rebuilt, then made their home with his parents, while Mrs. Flint remained ever afterward with Cinthia’s mother, who would not permit her return to Virginia.

“We are two lonely old widows. Let us be company for each other,” she said, with pensive cheerfulness.

One thing that transpired touched Cinthia very much, and showed her the tenderness of Arthur’s love.

Madame Ray said to Mr. Dawn, while he still lay on his bed of suffering:


“That fortune Cinthia has been enjoying as your daughter, Mr. Dawn, must be restored to you now, as she never had any legal right to it.”

Mr. Dawn looked embarrassed for a moment, then frankly explained:

“On the day that Arthur found out that Cinthia was supposedly his sister, he insisted on making over to her use enough of his private fortune to insure her the luxuries of life in lieu of happiness.”

“And it will now form part of her marriage settlement,” added Arthur.

Tears sprung to Cinthia’s eyes as she murmured:

“Oh, how noble and generous you have been all these years while I thought you so weak and cowardly, and tried in vain to hate you! But all the while——”

Arthur drew her to his heart, and finished the sentence for her, very low and tenderly:

—“All the while—I loved you better than you knew.”



Jesse James

Read about it in the great book, “JESSE JAMES, MY FATHER,” written by his son, Jesse James, Jr., the ONLY true account of the life of the famous outlaw.

Read how this bandit kept an army of detectives, sheriffs and United States marshals scouring the country and was shot in the back by a traitorous pal.

Read about the fatality attached to the name of Jesse James, how the officers of the law tried to visit the sins of the father on the head of the son.

Read about the persecution and the harrowing anguish of Jesse James’ family in the graphic words of his son and heir.

Read these FACTS. Everybody should know them. There is nothing to pervert the young, there is nothing to repel the old.

Look at the reproductions of the ONLY pictures of Jesse James, his Mother and his Son in existence, except those owned by his family.

Price 25 cents, post paid



The Man They Could Not Hang


The astounding history of John Lee. Three times placed upon the scaffold and the trap sprung! Yet today he walks the streets a free man!!! Illustrated from photographs. Do not fail to read this, the most remarkable book of the century. For sale everywhere or sent postpaid upon receipt of 15 cents.

Cleveland, Ohio. U. S. A.


Only in the Adventure Series can you get the absolutely true and authentic history of the lives and exploits of the


and the other Notorious Outlaws of the Far West.

We are the authorized and exclusive publishers for Jesse James’ only son,


and are the publishers of his great book,

Jesse James, My Father

which is for sale everywhere. Buy it where you bought this book, and read the inside history of the life of Jesse James.

Kellar’s Wizard’s Manual

Secrets of Magic, Black Art, Ventriloquism and Hypnotism Fully Explained and Illustrated.

In this advertisement we mention but a few of the many wonders that every person can perform after reading the Wizard’s Manual. It actually contains more information than all other such books combined.

Every Secret is unfolded so clearly
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  • How to Hypnotize.
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For Sale by all Newsdealers, or will be sent to any address postpaid upon receipt of 25 cents. Stamps accepted.

The Arthur Westbrook Company
Cleveland, Ohio. U. S. A.



Charles Peace


This is the most remarkable book which has appeared during the present generation. It gives the absolutely true history of that arch criminal, the burglar and murderer, Charles Peace, who for many years masqueraded in England under many different personalities, but always as that of a respectable gentleman. He was without doubt the most depraved monster who ever preyed upon society. He was bad-mad or mad-bad, and from other points of view when Justice finally caught and executed him upon the scaffold the world was well rid of him.

He started his career when he was eleven years old and during the different periods when he was outside of prison, masquerading always as a respectable business man, he changed his personality when the darkness of night fell and carried out the boldest robberies and the most daring criminal schemes ever perpetrated by any one man in the history of the world.

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Cleveland, Ohio. U. S. A.

New Line of Twenty-five Cent
Hand Books.


For sale everywhere or sent postpaid upon receipt of 25 cents. Stamps accepted.

The Arthur Westbrook Company
Cleveland, O., U. S. A.

Truth Stranger Than Fiction


The man they could not hang.

The Man
They Could
Not Hang


The astounding history of John Lee. Three times placed upon the scaffold and the trap sprung! Yet today he walks the streets a free man!!! Illustrated from photographs. Do not fail to read this, the most remarkable book of the century. For sale everywhere, or sent postpaid upon receipt of 15 cents.

The Arthur Westbrook Company


Dream Book

Is the original, world renowned book of fate, that for a hundred years has held intelligent people spellbound. Its correct interpretation of dreams has amazed those who have been fortunate enough to possess a copy which they might consult.


which it contains, is an absolutely true copy of that strange and weird document found within a secret cabinet of Napoleon Bonaparte.

The fact that dozens of worthless and unreliable imitations have been placed upon the market demonstrates it to be a fact that The Old Three Witches Dream Book stands today, as always, the original, only reliable dream book published.


or will be sent to any address, Postpaid, upon receipt of 10 cents in stamps, by

The Arthur Westbrook Company
Cleveland, Ohio, U. S. A.

$20,000 REWARD

Jesse James.

Read about it in the great book “JESSE JAMES, MY FATHER,” written by his son, Jesse James, Jr., the ONLY true account of the life of the famous outlaw.

Read how this bandit kept an army of detectives, sheriffs and United States marshals scouring the country and was shot in the back by a traitorous pal.

Read about the fatality attached to the name of Jesse James, how the officers of the law tried to visit the sins of the father on the head of the son.

Read about the persecution and the harrowing anguish of Jesse James’ family in the graphic words of his son and heir.

Read these FACTS. Everybody should know them. There is nothing to pervert the young, there is nothing to repel the old.

Look at the reproductions of the ONLY pictures of Jesse James, his Mother and his Son in existence except these owned by his family.

Price 25 cents, post paid

Cleveland, Ohio. U.S.A.


Laura Jean Libbey, Miss Caroline Hart, Mrs. E. Burke Collins, Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller, Charlotte M. Braeme, Barbara Howard, Lucy Randall Comfort, Mary E. Bryan, Marie Corelli

Was there ever a galaxy of names representing such authors offered to the public before? Masters all of writing stories that arouse the emotions, in sentiment, passion and love, their books excel any that have ever been written.


1—Kidnapped at the Altar, Laura Jean Libbey.

2—Gladiola’s Two Lovers, Laura Jean Libbey.

3—Lil, the Dancing Girl, Caroline Hart.

5—The Woman Who Came Between, Caroline Hart.

6—Aleta’s Terrible Secret, Laura Jean Libbey.

7—For Love or Honor, Caroline Hart.

8—The Romance of Enola, Laura Jean Libbey.

9—A Handsome Engineer’s Flirtation, Laura J. Libbey.

10—A Little Princess, Caroline Hart.

11—Was She Sweetheart or Wife, Laura Jean Libbey.

12—Nameless Bess, Caroline Hart.

13—Della’s Handsome Lover, Laura Jean Libbey.

14—That Awful Scar, Caroline Hart.

15—Flora Garland’s Courtship, Laura Jean Libbey.

16—Love’s Rugged Path, Caroline Hart.

17—My Sweetheart Idabell, Laura Jean Libbey.

18—Married at Sight, Caroline Hart.

19—Pretty Madcap Dorothy, Laura Jean Libbey.

20—Her Right to Love, Caroline Hart.

21—The Loan of a Lover, Laura Jean Libbey.

22—The Game of Love, Caroline Hart.

23—A Fatal Elopement, Laura Jean Libbey.

24—Vendetta, Marie Corelli.

25—The Girl He Forsook, Laura Jean Libbey.

26—Redeemed by Love, Caroline Hart.

28—A Wasted Love, Caroline Hart.

29—A Dangerous Flirtation, Laura Jean Libbey.

30—A Haunted Life, Caroline Hart.

31—Garnetta, the Silver King’s Daughter, L. J. Libbey.

32—A Romance of Two Worlds, Marie Corelli.

34—Her Ransom, Charles Garvice.

36—A Hidden Terror, Caroline Hart.

37—Flora Temple, Laura Jean Libbey.

38—Claribel’s Love Story, Charlotte M. Braeme.

39—Pretty Rose Hall, Laura Jean Libbey.

40—The Mystery of Suicide Place, Mrs. Alex. Miller.

41—Cora, the Pet of the Regiment, Laura Jean Libbey.

42—The Vengeance of Love, Caroline Hart.

43—Jolly Sally Pendleton, Laura Jean Libbey.

44—A Bitter Reckoning, Mrs. E. Burke Collins.

45—Kathleen’s Diamonds, Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller.

46—Angela’s Lover, Caroline Hart.

47—Lancaster’s Choice, Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller.

48—The Madness of Love, Caroline Hart.

49—Little Sweetheart, Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller.

50—A Working Girl’s Honor, Caroline Hart.

51—The Mystery of Colde Fell, Charlotte M. Braeme.

52—The Rival Heiresses, Caroline Hart.

53—Little Nobody, Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller.

54—Her Husband’s Ghost, Mary E. Bryan.

55—Sold for Gold, Mrs. E. Burke Collins.

56—Her Husband’s Secret, Lucy Randall Comfort.

57—A Passionate Love, Barbara Howard.

58—From Want to Wealth, Caroline Hart.

59—Loved You Better Than You Knew, Mrs. A. Miller.

60—Irene’s Vow, Charlotte M. Braeme.

61—She Loved Not Wisely, Caroline Hart.

62—Molly’s Treachery, Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller.

63—Was It Wrong? Barbara Howard.

64—The Midnight Marriage, Mrs. Sumner Hayden.

65—Ailsa, Wenona Gilman.

66—Her Dark Inheritance, Mrs. E. Burke Collins.

67—Viola’s Vanity, Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller.

68—The Ghost of the Hurricane Hills, Mary E. Bryan.

69—A Woman Wronged, Caroline Hart.

70—Was She His Lawful Wife? Barbara Howard.

71—Val, the Tomboy, Wenona Gilman.

72—The Richmond Secret, Mrs. E. Burke Collins.

73—Edna’s Vow, Charlotte M. Stanley.

74—Hearts of Fire, Caroline Hart.

75—St. Elmo, Augusta J. Evans.

76—Nobody’s Wife, Caroline Hart.

77—Ishmael, Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth.

78—Self-Raised, Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth.

79—Pretty Little Rosebud, Barbara Howard.

80—Inez, Augusta J. Evans.

81—The Girl Wife, Mrs. Sumner Hayden.

82—Dora Thorne, Charlotte M. Braeme.

83—Followed by Fate, Lucy Randall Comfort.

84—India, or the Pearl of Pearl River, Southworth.

85—Mad Kingsley’s Heir, Mrs. E. Burke Collins.

86—The Missing Bride, Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth.

87—Wicked Sir Dare, Charles Garvice.

88—Daintie’s Cruel Rivals, Mrs. Alex. McV. Miller.

89—Lillian’s Vow, Caroline Hart.

90—Miss Estcourt, Charles Garvice.

91—Beulah, Augusta J. Evans.

92—Daphane’s Fate, Mrs. E. Burke Collins.

93—Wormwood, Marie Corelli.

94—Nellie, Charles Garvice.

95—His Legal Wife, Mary E. Bryan.

96—Macaria, Augusta J. Evans.

97—Lost and Found, Charlotte M. Stanley.

98—The Curse of Clifton, Mrs. Southworth.

99—That Strange Girl, Charles Garvice.

100—The Lovers at Storm Castle, Mrs. M. A. Collins.

101—Margerie’s Mistake, Lucy Randall Comfort.

102—The Curse of Pocahontas, Wenona Gilman.

103—My Love Kitty, Charles Garvice.

104—His Fairy Queen, Elizabeth Stiles.

105—From Worse than Death, Caroline Hart.

106—Audrey Fane’s Love, Mrs. E. Burke Collins.

107—Thorns and Orange Blossoms, Charlotte Braeme.

108—Ethel Dreeme, Frank Corey.

109—Three Girls, Mary E. Bryan.

110—A Strange Marriage, Caroline Hart.

111—Violet, Charles Garvice.

112—The Ghost of the Power, Mrs. Sumner Hayden.

113—Baptized with a Curse, Edith Stewart Drewry.

114—A Tragic Blunder, Mrs. H. Lovett Cameron.

115—The Secret of Her Life, Edward Jenkins.

116—My Guardian, Ada Cambridge.

117—A Last Love, Georges Ohnet.

118—His Angel, Henry Herman.

119—Pretty Miss Bellew, Theo. Gift.

120—Blind Love, Wilkie Collins.

121—A Life’s Mistake, Mrs. H. Lovett Cameron.

122—Won By Waiting, Edna Lyall.

123—Passion’s Slave, King.

124—Under Currents, Duchess.

125—False Vow, Braeme.

126—The Belle of Lynne, Braeme.

127—Lord Lynne’s Choice, Braeme.

128—Blossom and Fruit, Braeme.

129—Weaker Than a Woman, Braeme.

130—Tempest and Sunshine, Mary J. Holmes.

131—Lady Muriel’s Secret, Braeme.

132—A Mad Love, Braeme.

The Hart Series books are for sale everywhere, or they will be sent by mail, postage paid, for 30 cents a copy, by the publisher; 4 copies for $1.00. Postage stamps taken the same as money.

Cleveland, Ohio, U. S. A.

Transcriber’s Notes:

Punctuation has been made consistent.

Variations in spelling and hyphenation were retained as they appear in the original publication, except that obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

The following changes were made:

p. 31: his changed to her (over her niece’s)

p. 48: illegible word assumed to be called (she called, hoarsely:)

p. 53: illegible word assumed to be Arthur (dear Arthur, I)

p. 62: illegible word assumed to be the (find the nearest)

p. 87: illegible word assumed to be jilts (me—jilts me)

p. 91: Miss Cinthia changed to Mrs. Flint (Then Mrs. Flint and)

p. 100: illegible word assumed to be love (rock of love.)

p. 136: illegible word assumed to be on (live on till)

p. 150: illegible word assumed to be cried (hour!” cried Cinthia,)

p. 180: your changed to her (for her father)

p. 185: illegible word assumed to be rested (they rested again)