Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

nothing. When my father won't be no right to risk the property of others, merciful, I can't expect any one else to I own,” he admitted. “But if I had be. Oh, dear! I'm awfully afraid I succeeded, those who are now the loudshall get to like him immensely, if this est in denunciation would have been goes on. Nature and I abhor a vacuum; first to praise." and there will be such a dreadful void Judge Fanshawe's face grew dark as of pity and affection about Francis he read, and having finished, he crushGrey, I sha'n't be able to keep from ed the letter in his hand, and tossed it rushing in to fill it up.”

contemptuously into the fire. Facing “Papa !” she said, turning round, his daughter then, for the first time he but without leaving the window. saw. in her the reflection of his own He looked at her coldly.

haughty spirit. “ If you were to speak kindly to him, " Father," she said, “ you have burnand give him some good advice, don't ed every word of that letter into my you think it would be better ?"

heart!" “Certainly not!” he replied with - Rose," he exclaimed, angrily, "you decision. “And now, will you have astonish me! I thought you had more the goodness to recollect that I have sense of propriety. Let there be an end dismissed the subject ?”

to this. I will inform Mr. Grey what I With a sigh of perplexity Rose re- think of his trying to draw my daughturned to the window. Presently a ter into a clandestine correspondence." servant entered and gave her a letter. Rose was very pale, but quiet. “I She glanced listlessly at the cover, won- would like to write to him," she said. dered a little who her correspondent “I forbid it!" might be, broke the seal, and immedi- She was silent a moment; then reately became absorbed in the contents. peated, “I really think I shall write to

After a while her father's attention him, papa.” was attracted by a sound very like Judge Fanshawe looked at his daughweeping, and, glancing that way, he ter, too astonished and indignant to saw Rose leaning in the shadow of the speak at once. Her calmness, no less curtain, with her face in her hands. than her unexpected defiance, had taken

“ What's the matter, child ?” he ex- him completely by surprise. Evidently claimed. Why, I didn't mean to be she needed a strong hand. He must cross, dear. Come and make up." make short work of it, or his authority

Rose went to him, wiping her eyes. would be gone before he knew it. “There, papa,” she said, “you can't “Rose,” he said deliberately," when an help pitying him after reading that." answer to that note goes out of this

Judge Fanshawe's countenance chan- house, you may go with it—and not ged as he took the letter and settled return ! ” himself back in his chair to read it. " Very well!” she answered, quietly, Rose bad not, then, been grieving over and, after a moment, left the room. his displeasure.

That evening Miss Campbell saw no If Mr. Francis Grey had known into pretty family group in the house across what hands his missive was to fall, its the way; but on the curtain of Miss composition would, doubtless, have been Fanshawe's chamber was the silhouette more carefully considered. But, ad- of a lady, writing, and in the library a dressing himself only to Rose, and gentleman alternately walked up and thinking only of her, every line he down, and fretfully tossed over a litter wrote was calculated to exasperate her of papers, with which he seemed to be father. He did not dream of renewing out of patience. his offer of marriage, the young man Judge Fanshawe .was not alarmed, wrote, but he begged for her pity and though he was mortified and angry. sympathy, and for a few lines, assuring A woman's revolt is usually so trivial him at least of her friendship. “I had and short-lived, her heart beating ever

[ocr errors]

IV.

[ocr errors]

against her brittle will, that men sel- mention this subject again, I shall order dom regard it with any feeling more you to leave the room. For the last serious than impatience or contempt. time I repeat, I forbid your taking any Her “last word” has been well inter- notice whatever of Mr. Francis Grey." preted by one who well knows :

“And you mean all you said about it

last night, papa ? " “ What so false as truth is,

“Every word! When an answer to False to thee? Where the serpent's tooth is,

that letter goes out of this house, you Shun the tree

may go with it." “Where the apple reddens

He said no more, but went out withNever pry,

out a backward glance, and Rose, sighLest we lose our Edens, Eve and 11"

ing heavily, returned to the library.

Reaching the centre of the room, she Doubtless Rose Fanshawe's father ex- forgot to go any farther, and stood pected such a submission from her. there, locked in thought. _Presently

ber thoughts broke out in soliloquy: My father has an uncommonly fine

mind; but he can make mistakes, and The next morning breakfast passed

he has made one with me. He forgets almost in silence, the father stern and that I have a mind of my own, and a taciturn, the daughter pale, and rather right to my own opinions, and to have wistful, each waiting for the other to them treated with some respect. Since approach the subject of their difference. I have been made, I must grow. And When they left the table there was a yet, I am a sort of heliotrope, and if he moment of embarrassment, for that was would only shine on me, I should be the time when Rose embraced her fath- pretty sure to grow his way. But now er, and wished him a happy day. I feel very implacable. I suppose I take

Judge Fanshawe fastened the loop of it from him." his cloak, and drew on his gloves, wait- When Judge Fanshawe came home ing for unconditional surrender and the 'that night he saw no smiling face in the usual valedictory. They did not come. window, and no cheerful greeting met Rose was one of those purely sincere him at the threshold. “I did not know persons, with whom a caress or a ten- that Rose could be sulky," he thought, der word is a sign of love and peace. and opened the door for himself. She had never learned, disdained to A note addressed to him lay on the learn, the trick of hollow sweetness; hall-table. He tore it open, and read: and she had never been taught the duty of humility and submission.

“ MY DEAR FATHER: Since you are She, too, waited, but finally asked, master in your own house, my note and “Papa, have you thought over what we I are going out together. I am sorry to were speaking of last night?"

disobey you, but it isn't in my heart to He put his hat on to go; the slight let any one in trouble cry out to me and relenting of his face chilled at once. never give in reply a word of pity. I "I could have but one thought on the am going to Mrs. Bond's, and I shall be subject,” he replied severely. “I hoped very careful, and no one will know from and expected that by this time you me why I am there. When you want would regret your absurd and disre- me back you can let me know, and I spectful conduct.”

shall be very glad to come. “ Aren't you willing I should write “Your affectionate daughter, him a note, telling him that I am sorry

“ ROSE." for him, and you read it before it goes ?”

Judge Fanshawe turned, with his Whatever the father may have sufferhand on the door-knob. “Rose, your ed in reading that, no one knew it. persistence is an insult to me. If you “Hasn't Miss Rose come in yet, sir ?"

the servant asked when he went down “When Spring comes, I always want alone to dinner.

to live," she said, sighingly, as she look“She will not be in to dinner," was ed out. “A pale little hope, about as the concise reply.

large as a snowdrop, and as fragile, “Am I to sit up for Miss Rose, sir ?" springs up in my heart.” he was asked, as he went up-stairs that “My poor Hester !” exclaimed the night.

soldier, taking her shadowy little hand “She will not come back to-night,” in his strong one. he replied.

“But I don't mean to complain," she Days passed without her being sum- added bastily. “Indeed, I have but moned home: weeks and months pass- one real trouble, and that is that desoed, and still there was no sign of invi- late house,” glancing across the way. tation on the one side, or of penitence “Hasn't he taken the young couple on the other.

home ?” asked Lieutenant Campbell, in " It is not so much the mere fact of & constrained voice. her writing the note,” the Judge said to “The young couple, Donald ? Nonhimself. “It is the disobedience, the sense!” his cousin exclaimed. “That's defiance, and ingratitude. A principle what comes of your getting none of my is involved, and she must humble her- letters. There was no thought of their self.”

being married. The trouble must have "I don't mind so much that he sent been about something else, nobody me out for nothing," thought Rose. knows what. Didn't you hear that “But since he has sent me, of course I Blentdavir came to the rescue and sent shall wait till he calls me back again.” Grey off to the East in one of his ships?

And so the two, gently calm in ap- It was an escape, though. He had to pearance, but as immovable as rocks, run away in the night. Mrs. Bond says held to their will in silence, satisfying that he came to her house once after no person's curiosity, and refusing to Rose went there, but she wouldn't see listen to their own hearts or consciences. him.”

At Miss Hester's first word her cousin

dropped her hand; but not before she Winter passed away, and Spring came. had felt a strong pulse fly to each of his There had been a succession of wild finger-tips. storms, March coming in like a lion; “ Have you seen her ?” he asked. but at length the lamb appeared. A “Rose? No. Well, Ann, what is last fling of rain, sharp as a lash, out it?"—to the servant. of the darkening east and into the red- “A lady to see you, Miss Campbell,” dening west; a last growl that ended in was the answer. an exhausted sough, and all at once The visitor came forward swiftly, and there was Spring, a melting loveliness stood in the moonlight - Rose Fanover earth and sky, rosy and rain-wash- shawe! ed and still. In such stillness the last “Please don't disturb yourself,” the vestige of the storm disappeared, and girl said in a soft, hurried voice that the heavens balanced the waning glory sounded as if she were out of breath. of the sun and the waxing glory of the “Sit down again. There! I want to

Then the starry beam tilted, talk with you a little while. But you and it was night.

are engaged "-perceiving that Miss Miss Hester Campbell, paler and frail- Campbell was not alone. er than ever, sat in her bow-window, The gentleman came out of the shawith her cousin beside her. He had dow. been away all winter in the Mediterra- “Oh! Lieutenant Campbell! You nean, and they were just subsiding into are welcome back. I heard that you quiet after the excitement of their first had been away. But I want to talk meeting since his return.

with your cousin, now.”

V.

moon.

VI.

“T'U finish my cigar down-stairs," he said. “ And when you are ready, led me know, and I will go home with you." It is never pleasant to sit alone at

“Miss Campbell, I want you to tell table, especially at evening, when loneme about my father," Rose began ab- liness is least tolerable. Judge Fanruptly the instant the two were alone. shawe had found this to his cost. But “There is no one else whom I would he could not bear to invite company. ask, and no one else who can tell me While his daughter's place was vacant what I wish to know. You see him he could fancy that she was only linoften, of course. Do you think he is gering a moment—that presently the lonely? Do many people go there? door would open, a slight shape come Does he look well ?"

tripping in, a bright cheek touch his “My dear, he seems to me desolate," faded one, and his own dear little girl Miss Hester said gravely. “I think he put to flight, by her gay presence, all often spends the evening quite alone. the cruel imaginings that had been torAnd he does not look well."

menting him. To-night his trouble “Don't say desolate ! ” Rose cried out pressed more heavily than ever. He sharply. “That is & terrible word. left his dinner untouched, went into What have you heard him say, or seen the library and tried to read. But the him do? When did you see him page might as well have been blank for last?"

any sense he took of it. The book Miss Fanshawe's face looked quite dropped from his hand, and he sat lookpale in the moonlight, and her cheeks ing into the fire, and thinking—not had lost something of their roundness. such thoughts as the young have, when Her friend noticed that, and took her life is all before them, but such as como hand kindly. “I heard him speak yes to those whose illusions are faded, and terday," she said. “When he came who feel upon their souls the grasp of home in the evening a little girl was solemn realities. Till that proud, rerunning along before him, with a pack- bellious daughter left him, Judge Fanage in her hand, Evidently it was shawe had scarcely thought of age or something very precious. But she was death. His heart could not grow dull too eager and delighted to mind her with her young heart bounding so near, steps, and just in front of your house and gray hairs did not trouble him she slipped on the wet pavement, and when her pretty, prying fingers found fell. There was a little crash as she them out, and her sweet voice chid him fell, and bits of painted china flew about. so merrily. “You think too much, Judge Fanshawe took the poor little papa; that's the trouble. You mean sobbing thing up-he is very kind to to be Chief-Justice, and you turn your children, my dear-and asked about her hair gray with plotting.” He could hear mishap. It appeared that she had, for her loving nonsense in his ears now. a long time, been saving up her money His eyes grew dim, and long rays to buy her father a birthday present, stretched, trembling, toward them from and had got a painted coffee-cup; and the fire. there it was!

That miserable affair of Francis " When she had finished her little Grey's! Judge Fanshawe owned to story, crying bitterly all the while, he himself now that he had been hasty, gave her money to buy another cup. and that Rose, in spite of her disobediIt was better to break that than to ence, had shown the nobler spirit. break your father's heart,' he said, and “Other girls might have been more went up the steps to his own house, obedient, without being any better," where there was no child to welcome he muttered. “I don't want a daughhim. He looked very sorrowful, and he ter of mine to be led by a ring in her seems to be getting old. I think he nose. It is only in the light of religion stoops a little."

that she has done wrong."

“ Now,

upon oath.

And what religion had he taught her? After all, the harvest of him who None. He had sowed in humanity sows only human love may be very alone, and must be content with such sweet. Or is it, as Coleridge says, that harvest as humanity could bring forth. there is religion in all deep love?

“It is evident that she will not come “ You're not growing old, are you, till I have humbled myself to ask her," papa ?” she asked, after a while, winkhe said. “I thought I could not do ing the tears off her eyelashes that she that; but to-night"

might see him, but in vain, since they He drew a table to him, and wrote gathered again immediately. one line: Rose, will you not come “I was old an hour ago, my child," home to your father ? "-his eyes filling he said. as he wrote. When the note was sealed She made a great effort, and wiped and directed, he dropped his face into her eyes with both hands. his hands, and wept like a child. It papa, won't you please to stand up ?” was cruel that he sbould have to ask The Judge stood up obediently, but her, even if she should come willingly with some wonder, possibly with an imat his summons.

pression that he was going to be put The door-bell rang as he sat there. He wiped his eyes hastily, and turned Rose looked him over with anxious his face from the light.

criticism, Then a triumphant laugh “Do you want any thing, sir ?” asked and blush broke together into her face. Thomas, the contraband, putting his “You don't stoop one bit !” she cried, head into the room.

embracing him with transport. And “No. What should make you think now" - pressing him into his chair I want any thing? The street door- again in her pretty, half-imperative, bell rang."

half-entreating way, and kneeling down “ Yes, sir !” said Thomas, lingering. beside him." how shall I ever tell you

“ Confound the fellow !” said the half how sorry I am? I don't mean to Judge to himself. “He's prying-thinks say,” she corrected herself, “that I am something is the matter since I ate no sorry I gave him a kind word, but I am dinner. “Well, Thomas," aloud- sorry I did it without your consent. "what are you waiting for? Did any For I could have got your consent-you one come in ?"

know I could-papa, if I had coaxed “ Yes, sir! No, sir !” replied the long enough for it. I could coax any contraband, in a highly lucid manner. thing out of you, you dearest and most

“Try to make up your mind about indulgent father, that hard-hearted, it,” recommended his master dryly, ungrateful girl like me ever had! And without once turning his face toward I'm sorry I hadn't gone on my knees to the door.

you afterwards.

I would if I had “ Yes, sir !” said Thomas again, and known that you wanted me to. You withdrew in a fumbling way, obeying see, papa, I thought I was doing right, the imperative wave of a hand that was and I forgot that my first duty was to not Judge Fanshawe's.

you." Left to himself again, the master of “ Your first duty was to God, my the house, with a long-drawn sigh that dear," he replied. “But how could you told of a weary weight at heart, went know that when I never taught you back to his bitter musings.

and when I myself forgot that duty ? Father ! ” said a breathless voice at Let us mutually forgive, and try to do his side, at his shoulder, where a tearful better in the future." face drooped. “May I stay with you After a while, when she had given I've waited and waited-and, oh! fath- her father an account of the manner in er, you would have called me back long which she had spent the winter, Rose ago

if
you

had known how sorry I was, told of her visit to Miss Campbell, and how I wanted to come."

that Lieutenant Campbell came home

« IndietroContinua »