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curious patience, so intensely that the gulf be tween us seemed to narrow, and we stood for a little space side by side, as husband and wife should stand—moments in which I did not for get you or the treachery that parted us, Bose, but in which my heart softened strangely to the woman whom I, of all men, had the least right to judge and condemn. And in those moments Abigail always came between us—how, I can hardly tell you—but I know that she did, and I grew to hate her grim hovering presence in the house—to hate her almost as much as she hated me.” “ Why should she hate you, Neal ?” “Why? For two reasons, Rose. She was Jealous of and for Maud—jealous of the aflec tionA that I most surely had neither deserved nordesired, jealousy suspicious, that that affec tion met with no full return. I have seen her watch me with a murderous light in her dark eyes, and have felt, with a thrill of supersti tious terror, that such fiery hatred as hers to me was hardly likely to remain a waste force, that sooner or later she would surely do me come deadly injury. “But she never did injure you,” Rose puts •in gently. She is as much surprised and shocked by her ordinarily self-possessed lover’s nervous agitation, and tries with gentle tact to lead him back from the region of fanciful ter rors to that of solid fact. “ Poor Abigail is un lucky in her look and manner, Neal. In the old days, cross and ugly old women used to get themselves burned as witches; in the present we only suspect them of the worst of crimes.” Neal laughs; he is a little ashamed of that momentary sell-betrayal, and does his best to seem his ©ld easy self as he answers in a lighter tone: “ An ingenious parallel, but I am no Mat thew Hopkins, child I I never found a witch before, and 1 hope with all my heart never to Btumble across another specimen of the tribe.” , Alter that the conversation takes a lighter tone, and Abigail’s name is not again mention ed, but, though, or perhaps because ho so sed ulously tries to forget the grim woman,who has once again risen in his pathway like a spectre of the sorrowful past, the haggard lace, and dull eyes with their leaden malignant glare, are ever in Neal’s sight—they oven come between him and the girl he loves, making him preoccupied, nervous, and altogether unlike himself. For the first two or three days after his arrival In the quiet country place, where every one knows every one else, hp is half afraid to stir out for fear of encountering Abigail. He never passes a tall, shrunken figure in a black dress Without a nervous feeling that the dreaded mo ment has come at last, and he must prepare to encounter his foe, but a whole week goes by, and she makes no sign. He hears that Rose has seen and found her neither more nor less amiable than usual, though she knows that he is here, and so, little by little, his fears subside, and he begins.to think they are the overwrought fancies Rose calls them, to recall his thoughts from the darkly-shadowed past, and let them revel in the future that seems so promising and bright—the future that is to give him the one love of his life and make amends for all pa*st Borrows. > That future is all arranged now. In one month’s time he and Rose are to be quietly mar ried from Mrs. Lindsay’s house ; then they are ' to travel about for six* months, and then settle down somewhere—not at the Grange, Neal thinks, with a little shiver of painful dislike, •but somewhere where they can be happy to gether. It is to be the quietest of weddings—both Neal and Rose are quite determined on that .point; the Nesbitts and the Lindsays count as the only guests, though Minnie, who officiates as chief bridesmaid, of course brings Mr. Mal colm in her train. “ Oh, Rose darling, I am so glad I” that im pulsive young lady cries, when she arrives at the quiet little hotel of the place two or three days before that fixed for the wedding, and, leaving her parents and packages at that primi tive hostelry, comes flying over at once to em- I brace the bride. “It was charming of Mr. iDacre to wait so long, and then to come to you !.at once. We all think him. delightful, and we ball feel sure, after the test that he has been put •to, that you will have the best husband in the world.” I “ Except Mr. Malcolm, of course,” Rose says, smiling, though her eyes are full of glad and ; grateful tears. “ Oh, George!” Minnie tosses her bright |head with a slighting little laugh. “ George is I the best of all good fellows, of course, but then *he is ‘ a steady and stolid every-day young 'man.’ Slocombe has never gone out of its way either to calumniate or canonize him ; there has been no dead set against him, and consequent ly no revulsion of feeling in his favor.” “ And has there been any such feeling in Slo combe for or against Neal ?” Rose asks quietly, but with an emphasis that makes Miss Minnie color a little, and mentally stigmatize herself as an indiscreet and chaptering idiot. “ Oh, no, I was only talking nonsense !” she replies, walking over to the open window and looking uneasily out over the lawn and wide stretch of sparkling sea. “Of course there was some small amount of gossip after poor Maud’s death, and that curious will, and—and that was all, indeed I It was a nine days’ wonder, noth ing more. Are those my two little fellow bridesmaids, Rose?” It is with infinite relief in her tone that she puts the question, with infinite satisfaction she nails the approach of the two girls who come running up the path, and are soon on easy and friendly terms with the lively young lady who has much to say, and who naturally takes such strong interest in the all-absorbing question of the bridesmaids’ dresses. “ It is so nice to talk to any one who under etands,” Kate says complacently, as she leans against the rose-grown window, and surveys her new friend’s perfect traveling dress with frank ly admiring eyes. “Miss Fane says she knows nothing about weddings—and mother has for gotten her Abigail Hunt Oh, Mary, do you remember Abigail’s pleasant Bpeech when I said something about my dress ?” “Yes,” Mary answers with a little shiver. “She said, ‘You had better ask me about shrouds and winding-sheets and grave-clothes, Miss Kato; they are more in my way than wed ding garments,’ and then she muttered some thing to herself that we could not hoar. “Abigail Hunt!” Miss Nesbitt turns with rather a troubled look from the chattering chil dren to her pale and silent friend. “Is that old horror hero still, Rose? Has she not tired of her queer fancy for following you about?” “Apparently not, Minnie.” “ And are not you tired of her lugubrious company ? But I see you are, poor dear !” Min nie says, slipping her arm affectionately round the other girl’s waist, and speaking in a bright consolatory tone. “But there will soon bo an end to her* persecutions, for 1 do not suppose you mean to take her home with you, and let her rule the second Mrs. Neal Dacre as despot ically as she did the first.” Rose shakes her head: but there is less decis ion than her friend would like to see in the ac tion. “ She will be talked over yet, I know she will,” the girl thinks with a touch of scorn for the weakness that forms no part of her own charac ter; “ and, it she is, it she brings that grim death’s head figure to the bridal feast, good-by to all chance of a happy married hie for her. I shall just sound Mr. Dacre, and ventilate my own views on the subject, if I get the chance.” She does get the chance, and does not let it Blip. Neal Dacre walks home with her that night, and in the most natural manner in the world she turns the conversation first upon Rose and her manifold beauties and perfections —a theme the young lover naturally finds of en grossing interest—next upon the future opening bo brightly before them, and then, by a curious ly swift transition, upon Abigail Hunt. “Is it not queer that that cross old woman should follow Rose here, Mr. Dacre ? lam sure I could not bear the infliction of such a depress ing neighbor; but Rose is so weakly good-na tured, so sure to yield to any appeal made to her compassion or her memory of the past, that I should' never be surprised to see Mrs. Hunt permanently established on the staff of hex* new home.” Lightly and carelessly as th© girl seams to prattle on, she is watching Neal with shrewd in tentness all the time, and has the satisfaction of seeing that her words strike home. It is a tan talizing satisfaction, after all, though; for though the young man winces and grows visibly paler in the soft half-light, he does not give the prom ise Minnie has hoped for—the promise that his strength will balance Rose’s weakness and keep Abigail Hunt at;a safe distance from his home. Something, indeed, ho says; but it is so vague and indistinct and unsatisfying that the girl breaks in with an irritable laugh. “ Ob, well, Mr. Dacre, you think me a busy body, I dare say, jnd, no doubt, I am meddling in things that do not concern me. but l am so fond of Rose that I would risk a snub any day to do hex* a real service, even against her will 1 No. do not interrupt, please”—as Neal, with a tightened color in his face, ventures a faint pro test against the objectionable phrase—'* I know you will only snub me in the most courteous fashion, and, as 1 said before, I am prepared to run all risks to spare poor Rose another pang, fche has had much to bear in the last two years, Mr. Dacre.” - “She has indeed,” the man agrees, with a fehort impatient sigh; “ but, with Heaven’s help, I will shield her from all pain in the future. What man can do to make her happy, I will.” “ I am sure of that—sure that she will be hap py, if only ” “ If only whirt?” Minnie pauses, twisting the thick knob of her parasol nervously round, and looking with pleading eyes that seem to bog him to spare her the trouble of further speech; but he does not help her in any way, and by and by, screwing up her courage, she blurts out the end of her request with startling suddenness: “ If only you will keep her apart from the scenes and surroundings of your first married life. Mr. Dacre, you think me mad, or worse; but I must ask you to promise that, whether Rose wishes it or not, you will not have Abigail Hunt in yo«r now home.” ThexM is no anger in Neal Dacre’s handsome face, as the girl half fears there may be when ebe ends her bold appeal; but there is a dark and terrible Miguish that frightens her even more. She makes no attempt to press that ap peal, though it remains unanswered until they roach the gate of the inn—she almost hopes that it will remain unanswered altogether, lor ahe has a vague, uncomfortable feeling that she has, all unconsciously, been meddling with mat ters better lot alone. “ I see my father in the garden !” she cries, hurrying on as the faint scent of a cigar is wait ed to them; but Neal detains her now, saying, a little unsteadily: “ Ono moment, Miss Nesbitt. We cannot part like this, or you will think me indeed a boor and Itfute. With all my heart I thank you for your j generous care for Rose, your brave attempt to serve her; but I cannot give the promise you ask.” “ Cannot ?” Minnie echoes scornfully. “That | is hardly the right word, I think, Mr. Nacre; but ; I will bid you good-night now. Of course, if you ! think Abigail Hunt a safe and pleasant inmate of your home, a suitable companion for your wife- ” “ I think her neither,” Neal interrupts stern ly ; “ and all that I can do to keep her and Rose apart I will; but I cannot forbid hor entrance to my house, and I will not!” “Goodnight, Mr. Dacre,” is Minnie’s only answer ; and she just touches bis hand with the tips of her fingers, and passes in at the gate with a bright flush on her cheeks and her pretty head held very high. Not for worlds would she give way in his presence, or have him guess how ho has mortified and hurt her and shaken her strong faith in him. She has always liked Neal Dacre, and been his faithful advocate and champion when the tide of public opinion set most strongly against him, just after Maud's death, and she is angrily conscious that her loy alty has met with a poor reward. “He cannot send her away!” she cries, gulp ing down the big lump that will rise in her throat and brushing the tears from her eyes. “There are people who, hearing him make that admission, and guessing what Abigail Hunt knows of his first married l.fe, would say he dare not, instead.” And what Minnie Nesbitt says in her girlish petulance Mr. Malcolm echoes with a darker significance, when, by-and-by, she tells him the story. “ Dare not? Yes, that must bo it!” the lawyer agrees, though, lawyer-like, he gives even his adored Minnie no clue to his secret thoughts. “ He cannot like the woman who made his home wretched, and whois ampiy provided for by his first wile’s will, and yet he will not refuse to let her hang about the second. Ergo— he fears her, and the question is, why?” CHAPTER XV. “you gave her the stuff that killed heb.” It is the night before Neal Dacre’s wedding, and the whole party are assembled at the cot tage. Mr. and Mrs. Nesbitt, Mr. Malcolm, Mrs. Lindsay, and the two girls are in the long, nar row, low-ceilinged drawing-room that runs the whole width of the house and opens on to the creeper-grown verandah and wide green lawn. Minnie and Rose alone are missing from the group ; but all there know what is detaining them. “May I not go and see if they are ready, mother ?” Kate breaks in at last. She is in a state of the wildest and most irrepressible ex citement, and has been hovering uneasily be tween the window and door for the last ten minutes. “ They must be ready by now !” “They will coma when they are, my dear; there is nothing to detain them,” Mrs. Lindsay says, with a tranquility that only adds to the daughter’s imp tience. She turns away, shrug ging Her shoulders, and saying in a loud whis per to her meek confidante Mary : “Nothing to detain them I Why, she and Miss Nesbitt will stay chattering all'night—such non sense, and waste of time 1 Ido not see why we should not help to dress her; we are to be bridesmaids too.” But presently, as she catches the sound of light footfalls and the rustle of silken skirts upon the stauis, the volatile young lady forgets her grievance aud, seating herself at the piano, begins to hammer out the triumphal strains of the “ Wedding March,” while Mary, catching something of her lister’s enthusiasm, flings the door open to admit the bride. She stands like a picture in a frame, as lovely a pi lure ns pa'nfor’a brush ever employed itself upon, blushing deeply in the novel splen dor of her bridal robe. Airs. Lindsay's wedding gift, which, to please the generous giver, she has donned to-mght. “Aladame Onvine has done you justice, child,’ Mrs. Lindsay says, alter a long and critical survey, her delicate face lighting up with something of proprietorial pride. “What do you say, Mrs Nosbitt? We shall not have to blush tor our bride to-morrow.” “ I think the dress is perfection,” Mrs. Nes bitt begins, cord ally, and her husband cuts her speech short with the jolly laugh fox* which the squire is renowned. “ That's your womanish way of describing the matter, my dear,” he says, his eyes twink ling kindly and merrily as they rest on the deeply blushing girl. “ I don’t doubt the ‘fal lals’ are all very well in their way; but I should have reserved the epithet of ‘perfection’ for their wearer—oh, Neal?” Neal does not speak, but, looking at his hand some face, rending the passionate gladness there, the squire does not feel that his ques tion is unanswered, and goes tranquilly on: “And it is not only her beauty we admire— she is as good as she looks, and that is more than we can say of every, bride, even among those that are not specially well-favored.” Pausing to chuckle at his own wit, the good man becomes suddenly conscious of a gauefterie as he meets his wile's reproving eyes and goes on less comfortably: “ Well, as you will not give me a chance to all* my eloquence to-morrow, I must say what I think to-night, and that is that, when Neal Da cre walks out of church with his wife on his arm to-morrow, he will have reason to thank Heaven with all his heart, and think himself the Luckiest fellow in all the world.” “As I shall!” Neal cries, in quick, clear tones, that thrill the listeners with their fervor, and are oddly echoed by a shrill, discordant laugh, that comes from the direction of the veranda. All turn, and Minnie Nesbitt gives a piercing, terror stricken shriek as she sees, framed in the open window, Abigail Hunt. For a moment no one speaks. To all the new-comer, with her livid lace, lighted by the glittering eyes, her tall, meagre figure draped' from head to loot in rusty black, seems more like some spectral apparition than a being of flesh and blood; nor even, when they recognize her, are their superstitious fears allayed. That she has come on some evil errand all guess, and Mr. Nesbitt puts his angry thoughts into words. “ What brings you here in this sensational fashion ?” he asks, sternly, wishing with all his heart that he could divert the attention of those dull, malignant eyes from the shining figure in the bridal dress, that Rose herself would slip out of the room—not stand there with wide, di lated eyes, lull of agony. “ Can you not speak, woman, or did yon come here to play the part of ghost, or bogey, and hope to frighten sensi ble people out of their wits ?” Again the old woman laughs, and her eyes shift suddenly from the girl’s tortured face to rest with a look of triumph on Neal’s, which now, through all its deep bronze, is hardly a shade less pale than Rose’s. “Oh, yes, I can speak,” she says, arrogantly, “and speak to some purpose, too! Though I have held my tongue so long, I meant to hold it a little longer ; but there is such a thing as letting vengeance wait too long, and getting the sweet cup dashed from your lips. lam an old woman, and my nerves begin to fail me. I might die before to-morrow; so I shall speak to-night.” Watching intently from his quiet corner, George Malcolm feels his heart sink within him with a dull conviction that his worst fears are confirmed, as he reads the wild terror of Neal Dacre’s eyes and sees how convulsively his sinewy fingers plasp the back of the tall chair by which he staucra. “Speak, then,” Air. Nesbitt puts in roughly, awed by and yet fiercely impatient of the ominous silence that reigns around. “If it pleases you to play tho part of malignant mis chief-maker, I do not suppose we can muzzle you ; but of one thing I am very certain”—and he turns with a kindly, re-ass’uring smile to the young couple at whom tho coming blow is aimed—“ though you may say much to pain and. distress, you can do nothing to injure any one here.” “Very well, I am the more free to speak, then, the woman returns, equably; but, to the amazed horror of all present, or of all per haps, with the exception of George Malcolm, Neal breaks in with a passionate, beseeching cry: “’No, no—for Heaven’s sake, say nothing here and now—this is wanton cruelty ! Spare her, if you have no mercy on me 1” His face is pallid as that of a dead man now, great drops of anguish are standing on his fore head, his stalwart, well-knit frame trembles from head to foot. He is quite unconscious of the sudden horror in the faces of those around, of the quick significant gesture with which they all shrink from him, unconscious of everything but the one great dread that is crushing out his manhood. “ Spare her !” Abigail echoes, with savage and biting emphasis, her dull eyes glowing. “Is that appeal from you likely to move me to pity, Mr. Neal Dacre ? When did you ever spare your wife one pang ? Did not I—who loved her better than my life - have to stand by and see you break her heart?” The ghastly terror in Neal’s face is still there; his hand still quivers in the same convulsive fashion, but the fixed sternness of George Mal colm’s features relaxes a little, and Mr. Nes bitt draws a long breath of relief, and says, abrubtly: “Well, my good woman, if you have only come here to make vague charges against the master who was always a great deal too in dulgent to you, and rake up old stories to make ©very one uncomfortable, I think you had bet ter go.” “No doubt,” the woman returns, with the sullen composure that only deserts her when she is directly addressing Neal. “If I were so ill-armed, Mr. Nesbitt, I should hardly dare at tack a gentleman surrounded by such a faithful body-guard of friends as Mr. Dacre ; but, as it happens, ‘I have another weapon in my cham ber.’ Isn’t that in a play, sir—some play where a man murders his wife ” A cry, broken, pitiful, full of a wordless an guish and horror, breaks from Rose Fane’s white lips. She moves quickly toward Neal; but, as he seems to shrink from her, she pauses and staggers back. Minnie is by her side in a moment, and draws her to a chair, frantically whispering the comfort that is anywhere but in her own sore heart or troubled thoughts. “Neal, for pity’s sake, end this shocking scene,” Air. Nesbitt says sternly. “To you it seems to have some meaning, to us it is a tragic farce. Either the woman has or has not some definite charge to bring. Alake her speak, or— hold her tongue. ” Neal lifts his blanched and haggard face at that appeal, and even those in whose minds a vaguely horrible suspicion is fast taking dehnite shape pity him then. “ She has something to say, s : r—something very shockin- and terrible, something that i hoped you m gl.-i never know. As she has NEW YORK DISPATCH,' FEBRUARY 21, 1886. said so much’’—lie pauses, draws a heavy breath, casts one long lookVM lo vo a, 'd anguish inexpressible at the bowdM golden head that rests on Alinnie Nesbitt’s lap, tho crushed crouching figure in the shining bridal-drcss, then goes on with a- reckless, desperate haste— “ she had better finish the story, had bettor toll yon all.” “Abigail Hunt laughs again, rubbing her skinny hands together with ferocious glee as harshly— “ Nobly spoken—quite like the hero of a play —isn’t it, ladies and gentlemen ?—the hero of that play wo wero talking about just now—the black gen Homan who killed his poor wife? Miss Aland took me once to see that play in London, and, as I wasn’t used to theatres, it made a great impression on my mind. Itcomos in use r ui now, and helps me to tell my story, though, after all, the cases are not much alike, for Othello loved his wife, if ho did smother her with a pillow, and afterward had the courage to avow his crime.” Again she pauses, gloating over tho anguish of her victim, as a cat prolongs and amuses it self with the futile straggles of a mouse ; but Air. Nosbitt cuts the tigerish pleasure short., “Spor.k plain English, woman!” he cries, wiping the great drops of perspiration from his broad genial face, and vainly trying to control his voice to a steady sternness. “ Do you accuse Air. Dacre of—murdering his wife ?” There is a pause, during which ever? eye rests with an aw'ul fascination on the woman who stands rigid and motionloss as a grim inex orable Fate. At last her gray lips part, but they do not answer the question ; they simply turn it over to Noal. “Ask Mr. Dacre if his wife died a natural death—ask him what her last words wero ?” “Dacre—for Heaven’s sake speak!” the Squire cries. “ Are you mad, man ? Do you not see the horrible position in which you stand if you leave this charge unanswered ? Do you tfidan ns to think good Hoavon, that I should ask you such a oueatfon !—de you mean us to think you a murderer?” “No -no, not that!” Neal ejaculates wildly. ‘•I sometimes think that her death lies at my door.” “ You sometimes thiuk !” Abigail echoes, with passionate acorn ; then she turns from him and goes on rapidly, “I have been silent too long ; it is time to make my definite charge. Mrs. Dacre died, not as the doctors charitably led tho world to believe, from heart disease - not, as they thought themselves, from an over-dose of the ch-foral with which she deadened her constant pain—but from. 3 swifter and more potent poison administe'rbd by her husband’s hand.” “ No, no I” Rose reuses from hor trance of terror to throbbing tortured life ; she breaks from Minnie Nesbitt’s cfoso clasp now, and takes her stand by Neal Dacre’s side, clasps his cold, shaking hand in hers, aud faces the horror-stricken group with a passionate fire of emotion in her wide gray eyes. The charge she has heard is so mon strous, so horrible, that to her indignant fancy it seems to defeat itself. How can they look in Neal’s brave, frank face, spid think him a secret poisoner? To her alone that face seems still unchanged, to her alone the man’s inexplica ble silence has brought not even suspicion, far less a cruel, crushing conviction. “ No, no,” she cries, her voice ringing clear and bell-like in its passionate appeal. “ You must not listen to—you must not believe her - she is mad. Noal, tell them how shamefully this woman lies. Tell them how Aland died.” She places one hand upon his breast, and looks with a lovely fullness of unshaken faith up into his face. Excitement has given back the warm tints that fear had banished, her eyes shine like stars between their dark curled lashes, her red lips are apart, and near—so near his own. He draws hor to him, kisses her passionately twice or thrico, then pushes her almost rudely away, and says, with a depairing groan: “It is our farewell, Roso. You will shrink rom mo when you know all; and you would have been my wife to-morrow !” Then he turns to Air. Nesbitt, and says, almost calmly: “The woman speaks the truth, sir; the only wonder is that she has been silent so long. Aly wife died, as she says, by poison ; and I ” “ You poisoned her !” Rose echoes, with an accent of indescribable incrudulity. “You murdered tho woman who loved and trusted you ! I will not believe it, Neal—no, not from your own lips, far less from those of any other witness ; you are the victim of some horrible delusion or mistake—you never meant to mur der her.” “ Aleant!” Neal lifts his heavv head, his dim eyes wander with a questioning look round the room, and read in all tho faces there a shocked suspicion, a terror-stricken disgust. The sight seems to strike him like a blow, his face flushes scarlet, he staggers back and passes his hand rapidly across his eyes. “Meant!” he repeats half stupidly. “Do they think I meant to murder her ? Oh, this is worse than all !”> Thon, turning to Abigail, who still stands stolidly silent, he adds with feverish imperativeness—“ Woman, tell the whole truth now ; bad as it is, it will bear no comparison with this—tell them what from me they might not credit now—that your mistress’s death was hex’ sin, not mine—Heaven knows, no wilful sin of mine!” Abigail lifts her heavy eyes, and looks long and steadily into the passionate ones that con front her. The sweetest moment of her life has come, the moment in which she can pay back, pang for pang, in heaped and overflowing meas ure, every pain and wrong her dear dead mis tress had endured. She has waited for it with a grim and terrible patience ; but it was worth waiting for. Oh, how gladly would she prolong it now ! But already Neal’s question has been sharply echoed on either side ; she must speak and break the spell. Her lips part in an evil smile, as she answers slowly, and with delib erate, careful emphasis— “ Why should I slander her to save you, Mr. Dacre ? I only know that you quarrelled fierce ly a few hours before her death, and that you gave her the stuff that killed her.” “Yon know no more than that?” Neal quer ies—not passionately, not with such strong feeling of any kind as would surely in the cir cumstances have been natural, but in a dull stupid fashion, with his hand pressed to his head, as though he was struggling desperately to recall the incidents of some forgotten dream. “ Yes, one thing more,” the woman answers grimly—“ the words she scrawled in her dying agony, we found them on her lap, Mr. Dacre— perhaps you have them still—if not I can quote them for you. ‘lt is all I asked, Neal—death, near you, though I did not think it would be death at your hands. But I was m the way ; I could never make you happy ; let me die !’ ” “‘ I was in the way ; I could never make you happy ; let me die !’ ” Neal repeats heavily, and without any show of emotion in look or tone ; then he moves a step or two toward the middle of the room, and quite suddenly, without cry er warning of any kind, falls with a dull crash ing sound to the floor. * * * # * * An hour later, Minnie Nesbitt, crying her pretty eyes out in a passion of sympathetic greif and nervous anxiety, pushes her lover’s arm away, and petulantly refuses to listen to his murmured consolations. “ No ; you do not care, George ; you did your duty and ran yourself out of breath to fetch a doctor ; but you would have done the same for the worst of men. It is treason to Rose and poor Mr. Dacre to talk or listen to those who believe him gailty on the word of that wicked old hag, who ought to be hanged or burned as a witch.” “ Did I help to spread her calumnies, Min nies?” “No, but you believe them ! You always did suspect him a little, George !” “ Yes,” George Malcolm agrees thoughtfully. “I always had an uncomfortable idea that there was something kept back about Mrs. Dacre’s death, and at times that idea almost grew into a suspicion of hex’ husband. Now— “ Now,” Minnie echoes, with a resentful flush, “you think how wise you were to see where we were all blind. Now, you are sure of his guilt ?” “ Wrong, my logical little love !” the young man says, smiling faintly. “Hearing all the evidence against him, I am lor the first time sure of Neal Dacre’s innocence to-day.” CHAPTER XVI. “ MAKE THEM SEE HOW INNOCENT YOU ABE.” Contrary to the frightened expectation of those who saw him fall, Neal Dacre does not die—nay, after the first few hours, during which the doc tor regards him very gravely, he is not even ill. At least, he says he is not; and, though his haggard face and feverishly-glittering eyes rather belie the assertion, he makes ,it with an energy that no one can gainsay. With the same fierce determination he insists on an immediate interview with Air. Nesbitt, who, horror-stricken and utterly bewildered, afraid to sift his own thoughts ana say even to himself what he really does believe, would lain defer indefinitely what must needs be a pain fully trying scene. “ He can hardly be himself, can hardly have collected his thoughts yet, or be sure of what he is saying,” he says, when Mrs. Nesbitt gent ly insists on the accused man’s right to be heard ; “ there is no such hurry, for, after after what passed last night, he can hardly be mad enough to think the wedding will take place to-day.” •‘No, there can be no wedding,” the woman answers, with a little shiver ; “ but there is no time to spare—matters cannot rest here.” “ By George, no !” the Squire cries, clenching his fists and pacing the room in strong agita tion. “The present is bad enough ; but I grow as faint and shaky as a frightened girl when I think of lasing what is to come. Ido not know that I was ever over-fond of poor Maud ; but to think of her dying such a death as that, poi soned like a rat in a 'hole, and by the man she loved so madly—why, my blood boils ! I fairly lose my senses!” “Do not dwell upon such sad fancies, dear, and, above all, do not let your pity for Maud make you unjust to Neal Dacre. You have, against your own knowledge of his honest up right character, your own strong liking for him, only the word of— of—a fierce, strange creature, whom most persons would bo inclined to think a malignant madwoman.” “Oh, no ; if it were only that—but you forget the half-coafession of his words, the whole con fession of his manner, the fashion in which the scene ended! Would any man conscious of perfect innocence meet such a charge as that by fakxting like a girl? By George, if any man ac cused me ” The Squire breaks ofl abruptly, growing very red in the face, and shaking his Tlrst and breathing hard, in vague defiance of a snspiclQaa world. “ If any one brought such a charge against yon, yon would long for a chance to clear your seii, for a lair if not a friendly hearing, as ; ardently as Noal Dacre longs for it. Now | go, dear, and hear his story, for he has a story to toll. I admit that bis manner last night was painfully str mge, but it will tak«e much strong er evidence than that to make mo behove him gailty oi a cruel crime.” And, thus ad ured, Air. Nosbitt goes, finding to his groat relief that George Malcolm is not only ready to accompany ivm, but anxious to take part 1:1 the momentous interview. “ George is so clear-headed a id clever, pa pa,' Alinnio whis-pers in his ear, as the two men set out in the fresh aweetnpss of the early dawn for Airs. Lindsay's cottage; “ he will see what is best to be said and done at on e It will bo perfectly useless for even the cleverest schemer to try to hoodwink him.” Air. Nes.iitt does not wish to damp his daugh ter’s hopes; but ho himself is far from sharing hor perfect fait lin Neal’s inno ’ence. He has a vague idea that Mr. Malcolm has not hitherto regarded tho bridegroom with any special fa vor, and ho thinks dismally that it is quite pos sible, in making this quick witted expert a sharer in Neal’s confidence, he may bo merely setting a detective on tbo doomed criminal’s track. However, be comforts himself with the re flection that, whatever happens, he is acting only as the blind agent ot an inevitable fate; he has nut arranged ihinga—they h ive arranged themselves, and must work to their predeter mined end. They find Noal in the room to which ho was taken over night, and to which the doctor’s or der s:ill confines him, ghastly palo, and looking even paler for tho bandage on his head, whore i:e had cut it severely in his fall. Ho l ows grave'y, as a criminal entering court might bow to his judges, as the young ba:ri >t: r thinks, u Ith a quick professional sim ile, but makes no attempt at any friendlier greeting, a recognition o' his position as an ac cused man which Mr. Nesbitt seems to acqui esce in by returning tlie bow with awkward stiffness; but, not a little to his elder compan ions surprise, George Afalcolm walks straight acroas the r 6m, and, holding out his hand in a frank, friendly fashion, says, cordially: “I am glad to see you so mu h better, Dacre. You m inaged to g ve us all a fine fright last night.” Neal Daoro’s sensitive face quivers painfully for a moment, and tho blood mounts swiftly to the roots of bis clo<e-cut, crisply waving hair. He ; draws a long brea h, and says in a hurried whisper, as he returns the close hand-pressure with a vise-like clasp: “Thank you. I can say no more than that.” “And so much is not ne cssary,” the young man answers, brightly. “Am I not sworn to serve the cause of truth and justice, Da re, and conse ;uently bound to serve you?” “Then y<-u believe that I —” Neal pauses, looking with a painful intensity of questioning at the keen, bright face. “That you are altogether innocent of the crime laid to your charge? Ido?” is the em phatic answer, which makes Noal turn his head abruptly aside to hide the tears of gratitude and joy that rush blindingly io his eyes. “ But my boliel will not clear you, Dacre,” the barrister goes on. “If lam to fight your battle, you must put weapons into my hand. Last night you did your best to arm the enemy.” “You moan ■” “ I mean that, by your evident dread of what the woman had to say, your weak outbreak of what sounded like remorse and regret, yon g«ve a certain coherence and apparent reality to what would otherwise have seemed a night mare of horror. Cred n lon a and suspicious people he glances meaningly at Air. Nesbitt, who, with knitted brows and troubled eyes, is storing vaguely through the open window — “ might be led to think that you had pleaded guilty. Now lam neither credulous nor suspi cious, but I think ” “You think?” Neal echoes, drawing up his head with a half-defiant gesture. “ I think that you owe it to yourself and to others—above all to Alias Fane—to explain your self fully and at once.” The speech ends rather awkwardly, and for once the self-possessed young barrister is con scious of a little embarrassment, tor Rose Fane enters the room while he is speaking, and stands quietly listening to his appeal. She too is very pale, and her eyes have the strained look, the dark violet rings that tell of sleeplessness and tears repressed, but she is even more composed than her lover, and, as she turns to him, after a grave greeting to the others, her wan lace even brightens with a pa thetically deprecating smile. “ Mrs. Linday thought 1 might come, Neal. It is my right, dear, to hear all—to share all your pain now.” She goes nearer to him, and Blips one hand within his arm. Mr. Nesbitt looks at the young pair, so true and so tragically tried, suffering such torture now, and threatened with even worse in the dark days to come, and, looking, ho forgets his suspicion, and only thinks of sparing the brave girl present pain. “Send her away, Neal; she has had enough to bear,” ho urges. •‘ Rose, will you go ?” Neal asks. “ I warn you that what I have to say will shock and pain you, will make you turn from me perhaps !” “Never!” the girl says proudly and firmly, looking not at her lover, but at George Mal colm and Air. Nesbitt, in whom she seems to see her lover’s advocate and judge. “Do not thiuk of me, Neal; speak as though I were not here; tell them all, and make them see how in nocent you are.” Her lull conviction of his power to do this thrills Neal Dacre with a passionate joy, but he does not thank her even with a look, does not touch the little hand so near his own; he sim ply draws forward a chair, with grave courtesy, then, turning to the two men, says quietly: “ 1 will try to explain the words that natural ly misled you, but the story is a long and, to me, an intensely painful one; I hardly know how to tell it—how to begin ” “ We know your marriage was not a happy one—no need to dwell upon that,” Air. Nesbitt puts in bluntly. “Tell us how it ended. Tell us what happened after Minnie and I left the Grange en the night of your wife’s death.” Looking at the pale girl, seated by the table now, with both hands tightly locked upon a book, Mr. Malcolm sees hex* set lips quiver and partly divines hex’ thoughts. How often—oh, how often she has pondered the events of that terrible evening, and tried in her aching fancy $0 piece together the story that Minnie perforce left incomplete! “What happened?” Neal repeats drearily. “That which had happened a dozen, twenty times before, Mr. Nesbitt—a painful scene of rage and jealousy, and at last—yes, I must own it to my shame—of bitter recrimination; some thing your daughter said, some careless inno cent allusion to that past upon which we neither of us dared to dwell, had roused Maud’s pas sionate jealousy, and no sooner were you gone than she turned upon me with savage taunts and insinuations, that drove me to fury. I had been patient with her until then, sir—Heaven knows I had 1 A hundred reasons combined to quell my naturally hot temper, and made me gentle with the frail suffering creature, who would implore my pardon and confess the wrong she had done with abject penitence when ever the paroxysm of rage was past; the grati tude I owed her, the sight of her constant, pa tiently-borne pain, the knowledge of the frail tenure on which her life was held; all these things were ever present in my mind, and served to restrain me when harsh and impa tient thoughts sprang to my lips in sharp and stinging words; hitherto, in spite of all, I had been master of myself. But then ” He pauses, shuddering violently, and for a moment the silence is broken only by his long drawn labored breathing; then, with a strong effort, he goes on: “ That night I was ill, tired, weary of the vain effort to cry peace where peace was not. That night the chained demon in me broke loose, trampling down reason and self-respect, and the strong wifi that had hitherto kept my worst passions in check. I turned upon her with sav age cruelty, giving back taunt for taunt, insult for insult, quelling her with my mightier pas sion and more merciless tongue. I must have been possessed by a demon then, for, though I saw hex’ lace grow whiter and whiter, her eyes dilate and darken, though I saw her poor frail hand steal with the old betraying gesture to her loudly-throbbing heart, and the dreadful blue gray hue, the last danger-signal of which the doctor had warned us, creeping about her livid lips, I did not spars her even then.” “ Neal—oh, Neal 1” The cry breaks from Rose against her will, the tears are coursing thick and fast down her pale cheeks. Neal gives her one quick entreat ing glance, then continues: “ Not even then. Oh, Heaven, how that pale drawn face has haunted me since,in my dreams and waking fancies I Do you wonder at my re morse when 1 recall it—do you wonder at my wild words ot self-accusal ? At times I have felt the red-hot brand of Cain burned in my brow, and felt in very truth a murderer. No; wait 1” He lifts his hand with an entreating gesture as Mr. Nesbitt is about to speak. “Judge me, condemn me, say what you will to me by-and-by, bu-t first hear my story to the end. To save my neck from the hangman, I think I could hardly tell it twice. “ Maud suddenly cut me short with a wild cry, piteous, though there was more of rage than pain in its sharp ring. “‘ At last—l know the truth at last I” she panted, clutching in her desperate weakness at the back of a chair, yet facing me with a fierce defiance still. ‘ You have thrown off the mask, the pretence of gentleness and forbearance that you have worn so long. You bate and loathe me, and the love you never sought. You long for my death, for the breaking of the chains that gall and fetter you. Very well, sir, truth is worth buying even at such a price.’ “ She paused, staggering a little, and I thought I saw a dimness come over her eyes; then, in a sudden flash of reason, I seemed to realize and sicken at my own horrible insensate cruelty, the storm-burst of brute rage that had perhaps imperilled her life. “ ‘ Maud, forgive me—l was mad—l did not moan one-tenth oi what I said 1’ I cried, as I sprang toward her, but, with a cry of rage and terror that still echoes horribly in my ears, she shrank back, and, when I tried to touch her, she pushed my baud savagely away. “‘No, never again!’ she said, wildly. ‘I know now the horror, the effort—all that it costs you to endure my presence. Well, you will be free, sir, soon, almost as soon as you can wish, and then ’ “The words died on her lips ; I felt myself pushed rudely away, and then 1 saw Maud half lying on the ground, half resting in Abigail Hunt’s arms. “ I was so alarmed that I forgot the awkward ness of my own position and tho woman’s uncon- , coaled dislike and thinly-vailed insolence to me. I I bent across her and tried to take Maud’s cold, trembling hand in mine, to speak some words of conciliation, but she shrank from me and hid hor poor livid face on Abigail’s breast, crying, with that helpless accent of terror that was the cruellest of reproaches to me : “ ‘ Take mo away, Abigail—l am safe with you !’ “ ‘ You hear, sir,’ tho woman said, as she jerked her head, over her shoulder, and I thought her ordinarily dull eyes sparkled with a feverish malignitv of triumph —‘ you hear ? My poor mistress will have a chance at least to recover if you leave her to me.’ “I had no choice but to accept tho insolent dismissal, and I went, mentally anathematizing the ill-luck that had sent Abigail on tho scene at that inopportune moment; but for her I would have appealed to Aland’s generosity, to her real love lor me ; I would have forced her at least to listen, and, in some fashion, I did not doubt that wo should have patched up a peace. As it was, my heart sickened within mo with a dull sense of impotent misery, for I knew that all tho influonce’of the servant, who swayed al most a mother’s authority, would bo used to widen tho breach between mo and my unhappy wile. “ ‘ I ohall not even bo allowed to seo her,’ I thought, with a dreary bitterness, for the situa tion was not only painful, but humiliating in the extreme. I imagined the servants amusing themselves at my expense, pitying tho master who was so mere a cipher in tixo house he was supposed to rule. “ Hours crept drearily away, while I sat on, absorbed in painful thought. I was just think ing it was time I retired to rest, when, to my amazement, the door opened, and Abigail Hunt came into the room. “She looked so livid and horrible in an old gray drossing-gown, with the light of tho lamp she carried falling fully upon hor face, that I might havo been excused for taking her for some spectral visitor. I could not havo shrunk from hor with more instinctive terror or intense dislike had she been indeed a ghost. “She saw and understood my backward movement 1 know, for her rugged brows drew together above tho glittering eyes, and tho grim lips tightened, but she said, with a mook civility that almost took my breath away : “ ‘ Would you please to come to my mistress, sir ? She wishes to see you before she sleeps ?’ “ Aly heart leaped at tho words ; I felt as though a heavy burden of remorse wero lifted from my soul. At that moment I regretted nothing, not even mv ill-omened marriage, not oven you, Bose. Sitting there, horribly haunted by Aland's death-like face, I had felt myself an unpardoned murderer. Now, so intense, so im measurable was the relief the message brought mo, I could almost havo fallen at tho feet of tho grim messenger. “ ‘ Of course I will come,’ I answered eagerly. ‘ Is your mistross better, Abigail, and free from pain ?’ “ Wo had traversed the corridor aud reached tho door of Maud’s room as I put the question. Never shall I forget tho look that seemed to transform Abigail Hunt’s grim face in some strange fashion as she turned, with what was surely a commonplaco and reassuring answer : “‘She is better now, sir—much hotter, and she will soon be freo from pain I’ (To be Continued.) THE LiTTLFsCHbOLMA’AM. A STORY OF PLUCK AND ADVEN TURE. “Speakin’ of the rural regions,” said an old chap at tho end of a bar, who had trouble in raising a glass ot beer to his mouth with his right arm, “I might bo indooced to relate a leetle adventure which happened to mo in Lnji any last Summer.” Ho was earnestly advised to free his con science of its burdens, and he continued : “ Well, I had been bangin’around Indianapo lis for several weeks, and finally tho Police Judge advised mo to leave town. I never argy with a Police Judge. When they come right down to fatherly advico I accept’it and git. I lott the town inside ot two hours, and it didn't take me over throe hours to reach a mile post ten miles away. About tour o’clock in the afternoon, as I was restin’ beside the high wav, a schoolma’am passed. She was a chipper leetle body, weighin’ about ninety pounds, and white faced, and when I sort o' riz up to ax her it she didn’t have a bit to eat in hex* basket, she uttered womanish yelp and started off on a dead run. I didn’t have ou iny swaller-tail coat and stand in’ collar on that day, and I guess she took me fur a tramp. “Now, gents, when a feller is ragged, hun gry and out o’ rhino, what does ho do? He makes a break, in course. I walks along fur about a mile, and when I comes to a farm house with a look of comfort about it, I stops in and asks if a poor man, who has lost his hull family in the groat Chicago fire, can git a bite to eat to brace him up as he journeys toward tho settin’ sun. The motherly old soul of a farmer’s wife would hev set out a squar’ meal fur me, but that leetle schoolma’am was there to prevent. I heard ’em whisperin’ together in the next room, and by and by the old lady came back and give me the bounce. A tramp as has belonged to the purfesh fur fifteen years hadn’t orter fire up over sich a trifle as that, but it hit me like a blow below tho belt, and I determined on re venge. “I went into the orchard and stole some apples, and then lai-d around to watch. I found out afore dark that the farmer was an old man, and that there was only three of ’em in the house. Long ’nuff ’fore the lights wore out I had arranged wrth myself to break in. There was a chance of plunder, and I intended to scare that leetle schoolma’am out of a year’s growth. I don’t say as I .would hev laid hands on her, but that very thing might hev happened, you know. “ Well, about half an hour afore midnight I begins operations by creepin’ up to the back door. It was shut, but; not locked, and I crept in, struck a light, and found my way to the pan try. There was cold meat, pumpkim pie and bread and butter, and it took me a good half hour to fill up. I might hev gone out then, but 1 wanted sunthin’ else. There was nobody sleepin’ down stairs, and after pocketin’ a watch I crept up stairs into the old folks’ bedroom. They was sleepin’ as sound as you please, and the moon shinin’in furnished all the light need, ed. I went through a bureau and got a wallet, and was searchin’ the old man’s pants, when I heard a step at the door and a voice cried out : ‘ Surrender or I’ll shoot 1” It was that leetle schoolma’am. She stood in the door in her night dress, a revolver pointed full at me, and I could see her eyes blaze. I made a rush to seize her, when ‘ crack ! crack !’ went the revolver, and one bullet struck me in the right shoulder and another in the side. I went down as if shot through the head, and up jumps the old man and piles on to me like a ton of brick. The little scheolma’am went down stairs after a rope, and then helped tie mo hand and foot. More’n that, she kept guard over me while the old man rode off for an officer, and every time I fetched a groan she Lad that revol ver ready to shoot. “In conclusion, gents, permit me to remark that the Court give me five years fur that little affair, while the plucky leetlo schoolma’am re ceived a public purse of S2OO. Sometimes I’ve felt.asif it was my dooty to hunt her up and marry her. ’ LODGE BUSINESS. THE MYSTIC CEREMONIES DIS- CUSSED. (Jhwi Texas Siftings.) Airs. Yerger.—“ You have no idea how much trouble I have with my old man. I didn’t think it was possible for him to get any sillier than be was already, but I was mistaken.” “ What is he up to now ?” “He is always up to some new foolishness. He is just running the lodge business into the gieund. I would like to know all that goes on in these lodge rooms.” “I would, too. Judge Peterby comes home every night about one o’clock smelling.of whisky and beer, and when I aek him what sort of smell it is, he has the impudence to tell me it is incense, which they use in their mystic cere monies.” “I’ve noticed the same smell about Colonel Yerger. He, too, said it was incense, and that the effect it had on me proved it was incense, because I became incensed as soon as I smelled it We poor women never find out any lodge secrets, for even if a man is ever so talkative, when he comes home from the lodge he is not in a condition to talk. I don’t know what Colonel Yerger has been doing to deserve it, but they have made him a Grand Sachem.” “ What in the world is that.?” “ I don’t know. That’s some new order he has joined. He already belongs to the Order of the Vailed Nightcaps;'and the Order of Idi otic Red Muffs, and three or more Ku-Klux gangs.” “ How did you find out that ho is a Grand Sachem ? Does he talk in his sleep ?” “ No. Day before yesterday was his birth day. Just as we were getting up from the sup per-table there came two knocks at the door, and a deep, grave-like voice said, ‘ Is the Grand Sachem in his wigwam ?’ Col. Yerger opened the door, and there was Gus de Smith, Kosci usko Murphy, Mose Schaumberg, Gilhooley, Hostetter McGinnis, old Judge Pennybunker and a lot of those reprobates. They came into the room in Indian file, and said: ‘ls our red sister well T 3 Just think of it.” “ I’d have scalped them with a fire shovel,” said Mrs. Peterby. “ Then Gillholy struck an attitude, and said: • Alost Noble Grand Sachem, this is thy birth day, and thy red brethren, the noble red braves now present in this wigwam, in consequence of the high esteem they have for their noble broth er, and his great services to the lodge, do here by present thee, noble savage, with this gold headed walking cane. Lean on it most worthy son of the forest, on thy stroll in the direction ot the happy hunting grounds behind the set ting sun.” “Do you allow such proceedings in your house, Airs. Yerger? Why,l would have scald ed them. I d have exterminated them.” “ I couldn’t help it. Colonel Yerger was very much moved. He said it was the happiest mo ment of his life, but.that his heart was too full for utterance,- and turning to me, he had the impudence to say, handing mo a quarter: ‘ Here, noble squaw, take this string of wam pum, go to the corner grocery with the tin growler and bring some beer, that I may make merry with my red brethren of the forest. Be seated, braves.’ ” “I would have mopped the floor with him.” “And for a week afterward ho put ou lots of airs. When I wanted him to walk up and down with the baby, he said it was not the business of a warrior to carry the papoose around. For a whole week, Mrs. Peterby, that wretched man talked dime novel to me until I threatened to invito mother to come and stay with us. That took the nonsense out of the Grand Sachem.” “ What silly fools these mon are.” “ Well, ain’t they ?” LIFE IN A SHOOTING BOX. a picnic undelLpioturesque CIRCUMSTANCES. (Jh>m the Cleveland Leader.) Next to his home and rights the Englishman holds dearest his dog and gun. The national fondness for hunting and shooting has become proverbial. Dynamite plots may threaten the throne; the Egyptian question may rear its grim and sphinx-like front in the halls of West minster ; the abolition of the lords may be im minent, but none of these, not even the awful and omnipresent '‘Deceased Wile’s Sisters’ Bill,” can ever keep in town the fortunate Briton who owns a shooting box, or who has a friend who owns a shooting box. Do not allow your imagination to picture this euphoniously named residence, situated among the hills, as a tiny box, 4xß, in which the patient huntsman sits waiting for the whirr of partridge wings. Imagine instead an artistic, modern dwelling, with nineteenth century improvements, or possibly an old farmhouse, with bay windows and wings added, cosily furnished, and look ing like a toil-worn old la ly in silk and velvet. It was my good fortune one summer to spend a few weeks in a Highland shooting box of the latter description. The rambling old stone house in which wo stayed stood in a narrow, green valley, which lay between two heathery hills. In front of the house rippled over the pebbles and moss, one of those clear little “burns,” for which Scotland is noted, with here and there deeper depths in which the fish play with as much delight as do the “bairns” in its shallows. But to come back to the shooting box. In its rear stands a row of small unpainted rooms, which are occupied as sleeping’apartments by the “gillies” and male servants of the estab lishment, The host, a wealthy member of Par liament, has invited seveiwl friends to accom pany him, so there is a congenial and merry party of five or six gentlemen, four ladies and several half-grown children. When the days are fine, as they usually are during August and September, the gentlemen immediately after breakfast, star tfor the moors, accompanied by the “ gillies, ’ whose task it is to carry the game-bags and “ start up ” the game. The ladies spend the forenoon in writ ing letters, sketching, reading, or sewing. Gen erally, the gentlemen return at noon, but fre quently the ladies and children, in simple flan nel dresses and thick shoes, walk out to meet thorn in some picturesque spot, and there have a picnic, which would oe perfect were it not for the accompaniments in swallow-tailed coats and white cravats, known as butler and footman. These solemnly stalk around the festal damask, and are as agreeable as the “ death’s head ” at an Egyptian feast. After lunch the party spend the a r ternoon in telling stories, chatting, talking politics, etc., until the pony phfetons arrive to take them driving. About 5 o’clock they reach home and find that it is time to dress for 6 o'clock dinner. This is the event of the day. Here and only here does the British matron of good taste, while in the mountains or at the seashore, dis play her silks and jewelry. To wear for morn ing shopping, or on the street, bracelets, nock laces, and showy watch chains is considered outre, and stamps the wearer as a shoddy person. But, at home or abroad, an evening dinner party allows th© fullest liberty in thia respect. After the dinner, which commonly lasts about an hour and a half, the ladies withdraw to the drawing-room, while the gentlemen, after drinking their wine, follow them. Then come music, reading and conversation until nine, at which time the butler and footman appear, bearing trays with tiny cups ©i tea and coffee and sweet crackers. About 10 o’clock the host rings tor candles, and the company disperse for the night. Occasionally an evening is given to private theatricals or to a literary entertain ment gotten up by the children. One fourteen year-old dameel recited without mistake “ The Lady of the Lake,” and received for it sls. The gentlemen would offer the children prizes for the best essay, and the competition was both keen and amusing. Yet even more interesting than this upper stratum and its doings was that of the lower. Here opportunity offered itself to study two distinct types of Scottish character; the one, smooth, oily, servile, and inquisitive; the other, strong, intelligent, independent, reserved, and full of self-respect. The first was represented in “auld Jennet,” who “tuk care o’ the big boose when the gentry was awa.” Jennet in her “linsey goon,” white match, and apron, would make believe that she had but one aim in life, and that was to serve her employers, but a close observer who noticed the keen gray eyes and vain attempt to look genuine, the simper which was meant for a smile, and the ever flat tering word to her employers said to himself, “That’s a selfish, deceitful auld body,” and so it proved. We gladly turn, however, to number two, the most common type in Scotland. The embodi ment of this class was seen in a gillie and his sister, who lived in a three-roomed cottage near by. This gillie, a kind of shepherd and general factotum, took charge of the stock and out buidings during his employer’s absence. He was a tall, broad-shouldered Scotchman, and in kilt and plaid, with frank, blue eyes and tawny beard, looked every inch a Highland chieftain.. His sister, resembling him much, could almost match his six feet two. Their re serve and lack of demonstration wore a con stant puzzle to me. I happened to be in the room when their brother, a theological student and the pride of the family, came home from Aberdeen. His sister had not seen him for a year, and instead of rushing into his arms and welcoming him with kisses, she reached out her hand, and giving him a vigorous shake, said, “How’s a’ wi’ ye?” I knew that her love for and pride in his were limitless, yet both would have blushed and been half ashamed had either one offered any oscular demonstration. IN TEXAS. ~ SOME MEN THAT ARE THERE AND WHY THEY WEN T. (From the Chicago National Weekly.) “ I say,, gentlemen,” said the man from Chi cago to the crowd in the bar-room of a Texas hotel, as they sat huddled around the stove, “it is wonderful how many mistakes are being made every minute.” “ Yes, that’s so,” asserted the Maine man, as he kicked the dog from under the stove, “and some terribly awkward ones have I made my self.” “ Voted for Blaine, I expect?” “ Oh, leave off on Blaine. Let bygones be by gones. Anyway, this is not a ward caucus or a prohibition meeting,” returned the Maine man, and the missionary in the corner by the water tank coincided with his views as be heard the chink of glasses and inhaled the odor that could exhume from nothing but the genuine “ Bour bon, ’68.” “ One of the biggest mistakes I ever made in my life was one time in Lexington,” said the man from the Blue Grass region, taking a fresh chew of tobacco. “ Let’s hear of it.” “Well, lam ashamed to own it, but lam afraid I will have to. 1 was correspondent to the Enquirer at the time, and was well known and looked upon in the higher circles, and of course, being a bachelor, I was quite a favorite with the girls. The one that took my heart was a Cincinnati girl—not that the Lexington girls are not as pretty and sweet and all that, but the Cincinnati girl was rich—yes, even to six figures —so I concluded she was the girl lor me. Asked her. Everything agreeable. Asked old man. He said: “ You may have her, my dear boy, under one consideration. That is, take pledge. Take her, and may God bless you.” “ Didn't take the pledge, eh?” ventured the Maine man, thinking that he had discovered the root of the fatal mistake. “Didn’t take the pledge? Why, pardner, there’s where I made my m stake—took the pledge, and also girl; old man busted, not worth a cent; girl she simpered and couldn’t make a biscuit, and because of the pledge I was always as dry as a bone. Didn’t take the pledge ! Why, gentlemen, if I hadn’t taken that pledge, I’d have been a rich man to-day.” “ You may thank your stars, stranger, that you had no mother-in-law,” said the sad-look ing man from Michigan. “No mother-in-law I Great snakes, man, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. She had a regular Chicago mother ! In the depth of my affliction, I broke my pledge. Lost $l5O on that Got drunk, and my mother in-law threw hot water on me. This is the worst mistake of my life, and it is because of it that lam in Texas to-day.” And he sobbed audibly as he told the barkeeper to fill up the glasses, and all drank in silence. A HUEvN OSTRICH. (From the Philadelphia News.) Bill Jones is a colored man from Waco, Texas. Bill Jones, in his outward appearance, resem bles other colored men, but Bill Jones has a digestive apparatus that is as far superior to that of an ostrich as an ore crusher is to a oof-- fee mill. Bill Jones proved this conclusively last night, when he devoured, with great rel ish, one white glass lamp chimney and a cham pagne glass as a main meal, and, for dessert, a sandwich made of two slices of bread, a thin sliver of ham, and a small section of an ordi nary window and powdered glass. He did this without the slightest inconvenience, and after he had finished, put the fragments of another half-eaten lamp chimney in his coat pocket for an appetizer at midnight. Jones is a typical Southern darky—doesn't know his own age “jes’ eszacly,” can read “ writiu’,” and believes in “ Abo Linkum.” He was born somewhere in Missouri, about thirty five years ago, and when a child pi ked up a piece of glass, thinking it was ice, and ate it. This, he believes, developed his taste for sharp edged food, because after that he frequently amused his companions by chewing up and swallowing whisky tumblers iu bar-rooms. When he found that no injury require 1 from this diet of glass he continued it daily, until at last he became so thoroughly addicted to the habit that an erudite physician in Poker Flrft declared that he was afflicted with “ glass phobia.” Jones's exhibition admits of no de ception. After he had chewed up each mou.th ful of lamp chimney last night he got on hia knees, opened his mouth so that everybody could see the bits of glass on his tongue and then swallowed a glass of wine and with it the mouthful of glass. His mouth was carefully examined afterward and not a particle of glass, except that sticking to his teeth, could be dis covered. He cats with the same facility glass ground into small pieces and mixed with ice cream or soup, pudding or pie. On Tuesday last he underwent a critical examination by two prominent physicians, who kept him under surveillance for twenty-four hours, and were satisfied at the end of that time that he had really digested the glass. He claims to be able to eat a spoonful of arsenic, or the same quantity of any other mineral poison, and to be thoroughly proof against the effects of alcohol, no matter how much he may drink. STORM. ALMOST. WITHIN SIGHT OF HIS OWN DOOR. A trip on horseback over the Kansas plains in the vicinity of Syracuse, when the sun shines brightly and the air is orisp and bracing, is not an unpleasant experience, unless its object be such as that which has kept the settlers there abouts busy for a week or more—the search for victims of the storm. Although there have been many colder days in Kansas than those experienced during the recent blizzard, there never was a fiercer wind nor a more blinding and cutting snow. For days it seemed as though the earth was wrapped in vapor, and objects not fifty feet away were not distinguishable. When the storm subsided and the intense cold had moderated sufficiently to make it safe for men to venture out, reports were received of many fatalities, and since that time men have been busily at work scouring the plains in search of possible victims of the blast, and for the purpose of visiting remote habitations and relieving distress. Biding in the face of a keen northwest wind that scoured the prairies bare in some places, and in others polished the heaped-up masses oi snow until they looked like brightest silver, a rescuing party came upon a little plain board shanty about twenty miles west of Syracuse that told plainly enough that death was within. Ou one aide of the building the hard earth wat swept clean, while on the other side the glitter* frig and hard-crusted snow was piled from five to ten feet high. Against the door of the shan ty the snow had beaten until it could scarcely be distinguished from the side of the house ; while all about the place were evidences of recent set tlement and the hard beginnings of a pioneel life in the wilderness. One of the horsemen dismounted at the cabin door, and, kicking the ice and snow away, finally forced his way into the wretched abode. Not a stick of furniture remained. The one stove was cold, and the floors and sides of the House were covered with frost. In some places on the north and west exposures, where little cracks wore to bo seen, some of them partly stuffed with rags, the snow had drifted in. . A glance at the furthest corner revealed a mass of bidding, and under it, stiff in death, with frost on their hair, but eyes closed as in sleep, were the bodies of a young woman and two little children. One of the latter was wrapped tightly in the mother's arms, and the other was clinging tightly on her back. No one spoke, but a further scrutiny sufficed to show how bitter had been the struggle, and how ta the very last the woman had fought against the inevitable; The handle of the ax with which she had demolished tho furniture bad been burned, the blade itself being fished from the cheerless hearth, and so close had been the economy of fuel, that, though everything that could be split had been used, not a splinter was to be found anywhere. Pinned against tho door was a scrap of paper, on which the woman had written: “We are going to bed. I have used every thing that I could find, and the fire is almost gone. We have had nothing to eat to-dav. If you would only come. Little Mary cried for you to-night, and before we went to bed we all prayed for you and for us. I'm afraid about you—the storm is. dreadful—but I also fear that if you com© you will be too late.” “ Where is the man ?” some one asked. “Lost, of course,” was the reply of nearly all the others in concert. One by one the men filed out into the bright sunshine and swept the horizon with their hand shaded eyes. Everywhere snow, and bleak, bare spots stretching away for miles and touch ing at last the blue above. Slowly the men mounted and by common consent began a search of the country within a mile of tho claim. After a half hour or more spent in this way, one of the riders spied an object, which had been partly uncovered by a preceding horseman, and a moment later the body of a man was brought to view. A little to one side, where the snow had been blown away, were discovered the footprints o! the wanderer, and without much difficulty, though they were lost sight of frequently, they were traced in one instance to a point not more than fifty rods from his own home. As he was empty-handed, it was evident that he had never got more than half a mile away on his search lor relief, and that perhaps at the very time when his faithful wife and little ones were lying down to their last sleep, he may have been plod* ding aimlessly bu-t painfully in tho dreary cir cle, almost within sight of his own door. The man’s remains were conveyed to the house, and the men returned to make arrange ments for the burial of the unfortunates. WORN-OUT." BY M. QUAD. No. she was not strong; she had never beoa very strong. Farmer Grey knew it when ho married her. Eight children called her mother. She made all their clothes and did her own house work, and yet “mother was not strong.” Farmer Grey said it often, and always regret fully. Perhaps he was unselfish to" wish that she were stronger for her own sake, but I fear not. He was a very'robnst, active man, and ex ceedingly anxious to “get along” in the world. Therefore, I fear that bis regret for mother's feebleness was simply a regret that she could not do more to aid him in bis “getting along” schemes. She herself regretted that she was not stronger. “Father works so hard,” she would say; “I feel that I am not as much help to him as I might be if I were a real strong woman.” What more would she have done ? What more could she have done? And, most of all, what more should she have done? She kept the house in order. She did a loving, God-fearing mother’s duty by her children. Bho was up early and to bed late. She was busy every hour of the day. She milked and made butter, worked in her gar den, cooked for “hands,” raised and sold chickens, but never had a dollar of her own She could, and did, “when father waa rushed,” go out into the fields and drop corn for halt a day, and then come into her hot, stuffy little kitchen and get dinner for fourteen people, and yet—“mother was not strong.” She often wondered if she would ever be strong. She would sit down on the kitchen door step some nights long after all the others were in bed, dreading the coming of the morrow,and hoping it wouldn’t be so very hot. She was afraid she might “give out.” She would lean her aching head against the upainted door frame, cross her tired hands listlessly in her lap, close her eyes and “wonder” about many things. Some of her neighbors, with families onlv half as largo as her own, kept a strong hired girl in the kitchen the year around. She often wondered vaguely how it would seem to have a girl in her kitchen ; she won dered how it would seem for her to be away from home over night. The fondest hope of her life for ton years had been that she might visit her mother, who lived 206 miles away. She said she wouldn’t ba afraid to go “such a long ways” alone, and “father” hail often said she should go if such and such a thing “turned out well.” These things often “turned out well,” but mother never made that visit—no, never. “ One thing and another,” she said, “ kept her at home,” and one day a message came bringing the news of her mother’s death. She would have liked to go even then to see once more that beloved face, even though it was cold in death. But father said, that, “seeing as she couldn’t do any good, there was no use wearing herself out making the trip,” so she stayed at home, grateful to father for his thoughtfulness in not wanting her to “ wear herself out.” But she was so utterly worn out one day, so worn out in body and mind and soul, that when she clasped her tired hands over her breast in sleep they were never unclasped again in thia world. There was no response of “Yes, I’m coming,” when lather called her in the gray dawn of a November morning. Ono Father who had truly loved her, and who had helped her bear her heavy burdens through all these twenty years, had called her in the night, and I think she was glad to say : “ Yes, Father, I’m coming.” l-f U/Ao RS, Blenvs!]es 'V Af4o i — BIRTH MARK'S I .Aly -arecuredby \ Cuticura For CLEANSING THE SKIN and Scalp of Infantile and Birth Humors, for allaying Itching, Burning and Inflammation, for curing the first symptoms ot Eczema, Psoriasis, Milk Crust, Scald Head, Scrofula, and other nherited skin and blood diseases. Cuticura. the great Skin Cure, and Cuticura Soap, an exqusite Skin Beautifler, externally, and Cuticura Resolvent, the new Blood Purifier, internally, are infal lible. Cuticura Remedies are absolutely pure and the only infallible Blood Purifiers and Skin Beautiliers free from poisonous ingredients. Sold everywhere. Price, Cuticua, 50c.: Soap. 25c.; Resolvent. sl. Prepared by the Potter Drug and Chemical Co., Boston. 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