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fc •$ i: Sir' !t\M Mr I :*^7//A CHAJPTKR XVII— (Con (InU'1) 'And uo arguments, entreaties or prayers on the ijart of her lover availed anything against the conscien tious resolution of Alma. And even when, at length, the leave of absence expired, and he was ordered to join his regiment, which was stationed in Bcollanfl, he took advantage of this fortuitous combination of circumstanc es to urge to upon his beloved Alma the consideration of the deeij pain of separation .and the facilities for their union offered by the locality of his ser vice, she remained true to her convic tions of duty, aiul had the firmness to bid him adieu and see him depart. To young creatures surrounded by sisters, brothers and cousins, relatives, friends and neighbors, the self-denial of this Janely girl will scarcely be ap predated. From the time of her lover's depart nro for Scotland she saw no more of him nnt.ll the day of the double funeral at Allworth Abbey. Wo have already said that it was only in tlio times of their affliction that the Honorable Mrs. Elverton ever vis ited her neighbors. Thus, recluse as slie was. she had ordered her mourn ing eoncli. and with Alma seated by her side, had attended the funeral so (enmities at Allworth Abbey. Tn the course of that day Alma had exchanged a glance and a bow with Norham. And the next afternoon, In st inert. rather than understanding, led her to take a walk in the woods be liliif] Edenlawu. It was a lovely summer's afternoon, find the low-descending sun was strik ing his level, yellow rays through the intcrbieimis of the forest: trees, edg lug each leaf and twig with a golden flame. Aliua wandered on. and in that mental struggle between duty and in clination, or rather between conscience and necessity, thai occupies one-half of our inner lives. She was happy in the thought of •seeing Norham, and miserable, in the fear of wrong-doing. This is a para dox of daily occurrence. While .she walked 011 in 'the dulce marah. the bitter-sweet of this forbid den hope .she heard the fallen leaves and twigs break beneath a Arm foot step behind her. lier breath skipped, her heart flnt "tered, lier cheek crimsoned. She •paused for the coming up of the foot steps. but she did not turn her head. "I have the honor of speakiug to Miss Elverton, I presume?" The voice of the speaker was deep, r^ch and inexpressibly mournful. Alma started, turned around, and Oroppfd her eyes, while a deep Hush mantled her face. The speaker was a tall,finely-formed, fair-complexioned and very handsome •man. about forty years of age. Whilte addressing Alma he held his •h:(J. entirely ^oflf lib head, and stood wiln it fomfiy grace that the girl had •never seen equalled. She was naturally surprised and tsvfcn terrified at the unexpected ap parition of a stranger in that lonely place and at that late hour, but aside from these natural- emotions, there was something in the aspect of the uian that thrilled her with a feeling that was neither surprise nor terror, but something infinitely deeper than either. 1 "I have the honor of ad dressing Miss Elverton, I pre sumo?" repeated the stranger, with the same gracious courtesy of tone and manner. "Yes, sir," breathed the girl, with, her heart throbbing quickly. "Miss Elverton, does your mother still live?" inquired the deep voice of the stranger, The throbbing of Alma's heart nearly suffocated her. Her breath came quickly and gaspingly. She threw her, arm around a tree for support and leaned her head against the rough Wk while she stole another look at Vo stranger. Jg*s, there was the same noble hesl'd, ,£th its bright locks of golden brown Aavlng round (.lie broad, white fore head the same dark blue eyes with the falcon glance the same Grecian nose, short, proud upper lip. and rounded chili the same face, only a little older, that daily looked down upou lier from the portrait in the study. As Almn realized the truth, she felt as though her last hour of life had come, and thai.,she was dying in a dream. "'Docs your mother still live?" re peated the stranger. '"My mother still lives, if breathing means lfving," answered Alma, in an expiring voice, and trembling in every limb The eyes of the stranger were fixed tpon her—were reading her very soul. At length he spoke. "Girl, your eyes never beheld me be fore, and yet—does not your instinct recognize ine?" •'Oh, heaven, my heart!" gasped the girl, leaning, pale as death, against the tree. "Yes, your heart acknowledges him ,T\'liorri your eyes l^ver before saw—" '".My father—" •Av"Hush—hush—no word of that sort—" "Oh, my father—" "Hush, hush, uo word like that, I eay!" repeated Ilollis Elverton, in a sepulchral voice. But his daughter, pale as death, trembled like a If-af. and nearly faint ing with excessive agitation, had en tirely lost her self-possession. She cither did not hear or did not understand his strange words. Extending her arms towards him •with a look of imploring affection, and in a voice of thrilling passion, she cried: '"^nther! oh. father! .will you not your chilil" jll tbnue of the man shook as a ii ii ii HiikIi, IIunIi lit //4 f-#&.*4' r* treo shaken by the wind, but he avert ed his face and threw his hand toward her with a repelling gesture. She dropped her arms with a look of shame, sorrow and wonder, murmur ing: "Never since I lived have I been pressed to iny mother's bosom, or re ceived a mother's kiss, or known a mother's love. And the father for whose presence my heart has longed through all the years of my lonely youth—the father whom my love has followed through all the years of his long exile—now, in the first moments of our meeting, repulses his child and turns away! Oh, father!" she exclaim ed In passionate earnestness, "what have I done that both my parents should bate me!" "You have done nothing wrong, nor do we hate you, poor girl!" replied El verton in an agitated voice. "What am I, then, that those who gave me life should turn shudderingly away from me as from a monster ac cursed?" "Ohild, child, cease your wild ques tionings! There are mysteries In this world that may never be revealed un til that last dread day of doom, when all that is hidden shall be made clear." After this there was silence betwen them for a few minutes, during which they gazed upon each other's faces with mournful, questioning interest. Then Ilollis Elverton, in a gentle voice, inquired: "What name have tliey given you, child V" "My mother called me by no name, but the good doetyr gave me that oL' Aliua." "Then you did not receive the rites of Christian baptism V" "Not in infancy—not until I was old enough to act for myself hi that re spect then I presented myself at the altar and received at the same time the sacraments of baptism and confirma tion." "And your mother?" "She made no objection, but gave me uo encouragement. She was neutral in the matter but, father, did I not do right?" I i.oliis Elverton groaned, but made no reply. And again silence fell between them, while tliey studied each other with the same painful interest. At length she broke the spell by asking in a tearful voice: "Father, will you iiot accompany me to the house and see my mother?" "Never!" exclaimed. Ilollis Elverton, while a spasm of unutterable anguish covered his fine face. "Alas, sir, if not to sec her, what mo tive has brought you back to England?" "Two of the strongest that can gov ern human action—the love of one I love, the hate of one I hate! I come to watch over and save an angel girl from utter ruin, and to hunt a demon wom an to her doom!" "Your words are strange and alarm ing, my father." "And I can give you no explanation of them now I am even here in secret. I must see you only In secret, and you must give me your word of honor never to mention this meeting, or even men tion the fact of my return to England." "Not even to my mother?" "Not even to her least of all to her!" no Worl of that Sort "Alas, alas, my father, do you hate her so?" "Hate her?—hate your mother—bate Atlieuie—hate—0I1, heaven, Alma:—no. 1 do- not hate her 011 the contrary—" time angrily upon his daughter, de manded sternly: "Why should you dare to ask if your mother was in fault?" "Alas, I know not. I beg your par don and hers. My short life has been made a desert by this mystery, father, and yet. for myself I have never once complained but when I know that her life is one prolonged agony, and now see the agony stamped upon your brow, I become h'llf crazy, and think—I know not. what." ing was not caused by your mother's fault A purer, sweeter, nobler woman th in your mother never lived," said Hollis Elverton, earnestly. "Oh, God, I thank thee—I thank thee —I thank thee for that!" cried Aliua, in I a thrilling voice that betrayed how heavy had been the burden of doubt U-fV-1 Ysfir Ms"" Here his voice broke down, and rais ing his cloak he veiled his agitated face iu its folds. "Alas, alas, my father! what horror was it that so suddenly burst asundei all ties of affection between you? Father—father, answer me!—tell me that it was not her fault, not my moth er's fault!" lie dropped (lie fold of the cloak! cannot stand," said Mr. Elverton, from his face, and looking for the first pointing to the trunk of a felled tree "I will answer your question, unhap p.v girl and assure you, in the presence notliing, since it .0 a tissue ot false of high heaven, that our violent part- deductions! What: opinion have you tell me—this separation was not'your fault cither?" she cried, clasping her hands and gazing with imploring eyes into his face. "Xo, nor my fault either, Alma I swear it to you, by all my hopes of heaven! We loved each other as man and woman seldom love iu this world," replied Elverton, in a hollow voice "we severed, and until tho judgment day it may never be known why." "You loved each other so devotedly you married publicly, with the bless ings of nil your friends you came hith er to your beautiful home, and iu one month, in the very perfection of your happiness, your union was shattered as if by a thunderbolt from heaven. You parted oh, my father, was that well?" "It was well!" he answered, solemn ly. She looked into tho stern sorrow of his face, and read there that, in the simple words of liis reply he had ut tered some awful truth. Again her heart yearned towards her father with inextinguishable love. She extended lier arms and advanced towards him with imploring looks. But he waved her off, saying, in pitying tones: "Come no nearer, unhappy girl! Be tween you and me there is a great gulf fixed! Hark! Some one approaches! I must leave you now! Good-night— nay, stop one moment! I must see you again at this hour to-morrow. In the meantime, drop no hint of my presence in England." "None I will keep your secret, my father," replied Alma, as Ilollis Elver ton, waving adieu, disappeared in the coverts of the wood. CIlAFTER XVIII. Pleased, paiued nud perplexed at once, Alva stood transfixed where El verton had left her. She had seen her father! lier father, whose sudden flight, mysterious wan derings and unknown fate had been the great subject of wonder, specula tion and conjecture to her own self, to the family and to the community. She had seen her father, actually seen him in the flesh, and spoken with him, face to face! There in that spot he had stood before lier, intercepting the last rays of the setting sun as it sank below the horizon. They had not embraced or kissed, or even taken eacli other's hands—they had met as souls may meet 011 the confines of an other world. And now he was gone, like a vanished spirit. She had met lier father, and though the shock of that meeting, with its conflicting emotions of great sur prise, deep joy and bitter disappoint ment, had Impressed lier senses as forcibly as any actual event could pos sibly impress any human being, yet now the whole affair seemed to her so like a dream that she almost doubted its reality. The meeting so sudden and unex pected the interview so short and un satisfactory the consequences so un certain and alarming tlies esubjects engrossed lier thoughts, absorbed her senses, and riveted her to the spot, so that she did not move until the brush wood near her broke sharply beneath the tread of tho intruder whose distant appearance had driven away her father. Then she started as from sleep, look ed up. and flushed with joy, for she thought the new comer would be Nor ham Montrose. Alack! he was only Davy Denny, the head gardener, returning from one of his occasional inspections of the woods. The old man cast a curious, anxious, sorrowful glance at his young lady as lie touched his hat in passing lier. Alma blushed at meeting that glance which said as plainly as eyes could speak: "Please, Miss Elverton, it is too late for you to be out walking alone in the woods, and if I only dared to speak I'd up and tell you so." And tho old servant went slowly, sadly and reluctantly up toward the mansion house. Alma felt no disposition to follow his footsteps, but turned and wander ed still farther down the slope of the hill into the narrow valley below, where the woods were thickest. She had nearly reached the foot of the hill, when the figure of a man sud denly crossed her path. Looking up with a start she recog nized Hollis Elverton. "My father back!" she exclaimed. xes, Alma, back I have not been far from you since we parted. I left you intending to return to my present retreat. But from the covert of the trees that concealed me I saw old David Denny pass, and saw you, in stead of going homo as I expected you to do, and as you should have done, child, turn and ramble down the hill. I then took a shorter path to meet you here to complete the interview that was interrupted and under the shadow of the coming night see you safe with in the lawn of your own dwelling," said Ilollis Elverton gravely. "Oh. my dear father! how glad 1 am that I did not go home. Oh. if you knew now happy it makes me to see you again, even after this short inter val. you would indeed love 111c a lit tle." said his daughter fervently. "Peace, girl, peace! No more of that if you would ever look upon my face again! I have sought you. Alma, with a purpose. Sit down while 1 unfold it to you. Sit down, I say, since you that lay across their path, and upon which Alma immediately sank. Mr. Elverton stood at a short dis tance, with his arms folded, leaning against an oak. "Y011 know something of this whole sale poisoning at Allwortli Abbey?" he began. "Oh, yes. sir," answered Alma slnul-. dering. "IIow much (10 you know?" "As much as hail been made public through the coroi -r's inquest." ..nd Hint—is 1 )thing—worse than formed from the Tacts elicited by the coroner's inquest ".-Mi1, I cannot firm any." "What do you think of the guilt or innocence of the accused girl, Eudora Leaton?" 'Oh. sir, I dare not think of that at !l"' that rested on her mind, and how in-j think her guilty, then?" citable was the sense of relief now that it.was lifted off." I Hove lier Innocent, for I loved lier. "You are satisfied?" inquired Elver- *-'ie subject is so painful to me—" wou'd rnJ' ton kindly toward me, and in my loneli "For her, oh,.yes but oh, my father, »ss I ken voice. Sfc-t heaven that I could be- father, she always looked 1 loved bcr" f",M In a bro- XtpStf W i. "Believe her innocent, then, for she is so," said Hollis Elverton, with sol emn earnestness. "Oil, my dear father! Is this really true? Is my poor Eudora innocent? Oil, prove that her soul is guiltless of this great crime, and 1 shall not break my heart—110—not even if she dies for it!" cried Alma, starting up, seizing his hand, and gazing eagerly into his face. It was the first time their hands had met and Ilollis Elverton, shuddering ly, shook off her grasp, as he an swered: "Yes It is true." "Are you sure of it?" "A8 sure of it as I can be of any thing on earth." "How do you know it? What do you know of it?" "I know Eudora is innocent, and I know who is guilty." "Oh, my father! can you prove this? will you prove this?" "All! Alma, moral certainty is not legal evidence! I repeat, I know Eu dora Leaton is innocent, and I know who is guilty but I have no means as 3ret to prove the guilt of oue or the in nocence of the other. But, Alma, yon are the well-wisher of the accused girl?" "Oh. yes 0I1, yes." "And you will take my word for her innocence?" "Oh, yes! It is easy to have faith in wliat we wish to believe." "Then you must become my agent in doing all that may be done for this in nocent. injured and unhappy girl." "Willingly, my father." "Listen, then: Although Eudora Lea ton is heiress to one of the largest es tates in this country, yet, being a minor, and a ward in chancery, 1 doubt she is without ready moucy to procure proper counsel for her defense and her only friend, her afliancecl husband, Mr. Malcolm Montrose, is, I fear, as poor as herself, having nothing but a small income from his Highland place. And it is highly desirable that she should have the very best couusel to be procured for money for it is said that the attorney general himself will come from Loudon to conduct this very important case. Therefore, Al ma, as I have a vital interest in the acquittal of this innocent girl, and the conviction, if possible, of the guilty person, I must intrust you with this money. Take it, and find means to place it either in the hands of Malcolm Montrose or in those of Eudora Lea ton: and say to either with whom you leave it:, that it is furnished by a friend who believes in her innocence, and that it is intended to be devoted It 4*1C Cnrdncr. to her defense," said Ilollis Elverton. placing bank notes for a large amount in Alma's hands. "I will take it to Miss Leaton her self, dear father I can do it very well, as no one ever inquires how 1 spend my days." 'Toor girl! so much greater the need that you should learn to govern your self. since there is none to govern you. But do my errand to Eudora Leaton. Tell lier to keep up her spirits, hope for the best and trust in God! Tell her that she has her own conscious ness of innoceuce to support her, one unknown friend working for her, and a just Providence watching over her!" "I will faithfully deliver your mes sage, my father." "But not as coming from me! Re member, girl, you are never to breathe my name, or hint my existence to any one, whomsoever! All the world but you believe me dead leave them in that illusion." "Dear father, pardon me, but the il lusion is yours. The world does not believe you dead. There was a report of your death .and an anonymous let ter reached us from St. Petersburg an nouncing the supposed fact but after the most careful investigation, my mother came to the conclusion that it was someone else of the same or similar name, arid "She was happier for the hope tha.t it: might be true, however, as 1 intend ed that she should be," said Hollis El verton. gravely. Alma did not reply to this strange observation. She could not bear to acknowledge that her mother had been happier for this hope. "But the ruse did not, fully sueeewl. since it did not con vince lier of my decease siuee the death of II. Elverton, the American stranger, who (lied at St. Petersburg, did not pass quite current with her for 111 inc. Nevertheless, she is the better for tlie hope that, after all, it may be mine. Leave her to the enjoyment of that saving hope, which must strength en every year until it becomes a cer tainty!" "Oh, my father." said Alma, bowing her burning face upon her hands, while the tears stole through lier fingers, "these cruel words pierce my heart like daggers. You say that you loved each other as man and woman seldom love, and that you severed without a fault, 011 either side. Oh, why, then, even if you must be parted, why should you wish her to believe you dead—and why should she bo happier in that belief? Would you be happier if she were dead?" "I shou!d, for it would bo well. Alma." "And if I. also wore dead?" "It would be better, still, Alma!" "And if you were?" "Best of all!" "Oh, this is fearful! I remember, too, overhearing it said that, when in child hood, I was ill, and in great danger, my mother's mournful face was lighted up as by a wild hope but that when 1 recovered and got well, it sank hack to its habitual look of despair! Oh, this is dreadful! Why is it that the life of eiich of us is a curse to tho others, or that the death of either would be a blessing to tlie rest?" cried Alma, wildly. f.vs, WW K- rCA Vrt C| fT ,Hl '. ^t4"- V' 1''"/ -1fJ.^*1yfi «v -v -VrA1.4•*-.«......,^^'i. "Because a living sorrow is far hard er to boar than a dead one! because we are each of us a living sorrow to the others!" said Ilollis Elverton, gloom ily. "Oh! this is terrible! But why is it best that we all should die—1 in my youth, and you and her iu your prime of life, prematurely, as though we were not fit to cumber the earth?" "Because we are not lit to cumber the earth—the dust should hide us!" cried Hollis Elverton. with such a sudden change of voice and manner, such a savage energy of tone and gesture, such a fierce gathering of the brows, glare of the eyes and writhing of the lips, that his daughter, looking upon him, suddenly shrieked aloud, and cov ered her face with her hands, for she feared that she was in the presence of a madman, if not even in tlie power of a demoniac. "Alma." he continued, sternly and pitilessly, in spite of her condition, "this horrifies you yet, though the words should kill you. 1 repeat them— it is better that we should die and re turn to dust!" "He wishes indeed to kill mo when ha uses such awful words," thought iui1 shuddering girl, as she shrank more and more into herself, and cowered nearer and nearer to the ground. "Alina, there is a misfortune so un natural that it has been forever name less iu all languages so degrading that it infects with a worse than moral lep rosy all connected with it so fatal that nothing but the death of tlie victim can cure it nothing but the resolution of the body into its original elements, and its resurrection in another form of be ing. and into another sphere of life, can regenerate it! Alma, such a dire mis fortune was mine, and hers, and yours!" "Oh, this is horrible—most horrible! But what is it, then? Give tlie fatality some name," cried Alma, distractedly. "I told you It was nameless, but not cureless for death is the certain rem edy. Therefore die, Alma, die!" "Father, I am called a Christian, though most unworthy of the name and nothing on earth woukl induce me to cast away my Maker's gift of life." "Nor do I mean that, either! For though hoping, longing and praying for our deaths, I would not lay sacrilegious hands 011 my life, hers or yours": for murder and suicide are crimes of the deepest dye. and I would not burden my soul with even a venial sin yet. Alma, die if you can!" "Oil, heaven! 1 do not know what you mean, my father!" "Why. this. If ever you are ill again, do not call in a physician, (I. not take medicine, do not: take any means to keep off the death tliar r.iay coine to you. naturally, easily, kindly, as an angel of mercy. Promise in.' this." "Xo, my father. I cannot. For not only docs my conscience forbid me to destroy my own life, but it commands mo to do all I can to preserve it and 1 would 110 more be guilty of negative than of positive suicide." said Alma, firmly, though mournfully. "Then life, worse than death, must be on your head! You are warned! But remember, you who prize t.his earthly life so highly, do not deprive your mother of the comfort she limls in the supposition of my death, by the remotest hint of my existence," reit erated Hollis Elverton. earnestly. "Father, you have my promise, and you may rely upon it. But. sir. there is one of whom neither you nor I have yet spoken, one whom we should both consider—one, indeed, who is much to be pitied in his widowed, childless and desolate old age. 1 mean your aged parent, my grandfather. Lord Elverton. Surely he. at least, would rejoice to hear that his ouly son still lives! aiuL if necessary, lie would keep your counsel as faithfully as I shall. Will you not communicate with him and comfort his aged heart with the news of your continued life?" "Never!" broke forth Ilollis Elver ton, in a fury, that again frightened his gentle daughter almost into a swoon. "I have no father: I know nothing of your grandfather! and nev er, in this world, iti Hades or in Heaven, will I see, speak to or ac knowledge T/ord Elverton agaiu! Nev er! so save me, Heaven, iu my utmost strait!" "Oh, sir! he is your father! do not speak of him so bitterly!" faltered Almn. "Girl. I told yon a few moments since that there were misfortunes so monstrous as to be nameless: so shameful as to bo contagious so fatal an to bo cureless except by death! and now add to that, that there are sins so great as to burst asunder all ties of kindred, destroy all the sympathies of humanity, and invalidate all obli gations of duty! Ask me no more questions, for I find that you are will ing tjie. very spirit from n^y bosom! but answer me this: Since the fatal night that drove me from my home forever, has that old man ever dared to cross the threshold of Edonlawn?" "But once, my father but once, as I truly believe. I have never s^en h''u there, but I heard that, within a few weeks after your flight and my hi 1-1 n, he ciimc to Edenlawu late one after noon, and was closeted -with my "Would you In- linpny it She irf*T wyf-sBpK'M'. i" "3^-c£- Vr^ were dead mother in the library for an hour, at the end of which he came out, and without taking any refreshment—" "Ha! a morsel swallowed in that house must have choked him!" inter rupted Elverton. "Or even looking at his poor little granddaughter—" "The sight of her must have blasted him, as that of tho Medusa's head was said to blast those who dared to look upon it.' 'again burst forth Elverton. "He hastened from the house, which he has never entered since." $ "For he had better walk on red-hot plowshares than tread the paving stones of those halls'." exclaimed El verton. fiercely. Then, after a few minute's sileuce, he inquired: "What have lyou heard of -liim since?" "Nothing, my fattier, except: this sig nificant fact, that, within one fort night after his fatal visit, his nut brown hair turned as white its snow!" "Xo doubt, 110 doubt, but will his scarlet sin ever be so white?—can time, or sorrow, or repentance bleach, that?" muttered Elverton, speaking rather to himself than to his daughter. "Alma did not at once reply a feel ing of deep humiliation kept her silent for a while, and then a sense of relig ious duty urged her at last to say: "I know not of what sin you speak, my lather but this I have Scripture Dark Fijrurc of Cnplnln .ontrono SCaiulIny: Dol'ore Her, warrant for believing thai, though the sin be 'as scarlet.' it may be made, by repentance, as •white as snow.' "Let Iiini set tle it with Heaven then, as lie must ere very long! but as for me—let me never see his face again! Come, child, our interview is over. Arise and walk on I will follow you until I see you in sight of the north gate, and then leave yon," said Hollis Elverton. stepping aside to give her the path, and then going after her. Thev v.cut. up the narrow wooded path in silence. When they reached tho t'ij) of the hill, and came in sight of the north gate. Mr. Elverton paused and s-aid: ,-0 uo further hurry home me here an hour earlier to-morrow evening. Good- "I need bur. meet than this night." "Good-night, extending her ward him. niy father." said Alma, hands imploringly to- Hut he shook his head, waved his hand, plunged into the wood, and was soon lost to her view. She then looked wistfully after him for a little while, and then turnot. slowly, and with downcast eyes, to walk towards tho house. The full moon was shining Voadly on her path, when suddenly its light was intercepted. Alma raised her eyes to see the tall figure of Captain Montrose standing lief ore her. with folded arms, frown ing eyes and scornful lips. Wo have observed before this that Xorham Montrose, in mould of form and cast of features, was the very counterpart of his elder brother, but in every other respect lie was as dif ferent from him as the night from tho day. Malcolm, it. may be remem bered, was as fair as a Dane, with light hair, blue eyes and a sanguino complexion he was also frank, gener ous and confiding. Norham. 011 the contrary, was as dark as a Spaniard, with raven-black hair and burning black eyes he was, besides, reserved, jealous and suspicious. Alma, conscious of these darker traits in his character,, fearing their effects upon himself and her, ami yett loving him despite of danger, shivered with the presentiment of coming evil when she saw him standing before her so silent, still and stern. "Norham," she faltered, faintly. "I beg your pardon. Miss Elverton, I hope I have not prematurely inter rupted a pleasant tete-a-tete." he re plied, sarcastically, his black eyes flashing and his proud lip curling. Alma understood all now. He had seen lier father walking we'th lier In the wood, and had mistaken Hollis Elverton for a favored suitor. And Alma. lound by her promise, dared not explain the circumstance, and un der such conditions, could not hope to reassure her jealous lover. A con sciousness of her false position bowed her fair head upon her bosom, dyed her delicate cheek with blushes, and invested her whole manner with the appearance of conscious guilt. 111 1* heart sank within her bosom, and shu could not reply. lie looked at lier a moment in scorn) and anger—the tierce scorn and anger] of wounded love and jealousy, and then saying—"I will uo longer intrude upon your privacy, Miss Elverton good evening," lie lifted his turned upon his heel and strod away. "Stay, stay. Norham: do not leav me in a fatal error!" cried Alina,] breaking the spell that had bound he: faculties and springing forward. "1 beg your pardon, Miss Elverton if I have wronged you, even -n m, thoughts, but our mutual relations as suredly warrant me iu feeling som surprise and displeasure at finding^ you in these woods, walking with strange man, as you have so ofter walked with me, and certainly justify me in demanding some explanation so strange a proceeding 011 your part." "Because I have been so imliser as to wander here with you, do yo really suppose that I could be so faith less as to walk here with another?' said Alma, in a mournful voice. "I have assuredly very good reaso to think so," replied Norham, sar tic-ally. "Yes. it is true by coming hero meet you I have given ybu good son to think me capable of any dogre of indiscretion," said Alma, with sor rowful humiliation.' (To be Continued.) Almost 200 families are stated to !e 0? tlio vor?e of strnvatlon In Helfnsjt aa a COU stiiuincc of a aliliip'pff dWpiU*. itfff S-Jfgef stii.