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Oakes Republican. (Oakes, N.D.) 1898-1906, September 09, 1898, Image 2

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Chapter £11.—(Continued.)
"You moan mar if tho man whom I
call my husband lias noither al't'ooiiou
nor recognition to olTor mo, lie has sent
a stronger to toll
"Ho owes mo none, and I will not ac
cept it!"
"But you aro entitled to it." Cleav
land told her. "You must, remember
that ho acknowledges you as his wife.
It was from his own lips 1 heard the
story of your marriage."
"He does not deny it?" she asked,
"Most certainly not."
"I thought he had." she said, with a
little sigh of relief and the set face
softened. ""When he returns from Ire
The lawyer caught at the sugges
tion at once.
"Yes, yes—when he returns from Ire
land. Until then you will allow me to
supply you with all you need."
By some swift feminine intuition she
felt that she had secured a friend.
"I can only place myself In your'"
hands—I am so ignorant," she replied.
"But you will trust me, and permit
me to act for you?"
Mr. Cleavland ha'd drawn a step
nearer to where she stood. He looked
into h*r face with appealing eyes, for
his who's soul was filled with sympa
thy for this young creature, left to her
fate by the man who had vowed to
love and cherish her.
"There will be mourning," she re
That being a point on which he was
not qualified to advise her, he bade her
consult her landlady, and left her, his
heart filled with indignation against
the man who was discarding such a
On the doorstep a white-haired man
was standing in eager conversation
•with the lachrymose landlady, who
muttered "Mr. Packenham," and drew
The man was dressed like a clergy
man, and something in his face ar
rested Mr. Cleavland's attention.
Packenham's sneer at the "parson
man" came to the lawyer's mind, and
they stood looking at each other. Here
was a curious fix, for Mr. Cleavland
did not know him as anything but the
"parson man," which term it was im
possible to address him by. But the
stranger spoke first.
"You are not Mr. Packenham," he
said, almost sternly.
"His man of business," Mr. Cleav
land rejoined, quickly.
"I am Dudley Fletcher of the Spoor
fontein Mission. I have come to my
poor child in her terrible bereave
ment. I was on my way home when
hec telegram overtook me at Liverpool,
and I turned back. Where is her hus
band? He sent you—his man of busi
"My name is Cleavland, and Mr.
Packenham is my friend." The words
were jerked out: but a sense of great
relief had come to him.
Both men went into the house.
"We can talk here"—and Mr. Fletch
er pushed open the door of a small
dingy room. "Mr. Cleavland, what is
the meaning of Mr. Packenham's be
"I cannot tell."
"Poor John Hartrigg came home to
die we knew there was no hope. The
severe strain and the loss of his sis
ter's money in that unfortunate mine,
had told upon him, even before he met
with his sad accident. She is absolute
ly penniless."
"Do not fear on that account—her
husband will supply her with ample
moans," Cleavland replied, hastily.
"He empowered me to tell her so."
"But will he do what is right—take
her to his home, act up to the vows ho
made in the sight of the church, and
acknowledge her as his wife in the
sight of the world?"
"That I cannot say," tho lawyer an
swered. "If he is guided by me, he
"I mistrusted Packenham from the
first," remarked Mr. Fletcher, pacing
up and down the room. "It was
against my will that 1 married them,
and I did it under protest. Yet he
seemed so eager about it, while poor
John—always sanguine—thought he
had done the best thing in the world
for his sister. It was a great mistake.
Packenham does not understand her
real worth. She is a pearl of woman
hood. believe me—and I have known
her from her birth."
"What is to be done? Can she re
main here alone in London? Do you
know of anyone who would be a com
panion for lier?" asked the lawyer,
with anything but judicial calm.
Fletcher considered a moment.
"Yes," he replied—"I have a niece
who is an artist, and considered clev
she lias seen Afra, and. I think,
would be kind."
iifVell, we will make it worth her
ho will supply me
Cleavland cried, eagerly. "Let
her at once."
ingly," responded Mr. Fletcher.
the strain relaxed, and Afra,
aimed with the crushing weight
1 fallen upon her, began to feel
uceforth she must make her
in life, she simply left her-
Mr. Fletcher's hands. It was
arranged for her residence
niece, a handsome woman,
miose sympathetic t'aeo inspired the
girl with confidence: lie who saw to
the preparation of the small abode
which she was to occupy until her po
sition in England was defined by the
return of lier errant husband. In the
meantime Mr. Fletcher must go back
the Mission: but he did so with an
easy mind, for ho liked and trusted
Cleavland. wliilo ho knew that his
niece—Beta Mansfield—was a woman
of a thousand.
But the girl, used to absolute free
dom, found the new conventionalisms
terribly strange. At first, half-stun
ned with grief and smarting with dis­
appointment and shame, she felt that
chaos had come. Put, as time went
on, youth, combined with good health
and recuperative powers of mind and
body, began to assert itself. She de
veloped rapidly, without losing the
freshness and unconvontionality which
Mr. Cleavland had found so attractive.
As Afra gained strength, innate tastes
showed themselves. A daintiness of
touch and a marked sense of color led
the discerning artist to see in this girl
from the wilds a promising pupil.-and
many hours that would otherwise
have been filled with sorrowful re
membrances were pleasantly occupied
in lessons which wore a pleasure to
both teacher and pupil.
Mr. Cleavland visited the studio, l'or
this graceful child of the South was in
his charge, and he felt bound to watch
over her and be sure that she came to
no harm. It was nothing more than
his duty, yet he found a certain inter
est in it, for there was much about the
girl that was attractive. She. was an
artist to the finger-tips, possessed a
voice of more than average quality,
while incidentally Mr. Cleavland dis
covered that her friends, the good sis
ters of the Mission had given her a
thorough musical training.
Cleavland wrote his impressions to
the man who wished to discard a trea
sure but the letter did not reach him
for many long months. Packenham
had left his father's house suddenly,
and started on a trip around the
world, intending to spend some time
in travel, his first halting-place being
"Is he mad?" wondered Cleavland.
upon whom fortune was smiling. The
youu* barrister had had the good for
tune I* ba on the victorious side in a
fam-..-.:.'- r.ction. and that one success
brought othars in its train.
One dfiy ):q met Lady Groby in Picca
dilly. IV.-. beckoned to him
as she st'A-u ivauy to g^'c lata her car
"What have I done?" she asked.
Come and dine with me this evening—
the opera afterwards," she added, airi
ly. "You are a hermit!"
"You are very kind," he replied. "But
I am a very busy ir.ac."
"You can't conic':"
"Did I say .so'.'" queried the young
"You implied it," replied her lady
"You misunderstood me—I shall be
very happy to do so."
"Well, then, half-past seven. Tho
opera is Faust the rich widow
drove away.
"Now, what, dies this mean?" lie
mused, as he bent his stops westward.
It was Miss Manstielu's day at home
but Mr. Cleavland seldom appeared
there, nor w_re his business visits more
frequent thin ii.cv-sary. Still, lie
thought high:" of :h :,e living at the
studio, and itit p.. J.rothevly interest in
the por girl whose anomalous posit ion
appealed forcibly io his compassion.
On arriving at Miss Mansfield's, ho
found tiiat she was amusing some of
her friends it the inner siudi ), while
Mrs. Piickoiiiiinn was entertaining oth
ers in the ouier room. Cleavland was
the alteration in the ap­
pearance of the iattor. She wore black,
of course, but Keta had made her (ion
an artistic mixture of lace and jet.
which caused lier attire to look less
sombre than usual. She wore a string
or two of bright jet beads about her
beautifully-rounded throat, which in
tensified its whiteness. The .young bar
rister could not help thinking that Afra
had been an apt scholar, and had done
infinite credit to her mentor. He re
membered the unlMiied girl who had
looked so sorrow ull.v and appeaiingiy
into his face when lie first paid a visit
to her.
"Packenham would scarcely recog
nize her now," he thought, as lie took
the small, firm hand which yielded so
frankly to his clasp.
ff Xf
Mr. Cleveland was at Lady Crob.v's.
She and her lawyer were dining tete
"A shortened meal," her'ladyship re
marked, smiling her best company
smiie. "I ie istn't loiter and lose the
overture." '-'ben, after a pause, siie
added. "So they tell me there is an
artisl-woman living somewhere in Ken
sington who calls herself Mrs. Packen
ham. Do you know anything about
"I have the pleasure of the lady's ac
quaiutanco, and saw her to-day."
"You believe in her—that she is really
Dertck's wife?"
"It was lie who told me."
"He was entrapped—bamboozled, to
use a vulgar word."
"He told me that the marriage was
of his own seeking, from first to last."
Lady (Jroby made an impatient ges
"Doreok is fool!" she exclaimed.
"I quite agree with you."
"She must be a most designing wo
man," her ladyship continued.
"No—only a very charming one."
"Ah! she has made a conquest of
"So she would of you, if you met
her," remarked Mr. Cleavland.
"Met her! An adventuress—a design
"The carriage, my lady," a footman
Cleavland was glad of the diversion,
for he felt that the subject was not one
to be pursued with patience.
Between tho acts of the opera Lady
Groby reopened the unpleasant sub
"1 am sorry you have taken sides
against Dereck," she observed.
the sort," the lawyer rejoined.
"You take this young person's part."
"On the contrary-1 merely act for
him in a business capacity. If you were
acquainted with her you would probab
ly take her part yourself, Lady Groby."
"Heaven forbid!" she ejaculated, in
an airy manner. "You men are blind
when a young and probably pretty wo
man is in question."
"Not more so than women, when they
allow themselves to be led by preju
"The retort courteous," her ladyship
answered, giving an annoyed little
laugh. "Well administered, I must
"Indeed, Lady Groby, this is not a
matter for mirth."
"I agree with you. It has already
had an evil effect upon the boy's
"And what about the lady?"
"The girl? Oh, you imply that he
gives her money! She played for her
stake—what more can she want?"
"She only takes that which she nas
an undoubted right to take."
"Mr. Cleavland—do you really believe
her to be legally married to him?"
"By his own declaration—even if 1
had no other evidence—I do."
"Dereck talks at random. It is of no
use placing reliance on his wild rav
"Pardon me—there is the testimony
of the clergyman who performed the
ceremony, as well as the certificate of
the marriage, which I have in my own
Lady Groby was toying with her op
era glasses, ana talking, in tier flippant
society tone, as if the whole matter
was of the least possible consequence.
But suddenly, thesociety smile left her
face, and became apparently intent on
scrutinizing the occupants of the op
posite box.
"Has it a price?" she aslied. "Five
thousand—nay, ten?"
"I must wisli you good-niglit, Lady
Groby." Mr. Cleavland was on his feet
in an instant, his brows sternly drawn
together and his lips set.
"-Must, you go?" her ladyship queried,
laying down her opera-glasses. "Sure
ly a pity, when Molba has a delightful
song to sing, as well as that fascinat
ing De IJeszke! How can you tear
yourself away from such enchantment?
But you busy men—well, good-bye, if
you must leave! Come and see me
When in the vestibule Mr. Cleavland
paused to take breath. He was in a
white heat of rage, for Lady Groby had
hinted at a bribe.
It was not often that Afra and hei
hostess indulged in unnecessary confi
dences. Beta Mansfield had heard Mrs.
Packenham's story from her uncle, and
feeling that it was far from being a
matter for common conversation, con
tented herself with such fragments of
information as the forsaken bride and
her faithful friend chose to impart.
Beta liked Mr. Cleavland, whose fidel
ity to the lonely girl in her anomalous
position elevated liim in her eyes.
"My uncle wrote of you as if you
^ere his own child," Miss Mansfield
said, as she laid a letter upon Afra's
knee from the good old man.
"He was my father's friend a.nd mar
ried him to my dear mother. He held
me in his arms at the font, and taught
my brother almost everything he knew.
Mother's family discarded her because
she accepted my father. She was very
pretty, but delicate—never intended for
the rough life she had to encounter.
But she often told me that she never
regretted her choice. We wore very
poor but life is simple in the wilds
and we were perfectly happy until she
died.- That was the beginning of our
troubles. I went south, to the good
sisters at the Mission, while .lack re
mained with father. Then my aunt of
fered to provide for me, and father
would have liked me to return home.
But his death changed everything, and
my brother and I resolved tc live to
gether. We could have been very hap
py again—indeed, we were very happy,
until Aunt Mary died. It was about
that, time when Mr. Packenham joined
Jack, but I remained with the Sisters.
My brother, however, made a terrible
mistake about the mine. He wrote such
letters to me about his new friend,
whom he loved and had such confi
dence and pride in, that I longed to see
Mr. Packenham. Oh, I was young and
ignorant—how could I tell how tilings
would turn out?"
"When that awful accident, happened,
and 1 went homo, I thought. Jack had
not said a word too much. Then his
partner was—but I can hardly describe
what he was—but it seemed as if there
were two Doreeks, the one who was
everything to—to—love—and his oppo
site. While we were together—by
Jack's bedside—he was gentle, consid
erate and generous to a fault, making
nothing of the loss of his money. He
promised Jack that he would watch
over me until death, and offered to mar
ry me then and there. It was his own
suggestion, although he asserts now
that he was entrapped into It. What
could io? My brother was dying.
My father, brother and my aunt, who
would have given me a home, were all
gone. I had no money left, and as
there was nothing but beggary before
me, I had, seemingly, no choice. Nor
was there any time to deliberate, for
Father Dudley was obliged to go, and—
we were married. The excitement al
most killed my brother and Dereck"—
her face crimsoned—"Pereck helped
me to nurse hirti. Then two telegrams
arrived, which seemed to come be
tween us and alter his whole nature.
The look that was in his eyes when he
bade me prepare to accompany him to
England and take leave of my dying
brother, terrified me. I could not do it.
The man who could look and speak
like that, was not the man I had loved,
but some cruel stranger. I stayed with
my brother, who seemed to rally.
"After a time Jack sold the farm, but
not the mine, for no one would make
liim an offer for it, and by easy stages
we made our way to the coast. Father
Fletcher came with us. for I could nev
er have accomplished the journey with
Jack by myself. The passage home
swallowed up almost all our money
but tho doctor said my brother must
travel in comfort if he wished to reach
England alive, and see me in my hus
band's home. After we passed Made
ria the weather grew fearfully cold.
Oh, you can form no idea of 'how it
seemed to nip us up—we had never felt
damp cold before! But Jack lived
through it and reached this gloomy,
dismal London alive. Then he wrote
to Dereck again and again, praying and
begging him to come over. Oh, I can'i
bear to think of it! Then our money
dwindled, and my brother's cold be
came worse, and—he died. Beta, there
are memories that are dreadful to re
call—I have had my share!"
Afra paused, and a long silence en
sued. It was Beta who at length broke
"But he acknowledges you as his
wife," she remarked, "and supplies
your wants."
"Flings me what ho has most of and
cares least for," Afra returned, in a
tone which Miss Mansfield well under
stood. "I take what 1 think I am en
'ed to—not one farthing more!"
"When he returns?" Beta queried.
Afra rose from her seat and walked
to the further end of the studio.
"The Dereck Packenham I knew is
dead and buried," she answered. "The
man who ruthlessly flung me aside—
who failed me in my uttermost need—la
a being with whom I have only such
legal dealings as are absolutely neces
sary. If he returned and stood here to
morrow, I would calmly tell him so."
"Divorce him?"
Beta could tell by the inflection of
Mrs. Packenham's voice, how her sug
gestion was taken.
"We will not discuss that phase of the
question," she replied-
Summer and winter, spring and au
tumn—for Beta Mansfield was an en
thusiastic and hard worker—passed
swiftly in her great studio. She was
making herself a name, primarily as a
successful portrait painter, one whose
work was being recognized in spite of
sex-prejudice, and next as being one of
the most gifted teachers of her day.
Had she not taught that handsome girl
who lived with her so well that the lat
ter was obtaining big prices for her
replicas of subjects in the National gal
lery, besides having exhibited a picture
or two of her own inspiration? Per
haps it would not be too much to say
that Afra was as happy in her new life
as ever she had been in that old one,
the memory of which was fraught with
such terrible recollections:
Mr. Cleavland was ner uevoteel rriend
—Afra could pick and choose her
friends now. Although she limited her
friendships, she always had a bright
smile and a cheery word for the man
who acted as medium between her and
her shadowy husband. Not that Mr.
Packenham ever wrote to his legal ad
viser but letters of credit came home
and were duly acknowledged.
So the time went by, and it seemed
impossible to predict iiow it would all
"You toll me slie is altered. I dare
say I shall not know her."
Mr. Packenham had returned with
out a word of warning, and walked
into Cleavland's rooms as coolly as it
he had left only on the previous day,
although more than two years haS
passed since he had suddenly departed
for America.
The already-popular barrister noted
with mingled sensations how much his
friend had changed. Two years' wild
wanderings, with unlimited wealth at
his command, had brought out all that
was base in the man's nature, as Mr.
Cleavland saw with sorrow.
"Mrs. Packenham has adapted her
self to her condition," ho replied.
"Her condition—eh? It's a queer one,
isn't it? About as odd as they make
them in books, nowadays, eh?"
"Extremely—almost unexampled."
"What does she pose as—maid oi
"She never poses—she has not in
formed the world of your treatment."
Dereck loaned back to laugh.
"By Jove!" he exclaimed, "She won't
look upon my return as an unmixed
blessing." he added, after a pause.
"We have not discussed the question.
She is beginning to make her way."
"Ah, she wants to support herself!
Soon be able to do it?"
"Hardly—women's work is badly
"She can live on precious little," Der
eck said—"about as much as I usually
drop in one night at nap."
"She has had sufficient—I saw to
Dereek's hard and evil-looking eyes
scanned the set face for something he
did_not find.
(To be Continued.)
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