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By Arthur Jones. w
(Copyright by W. G. Chapman.)
Helene sat in her Uttkvroqmin the
convent, straining her ears for the
sound of the owl's" hoot without! She
had packed her few possessions in a
bag; everything was. ready for her
secret departure from the only home
that she had known during the past
eight years of her life.
Bereft-.of her mother at the age of
twelve, her father, a wealthy manu-
Jraveling Merrily Over-the Frozen
facturer of Montreal had placed'.her
in the, care of the nuns of St; Anne.
True, twice a year he iad paid her a'
.flying Tisit, bringing, with him some
gift, but he had 'became more and
more of an abstraction to her as the
years rolled by and she grew to wom
anhood. Her only mother, was the
Mother Superior, her sisters, the
nuns, her home, tie grim convent al
most in the wilderness,, built there a
hundred' years .before by a wealthy
Frenchman; 'exiled by the Terror.
So the", years had rolled by happily,
and -then, -ten months 'before, her
father had appeared some months be
fore, he was due.
"Helene' he said to her, "you are
a woman now and ready to take your '
place in society. I have arranged a
wealthy marriage for you."
Then he 'went on to tell her that
she was to marry Pierre Rideau, the
only son of his' great business rival,
within the year. His firm had been
forced into a tight position, he con
fessed, old Rideau held the trump
cards; nevertheless, Rideau was will
ing to make an alliance between the
two houses and thus convert enmity
into friendship. So it was all ar
ranged. Then Helene burst into tears,
begged to be allowed to spend her life
int the convent that was so dear to
her, and finally indignantly refused to
be bartered thus. Her father-went
away in a fury. ' ,-. ,
Two weeks later he" returned. He
would, give .her a fine house :and
dowry, he said. Perhaps she hadiot
understood that she was to be one of"
the first ladies in Montreal. Why was
she such a stubborn girl? She would;
have ,to come to it.
Again and again he came back, un
til atlasttwo nionths, before,-he said,
' "Do; you think l. keep you here and
support. you Jo'r.a-joke? Choose now,
Helene. Either agree to. marry Pierre
Rideau this winter or I cast you off.
aqd you are no longer daughter of
'Twm never marry Pierre Rideau,
qr any man but of my own choosing,"
she answered ,and Charles Despard
went away storming. Helene took the
matter to the Mother Superior, a
grave, patient woman, well versed in
the world's ways.
"I cannot counsel thee, Helene,"
she answered. "It is meet to obey
one's father, but not thus far. If thou
refuse, perhaps I may succeed in. ob
taining for thee a post as governess."
That was three weeks before, and
now the last week of her stay-at the
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