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The Saint Paul globe. (St. Paul, Minn.) 1896-1905, March 12, 1899, Novels for Leisure Hours, Image 32

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90059523/1899-03-12/ed-1/seq-32/

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lust room he found everybody on the point |
of leaving it and eagerly discussing, the vari- i
ous amusements to be entered into.
Lilian was standing by an open window,
surrounded by a group of friends, Lord Beau- j
voir amongst them.
"Beauvoir, you here? Tlow delightful!" ex- j
claimed Philip, as he shook hands with ;
Lilian and then turned to Ralph.
"Youvknow each other?" said Lilian. "I am j
so glad." i ]
She glanced rather pointedly at Ralph, i
with a look of entreaty, which opened his j
eyes. {
"Know Ralph Beauvoir? Why, he as good i
as saved my life in Switzerland last year,"
exclaimed Fairfax, but even as he spoke a j
horrible certainty crossed his mmd — of course ;
Ralph Beauvoir was Kitty's Cousin Ralph.
"Isn't it nice, Kitty?" said Lilian. "Lord i
Beauvoir and Sir Philip know each other."
"Very," said Lady Carruthers, dryly.
''Lord Beauvoir!" exclaimed Sir Philip. |
"Then your "
Ralph bowed his head.
He had understood Lilian's mute appeal,
but could not trust himself to speak to the i
rival whose name he now knew.
He said a few words to her, and then j
quietly took his leave.
More than a year before Ralph Beauvoir j
and Sir Philip Fairfax had met abroad and ;
had traveled for some weeks together.
Then Philip had returned to the life he was |
so fond of and the two had not met again.
Sir Philip had quickly picked up the threads
of his town life; and how that life stood out
in his mind when he realized that it was '
Ralph Beauvoir who was his rival! He could
have nothing to reproach himself with, and
would prove more formidable than a man of j
Fairfax's own set.
He must know at once whether Kitty was
right— Ralph would not refuse a direct an
swer to a simple question, and he must learn
the truth.
As Philip Fairfax made this resolution, a '
letter was brought to him, forwarded from
Scotland.
He knew the handwriting, and sauntered
•ut to the stables before he opened it.
"My dear fellow, what has become of you?
—have you vanished away in that Scotch j
mist that even my great devotion could not j
make me face? You surely were not in I
earnest when you said you would never see
me again? I am willing to forgive and for- !
get. The new piece is rehearsing famously j
and promises a grand success. Send me some
signs of life, the besi of which would be your \
own appearance in the little room you know
so well. Yours as ever, NELLIE."
He tore the letter into a hundred pieces, j
but said to himself that if Lilian was not go
ing to be his wife, he saw no reason to refuse i
the actress' overtures towards reconciliation.
When Lord Beauvoir returned to Bramwell j
a footman met him with a message from ;
Lilian.
She had a slight headache, would he mind
going to her boudoir?
"How good of you to see me!" said Ralph, j
gently, as he took a 'seat beside" her.
Lilian's sudden headache was no pretence..
.. Sir Philip's arrival had created a revulsion
Of feeling that made her quite ill.
She had allowed herself to see Ralph day '
by day, he thinking that she was going to be j
married, and now she could not bear it any
longer— she must send him away.
Not once had the word love escaped them
and yet each knew that, to the other love
was greater than life itself.
As Ralph spoke, Lilian grew paler nerv
ing herself for the cruel task she had set her
self.
"Yes," she said, "I ought to have seen
you— l ought to have written— but I had not
the courage."
And she sighed deeply.
And Ralph!
As, for the moment' their eyes met, he sank
on his knee by her side, and seizing her
hands, buried his face on them.
"Oh! Lilian, Lilian!" he cried- "forgive!" i
But she hardly heai-d his last word
She raised his head, and bending to him, I
tossed his forehead, as she whispered:
"Ralph, I love you!"
He started to his feet with an inarticulate
cry of pain, then sank into a chair
tao O w ! wS{ P fdid? Ph ' f ° rgiVe me; * did nOt
"My love— my iove!" he moaned. "If you'
knew— if you only knew!" i
th a^ neW Wh . at> Ralph? What is this barrier
S a i-i ce o P v a e ra you?" S? ° r - dOnlt y ° U - IOVe ™i
T,l^ h '.K UShl dear one! J not lov e you? II
£Ev *V? c 7 ery SroUnd you tread °n- Oh!
why did I stay near you? I ought to have
gone when fiist I knew my misery Lilian
yO trJ?r, knOW my ""ret now-taow X
T iii^f t° , leave y0U ' to forget y° u if Possible, I
.£ r£. ? ve y° u - an <i lam married!" !
Ralph!
il l as only one wor d— one cry, but Lilian
looked at him like a wounded animal a
took that struck deeper into his hew han j
any words could have done \
Uke L "hTt!" fOr G ° d ' S Sakg d ° n>t look at me ;
"Poor fellow!" she murmured; "how you '
must have suffered!" y v j
"Then — you forgive — Lilian?"
geiler." SCffered al ° De> aovf ' We suffer t0 " !
"Ah, no, no, not you, my love! I will ~a\
™ -'* *■»■ •£
was going to be married that I might keen i
you near me. Let this afternoon be blotted i
out from our minds, forget that I ever dreamt
of your love, and I will forget that I betra™
ed myself. Be my friend once more ■■ ' i
"Even until death!"
"Good-bye, Ralph." s
He took both her hands in his , and , , d !
them reverently; then turned, without a !
v.ord. and left her runout a ,
Well, for him that he did not see the tears !
rolling down Lilian's cheeks, nor hear the ■
despairing words that would have made him
more wretched.
"Ralph married— my Ralph— married! My i
EPLOT AND COUNTERPLOT
heart is broken!"
As Lord Beauvoir rode away from Bram
well, Sir Philip Fairfax, coming towards it,
recognized him.
"I need ask no questions," he said to him
, self. "Lilian stayed at home on purpose."
A little later he told Lady Carruthers that
he could not enter the lists against his friend,
and, as Lillian did not appear at breakfast,
he sent to know whether she could see him
in the course of the morning, but received a
message to the contrary.
"Her head was still aching," said the maid,
so he wrote a line, of farewell.
"My Dear Miss Vaughan— l am so sorry
to be obliged to leave you after your "kindness
in letting me come to Bramwell. May I hope
that you will be very happy in the future I
see before you, and that you will let me call
myself, in lieu of a dearer name,
"Your devoted friend,
PHILIP FAIRFAX."
Kitty had been loyally true to both her
friends up to now, but she could not keep
back a touch of • malice as she handed the
note to Lilian.
"Let us hope, my dear," she said, "that
you will not fall between two stools."
Lilian gave her such a look of unutterable
despair that her kind little heart smote her,
and she said, gently:
"Forgive me, dear, I am a brute— and,
Lilian, all must come right in the end."
'"No," answered Lilian; "nothing will ever
be right again," and then refused to tell her
friend what she meant.
CHAPTER V.
The new piece at the Dramatic was an
acknowledged success, and Miss Nelly Tem
ple, who had created the leading part, was
triumphant; but her triumph did not reach
its climax till, on the afternoon of the next
day, Sir Philip Fairfax was announced.
"What, Philip! Oh, how delightful! Were
you there last night? How did you like it?
Did I look nice?"
."One question at a time, my dear girl,"
sa*sd Sir Philip, gently dusting his shoulder,
where Miss Temple's cheek had left a de
cided mark of violet powder. "Yes, I was
there, and you looked charming as usual."
"Oh! I am so happy! A tremendous suc
cess last night, and now your return— for,
Philip, I hope this is not merely a morning
call?"
"Well, it's rather late in the day for that,
isn't it? May I take you to the Dramatic?"
matic?"
"Of course you may. I thought you had
left me forever, to waste my sweetness, etc.
And so she would have nothing to say to
you?"
"What do you mean?" said he, sharply.
"Now, don't be cross— as if we didn't all
know about the beautiful heiress!"
"Don't be absurd, Nelly."
"Well, you might as well tell me all about
it. I'm sure you never found me inconvenient
ly jealous— we have always been bons cam
arades!"
"You are right. She wouldn't have nte^
she's going to marry someone else; and a*
friend of'mine, worse luck."
"I hadn't heard of that. Who is it?"
"Lord Beauvoir."
"Never! Why, he must be 70!"
"The old man's dead; it's Ralph she's go
ing to marry."
"Ralph Beauvoir! Ralph, Lord Beauvoir!
Well, I never!"
"Do you know him?"
"Know him?" Miss Temple laughed long
and loudly. "Know Ralph Beauvoir? Oh,
Phil, you'll be the death of me!"
"1 don't see anything very furiny in my
question," answered Sir Philip, silkily.
"No, I'm sure you don't, ha, ha, ha! And
so she thinks she's going to marry him does
she?"
"I believe it's a settled affair."
"Oh, no, it isn't! I can and will prevent
that. She may love him if she likes; but
marry him — oh, dear, no!"
"Why not?"
"That you shall know later on. Come
along, I shall be late. Of course, you'll come
back to supper?"
"I shall be delighted."
Sir Philip handed her into his hansom; but
he had no qualms as to the wisdom of his
having returned to the actress.
Lord Beauvoir was in an agony of mind
aggravated by remdrse.
He was furious with himself; he had no
right to have spoilt Lilian's life.
He never doubted the truth of her passion
ate words: "Ralph, I love you!"
Oh! why could he not take her away to
some far corner of the earth where they
could live in love and peace?
Alas! alas! Even were he free to marry
her, would he be justified in asking her to
share his sullied life?
For several years Ralph had lived a happy
careless iife, always spending part of the'
year at Beauvoir, a dear companion to his
aged father.
Then came a time when his letters were
full of the beautiful Eleanor Travers the
daughter of an artist.
Lord Beauvoir counseled his son to wait, to
know the lovely creature a little longer be
fore he gave their old name and their honor
into her keeping; but when Mr. Travers pro
posed wintering abroad nothing would satis
fy Ralph but an immediate marriage; and on
a visit to the Hall Miss Traver3 played her
cards so well that Lord Beauvoir, who had
never denied his son anything, gave his re
luctant consent, only stipulating that the
wedding should be strictly private, and that
till he had welcomed the young people at
Beauvoir it was not to-be blazoned forth to
the world.
Eleanor was all pretty submission; and so
they were married.
Alas! before their honeymoon was over
Mrs. Beauvoir showed herself in her true
colors.
In the quiet country life, Eleanor did not
find the distractions and amusements she
had dreamt of, as the wife of Lord Beauvoir's
only son, and the violent temper she had been
able to curb whilst aiming at the object of
; her ambition, burst forth with frightful fury.
Ralph would not. allow his father to be
! subjected to daily scenes of angry reerimina
; tion, to which the disappointed lady treated
I them, and, at his father's wish, he took his
wife abroad.
Then, in Italy, after a series of scandalous
flirtations, she left him and came back to
| England— and not alone.
Rstlph was too weary and wretched to do
I more than arrange to send her a certain al
lowance, payable on the condition that she
dropped his name, and then he wandered
over Europe, not caring much what became
! of him.
Now that he knew and loved Lilian
Vaughan he wondered at himself for ever
! having even admired Eleanor Travers.
Lilian soon wrote to him; but her note
j brought little comfort.
"Do not come to me," it ran, "I cannot yet
| bear it."
And he answered:
"Never again, if you wish it so."
She had been so happy, her hopes had been
I raised so h^gh, that now the contrast made
her sick at heart.
If she had dared she would have sent for
him again immediately; but she was afraid
jof herself, of her weakness, which, in his
: eyes, was her strength.
When at last she felt calmer, she sent him
| a message; and he came.
Before he could say a word she went quick
! ly towards him, and, reading his misery in
his eyes, exclaimed:
"Ralph, all is forgiven. Never let us speak
of the past — never!"
He could not help himself.
He took her in his arms and), pressed his j
lips to hers. '
And she, too sad to mind, lay passive in his j
| embrace.
"Lilian," he said, presently, "I must tell
; you all — I owe it to you."
She had been thinking of that woman he
! called wife, who had borne his name and |
lived under his roof, and drew herself away
j from him quickly, saying, impatiently:
"No; tell me nothing. I don't want to hear
of her. I should hate her."
"Lilian, you believe that I never really
j loved her?"
"Ah! what can I say? You married her."
The reply cut him to the heart.
Of course he had married her of hig own
i passionate will; but he must— would — make
! Lilian understand all about those days, and,
taking her hands in his, he made her listen
to his story.
When he had finished, she was deathly pale
and he exclaimed:
"I have hurt you, my darling?"
"yes,'.' she said, "you have hurt me, but it
was necessary. Now, Ralph, leave me for
the present."
After his interview they met as they had
met before; and Ralph, longing to see her j
under his roof, had the courage to ask Lady j
Carruthers to bring Lilian to Beauvoir one
afternoon.
When the two ladies accepted his invita
tion to tea, they little guessed into what a
flutter of excitement they threw his bachelor
household.
The servants were eager to do honor to the
occasion, and Ralph himself scoured' the gar
dens and conservatories for late roses and
early violets.
Towards 4 o'clock he heard the sound of
wheels, and went to meet Lady Carruthers
and Miss Vaughan.
The former, saying she was quite at home
at Beauvoir, went on before them, leaving
Ralph to the inexpressible pleasure of wel
coming his love alone.
"Oh, how beautiful this is!" she exclaimed,
as he led into the drawing-room. "Your place
I is far more lovely than I had imagined, Lord
Beauvoir; how dared you disparage it as you
| have done?"
"I never thought of it as beautiful till to
day." . I
Lilian blushed, and Ralph continued,
boldly —
"Lilian, since you have lightened my home
I with your presence, it is terrible to me to
I th;nk of the future without you as its mis
tress—would that I were free to make you i
mire!"
"Ah!" she whispered; "would indeed that
it could be as you say."
"Ralph," broke in Lady Carruthers; "aren't
i you going to give us some tea? I am dying of
th.rst."
Lord Beauvoir rang, and it was brought in,
: served in delicate Sevres cups that had not
j beeii used since his mother's death.
Dismissing the footman, Ralph waited on
! his guests himself.
But the minutes seemed to fly, and before
he had time to realize that Lilian was only
an afternoon visitor, the short day was draw- ;
i ing to & close, and the carriage was at the \
! dcor.
"I have been very happy today," she |
: murmured, as he put her cloak round her.
"And I have been in Heaven. Oh! Lilian,
I Lilian, will you ever be mine?"
"Ralph," she whispered; "remember your i
: promise. Don't let me regret coming."
"Forgive me this once. Your presence is i
i almost more than I can bear."
"Lilian, are you coming? We shall never j
Ibe in time for dinner," called out Lady !
j Carruthers, who had been all endurance and !
! good-nature.
As they drove through the gardens, Lilian [
saw a woman's form glide up to the entrance j
j they had jugt left, and her heart beat pain- !
i fully.
Who was she?
She was handsomely dressed, and had all
.the appearance of familiarity with the house.
And, forgetting ail Ralph's passionate looks
j and tender words, Lilian felt an agonising
j jea'ousy stab her to the heart.
CHAPTER VI.
When Sir Philip Fairfax told Nelly Temple ;
—or rather Eleanor Travers, now, by mar- j
i riage, Lady Beauvoir — his rival's name, this j
! ycung woman immediately determined to re- i
i as&trt herself, and become Lady Beauvoir in
■ the eyes of the world.
She thought of little else, and one day took
;an opportunity to rush down to Beauvoir I
1 Hall.
l She walked over from the station, and Was j
just in time to see Ralph turn back into the
house with an ecstatic smile on his face, and
to prevent the footman from shutting the
door against her.
"Lord Beauvoir is at home," she said, calm
ly. '"I have just seen him."
"Whom shall I announce?" said the man,
surprised at her manner.
"No one. I will announce myself, , I am
Lady Beauvoir," she replied, brushing past
the astonished footman.
Ralph had seated himself deliberately in the
chair Lilian had just vacated, and he,,was in
the act of. carrying a flower she had been toy
ing with, to his lips, when a light hand was
laid on his shoulder, and a mocking voice
sounded in his ear.
He started to his feet, and faced his.yisitor
with an unmistakable look of disgust^'
"Ralph," cried Nelly, trying to infuse some
tenderness into her voice; "is this a)]L your
welcome?"
'"You here, Madam? How dare yoy- "
"Ralph," she said again: but, awed' by his
look, she- changed her tone. "Lord Beauvoir,
then — I want to speak to you — I will not keep
you long."
"You can have nothing to say to me; if you
want money, address yourself to my solici
tors, and they will look into the matter."
"No, no, I don't want money. I came to ask
you to forgive me," and here the'" lactress1 actress
melted into tears. "I know I have been bad '
—wicked; but, oh, Ralph, if you knew how I
had repented — how sorry I am!"
"Indeed," answered Lord Beauvoirj- "you
have taken a singular way of showing your
sorrow; your name has been on every lip.
Bah!"
"My name, yes," she said, humbly. "But I
have always respected yours. No one has ever
guessed that Nelly Temple and Lady Beau
voir were one."
"Because it was to your interest to hold
your tongue."
"Oh, how you hate me!"
"I do not hate you, I loathe you as one
loathes a venomous creature, whose instincts
are all bad. Now the sting of your vileness
is extracted, and you are nothing to rae."
"I am your wife!"
"In name alone; the day you left me, you
placed a barrier between us that nothing can
remove."
"Will you never forgive me?" v
"Never." w
"Listen, Ralph; if 1 pive up the stage, all
that I have loved, my successes, my triumphs,
would you not believe in my repentance?"
"Never. I repeat, you are nothing to me."
"You refuse? Very well, then, I shall not
stoop to ask again," she cried; changing her
tone to one of insolent anger; "only, reaiern
ber this, Lord Beauvoir,|l know your secret;
you love another woman, and I stand between
you. Good-bye."
Several days passed, and Lilian waited im
patiently for Ralph.
At last, when he came, he looked so worn,
so ill, that she went across the lawn to meet
him, with love shining in her eyes, longing to
comfort him.
"Where have you been to?" she cried, with
a little show of petulance, that was very
charming.
"I had to go to town on business." . •
"Connected with— your wife?" .
"With, my wife?. tNo; she is nothing tome."
By this time they were indoors, and Lilian
went to her desk, from which she took a let
ter.
Handing it to Ralph, she asked—
"Is that her handwriting?"
He glanced through the letter, and, pale
with anger, recognized his wife's hand in the
following words —
"Madam — Lord Beauvoir is your devoted
lover, so they say; but he will do well to
pause before he gives you a name that al
ready belongs to another— his wife, whom he
chocses to hide from the world, and only visit
and receive in seciet.
"A WELL-WISHER."
"Lilian, you do not believe this wretched
attempt to part us?"
"It could not part us more effectually than
the fact of your wife's existence, could it
Ralph?" And then Lilian burst into tears.
"And I saw— her— after I left you, the other
day."
"Lilian, my darling, don't cry, for pity's
sake. I worship you, and I hate, I loathe
her."
"Why did she come to you."
"She pretended to beg for forgiveness, said
she had repented. Ah! don't let us speak of
her; let us try, for the present, to forget her
I long for a little happiness,"
Soon after this, Lilian we>nt back to town
and there the long, confidential talks and in
terviews, so dangerous to their peace of mind,
were impossible.
One evening, after a dinner at Lady
Carruthers , the conversation turned on Nelly
Temple, whose sucoess was the talk of the
town.
Lilian was present.
"She is a most beautiful woman," said Lord
Winter; "and, I believe, belongs to a very
good family. They say at the club that she
is devoted to her husband still, and that there
is a chance of a reconciliation, though she left
him for some other fellow."
"Surely no man could forgive a woman
who has behaved as she has," said Lilian
rather contemptuously ■>-"»«»«.
Her secret had not yet been discovered, and
so, when a party was made up to see the
beautiful actress, she joined it, with painfu!
curiosity to see and hear this woman who
ca ,ll e d herself Ralph Beauvoir's wife.
w , hen M isß Temple made her entrance
amidst thunders of applause, Lilian's heart
beat painfully, and a chill ran through her
The * WOman>s beau[ y frightened her
Lord and Lady Winter and young Vanston
were of the party, and presently she heard
the^"er whisper to Lady Carruthers- *
fee™ airfax is stm ac the f air one's
"Is he?" answered Kitty, coldly, not best
pleased at the intelligence
"Yes; and what do you think is the last
rumor going the round of the clubs'"
•I haven't an idea "
"That her husband is none other than your
cousin, and Philip's friend. L W d Beauvoir'"
In her intense excitement, Lady Carruthers

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