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his opinion better than-well, better than most peo- I turned angrily on my heel, and strode away. ple's."
Mark,” called my father, somewhat imperatively. I Father,” said I impatiently, determined to come at came back to him without speaking. once to the subject uppermost in my mind, “ didn't you “ Mark," said he gravely, “I cannot approve of your and Mr. Clarefield make Grace Ellington a visit last delicacy. If I know anything, I'm scarcely so foolish evening?"
as to be pumped. I should have esteemed the evidence “We certainly rode that way."
of forbearance on your part—of forbearance and confi“ Who is Mr. Clarefield ? My mother's cousin, you dence, Mark.” said, but he must be something more than that.”
My father's reproof cut me to the quick. I began to “Very true; he is Harold's father, for instance." stammer out an apology, but he interrupted me.
“Of course I know that, sir. But why does he make “Will you let me know, Mark, the reason of your mysterious and secret visits to Miss Ellington ?” interest in Miss Ellington ?".
“Was it a secret visit, Mark ?” inquired my father, My father had not only repelled my approaches, but bending down a long rank shoot of a vine and ruthlessly this looked like carrying the war into Africa. I severing it at its base.
picked up a green twig and nervously began tearing it "Why, yes—that is, it appeared so, sir." I felt my- with my fingers. self getting a little confused.
"Do you love her?” “Do you mean that you were not kept informed of The abruptness of the question sent the blood in a Mr. Clarefield's movements ?"
tumult to my face. “You must admit," replied I, making a bolt from the “Are you engaged ?” continued he, becoming very question, “ that you and Mr. Clarefield made a mysterious deeply interested in the bush he was trimming, and and singular visit—"
scrutinizing it closely as he talked. “How mysterious, Mark? How singular?”
“Yes, sir,” I stammered out, and must have looked “There is a stange secret in the matter,” exclaimed I, very foolish, very red, and very awkward when I said making another bolt.
it. “I can't deny it,” was the irritatingly calm response. "I like her exceedingly," said my father, falling into “Then you do admit"
his usual frank manner. His brief remark quite reliev“Nothing. You say there is a strange secret in the ed me. I caught at it as a hint to a possible cause of matter. I certainly cannot deny your assertion, for you his visit to Grace. may be better informed than I am."
“You will want to marry some day, I suppose.” I felt the blood tingle in my cheek. I wasn't making “We think of it, sir.' much progress, it was very evident.
“Before you think of marrying, Mark, oughtn't you “There is a secret, sir, or a mystery which you think of a profession? It is time for you to decide upshare"
on a career." “Stop, Mark. If I do share a secret, and you are so “I have." positive about the matter that I am willing to allow the
what?" hypothesis for the sake of the argument—if I do share “I desire, sir," with a flourish, “to embrace the pura secret, it isn't mine
suit of letters—to enroll my name “You are very right, sir, but I am deeply interested “Throw away your stilts, Mark,” said my father, inin Miss Ellington—"
terrupting me, with a comical look. “In whom do you fear a rival? Mr. Clarefield or “In short, sir, to take up the pen. I have already me?"
commenced to write a book." I could not restrain an impatient stamp of the foot. “Ah! What about?" With a flushed cheek and angry manner I recounted the “A book of imagination, sir—a novel. I am sure of affair of the preceding evening; my unexpected appear- success.” ance in the boudoir, the rapid withdrawal of himself "You are sure of no such thing." and Mr. Clarefield, and Grace's singular agitation.
“Sir!" " That's the story, sir, and you see for yourself that I “You have very little real knowledge of your own cannot help experiencing a painful perplexity upon the capacity, Mark. You admire books—your fancy is capsubject. If I can obtain any light from you, well; if tivated by them, and you would like to be an actor not, I must demand it from another source."
in a field where you are so pleased an auditor. This, My father, during my relation of the story, became I take it, is the top and bottom of your literary penintensely absorbed in pruning and nipping an apricot, chant." and in the abstraction of his employment, even turned “ You are harsh, sir." his back upon me.
When I had finished, his frame “Not at all. I shall throw no obstacle in the way of began to shake with suppressed laughter.
a fair trial of your ability in that direction. And yet, “I thought, Mark, that I was past such suspicion. Mark, your announcement gives me pain.” It is rather odd, to be sure, to be accused by my own Why, sir? The career of literature is—"
“Misery! I speak understandingly, my son. Suo"Oh, sir, if you persist in refusing me, I'll with- cess, if entire and great, is fascinating; but, ah, Mark, draw."
of all the battles in the world, in nothing is there
struggle so terrible, where so many sink down and are my huge literary vanity, and letting its inflation out. destroyed—where so few emerge from the conflict, and Young author-dom is the vainest of bipeds; his airs and they stained, battered, and torn! To one victor there assumptions might make angels weep; he struts about are a thousand slain."
with bedraggled feathers, flapping his wings and crow“Genius will always triumph.”
ing in the face of the world. “That means that you are a genius. I shan't dispute I kept on urging True to his speed, dashing along in it with you. But I think you are in error in attempting a cloud of dust, heedless of all that I met or encounwithout experience or knowledge, so bold a venture as tered, when suddenly upon turning a short corner, I a book. Skirmish a while first, Mark. Strength is the pitched headlong into a horse upon the road. There result of exercise and training. Try your wings first; was a snort, a plunge, a shout, a cloud of dust before you will drown if you fly too far at the start.”
my eyes, and then, as I reined True forcibly in, I found “You talk as if genius were muscle. It is fire myself in the presence of a man standing by the roadsnatched from heaven—the Promethean spark which side, holding a horse by the bridle. öghts with a magnetic touch the innermost circle of—" It was no other than Doctor Ellington. “Please to be intelligible, Mark."
Doctor Ellington was an exceedingly odd, oldMy eloquence collapsed and hung its head. It revived fashioned fellow; always dressed in a snuff-colored suit in a moment."
a world too wide; with a snuff-colored wig a world too “Literature isn't a trade, sir."
big; and a snuff-colored complexion. You would con“Until you master it as a trade you can't succeed. tinually encounter him in all sorts of places, and upon It is this trusting to what you call genius which plunges all sorts of roads, public highways and obscure by-ways, so many in the mud.”
and invariably leading his horse by his bridle. No How was it that my father talked so much like Grace? mortal ever saw him mounted. I have met him hunHad Grace been in the right, and was this wisdom? The dreds of times, even long distances from his home, but thought vexed me. Men never do like wise women. always exactly in the same way-coming around a cor“But," continued I pertinaciously, “there was By- ner upon you, his bridle slipped over his arm, trudging,,
heated, dusty but patiently along. His horse was a "Ah !” exclaimed my father.
bony, huge footed, loose-jointed affair, and was gifted There was something peculiarly uncomfortable in this with a motion that looked as if it would churn
one's “Ah!” It irritated me. There was a world of sharp bones to ride him. satire buried in it.
The Doctor was noted for another peculiarity. His "And Shakspeare"
oldest friend had never heard him say Yes or No to “Oh!"
any question. He drawled out his words with the most I confounded the “Oh !” between my teeth. It provoking slowness, and never committed himself posiwas worse than the “Ah!” I felt it pricking me all tively, even upon the matter of a shoe-tie.
Why, Doctor,” exclaimed I, as soon as I discovered “We had better not measure the Titans, Mark. Pro- who it was, “I came near riding over you." ceed as you will, but don't break your neck by climb- “Well—1—don't-know-but-you-avema fasting."
horse.” A good deal worsted by the encounter, with my “ Is Miss Ellington at home, sir ?" vanity in sad tatters, and numberless thorns pricking “Well-really—sometimes-she-does-go-out." my self-sufficiency, I withdrew from the interview. " Was she at home when
left ?" I sought revenge on True. I flew to the stable, hasti- 6. Well-1-don't-know-I-think-1-didn't-noly bridled and saddled him, and dashed off along the tice.” road in the direction of Grace's cottage, at True's best “It is a pleasant morning, sir,” said I, finding there speed. I ground my teeth together as I vowed that the was no chance of obtaining any information. mystery should be explained, and infuriated even by an * Well-there-isn't-much-chance-of rain." imaginary refusal, struck at my horse, and blindly urged “Good morning, sir,” said I, touching up my horse. him to a speed in keeping with the excitement into “ Well—it's-most-noon-ain't it?" were the last which I was plunged.
words I heard as I rode off. My father's humor was genial and happy, but he Grace was Doctor Ellington's ward. Beneath the concealed under an urbane temper, a smooth and Doctor's eccentricity of manner, so Grace often said, polished manner—so perfect in its smoothness and polish, were great goodness of heart, extensive learning, and that you didn't know how sharp it was until it impaled deep knowledge of the world. These acquirements you. It was a kind of sarcasm that lingered, and stung were somewhat incredible, but Grace always exacted with the recollection, more than at the time. Some- perfect faith in them. Grace had been under his charge times, you would be quite unconscious of any hidden since she was ten years of age. As we, however, had point, until, perhaps, long afterward, you would sud-only been their neighbors for little more than two denly discover that you had been caressing a nettle all years, we knew nothing about Grace's girlhood. For a the while—and such discoveries, how they would send long time we had all supposed that she was the Docthe blood tingling through the veins !
tor's daughter, until Grace herself undeceived me one But I know now how wise iny father was in puncturing | day-stating that she was an orphan, and that the Doc
tor had assumed her care out of friendship for her A laugh, full of bitterness, broke from my lips. I parents.
was frantic with rage. “ It is very strange, Mark,” she once remarked, “but “I think of what I have seen, There lies the degraI appear to have no relations-no near ones. Both my dation, Grace Ellington. You have betrayed me! father and mother must have been without kin. My wronged me! cheated me! been false to me! Faremother was the descendant of a French émigré-which well, Grace Ellington. I have seen enough to know accounts for her isolation; my father was an orphan, what a poor, fond fool I have been. We never meet without brother or sister. I am the last of my race." again. Go to your new love. I crave your pardon for
After parting from the Doctor, I kept True upon his interrupting your pleasures.” speed, until I drew up before the Doctor's cottage. To “ Mark! Mark! This jealousy is groundless !" my inquiry of the servant, the reply was, that Miss " Groundless ! I saw you together-fondling, caressGrace had gone to walk in the forest. I knew her fami- ing, here, now, upon this spot. Groundless, indeed !" liar haunts, and walking my horse through a lane, With mad fury I struck my horse a violent blow, passed by a gate into a forest path. I rode along but as he leaped forward, Harold, with a clear single leisurely, through the shadowy aisles, sure of finding bound, sprang to the bridle, and catching it desperately, Grace by the old oak, if not before reaching it. The clung dangling to it, bending True's head to the ground oak I have described as standing upon the outskirts of and arresting his progress. Infuriated, I even raised the forest. In the direction which I approached, it my whip to strike him, but the thin, pale face, and was screened somewhat by low growths, and, as I drew strangely glittering eye, checked my uplifted arm. near,
I heard the voice of Grace before I could see her. Mark, you love Grace. She is an angel, Mark. I It was necessary to ride around a short space in order know it. Her voice is like the ripple of a river—there to find a practicable approach; and just as I turned my is peace in it. It puts out the fire in the heart. Como horse's head to do so, I was astonished to hear Harold's down. Love her, Mark, love her—I'm nothing but—" voice in response to that of Grace's. Urging my horse I heard no more. My whip fell furiously upon the forward, in a moment more I came in view of the tree, head of True, who leaped high in the air, and springing and then was revealed to me a scene which cut into my forward with a wild bound, flung Harold upon the heart like a two-edged blade.
ground at her side, and then, with a scream ringing Upon the ground, leaning against the tree, Grace was behind me, dashed with a fierce speed through the seated, and stretched upon the grass at her feet, with forest paths. his head in her lap, was Harold Clarefield. I sat paralyzed, and looked. He was winding his fingers among
OHAPTER V. her curls, and shaking them out in the air. He plucked wild flowers and twined them among her locks. And she smoothed his brow, and left her hand resting upon Jealous of a boy-a harmless, pitiful creature, his bosom. It was pain, keen, acute, and terrible which maimed in mind, walking under an impending dooin! I experienced first; but as I continued looking on, rage Jealous of poor Harold ! I beat at my brow and dark and furious surged up. I could feel it rising as the tugged at my heart in very shame; but still the jealousy angry sea rises. Spurring up my horse, and crushing was there—a flame that would not be quenched. through the brush, I rode directly into their presence. Jealous of Harold? Did I not see? She had been Harold sprang to his feet, and Grace rose a little caught by his strange, wild beauty. He had fascinated flushed, but looking at me steadily. I could only glare her. For there was something infatuating about at them. My lips worked, but the emotion's which Harold. I had observed how Imy was affected when raged and tossed in my breast could find no expression. they first met. Grace's heart had never been mine, but an “ Why, Mark,” exclaimed Harold, are you ill ?
open page for new impressions; Harold had stamped it Don't
you know Grace? So beautiful, Mark: so like a boy and mad as he was; and I might go sip elsestar."
where. The flower I had feasted upon would yield no “Know her,” cried I, at last finding voice, “know more sweets to me. Jealous of Harold, truly, for I her? Now I know her-never before-never after had mighty cause ! this. Oh, Grace! I would have thanked God to have Aye, but doubt of Grace? Again, had I not seen? struck me dead, before bringing this knowledge | It was not proof fished up and jointed. There was no to me."
cool weighing of probabilities. One single, terrible I turned my horse's lead, when Grace's voice, so full fact had burst upon me, convincing every senseof reproach, pride, and sadness, arrested me. I turned against feeling, impulse, love, desire, and every motivo upon her abruptly.
and thought I had the fact topped them, blazed higher Well, madam ?"
than them all, drowned them all—the fact was a tre“Hear me, Mark—and yet not now."
mendous black tower of strength, against which love Now, for we do not meet again."
might hurl itself forever, against which hearts might be “Oh, Mark! You give me more cause for anger, shivered—it would still stand impregnable. How else than I have you. Think of the fearful thing your con- but doubt Grace at the foot of such a fact as this? I duct intimates; think how you degrade me and your- might seek to drown the doubt with clamor of protestaself by suspicion."
tion, it lived coeval with the fact !
I saw them in each other's arms.
“ And GraceThis was the fact. What cunning could undo it? “Don't speak of her. I cannot bear it." The scene flew before me, and repeated itself a thousand “ Mark—what do you mean?” times around me, as True sped frantically along, spurred, " You shall know, but not now-I could not recount and beaten, and whipped with abandoned fury, until it. My love is a broken thing, Imy." she bounded beneath me as if she were all nerve and fire. My sister's eyes filled quickly. She dropped on her Chaos was within me, but out of the chaos gradually knees at my side, and winding her arms about me, came such fragments as those above. Shame mingled looked up in my face. with my fury, and at moments suffused me; but thrust- “Tell me all, Mark.” ing through the shame stalked the huge fact, and rage I patted her cheek, and forced a smile. came howling up to drive out all other spirits.
“Don't think of it, sis. Talk to me of yourself. Tell Passion consumes itself. Succeeding my paroxysms me plainly, do you love Frank Bloomer ?" of rage came at last calmer feelings, and with them the How suddenly the eyes dropped ! how suddenly the melting mood. Love, torn hopes, secret dreams, fond cheeks mantled ! purposes-the gentler passions came crowding upon me, “He is a noble fellow, Imy. I see you do love him. moaning and sad, blinding eyes with tears, and piercing I won't put you to the pain of saying so. I couldn't the heart afresh with keen blades; following this see my Imy married to one I would like better." anguish and dark suffering, came fixed purpose and
looked up, bright and suffused; her cheeks stern resolve.
glowed richly; happiness beamed from her face. For I stood dusty and stained in my father's library. beauty, give me the blush of young innocence in the "My permission to go to New York ?”
first consciousness of love. “Yes, sir. To-day.”
But her face grew shadowed quickly. * To-day ?" My father stared at me incredulously. “Some great sorrow has befallen you, Mark. This
To-day, sir. You spoke of my need of a profession. departure is so sudden, so strange, so unaccountable. I will begin at once."
You could not have thought of it an hour ago. I shall " What profession do you propose, Mark ?”
be most unbappy, if you leave without explaining." “I have a manuscript, sir. I will sell that, and “It is not so sudden,” said I, cheerfully, embark in literature."
appears. I have secretly contemplated it for a long My father's lips did not move, but yet there was time. Circumstances have only hastened it. Come, a transparent smile about them.
Imy, you must promise to ask no more questions-you “But why so suddenly ?”
shall know everything, eventually. Help me now to “Do not ask me, sir. I wish to depart at once—by make ready. John shall drive to the station with my the evening train. I require no preparation.”
trunk. I will ride True over, and John can lead hier The assent was given. But iny father, with his hands back. Come, bustle, bustle, Imy-time is short. No in his pockets, jingled his keys, and stared wonderingly tears-only smiles, I charge you." at the floor.
My father came in to say some parting words. He I hastened to my own apartment, and tossed my evidently looked for a further explanation of my conapparel in a trunk.
duct, but I avoided the subject. My trunk duly strapped, "Now for a career,” exclaimed I, trying to force up John tossed it in his wagon, and drove off. Mr. Clarea little enthusiasm; “ now for fame and greatness. They field came up to make a parting salutation. I thought shall see what is in me."
that he looked pale and ill. I leaped upon True—it My simulated enthusiasm fell vapid and cold. Fame would be the last time that I could mount her for many was no longer a glory and a star; it looked bedraggled a long day—and waving my hand to the little group and dead as a dislı-clout.
gathered in the doorway, galloped off. I sat down, and burying my face in my hands, thought There was a hard tug at the heart as I did so. I of Grace. To think of Grace was to think in a tumult; assumed a gay manner while facing my friends, but no with wind and wave rising and beating; with emotions sooner turned from them, than my heart went down, and passions tossing, jostling, crowding, and topping down, down like a rock. one upon another, until chaos reigned again. They I was striding out into a future, all shadow nowcame, these passions, rolling over me like black waves. with the light of love no longer upon it; sundered Suddenly, like a shock, a hand was laid upon my shoul- hopes, dead happiness, shattered peace, were all behind. der. I jumped up. It was my sister Imy. She flung Darkness was upon me; gloomy bitterness, and hate, her arms around my neck, exclaiming
and all the passions raged within, coming up grimly "Mark, are you going away? Is it possible? Do again the moment restraint was removed-stirred up, not leave us."
perhaps, in a search for justification of my conduct. “I must, Imy."
A little way from the house, I met Harold. He was “Something has happened, I'm sure."
tramping up and down the water's edge, as he often "Something has, Imy; but, don't ask me what. I'm did, plashing into the pools, stretching out his arms, and going to town-going into the world to win fame and muttering wild things. When my eyes fell upon him, greatness, as you know we used to dream I should. My I was seized with sudden shame. There was a slight happiness is all shattered here."
wound upon his temple, and a little blood wound
inflicted by me. I wanted to hide my head forever. I struck at my horse until he bounded forward as if I To think that I had warred upon tender and sad-hearted would escape the fact. Harold-upon a poor, frail, broken flower. I was Then in the next reaction of feeling, in a spasm of pierced with exquisite remorse.
incredulous tenderness, I even turned and galloped a “Mark," said he, walking towards me, "why did you little way back, determined to seize and recover my lost run away from us? Grace began to weep. Isn't she happiness. I cursed myself as mad and infatuated. I beautiful? Her voice is music-it stills my soul. If I railed at the folly that was within me, and clutched at could only hear it forever. I love her, Mark."
it with my fingers, as if I would drag it forth and put Passion is a kaleidoscope. With every turn, it takes it under my feet. a new aspect. Or, it is a chameleon—with every object Alas! the folly was fortified in high walls, and all the a new color. Remorse fled when Harold ceased, and devils guarded it. insane jealousy rose up.
Crushing through the brush, a horse came speeding “How did you come to know her ?” said I, sharply. along a forest path, and bounded out upon the road
“Come to know her? My father took me to her. within ten feet of me. I was nearly impelled upon the Some one to love,' said he, and that made me happy.” rider, before I could draw ap, and when I looked, was
Had I not been doggedly blind, the clue, by this startled and amazed to see before me Grace Ellingspeech, to all my perplexity would have been within my ton. She had rode far and fast, as dust and heat grasp. But passion always raves in darkness, and jea- denoted. lousy stumbles in the light of day. I saw nothing, as it “Mark Harlow," said she, looking grandly down, was, but confirmation of my doubts.
“will you walk with me a little way?" She pointed to “ Harold,” said I, “ you have driven me away for the secluded path from which she had just emerged. I
dismounted, without speaking, and threw the bridle “ Howhow ? It isn't so, Mark Harlow. I like over a shrub. Grace sprang to the ground without you-how could I drive you away?"
waiting for assistance, and led the way. We went “ You have plunged me in misery, dark, hopeless, on a few feet in silence, then she abruptly turned Harold. I leave this place, this house, the country; towards me. leave them, and care never to see them again, and you “There are some indignities, Mr. Harlow, that require are the cause."
more than human patience to endure. Such a one you “ How? how?" I heard him wildly cry as I struck have inflicted upon me. I am willing to forgive rashTrue sharply, and galloped swiftly away. I would not ness, thoughtlessness, but never intentional wrongheed his cry, but doggedly rode on.
Such an insult as I experienced at your hands Thoughts shifted, and feelings blew hot and cold on to-day, if coolly entertained and utteredthat memorable ride. I stopped my horse at times, and “ Did I not seetried to measure the extent of the vast changes which “Stop, sir. We will not recount the matter. You one day had effected. I thought of Grace as I had are the last man in the world who has a right to doubt known her—so fair, so full of love and tenderness, so me. My faith in you has been perfect and entire, brilliant; of the hours of exquisite happiness I had above the reach of circumstances to shatter. I expected known beneath her smiles, of the hopes that had yours in me to be no less beyond suspicion—and suspiflourished and were dead—I thought of these things until cion, Mark Harlow, is what I will not bear." I leaned forward, and, burying my face in True's mane, “Grace, Grace, I could have believed nothing but the shed unmanly tears.
evidences of my senses. You can explain.” Then I shot upright, and asked if I were not in “I will explain nothing." a dream-if this consciousness of shattered happiness “Have you sought this interview to tell me only was not a mad fancy! I turned my horse's head, and this ?” looked homeward. I lifted my cap in the sweet air, and “I will not descend to remove unfounded doubts. If pressed my temples with my hands. In that sweet air, you cannot trust me in the face of circumstances, you and that familiar scene, unchanged in no particular from will be the sport of every trifle your jealous nature a hundred preceding days of happiness, was I to believe may contrive into evidences of unfaithfulness. I ask all that I was trying to believe?
you if you trust me, or if you doubt me-now, upon Grace Ellington-Grace, the truest, fairest, noblest the strength of your faith in me, and upon no other woman in the county-Grace, whose heart I had basis ?” sounded time and time-Grace, the flower which I had “I love you, Grace" vowed to pluck and wear, whose heart had been welded “ Jealous natures love weakly." to mine, whom I knew better than all the world else, “Did I not see Harold in your arms ?”. loved better than all the world else—she, whose tears, “And without pausing to take counsel of your love and smiles, and thoughts, and fears, and hopes, had all or your faith, you allowed a single unexplained incibeen mine-she false ? Oh, the monstrous, huge dent—which to love and confidence would have been absurdity!
made clear as glass—to outweigh all your knowledge But then there was that gaunt, hideous, impregnable of me, your vows, your belief, your love. Mark HarFACT.
low, I will not be the sport of jealousy-I will not be They were in each other's arms!
exposed to its whims and caprices. Trust me