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CHAPTER HI. THE OREKN EYED MOKSTEB. I am confident I am not at all of a jealous turn. Othello was ever my pet aversion among the creations of the "divine William," and he of the green eyes might have made his meat for ever before he should have fed on me. But then some things are too plain not to be seen by tho plainest of men. It soon became perfectly palpable that there was some strange understanding jwtwnnn Tom arid bis cousin. It was very odd, too. I never had such sus picion before, but now, clear as day light, it appeared and demanded recog nition. There was no doubting it: there was an understanding. It was evidently an arrangement to make me drive at the risk of all our necks that he might sit by her. That his whine about his hands was all stuff was proven by the confi dential, smothered talk they had kept up all the way, and by the meaning glances they exchanged even now. Yes, I could see it all now as plain as day— see it by his ever expressive gesture, by his tender devotion as he led her into the little parlor of tho tavern. Yes, there was an understanding between those two too plain to be mistaken; and then — But I know I can understand some things as well as the next man! Had my eyes been blindfold heretofore? Had I been, like Ford in "The Merry Wives," a secure ass? Tom pacified the overturned one, and gave him hot flip. Then, to show his forgiveness, the overturned insisted on our having hot flip with him, by which time the fussy landlady appeared and . beckoned mysteriously to Tom. I have confidence enough in myself to believe that, even then, I was not an eaves dropper, but I could not help hearing, "we might manage to send a boy on horseback," and "that the dear young lady appeared so anxious and worrit in mind," at which Tom dis appeared abruptly. What the deuce did it all mean? More mystery; so I took more hot flip with him of the tumble. After a time I heard Tom's voice in the parlor again. I know not why, but 1 gulped my flip scalding hot, and strode toward the sound. Perdition! What a sight was there! Miss Blythe stood by the roaring grate; her hood had fallen back upon her slop ing shoulders, one perfect little foot rest ing in graceful negligence upon the fen der. Her eyes, filled with tears, were lifted pleadingly to Tom's, and her hands, yes, both her hands, clasped Ms shoulder so lovingly my teeth ground together be fore I heard her say: "Right or wrong, Tom dear, I would do twice as much for you?" The room seemed going round with me. By heaven! I would that very moment— No, I wouldn't, either. What right had I to interfere? and they didn't even see me, so engrossed were they with each other. So I fled in my wrath and took more hot flip with the overturned, and then the overturned took more hot flip with me. Had that yellow tipple been the hemlock potion I would have drained it just as eagerly, perhaps. "Waiting, old boy!" And the per fidious friend's hand was on my shoulder. Had Lieut. Thomas Jones, United States Boomerangs, ever seen lago, in his cele brated role of Edwin Forrest, glare superlatively at some supernumerary Cassio, then would that officer have understood the look with which I turned upon Mm. He had never seen the great artist in his great part, however, for he only looked very contented and very happy as he said: "I think 1 wouldn't drink any more flip if I were you," and we were out on the snow again. "I'll spell you at tho reins a bit," he added, with another queer look at me. "Your arms must be tired, and I'm fresh as a lark again. Are yon sure you're all right there, Bet?" There was a tender intonation in the question that made me feel vicious, but the softened gurgle of her "Yes, dear cousin Tom," set my very soul on fire. Miss Blythe tucked the buffalo away, and made room for me on tho back seat. Looking straight across country, and utterly ignoring her gesture, I clambered up beside my rival and tugged stolidly at the buffalo. "All right, boys! Let go their heads —now!" With a lurch and a swing we were off again. Once more wo slammed over hill and meadow; once more the wind whistled merrily past us, and our bells chased it in a musical peal. But the snnlight on the snow looked black to me now; the bells only tolled a requiem for my dead hopes, and the wind, in its backward rush, only hissed, "She loves him! She loves him!" Though the horses were freshened by their rest and pulled like steam tugs, Tom still found a way to turn and keep np a running talk with his cousin. But as he turned on the side away from me, and the words were swept back on the wind, only a confused murmur and none of their sense reached me. I don't imagine any tumbril passen ger, ticketed through for the guillotine, erver jolted along more miserably than 1 did those six miles. That morning I had loved Tom Jones as a brother. I had worshiped the very ground on which his cousin's No. 13 slipper trod; I would have crawled on my knees to have her accept the heart that was hers in its every pulse! Now I hated that brevet second lieutenant with a mortal hate. I would sooner have mixed my heart in a hot flip and proffered it to the bearded THE LOS ANGELES HERALD: THURSDAY MORNING, DECEMBER 25, 1800. lip of the overturned than have yielded it to the ten lerest beseechings of the falsa, the perfidious, the shameless Bettie Blythe. All things, however, even tortures, have an end, and in course of time we reached "Shadynook." The unmated mistress of the mansion was on the porch, in the primmest of caps and most blankety of shawls, as soon as our sleigh whirled into the circular drive. Miss Anna flew down the steps and twined herself around Miss Blythe, still impli cated in the furs. They were wrapped in each other's arms I should calculate some twenty seconds —they seemed to me as many minutes —and, as they nn- coiled, I got the damaged remnant of a confidence. I distinctly caught the j whispered words, "the dearest of fel lows!" and "all fixed and ready," from ' the perfidious lips of Miss Blythe. To ; me at that moment the argns eyed spin- i ster, panoplied in immaculate cap and ditto Tirtue, seemed a pitiful fagot of j weak precautions. I felt bitterly supe rior to her unworldliness, and thrilled with unholy satisfaction that under her so guarded roof was introduced a clandes tine passion none dreamed of save myself. As for Miss Anna, she seemed blonder and weaker and more white mousey than ever in the reflection of the snow. I ab- j solutely despised her as the symbol of fragility in her sex—as a phantom flower without even the fiber of womanhood. Tom seemed to share my feelings in this respect at least. He barely touched the tips of her fingers, and passed on to salute ancient Prudence in the porch. Who could wonder? The girl looked likn blf»nr)ipd cptery after the spice plant he had just left! Dinner that day was a cheerful meal. The old lady sat grimly at the head of the table, with me on her right. Tom and his cousin opposite and the White 1 Mouse at my side. Bettie, from wild , exuberance of spirits, suddenly relapsed into deep quiet that was almost sadness. Tom, seeming frantically hungry and eating doggedly, said no word. Anna Belton never talked before her aunt, so tho bnrden of conversation devolved on . me. As I have said, the ancient un wedded was very deaf, and, like many deaf people, she had the special gift of yelling especially loud when she desired to be most confidential. Less for her convenience than to feed my new born grudge. I enunciated most emphatically all I Bald to her, but at the guilty couple j opposite. I spoke most feelingly on the sin of j , deceiving doting parents —philosophic- ■ ally of the folly of impecunious mar ] riages. This was a stirrup, and using it ! . at once, the old lady mounted her hobby with agility surprising for her years, j and jogged along till dessert. In common ! with every very crabbed spinster I ever , I met, she believed herself especially an ! fait in the delicate intricacies of the | married state. Had her three score : years and ten been passed with a BUCCes j sion of inhuman but rapidly removed | I husbands she conld not have reposed ! j more implicit Confidence in her perfect ! [ knowledge of double infelicity. And however she might wander from it, she invariably came back to money as the j I sole pivot around which all happiness in married lift; revolved. "Frightl'ul indeed would ii; be," was 1 : the peroration of her long lecture, "if j ' young girls were permitted to choose for ! j themselves without consulting the wis i doni of their elders. What is the use of | , our experience, our sufferings, our mar ' tyrdom, if we may not point nut to our ' i children the true path to happiness?" "What, indeed?" I assented in strident ; ! voice, and then I added as a spur, "Ah, j | how many a poor gil l carves out for her ! self a miserable future by an inconsider- i ate choice and a hasty plunge into the ; 1 dark gulf of married life!" I looked full at Miss Blythe, who never i ■ colored at my words, nor even raised her ! i eyes from the pudding on her plate. As | i for Tom he ate his in great, absent i ! spoonfuls, and seemed to have joined Mrs. Jellyby in one of her rambles to Africa. But my shot was not wasted. ! It scattered, and one slug hit the spin- ; j ster. "Dark gull" was good, and she ! j bridled up in unmated pride as shij an- , ! swered: "How many, indeed! But I rejoice to believe that some husbands are so well regulated as to have the will of their head both for their law and their de light." Here the old party raised her voice to the confidential pitch, some where at A above the line. "My own experience is a proof of my belief, for next month my niece will" Miss Belton turned scarlet, only to grow more wMte and limp than ever. I understood then that her engagement must have been arranged and affairs hastened since her return; but the al lusion seemed peculiarly painful to her. •'Aunty! annty!'' she cried, rising, "shall we not order coffee in the parlor?" As we rose from the table the old lady took my arm and led me to the post of honor, the comer of her special sofa be side the great fireplace. The others grouped about the room, with the defiant purpose to be agreeable, but it was not written that the talk that night was to be pleasant to them. The aunt would give me, at her highest confidence pitch, the details of her strategy to surround Goldwin, the enemy, and of her cam paign to crash incipient mutiny in the White Mouse contingent. That casti gated branch would wince at each fresh sentence, while the conscious couple from Piketon quietly stole glances at each other and weakly strove to turn the right of our position. But I had taken a lesson from the team I had driven into the snow bank that day. When the old lady's slackening pace gave symp toms of flagging, not the gray himself could have palled more furiously for ward than I; when she gave faint evi lence of a bolt from the road, not sorrel Jalap could havo pulled .more sullenly backward. I felt vicious in that atmos phere of deception, as the beasts had in the cold air, and reveling in a rhapsody of spite I felt it delicious to launch out stinging little sarcasms as they had their heels. Coffee over, I became what would have been unendurable, only Tom and his lady love seemed strangely uncon scious of the force of what I said. When I was rather more spiteful than usual, my tone rather than the words made them look wonderingly at me with what I could not but feel a most criminal as sumption of innocence. Finally the hypocritical couple strolled to a port folio of rare engravings; the White Mouse retreated behind the piano top and played—very well, too —some of Mendelssohn's dreamy, moonlight-on the-6now music. Still the grandannt droned her monotone about marriages, gave me minute narratives of all her family's in the past, and, when my jeal ous spite was rapidly yielding to sleepi ness, came back to her pet theme of the White Mouse. I had gone through al! the variations of the fact that she, yield ing to the ancient's will, had become contracted in formal engagement to the man of twenty thousand a year, but vow I heard for the first time that the marriage was to take place the week after Christmas! "And there is a serious reason, mv dear sir, to outweigh ull sentimental nonsense in Anna's case. As you say, sir, so justly, there can be no happiness without an income—none, sir!" The old one laid her hand upon my arm; she was becoming so confidential she absolutely yelled, "What becomes of love and sen timent ami all that trash, I should like to know, when bakers' and butchers' bills begin to come in?" "Yon are right, madam —a thousand times right!" I grew fervid; I glanced at Jones. The engravings had ceased to turnover now; his eyes were fixed full upon his cousin's, and his hps moved, but inaudibly to me. His gesture, though, was strong and impassioned, aud even as I looked those faces came very close together. At the moment hia was turned from me, but hers assumed deep earnestness, the eyes filled and gazed beseechingly into his: then his hand pfessod a moment the rose tipped one that rested ou the pictures. God forgive me the bitterness that crept into my heart then; but it were hard to suffer more than I did at glance When I spoke my voice sound ed, through the dead silence of the room, harsh aud grating even to my own ears. "Yes, it is more than madness, it is crime tor any man to drag a woman down to divide less than one could starve upon with decency." Tom had not one penny beyond' his pay, and that stipend from the fostering government he was permitted to tight, bleed aud die for amounted to nearly Seventy dollars per month. I did not Stop at the moment to consider that, my income from legal pursuits at the bar of Piketon was an average of some sixty five dollars less than his. But 'why should l! I could never have plead to the in dictment as to any old man's daughter, as he and Othello might. But my shaft fell harmless. Ho did not even hear me, and perdition! tho fellow hand to the one he pressed Game to the front anil rested on top of l is. Meanwhile tbe ancient gal by me j grew more and more concentrated from my sympathy, anil of course more and i more hopeless in her effort to whisper, "It is a priceless treasure," she screamed, "to have a child like mine—a little self willed sometimes, perhaps, but combining affection with prudence in a remarkable degree. She will be a picture of perfect happiness after her marriage with Mr. Goldwin"—the Moon light Sonata stealing from behind the piano top was cut short in mid bar— "but I fear, I fear" —the eyes of the old Argus peered over her specs in the direct! an from which I could not draw mine--"my old friend Blythe is very im- j prudent, very, indeed. Those cousins, 1 sir, are too much together." They heard this time. Dame Eleanor Spearing would have heard. Tom looked up. His face wore that ! expression of mixed feeling and anxiety his broken conference had left; but yet I the eyes that shot a glance at mine were full of arch amusement. As I dropped my gaze and crimsoned ip my ear tips they again sought his cousin's. *That oval face was demuro even to primness. Its expression never changed as Tom muttered something of which I only caught "deaf as a beetle," and "expect her to be blind a3 a bat!" The expres sion never ( hanged, bat the black eyes glittered and danced iv that madness of merriment I. had never seen in those of any one else. "Anna, dear," she said, moving quiet ly to the piano, "it is very late, and we are keeping aunty up." Then, as it were, she extracted the blonde from behind the instrument and moved toward us as we stood around the fire. We all said good night, but ap parently in very different mood, and certainly in very different manner. Tom was peculiarly demure, but there was an odd twinkle in his eye as he wished the spinster pleasant dreams. 1 felt an awkward consciousness that I had not acted too handsomely, and Bettie Blythe, with what I considered palpable effront ery, offered me her hand. Had I been the ice fiend, she would have fro zen at the touch of my fin gers; but she only smiled and kissed the Ancient. Fiually, the White Mouse clung about the withered neck of her relative' —who remained in blissful ignorance of having taken the whole par;y into her confidence—with what appeared to me most unnecessary fervor. CHAPTER IV. odd confidence:-;. I pressed my forehead close against the diamond pane of the old fashioned chamber allotted to Tom and myself, and tried hard to think. But cold as the glass was my brow grew hotter and hotter; my brain refused to grasp but one idea, that I had been betrayed, that I was miserable! As I had turned at tho landing of the broad stairway, bed cancllo in hand, I lad looked back. The White Mouse had passed through the dim lit hall with a inlet good night to Tom; he had lingered; Bettie had returned, whispered two words so gently I could not distinguish their purport; lie took her hand, and, listraction! her head dropped on his shoulder! I heard his whisper as though Stentor, the herald, had shouted the words: "Aud will you never doubt me, dear est Bet?" The eyes she raised to his were full of tears —no merriment in them now —but the voice was firm and had a loyal ring that said: "You may trust me, dear Tom." She was gone! But not before his lips were pressed to her brow; not before the sharp edged certainty had severed from me my last shred of hope. Wken Tom Jones entered our chamber he was whistling! Great heavens! was she to link her fate with such a wretch? a hard unsentimental animal? a thing who could receive a boon the gods might envy, and then— whistle? Was she to confide her future to a felon, who had forged a false key of friendship, had entered his uncle's sacred places, stolen his greatest treasure, and then —whistled? I turned wrathfully. Reproof and the frost from the window pane were ou my brow. Murder was in my soul. "Tom Jones," 1 said, with that dignity for which I uitf. noted under trial, "Tom Jones, there are times when silence be comes —in fact, when silence cannot" "Come in!" cried Tom cheerily; not in reply to me, however, but to a low tap at the door. There was a mysterious pause, then a narrow chink opened, a shock head was inserted, a lank body followed it and Bosley, the grootn, entered the room. The man of currycombs wore a loose frock and a somewhat frightened aspect, but there was also an air of business and a strong odor of tho stables about him as Ik; closed the door after a wary backward glance through the hall. "Yer wanted to see me, lef tenant?" was his salutation as he fumbled in the pockets of his frock. I looked from Tom Jones to tho hostler in speechless rage. Would he never cease to deteriorate in my eyes? Was it not enough he had whistled after winning tho love that would have glorified my life? But now he must leave that ravishing creature and consort with a musty stable boy, to talk horse—per haps of terriers aud rats. I could trust myself no longer. The spirit of Cain seemed descending upon me, and I rushed from the room and down the steps. I found myself in the parlor. "He tdbom i (ore"— and tho girl fixed her eyes 1 nil upon mint. The lights were out, but the fire still blazed up brightly in the ample grate. By its light I saw" the misty outline of a white figure throw:: full length upon the sofa. From the wavy outlines and the soft fleecy effect of the subdued light ii might have been an Undine,'or some un substantial sprite. I looked closely; it was only the White Mouse. Her face was buried in the cushion she clasped in her arms, and t'.ie fragile figure was swaying and racked with heavy sobs. The wavy masses of fair hair hadsfalleu loose upon her shoul ders, aud the sleeve, carelessly drawn back, displayed an arm that matched Bettie Blythe'S for roundness and sym metry. As the fitful firelight rose and fell, seeming to dilate and contract the con tours of the delicate figure, I wondered why I never had noticed before how graceful and willowy it, was. She did not hear my abrupt entrance. Her sorrow had full possession of her, and she sobbed as if her heart would break. What the matter was I knew not. It might have been a tiff with the Ancient Griffin, the death of pet poodle or the trouble about her auriferous affianced. At all events, she had my perfect sym pathy. She was miserable, and was not I likewise? Poor child! Every sob went straight to my heart; I really never be fore believed I could feel so kindly dis posed toward her. B:tt I felt my presence was an intrusion, 1 thought she did not see me, and I started out. Just then a heavier sob than ever seemed to rend the poor child, and a shiver ran through her from head to foot. It was too much: the softness of my heart conquered. 1 could not go with out one word to tell her how I pitied her grief. In the tenderest manner 1 took her hand; in the gentlest tone I said: "Do not be unhappy; do not weep so." She started up with a stifled cry. On seeing mo a vivid flush passed over her brow and neck, and she quickly with drew her hand. Then the color fell out of her cheeks, leaving them deadlier white than over, and she dropped her face into her hands as she murmured: "Oh, you here! Yon to see me!" I didn't understand the emphasis c:i the pronoun, but I only answered: "Do not send me away before I tell you it was accident brougut me here and sympathy detained me. You seem very miserable." She glanced shyly at me from under the swollen lids. "I was a little while ago. But I don't feel so now," she whispered. The deuce! Here was an odd return for my sympathetic interference. I rather liked it, however, for I seemed to do the poor child good, and I felt so wretched and alone in the world. "But, oh! what must you think of me?" she cried suddenly, and again the face went into the hands and again the blushes mounted up to the eartips. "I think—l—that is—l am very, very sorry to see you suffer," I answered, somewhat inconsequently. "But to think yon of all people— But you will never tell him?" Why I, "of all people," I couldn't con ceive, but it was very safe to promise about "him," as I had never set eyes on the grief producing Goldwin. Therefore I answered honestly: "On my word, never!" "But then you kraw all! Oh, how forward, how unma?deuly, how bold you must think me!" What in the deuce the girl meant why I should think her bold for not wanting to marry her grandfather I could not conceive. So I only shook my head sagely. Iv medio tutissimus ibis. "But then this never has seemed like home," she went on. "Auntie tries to be very good, but she doesn't know how. And then a young girl may have strong feelings, and oh, I do love so ut terly!" "Wh-at!" I gasped, surprised out of propriety. "The devil you do!" It was very improper; but then to think of her being sold to a man of CO, and then "lov ing so utterly!" Wonderful creatures are women. My abruptness made her recoil, but it was only for a moment. "Then you won't think me immodest —unwomanly? I could not bear it. You, of all people in the world!" There it was again. Why in the deuce did she care for my opinion so much if she loved Goldwin "so utterly?" "Unwomanly! never!" I said vaguely. "Oh, thank yon! thank you!" She was beginning to get excited again. "I felt you would understand; yon have Been more of me than any one else; you can make allowance for a young girl's feel ings overstepping the bounds of prudish ness." I rose and walked to the mantel. I began to believe that the stone sphinx \ that upheld it had turned suddenly soft ' and blonde nnd crept into the form of the White Mouse. She was surely talk ing in riddles of the deepest. "Tell me once more," she said, follow . ing me to the hearth, "that I lose noth ing it. your eyes by—by what you know." "Tinder any circumstances," I began, warily, "real, deep love" "Oh, and how Ido love! God knows how deep aud pure is the passion that makes me forget all bonds and almost all j proprieties! What else could excuse my j being able to speak of it now—to you? : t Yon know 1 am pledged unwillingly to another" "To what!" I almost shrieked. "To Mr. Gold win, whom I—yes,whom I hate!" the girl answered, with ten times the spirit, T thnnght in her. "And you don't—it isn't—you don't i mean it's Goldwin you care for?" I stam ! inered in confusion. "Goldwin! Oh, how can you jest with me at such a moment? You know whom I—yon have long guessed even before I confessed my love for—for—another!" Again the purple flood dyed her brow nnd neck, and then died quickly out. I ! felt deuced queer. Here was I alone nt midnight with a timid White Mouse, who had suddenly asserted herself, and ! told me she did not love the man she was ; engaged to, and "did so" love somebody else. There was nobody else except Tom Jones, now talking terrier with the •groom up stairs, and—myself! Great i heavens! could the girl mean me? No. nonsense! I must be mistaken. I smiled ', a sickly smile to reassure myself. Then 1 said, "I don't—that is, you know—l— could not—you would not suspect me of jesting about a—uiu —your sacred feel- I ings." She Seized my hand impulsively , aud pressed it. "They are sacred!" sho cried—"sacred : as the first worship of a pure girl's heart must ever be. Oh, you know, you must i feel how strong and all absorbing is the passion that can change me into a self ; asserting woman! that can make me ; defy prejudice and custom, as you see 1 do, when 1 say that I will give up home ! aud friends—that 1 will face all the i world and tell them boldly, as I now do I you, that from tho bottom of my heart 1 ! love!" She dropped her face into her hands as she spoke the last word, but all the rest she had said with her eye fixed un swervingly upon mine and looking down into my very soul. lam considered by most of my friends to be rather a modest maji. On this particular occasion I must confess that I was rather taken aback and became rather misty in the mind. But there could be no doubt a3 to what the girl meant. Driven to desperation by her forced engagement, feeling the unbearable grasp of a hated fate tight ening on her, sho waa—yes, there was no room for doubt—she was making love to me! For a second the base idea crept into my mind, Revenge! Bettie Blythe, the jilt, the shameless flirt, cannot triumph over me if 1 marry the heiress of "Shady nook" instead of the poor lawyer's daugh ter! For a second I was on the ove of clasping the White 3loc.se in my arms, and blackening my soul with the per jury that I adored her—that I never had loved but her! Thank heaven! it was only for a sec ond, when the unnatural, the frightful want of modesty stood naked in my sight. Much as I had despised the girl before, I actually loathed her now. But to till her so? There was the rub. 1 appeal to any young lawyer who has had an heiress make love to him at mid night if it isn't a little awkward to re fuse her? "Miss Belton." I said at last, looking into the lire, "I make every allowance for your trials—for your unusual excite ment that has driven you to say things to me you may wish unsaid to-morrow" "To-morrow I shall glory in them even moro than now!" '•To-morrow you may regret."' I con tinued, heedless of the interruption, "that you said them to me." "You are the sole man on earth to whom I would ever dream of speaking so!" she broke in hastily; "ro no one elso could I be so immodest to —to" Here she melted into a perfect cataract of tears. 1 don't like tears. They wash all the manhood out of me; they dissolve me as if I were beet root sugar. I began at once to regret the accident that had made the young woman care for me; and, to try and be a little more gentle, I put myself through a strict cross-ex amination as to whether I had over given her any cause to believe I cared for her, any encouragement, any reason. Brut a hastily impaneled jury of conscience, habit and memory acquitted me nem. con. Then, panoplied in the trlplelconsoious ness of right, I turned once more upon the young woman before me. "Miss Belton," I said, with an arctic frigidity iv my tone, "you will permit me to say that I am astonished and" "Astonished! You!" The invariable recurrence of that pro noun and the dreadful emphasis upon it were beginning to wear my patience out. I continued rather hastily; "Astonished, surely; and I may say pained at the—a—the confession of what I cannot but consider a passing—a— caprice." The White Mouse,flashed round at mo. She seemed to expand and dilate in the flickering light, and her lips were com pressed till they seemed very white in the reflection. "May I remincfyou such a suspicion is injurious to my modesty?" she said, cold ly; "but I know in my heart I will prove to you by my whole future that my love is a part of my being—will end only with my life!" Did ever a modest manjneet such per 8 stence? I could net strike that girl and crush her where" she stood. Oh how I longed for a man in her place! for had he been the Benicia Boy I should have pounded him then and there. Morally certain that the white haired young crea ture was dying of love for me, half per suaded that she was going to marry mo then and there by force, what could I say? I stared blankly at her, while a smile of wonderful sweetness stole round her lips, as she murmured, half to herself: "Let the world say what it will; love like mine purines all. We will bo very, very happy." Tender of heart, 1 began to pity the young woman. Laboring under a terri ble hallucination about the future as she was, there was still something almost sublime in the faith she held in the power of her love. Its spell began to work on me. Rapidly I ran over my chances for the future if I fell into her views. I al most began to waver, though half uncon sciously, as I said: "You would be sacrificing everything. Mr. Goodwin's fortune is immense, and" "Goldwin's fortune! I had rather love another with the coat upon his back un paid for than that creature in an emper or's robes." By Venus! she seemed in earnest. There was that in her eye I could not dis believe. But how in the world did she know that my coat was not paid for? That it was a fact did not make it a sub ject to dwell on; aud then it was so deuc edly unsentimental! Still the girl's sin cerity and evident truth so touched ma that it was very meekly I returned to the charge, and then I only set up objections for her to knock down. "But in throwing over Goldwin," I said, more gently, "you do not reflect how you risk your own fortune" "My own fortune! Oh, you have never loved as 1 do, or you would see that could not weigh one grain of sand. My fortune! Can you think me selfish, base enough, to set that track, for one mo ment against one single laok, one single word, of lover" Now that was no doubt very noble, very heroic, but then it was also decid edly indiscreet. It might have done on the stage, but hardly here. I had not a dollar, as she well knew; and yet this inscrutable young female could not only make love to me off hand, but could talk of her fortune whistled down the wind as if it were not ten cents in stamps. "But there is no danger of that," she added, carelessly, "for my aunt could not be angry with me a week. She would forget her disappointment—we should both be equally dear to her." Here was balm in Gilead; for tho an cient Griffin, besides the Grove estate, was reputed "very warm." I looked thoughtfully into tho fire, and the words fell upon my shocked modesty and sore wonderment like soothing balsam. Bail road shares —bank shares—corners in Erie—brown front on the avenue —ail passed in rapid panorama between my eyes and the glowing coals. There wa3 a half relenting in my voice as I said, "Are you very sure of that?" "Very sore. But what of that? He whom I love" —and the girl fixed her eyes full upon mine with never a blink nor a tremor—'die whom I love would value it all as trash." The deuce he would! Thrm 1 little knew myself. But the information just given was sufficient, and I began to see daylight. I actually believe for the last ten minutes I had forgotten the very ex istence of Bettie Blytho. I had not even remembered the little shock to my pride at finding out her duplicity—had lost even my ire at Tom Jones' perfidy. I was doing a little sum in mental arith metic, iv which the White Mouse war* the exponent of an unknown power of farm, manor house and woodland. But I could not restrain my desire to speak at least part of the truth. She was leaning now upon the mantel, her pale forehead resting upon her right hand and her left hanging carelessly 7by her side. I took that left hand in my own, not without a twinge cf conscience. "You and I have long been friends," I said. "We are sympathetic, perhaps, but we hardly know each other well enough yet to speak surely of certain things." She withdrew her hand very gently. " Why not?" she asked. "Because it may bo—that is"—(it was horribly embarrassing to explain)—"are you very sure that you love—a—that you know your own mind?" "As sure as that I live!" She spoke earnestly and absently, but looked straight into tho lire and not at me. "And you do —you think—that is you have—in your own mind you have reason to trust that" "Had I not v certainty beyond trust— beyond reason," she broke in—"l had been false to ray sex to speak to-night to yon." Wonderful power of love! Wonderful confidence of passion! But where in the deuce had I ever given her one reason to believe I cared for herlf Once more the triple jury held a hasty session over me; once more I was tri umphantly acquitted. "Anna," 1 said—very gently now— "perhaps your aunt would not forgive. Would you be willing to sacrifice every thing, to endure poverty even, for tho sake of your love':" The girl only looked at me for answer, but that strange smile nickered unco more around her lips. "And suppose you do another more than justice—suppose your loss of fortune should change feelings you now be lieve" "Never!" she said. "My love is too secure for that." "And would it overrido all obstacles? Would it forgive a recent rivalry aud the love that is even now scarcely driven from tho heart you would make your own?" Anna Belton, tho Whito Mouse, turned short upon me. Something in my words transfigured her. She was a very Py thoness, aud her eyes flashed fire as she drew her slender height up before me. "Silence, sir!" she cried. "Perhaps I am rightly punished for forgetting I was still a maiden who should not speak. When you spoke of money, you merely injured me. To intimate the possibility of a rival is insult! After all I have said to you, after all you know, it is bitter insult, which I will not listen to." And tho young person swept out of the room, utterly ignoring the hand I stretched out to detaiu her. 1 looked stupidly into the fire. And even as I gazed the face that rose before me was not Anna's, but Bettie Blythe's.