Newspaper Page Text
By DAVID CHRISTIE MURRAY. [COSTHJTKD] If i>oople always did the plain, common sense thing, always spoke the plain truth, and always looked circumstances in the face, the world would be improved out of knowledge. Mrs. Tregarthen had taken perhaps the most foolish of possible steps, had disguised the truth, and now ran away from the circumstances she had herself cre ated; and yet you shall not despise her if I can help it. It was an innocent courage which had led her—more for her sister's sake than her own—to the stage. It was a pardonable fear which had kept her silent as to that episode in her life, it is one of the ways Of women to look their best in the eyes of the people they love, and this leads them to reservations and pretenses. A weakness characteristic of a whole half of humanity must not bo judged too se verely. When sho ran away, she did so be cause a tender conscience, hitherto void of great, offense, exaggerated hor little folly into a crime. She made up her innocent mind that she was ono of the wickedest wo men in the world. She had married her husband under false pretenses! When Tregarthen. turned his back upon her sho read a iinal renunciation in the act, and was persuaded that she had lost him forever. Sho had no blame for him then or afterward, aud she recognized the justice of the imagined sentence, even at the mo ment when its weight first crushed her. The perfect trust which love should have in love is a flower of slow growth indeed. Often enough life is over before it has reached to its full bloom, thougli there is this compensation for its laggard coming, that when once it blossoms it can know no uecay. Mrs. Tregartlien went to London, and naturally enough sought the one place there which she had known before—a respectable, if somewhat dingy, boarding-house off the Strand. The stout landlady had not for gotten her, and received her kindly. There was a faint flavor of home in the stuffy bedroom, aud at least it was better to be there than to find a nest altogether strange. But the foolish fugitive had run away with out any prevision, and had mode no ar rangement for those bodily needs which continue their claim in spite of sins or re repentances. She had twenty pounds in money, and her maid, being bidden to pack for London, had naturally foreseen festiv ity, aud had pu. up all the hapless lady’s jewelry. There was no fear of immediate starvation, therefore, but none the less that terror loomed up from the future. She was sure that she was forever parted from her husband, and when the first agony of that certainty had settled down into a dull pain, she had to think of ways aud means for her sister’s sake, aud iu a little while (for a rea son she had not hitherto dreamed of) for her own. The maid, who was for the first time in London, was poorly impressed with town life, ns may be fancied. The stuffy lodg ing-house Yeas not the sort of place iu which Mrs. Tregartheri’s position gave her a right to bestow herself, aud the maid knew it. Onco or twice she had surprised her mis tress iu tears, and she had found out very early iu the history of the exposition that there were no ideas of festivity iu Mrs. Trcgarthen’s mind. She began to put two and two together, and after a week she spoke. “ I Leg your pardon ma'am, but it is my wish to leave.” “ How is that, Mary ‘ ” inquired the mis tress, with a sinking heart. The heart had sunk low enough already, in all conscience, but it fell lower yet when the maid spoke of leaving. Tregarthen had himself en gaged the woman to serve his wife, and the exile was ready to cling to anything that bound her, however slightly, to her home and him. “ Tll'l'fVm " rijfmmorl +lio mnJrl Hein/iA you ask me, I don’t understand things, and I’d rather go.” There would he one mouth the less to fill, I ut that was little. Tho maid received her wages and went away, though she kept an eye oil Mrs. Tregarthen, having fancies of her o-vu concerning the reasons for this cu rious cs -iq tie. The expected gallant never appeared, however, and when Mrs. Tregar ( hen went abroad she took the child with her, and, after a purposeless walk, returned wit he it having spoken to a single creature. In those circumstances tho maid’s interest in her lalo mistress declined, and she found another place and went away, content to leave a mystery unsolved. ilio poi*r lady set aside all her gayer dresses and at iced herself in somber rai / meat, as ty pi Tying mourning, and when one day Mr. Lf.ri i.ner caught sight of her in tho street by accident lie took her for a widow. < “ Han away from the stage to be married, dal m}ic, pool* Hiing!” said Lorrimerto him self. not unkindly. ** Wt-H, if love’s young dream is over, she’ll bo back again. I’m Obusiness a in, and I can't afford to miss a chance like Miss Churchill n second time.” Ho, Mr. Lon-imer, without particularly violating his conscience, lit a new cigar, cocked hi < hat a little, and dogged Mrs. Tro gurthen homo. “Boarding-house. Mrs. Barnley. lle spccluble poverty. Married a widower. Widow left hard up. Encumbered with jit;lc* girl. Poor thing! Poor thing! Get her in w on easy terms.” Mr. Lorriuiar cocked his hat anew, bitoff tiie end of u second cigar, struck a brown paper fusee on his trousers, lit the cigar with an air of victory, and walked home, (shortly before nino o’clock, being by that time in tho full glory of evening dress, ho Etrolled past tho house a dozen times or so, and had begun to examine the windows witli some impatience, when a servant girl camo up the area steps, bearing half a dozen jugs of different sizes, nnd made her way toward the corner public-house. Mr. Lor rimer intercepted her. “Good evening, my dear. Don’t be frightened,” Tho girl had pranced into tho middle of the roadway. “I only want to ask you a question—quite a harmless ques tion. Half a crown, my dear.” The coin rattled into one of the jugs. “ There’s a lady staying at Mrs. Barnley’s—a young lady, dressed in morning—goes about with a little girl. I want to call upon her—quite honorablo and correct—I know of some thing to her advantage. I used to know her maiden name—Miss Churchill. What is her name now?” “Mrs. Tregarthen,” said tho girl. “That’s her sister she’s got with her.” “ Mrs. Tregarthen,” said Mr. Lorrimer. “ Thank you. I’ve got tho name all right, have I? Tre—gar—then?” “ That’s right sir,” responded the servanij, polishing her nose with the bottom of a beer-jug. “Tregarthen. Thank you, sir.” “ She’s at home now, I think?” said Lor rimer. The maid nodded, and he marched at once to the door of the house and knocked. Mrs. Tregarthen, sitting in her own room, heard the knock, and feit her heart so leap at it that she was fain to rise and open her cham ber door to listen. But that was a common experience. Not a knock had come to the door of Mrs. Baraley’s establishment, since the unhappy lady had entered it, without shaking her heart and fluttering her nerves in this way. She heard the door flung open, and then came the murmurof a male voice, indistinct and low. The maid’s voice cackled skrill and clear in answer. “Mrs. Tregarthen, sir? Yes, sir. Walk in, sir. What name shall I say, sir?” It had been in Mrs. Tregarthen’s mind from the first, or almost from the first, that Arthur might love her so well that, in spite of her wickedness, he would seek her out and forgive her, and her knees were so weakened that she could scarce let go the door and creep back to her chair to be in readiness for the servant’s coming. Lodg ing-house maids are not more observant or sympathetic than their neighbors, as a rule, but even by the light of the one pale candle on the table Mrs. Tregarthen's face had so much trouble and terror in it that the girl, when sho entered with Lorrimer's card, caught fright, and begged to know what was the matter. , i “Nothing,” said the poor creature, with ! her eyes wide open, and her face as white I as the lace about her throat. “ Is that for me?” She stretched out her hand for the card, and when she had read the name upon it she dropped it with a little moan of escape and disappointment, and one or two half hysterical tears ran down her cheeks. The servant bustled about the room and got a glass of water, after much unnecessary clatter. Lorrimer, waiting in the room be low, had undefined notions of a cavalry skirmish floating though his mind. A mo ment later, the servant, a petticoatcd ava lanche, precipitated herself down stairs. “ The lady can’t see you, sir. She's took quite ill.” “ Indeed! ” said Lorrimer, politely regret ful. “ Nothing serious, I trust?” “ I ain't so sure o’ that,” returned the maid. "biiesiiKe a ghost, and she can't scarcely sit in her chair, sir.” Lorrimer opened his eyes with unfeigned fear. He saw thousand of pounds in Mrs. Tregarthen, and, being a sanguine man, as theatrical managers nearly always are, he had already arranged terms with the lady, and had her enthusiastically trumpeted, and conducted her first performance with prodigious eclat. At the very moment when tile cavalry skirmish began overhead be had been returning thanks for a piece of plate publicly presented to him (in recogni tion of his having mads a fortune out of her) by the celebratod actress herself. The servant was really frightened, and looked so, and Lorrimer himself caught the infec tion. “ Back as soon as possible,” hemurmured. “Gone for a doctor.” And he shot from the room to save his thousands and the lady who was to make them. He had noticed, in the course of his pere grinations to aud fro before the house, that n doctor lived next door, and he rang a startlin g peal at the medico's bell. The pro fessional gentleman ran wildly into the boarding-house without his hat, and was ushered into the presence of a lady who re ceived him with perfect self-possession, and assured him that she had no need for his services. He was not to be got rid of how ever, until he had felt her pulse, and asked a question or two, and prescribed a tonic. Before Lorrimer called next day the ser vant had told Mrs. Tregarthen of the inter est he had displaye.d. The actress remem bered the manager kindly, but she had n* mind to renew their old acquaintance. She sent word down to him, in answer to his in quiries, that she was very much better, and was very much obliged to him for his kind inquiries. Some people would have accepted this as an intimation of polite dismissal, but Lorrimer was not one of them. “ That’s right,” ho said, cheerfully. “I’m glad to hear it. Just say I should like to see her—will you?—if it’s quite convenient to her. If it isn’t, ask when I shall call again.” “Show Mr. Lorrimer into the visitor’s room,” she said, in answer to this message. It might bo as well, she thought to get Mr. Lorrimer over at once. If it were impossible to avoid recognition, it was still possible to let those who recognized her know that she desired privacy, and it was not likely that ail who had known her would care to make pursuit of her. She touched her hair and mo lace aoout nor throat and wrists with delicate fingers ns she stood before her mirror, with no result perceptible to man, nn.l having thus made herself fit to be seen, sho descended the stairs and found Lor rimer awaiting bpr in the visitor’s room— j a carpeted box, with an odor of dry-rot, A stago manager who could feel any sense of gaucherie in approaching an actress must have had the practice of his profes- ; sion wasted upon him. With Lorrimer any sign of dignified reserve which expressed ’ itself without the pronounced standofflshness 1 of a stago attitudo and gesture was lost, lie had played many parts in his time, and to him the saying of the melancholy Jaques was litoral—all the world was a stage. He took out the confidential-family adviser stop, and addressed Sire. Tregarthen in tones of genial sympathy. “ You left us, madam, in a somewhat sudden and unconventional way, but it was impossible for that or anything else to mit igate the pleasure and advantage of having known you. You have our profoundest sym- 1 pathy in the calamity which has brought you hack to us, but that is tempered by the ' hope that you may ultimately discover that the profession, of which you might have been the brightest ornament, has still an attrac- 1 tion for you, and that its triumphs offer a consolation not to bo despised.” This was spoken with the air natural to a ! naster of the art of conversation. Lorrimer 1 was one of those people who take their the- ! cries so to heart that they make facts of ;hem. His theory was that Mrs. Tregarthen was a widow, and in reduced circumstances, tfo was quite certain that she left the stago ;o bo married, and was equally sure that sho would now return to it. “ Do you mean,” she asked, “ that I shall ;o back to the stage, Mr. Lorrimer?” Ho ipread his hands abroad and bowed, with a weeping gesture of assent. “ No, I shall lever go back to the stago.” Tim wrinkles of bis smile remained for a ;econd or two, but the light went out of his yes at once, and the wrinkles faded'slowly liter it. “Not go back to the stage, madam?” he ■ried. “ Waste the superb talents God has fiven you on the mere desert air of private ife? Cast away the splendid fortune which mly needs an extended hand to grasp it? mpossible, madam—impossible I” Mr. Lorrimer spoke with so evident an unazement that ho impressed the listener n spite of herself. She had gone upon the itago simply and purely to make bread for lerself and to find an education for her sis ter. Few of the triumphs or joys of stage ife had come home to her, and even when ihey all seemed to lio waiting for hor, sho lad been able to surrender their promise ’or the quiet routine of domesticity in Gor Day. They coma scarcely have seemed very valuable to her since she had left them so easily. But Lorrimer put the case strong ly. if grotesquely, and there could be no doubt of his sincerity. She was but a simple-minded creature, in spite of the talents of which Lorrimer spoke so highly, and she had a way of speaking straight out the thing that was in her mind. “ My husband—” she began, but there she stopped with a sudden sense of heartache at the vast emptiness of the world. There is no pain the human heart can feel which is heavier to bear than that. “Yourhusband,madam?” said Lorrimer, prompting her with a tone of respectful sympathy. “ My husband,” sho began again, “had a profound dislike for the stage, and I must respect his opinion.” "That is natural and commendable, madam,” returned Lorrimer, with the fam ily-adviser air more strongly marked than ever. “ But when—in the course of a week or two—the healing hand of time has soft ened the sense of loss, you may find your self less inclined to elevate his scruples into nb9oluto commandments.” She shook her head with an expression so mournful and so resolute that Lorrimer felt it necessary to clear his throat before he spoke again. “Well, madam, well,” lie said, rather hastily. “ If you should change yonr mind, you will know where I am. Fortune lies at your feet. You have only to stoop to pick up wealth and fame. And, as I say, if you should change your mind, you will find nobody so devoted to your interests as myself. I have made the fortune of a nin compoop before to-day, madam, and genius is the lever Archimedes wanted. With such genius as you possess I could move the world. I ask nothing but my poor share of the glory, and half profits. But I will not further intrude upon you now. Good day, madam, good-day.” Ke was gone, but ho left a seed behind him, and though it fell on ground unwilling to receive it, it took root and grew. To have done a thing, with ninety-nine people in a hundred, is the best of all pos sible reasons for continuing to do it. espe cmiiv 11 uic innig is in uu uone passively. We like or dislike our everyday acquaint ances on this principle, and it guides us in more matters than we often care to think of. The runaway wife had never written to her husband to appraise him of her whereabouts, and silence, which at first was hard, had grown into such a habit that by this time nothing could have forced her to break it. She suffered, and she told herself that she deserved to suffer. She trained the thorns of remorse with a hand of con stant care, and cultivated unhappiness as only a penitent and a woman could. And all the time she waited in a sort of hopeless hope for her husband to make some effort to recover her. Had he found her, he could have taken homo not merely a wife, but a lover so full of love and penitence that she would have been his life-long slave for no more than the privilege of seeing him. But he also waited with a heart that grew bit terer and heavier day by day, until at last the true masculine impatience of the slow suffering, which women bear until they learn to cherish it, bade him throw the bur den away. He seemed to cast his heart away with it, hut it had to go, and ho wen! back to his mad-brained books again. That so line a triviality as that which separated these two hearts and lives should breathe a day’s coldness might surprise s lover. But there is no measurement foi human folly, and the fools, as often as not. are lovable, pitiable, admirable. If onlj tiic people who are objectionable all round made fools of themselves, what a charming world we should live in! CHAPTER VI. Mr. Ronald Marsh gave his poems to the world, and they made almost as much noise ! as he had hoped. But when one goes forth to make a noise in the world, the charactei of the clamor which arises is as important as the volume of it, and the public recep tion of Mr. Marsh’s muse, though loud enough to satisfy anybody, aroused the bit terest scorn in the poet's heart. Such a charivari of chaff, such a Jovian roll and peal of laughter arose from the great re viewers, ana was taken up by the little ones, as has rarely rung in any poet's tingling j ears since reviewing came into fashion. The Times set him down to roast at a wholi column, tho ’ Tiser branded him with one red-hot paragraph, and from every point ol tho compass tho critics, big and little, heaved the coals of fire of friendless criti cism at him by the shovelful. But the poet ns Mr. Tennyson had already written, is ai tho moment of his birth “dowered with the hate of hate—the scorn of scorn ”—and Mr. Marsh was not easily to bo discomfited. He bought sombreros of a wider brim than be ! had eve^wom until then, lie vowed in his inmost heart that the shears of the barbel | should invade his rolling locks no more, and ; he ordered his-tailors to add an inch or twc i to the poetical cloak in which he commonly wont about London. The faithless fewwhc had worn his livery and gone about in his likeness lied from their colors. They had their hair cut in the normal way, and be- ! gan to attiro themselves in the conventional garb of gentlemen. When friends talked about the Leader they made a weak pre tense of having been in the secret all along, and tried to make it appear that they had been hugely tickled by the fustian which had thrilled theirsimple souls. The Leader had lost his following, as most leaders do when they lead to ridicule, but ho faced the world alone, and meditated fresh poems with an undaunted heart. He abandoned none of his old haunts, but ho found many of his old friends pitiless, j 1 here aro few men who need sympathy 1 more than the man whose book is a failure. Within it, tangible and visible, lie the J nerves of his soul, if lie has one: ho has put into it his acutest discernment, his sweetest fancies, his loftiest thoughts, his most cun ning invention; he has glowed with hope and gone cold with fear about it; he lias ioveu it tenderly and admiringly, as a good wife loves her husband, and with a growth of joy in its strength and beauty, nsafather loves his child. Tb i comes the grim re viewer (born surely with bowels of brass and heart of adamant) and slays this darling of the author’s heart, scalps it, slits its dear little nose and tender ears, wreaks on it all his barbarous humor of wicked invention and throws its remains aside without even tho poor satisfaction of a Christian burial Who can need sympathy more than an au thor ill such a case) But tliero is no more mercy in tho world for him than there is milk in a male tiger. \ et in the conclave of ten, which met in the cramped back parlor in the Strand, the ' murdered poet found men who had suffered aforetime, and known tho joy of resurrec tion. The man in the corner tossed the light quillets of the brain hither and thither but lie aimed them not at the unsuccessful’ He had himself tried to stay the tempest, and had written that tho book was not so bad after all. Had the poet known him as tlie dealer of that unkindest cut of all, he would have slain him in his corner before the spectral nine. When he entered and I took his seat among them, they greeted him more kindly than of old, and made more ol a comrade of him. Lorrimer, who was talking, made a point of addressing him personally, so ns to make a feature of him. “ Your worship was tho last man in our mouths, \ ou remember being here one day, long ago now, when I sang the praises of Miss Churchill?” “Perfectly,” replied the poet. “I went with you to the final dress rehearsal, and you put into my hands the letter she left behind her.” “ I was saying so ns you camo in. That brings the history up to the end of her con nection with tho stage. Well, everybody knows what a mystery that looked. Not a soul had an idea where she disappeared to.” “ I know,” said the poet. “I met her afterward. She married a fellow named Tregarthen—disreputable fellow, who was dismissed the army; insisted on using such fearful language at the mess table that tho other men wouldn’t stand him. Well-cou liceted fellow—I believe he’s the last of one of the oldest families in Cornwall—but an awful blackguard, so I’m told.” “Well, upon my word,” said Lorrimer, “ that’s a pretty sort of cove to forbid his wife, with his (lying breath, to go upon the stage.** Mr. Lorrimer’s theory carried him that length. “Dead!” said the poet. “Is he dead? Well. she’s very attractive, and quite young. With such a fortune as ho conld leave her she won’t be long without a husband.” “Fortune!” echoed Lorrimer. “She hasn’t any fortune. Bless your soul, she’s as poor as a church-mouse. Living in a boarding-house—and a very seedy board ing-house it is, I can tell you—just off the Strand.” “I suppose he made ducks and drakes of everything,” said the poet. “ My father had a place at Gorbay years ago, and they had a good deal of land in those days—tho Tre garthens. Poor thing!” The poet held no malice, except for his reviewers. Outside his verses he was a harmless man, and had not the least desire to hurt anybody. Ho had long ago been able to forsrive Mrs. Treo-arthon fn. bing him, ami ho was sensitive to a tale of beauty in distress—as a poet ought to be. Lorrimer told his story of the interview between himself and the lost star of the stage, and everybody agreed that the dead Tregarthen of Mr. Lorrimer’s imagination was the last sort of person who had a right to have his dying wishes gratified. When the conclave parted and the poet walked into the Strand, he dived into tho street Lorrimer had mentioned and read tho door plates with some little trouble in the gather ing dusk imtil he came upon tho boarding house. He remembered tho brilliant and stately creature who had swept so haughtily away from his impertinent presence at Tre garthen, and felt unhappy to think that she was housed in this frowsy caravanserai. He had seen her twice, and she had certain ly ill-treated him, and yet ho felt such an interest in her as few women had inspired him with. Sho was poor and in grief and a widow. Mr. Ronald Marsh left the street slowly and sadly, and thought how full of trouble was the world, and mused on Death and tho Reviewers, and such grisly themes. It was no business of any man’s, but two or tkreo people who knew him caught the poet in the act of leaving that street after dark, with a certain marked air of furtive adventure. If any hopes of seeing Mrs. Tregarthen agnin drew him that way, or if he merely went to moon in tho neighbor hood because it induced that curious sense of the abolition of moral responsibilities with regard to language which is so valua ble to poets, would seem to be uncertain. When you relax your brains for the manu facture of verses, and allow them to flow out where they will, diffuse and dovious, a remembrance of some person of the oppo site sex serves as a sort of cento;’ for the tides, dissipating or rallying them quite apart from the will of the patient. It had grown into winter-time, and the rainy night had fallen upon London, and the streets had a fungous odor in the rain, and were inch-deep in mud, when the poet, bearing his demon with him, slashed past the lodging-house—top-booted, v'ith his som brero picturesquely flapping and his long cloak picturesquely flying in the wet wind which blew up from the river. He was scathing a reviower, and would havo thrown his annual income into the Thames to have secured a stately rhyme to “viper;” but just as ho passed the boarding-house door it upeueu, ana tne merest glance assured him that Mrs. Tregarthen stood there at tired for the street. A second or two later the wind caught the door, and slammed it noisily. The poet moderated his headlong pace, paused and turned. Mrs. Treg&r then’s tall and graceful figure went flutter ing Strand ward. Ronald Marsh knew perfectly well that it is not counted a gentlemanly thing to follow a lady without her knowledge and consent, and he piqued himself on being a gentleman almost more than on being a poet. He did not think it honorable to dog a lady s footsteps, and it was no affair of his to know whither she was bound on foot on a night so inclement. While ho thought thus he followed Mrs. Tregarthen, regulat ing his own pace to hers. This was shame ful, and he turned away, but only fora second. When lie looked again the flutter ing figure was gone, though there was no opening on tho street to right or left, and he had seen her outlined like a wavering silhouette against the Strand lights a mere fraction of time ago. A spocial puddle lay abreast of where he had last seen her, no ticeable because it caught the lights of the bright street beyond and reflected them like a mirror laid aslant. Ho kept his eyes up on this landmark, and, though as lie grew closer the light faded from it, he kno\V that lie had not lost the pla$e. He was sure— with a keener pang than anything but tho reviews had hitherto caused him—that ho had not lost the place; for where tho wind beaten figure had disappeared stood a swing ing door, and above it the triune globes of gold. Poverty’s storm-drum is mast high all tho year round. The young man drew into tho shadow of a corner, and watched the door, with no memory of his scruples of half a minute back. It was not the business of the mo ment to analysize tho motives which moved him, but they were nine-tenths made up of pity and a helpless wish to bo of service. He had to wait in the wind and rain for full five minutes before the swinging-door opened, and Mrs. Tregarthen reappeared, heavily veiled, and ran against tho beating wind to the door of the boarding-house, where she paused to use a latch-key, and •hen disappeared swiftly. [To t o continued nest meek.} fVi ic Awake Agents Wanted Everywhere for NOTED WOMEN >> James Parton, the groat est biographe r of the ige. An elegant, volume of 650 pages. 24 full ‘age illustrations. Price 2.50. Describes 50 •naraeters. A book for every woman. Pjkk sux 1 rn. Co., Hartford, Conn. jun 10-4t A WORD TO FISHERMEN. The place to buy Gill Twine, Gill Lint's, either ^otton or Hemp Hanging Twine, Gill Corks. &c DANIEL BACON’S, oct 14-tf Bridgeton. N. A BONA FIDE A General Reduction all along! the line. A Grand Stock of 400 Over coats to be Closed Out at prices which will effect their rapid sale. The dull season made bright, and a busy time the result. Our advertisements bear the stamp of truth and the people know when we say a thing we mean it. This lot of Choice and Stylish Overcoats must go. Prices Cut to Cost and in ma ny instances, far below, especial ly in odd sizes. Who will have first choice? Come Early and. have your pick of the greatest investment in the Overcoat line ever offered in Cumberland County. R H. Goldsmith & Co., 31, 33, 35 So. Laurel St. Bridgeton, N. J.