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The Irish standard. [volume] (Minneapolis, Minn. ;) 1886-1920, August 17, 1889, Image 6

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90059959/1889-08-17/ed-1/seq-6/

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BY MANDA L. CROCKER.
COPYRIGHT, 1889,
"1 would have saved you, myctnia, couici
have done so but the fatality of the family
has overtaken you, and what could youi
poor, desolate father do You have forsaker
Heatherleigh for a poverty-stricken com
panion, and nave gone with the choice oi
your heart, as did Allan here Alas! Allan
that I have now no brother! Alas! Miriam
that I now have no child. Henceforth yoi
are dead to me good-bye—aye, worse
farewell!"
1-iavi.n^ Hissed the portrait of the proud,
wil'Tiil ciiilj, ho hung it up for amomentfor
anothur ew of the sweat face. "Truly
she war. regal then," he said, with a deep
sigh. Then he turned the fs.ee of his
daughter to the wall with a shiver, and
sealed the doom of^iis motherless child.
After th.3 he tottered upstairs to his
apartments with much feebler step than he
had ever known. Surely this was, by far,
the greatest sorrow of his long, loveless
existence. Ah! yes, it was the hardest
blow he had ever experienced.
Bereaved of hi3 beautiful wife, whom he
loved tenderly, how crushed and sorrowful
his days had been in the great, lonely Hall.
But he knew where she was resting this
other bereavement, why, this was so differ
ent, so different! Poor Miriam! he knew
nothing of her wandering away perhaps
might never know aught of her more. The
rest of them went that way—Allan did.
The curse of temper and circumstance
was worse than death. Yes, in comparison,
death was kind!
The threatening breach had now widened
beyond repair between Sir Rupert and his
child, and "too late" was written across the
seal of her doom. He must bow also to the
inevitable.
And that day on which the master of
Heatherleigh buried his daughter in his
heart was but a precursor of many dreary
ones to follow. The same silent, crape
shaded routine, admitting of scarcely any
variation, went on. A lonely breakfast in
his own apartments long, companionless
walks about the grounds with his hands
behind him uzid his eyes bent on the ground
as if in deep study the silent dinner hour
next, and lastly, solitary evenings, on
whose mournful hours none were allowed
to infringe by trying to be companionable.
About this time the servants began to
show signs of a general revolt. Sometimes
they declared that this prison-lifo would
materially shorten their days.
Ancil and Peggy reminded them, thai they
would be substantially rewarded «ome day
likely if they would only continue to be
faithful.
But the mutiny of the western wing of
Heatherleigh boiled and effervesced until,
at the close of a very trying day when
Sir 'Rupert had been unusually contrary
with them, the gardener and cook said,
meaningly, ''that if the master was found
dead in his bed in the morning, why, it wa3
nobody's business—but—" And they
wagged their heads ominously.
CHAPTER XI.
All day the storm had raged and battered
and shook the windows with angry hand,
but now there had fallen a somewhat calm
er hour.
Prom the window of a residence, a beauti
ful country seat,, near the shore, a pale, sad
face peered out into the sullen eventide. The
'house and grounds gave evidence of taste
•and wealth, coupled with an inviting air of
welcome hospitality, that seemed a very
eye-rest at the close of such an uncharitable
day. The sun now lay low on the sea, and
the breakers dashed high up against the
rocky sea-woll. falling back with thunder
ous moan, as if disappointed that in all
these thousands of years they had not been
able to scale the height and break over their
irksome boundary. Heavy clout's bestrewed
the horizon, and shut out the b-ue zenith as
with a curtain of sorrow. Only in the west
lay a long, calm, rift of sunset sky, through
which shone softly the sunlight, as if
washed with tears.
But the pale, sad-faced woman looking
from the pane saw nothir ?of the evening's
promise she only noted the darkened east
and the dim sunlight's last smile playing
fitfully on the black sea-world beneath.
Tears had been exhausted and the soul
fountain had become dry, but the wild, hot
Qyes roved abroad over the cheerless land
scape, or sea view rather, aimlessly, really
taking note of nothing while the weary
brain almost reeled beneath the awful shock
it must endure.
In the next room a man lay dying. The
physician was bending over him with a po
tion calculated to ease and soothe the last
few moments of his patient, while the at
tendants stood wistfully, silently by.
They had done all they could, all that
human agency and affection could devise,
but the fiat of death had gone forth and
now, in the prime of young manhood,
Arthur Fairfax must die.
He had lived to see his dream fulfilled,
however. He had gained wealth and found
his beautiful home by the sea that he had
planned to have on his wedding day.
Yes, it had all been realized, but what a
fearful price was asked! Overtaxed, his
system gave out, and he was now ready,
after months of decline, to leave it all.
Months ago he felt a strange sense of ex
haustion stealing over bim, but he thought
it a mere lassitude which by and by would
wear off. So paying but little attention to
nature's warning he toiled on .with almost
superhuman effort to complete this domes
tic paradise so dear to his heart.- His plans
were about completed, and Miriam should
have her beautiful home as they both had
planned. Miriam, who had given up every
thing for him and his love and who bad al
ways been the same sweet, unchangeable
wife, should now be happy in her own ele
gant establishment.
And their boy—the bright, winsome lit
tle son, inheriting his mother's dark eyes
and the blonde curls of the Fairfax family,
should never know a want, never have a
wish unsatisfied, if money could fill the re
quirement. He had wealth now. The world
had gone well with him, turning steadily
'neath fortune's smile.
This he had said to himself on that last
day up in the mines while closing out his
sales and getting rid of shares in the stock.
He was very fatigued that day and more
nervous than usual, and Uncle Benton had
made a note of it by saying: "You look pad
on the verge of a severe Ulness, Arthur, or
I'm mistaken. It's a good thing that you
retire from business to-day, my boy."
He wa3 aware of it himself, to some ex
tent, but a month's actual rest at The Rest,
the name of his country seat, would be suf
ficient to throw off this weariness and he
would be himself again.
These, then, had been his plans, but the
best laid plans "aft gang aglea." And now
it had come to this, after weeks of hope
less tattling with stern decree.
Tbe daviad npwjroneput on the waters
.VUAi-t ,1 'iW phk" w-,,
and the"feTackness of night and despair had
settled down over Miriam. She tottered
across the room and into the nexc, and with
clasped hands stood helplessly gazing down
on the beloved face on the pillow.
A light broke over the face as the fast
glazing eyes met her wild, yearning look,
and he beckoned her nearer. She leaned
over him fondly and kissed his brow where
the death damps were gathering and he
whispered: "Bring baby to me, dearest."
Below stairs the nurse-girl was lulling
the child to rest with a sweet cradle song.
He had been kept quiet all the long, dreary
day by strategy coaxed with dainties and
amused with fairy stories unfolded to his
credulous mind by the nurse who loved to
revel in these pleasing fancies herself.
"Arthur wants the baby," said Miriam,
breaking in on the edge of dreamland, and
clasping her boy with a sudden tenacious
movement born of grief.
The nurse resigned her sleepy charge
with a frightened glance of inquiry into the
white face of her mistress. She needed no
words to tell that at last the agony of death
and parting had come, for the look on Miri
am's face was plain of interpretation.
The mother bore away the little son, so
soon to become fatherless, and the tender
hearted nurse-girl, turning away, "burst
into tears.
"Oh! it must be an awful thing to die
and leave one's friends," she moaned .to
herself, going about the room, picking up
mechanically the toys of little Arthur
which iu his great glee at piaying Aladdin
he had scattered about. "Poor little one,"
murmured she., "his tender heart doesn't
understand it, and it is well enough it
doesn't."
"Kiss—" but the lips failed to utter the
rest.
"Love papa," said Miriam, and the child,
putting his chubby face down caressingly,
kissed the paie, paternal lips. "My papa .is
cold, so cold," he said, wonderingly, looking
up.
The attendant took him. away then, at a
sign from the mother, and kneeling by the
couch Miriam drew the death-damp brow
to her breaking heart and pressed passion
ate kisses on the cold lips.
A look of unutterable joy cvevsx-ead the
features of Arthur Fairfax, and ho said
half audibly: "Good-bye, Miriam, dearest
watch over our boy, and—meet me—"
"Yes, darling, with God's help," moaned
Miriam and she held ia her arms, not her
devoted husband, but clay—cold, inani
mate clay!
They led her away also, then, away :"rom
her beloved dead. She sat down be.3ide the
sleeping, fatherless child, and throwing one
arm over the unconscious boy moaned away
the night in a vigil of grief.
"Why was this?" she asked of the mid
night silence. '-Why should he be taken
from her wh ?u they were so prosperous
and happy, when every thing that heart
could desire for comfort and domestic bliss
was theirs."
Little Arthur threw up his babv hands
and murmured '-Papa," and fretted iu hia
slumber.
With a mother's touch and caress Miriam
soothed him to untroubled repose again. He
was all she had now, and her hot hands
wandered over his silken curis strayjjig
about on the pillow.
All the next day she sat by her beloved
dead, stunned with the awful sense oi her
bereavement. The servants west softiy
about the house with sorrowful faces, and
the attendants came in and went out of the
room and she scarcely knewii. Twice they
brought little Arthur in the silent, darkened
room to see his papa, but the sight of the
two together she could not bear, so when
the baby teased "to see what made papa
sleep so cokl," they took him off in the gar
den and talked away his curiosity concern
ing the dead.
The last sad rites had been performed
the solemn-looking hearse, draped in black
crape looped with silver 3tars, had gone,
Arthurs friends had gone home, all but
Patty, the youngest sister, and Mir
lata sat
in her beautiful home a widow.
Patty would stay with her all the coming
dreary winter—she had promised as much,
and by the springtime she should know,
perhaps, what was best to do.
When the spring laughed merrily over
the isles and flowers came, they went
abroad for a month. Little Arthur's
health seemed to demand a change, and the
devoted mother held no sacrifice too
great for her child.
Miriam had her plans. She would travel
a little, and, in returning, would come
home by Hastings, and, if she could, wSuid
venture on a visit to the Hall. Perhaps
her father might forgive her for the sakf
of her beautiful, fatherless child.
True, she kad writteD him acquainting
him of Arthur's death, and he had left the
servants to make the reply, and send com
fort and sympathy but he was old and
very strange, any waj", and a letter, after
all, was not like seeing them. Patty
thought it would work no harm to try a
visit to Heatherleigh, at least she wished
to visit Beechwood once more, although
stranger hands had desecrated her favor
ite walks, no doubt.
And Patty blue- eyed, kind-hearted
Patricia, who made the best of sisters
superintended it all, and left Miriam to
seek solace and comfort care-free, and. the
weary-hearted mother felt she never could
be thankful enough for such a priceless
companion as dear little sister Patty.
Again, she sat by the window, iu the
eventide, looking out over the cliffs and the
sea again the death fiat had gone forth,
and "the flower that grew between" was
ruthlessly snapped from its parent stem.
Patricia sat near her, dropping tears on
some broken toys she had. treasured up
from the nursery. She could not weep
now she was too desolate. God had seem
ingly forgotten her and left her without a
ray of hope, without a single string on
love's harp unbroken. Away out in the
offing she saw a white-winged ship, with
tint of sunset tingeing its sails the faintest
of rose hiaes. That was, doubtless, the
messenger she had sent bearing a long,
long letter to one whom she had never seen,
but the missive contained a request, never
theless.
The tear-stained pages, when unfolded
at Bay View cottage, tucked down by the
blue waters of the Narragansett, would re
veal something like this:
"1 am alone. God pity me! A stranger
in mine own land. Bereaved of husband
and child in one short half year, I am deso
late. Shut from a! father's doors, I am in
the depths of isolated sorrow. I have an
abundance of means, and would be no
burden could I come to you? I am but a
stranger to you also, but you were my
mother's friend will you not be mine al
so?"
Then this was the message she had sent.
Patricia knew it, and had demurred there
to, but she must go. She had told herself
that a week after the clods rattled down on
her baby's coffin, and if she received an
answer from Bay View telling hev that her
mother's friend still resided there she
would sell her beautiful home and leave her
native land forever—the la&d which had
held nothing but sorrows for her from her
cradlehood.
Patricia's lover and affianced husband
would purchase The Rest, and it would
remain in the Fairfax family. Had little
Arthur lived she would have continued
her residence here and would have kept the
'Sit
elegant home, beautified and cared for, for
him.
Eut with his death all her plais cher
ished for his future were laid away with
him, and nothing now remained but to get
away from it' all.
The breeze swept up from the sea and
through the open casement, dallying with
the loose crape sleeve of her dress, the
sweet English violets lent their breath to
the caress of the wind, and a bird in the
garden below began its vesper song.
Miriam shut her eyes and leaned back in
the depths of her chair to dream of
fond baby finger3 stealing up around her
neck, and of a deep, musical voice calling
tenderly across the vale: "Miriam, dearest,
good-bye."
Patricia rose quietly and glanced at her
sister-in-law, and seeing her eyes closed
said, softly: "She is resting, poor darling."
Then she went out, leaving her, as she
thought, to a refreshing nap.
"Of course," she said to herself, with a
bright blush of happiness. "Of course,
Hollis will purchase Miriam's home if she
wishes to dispose of it, but we would rather
she would live with U3 instead of going to
America."
And the lithe little English girl glanced
down on one dimpled hand, where a brilliant
solitaire flashed in silent affimative.
Miriam opened her eyes siowly. Patricia
had gone down-stairs, and she was alone,
alone in the sweet June twilight with the
music of the clear, evening bells, ehc?ssing
the deep bass of the sea, floating tenderly,
softly around her. The plaintive song of
R,obiu Adair came up from below, and she
knew the old man with his bagpipes was
making his rounds once more for ''just wan
ha'-penny, please." "Friendless and poor,
perhaps sorrowful also," she murmured,
leaning over the window ledge.
Yes he was coming her way, and would
stop just beneath her window, as usual.
Poor old fellow he aped the dress of the
Highlander and doubtless thought the
music of his bagpipes equal to any of
Scott's minstrel melodies. W«U, he was a
corry-looking minstrel of the degenerate
latter days, to say the least.
There, what was thnt he was singing, in
his rich Scotch brogue? Hark! the sen*?
hatl changed, and "Where my bonnielove
lies sleeping" is what he essays in his
quaint voice. She would go down and drop
a penny in the withered palm.
"Why do you sing that sorrowful song,
my friend?" questioned Miriam, opening the
lower sash and recognizing in the dreamy
iight the picturesque garb of the aged man
whom Arthur loved to hear sing.
The song ceased, and caressing his bag
pipes with loving touch he made answer:
"Ah! lady fair, sair is rae heart for the
bonnie love gone out of me life."
"Then your love is dead as well c,s mine,"
said Miriam, with a tremor of hopeless pain
running through her words.
The quick ear of the man with the rustic
looking bagpipes noted the quaver of tears
in her voice, and a sudden mist cfexne be
tween him and the world.
"Yes, me darling is dead," he replied,
"butthegude God's will be done I'm not
the wan to be unhappy, ma'am, ftrt wan
glorious day I'll cross over "iv,h«rethe music
ia finer, and I'jl find hci there."
He put ws tiembling fingers once more
on iiJ.sr«'j es, dropped his head and began:
And where my love lies sleeping
The angels keep watch and ward."
"Don't! don't!" wailed Miriam, in a
helpless tone, "you mean to comfort, no
doubt, but you only wound afresh cau
not say with you that I am not unhappy,
over
•i'-x Y?** 1 *1-5, *v T- HSi^r ^4±
fflE IRIsll STANDARD: SATURDAY, AUGUST 17.
jmm
"SHE IS RESTING, POOR DARLING."
for I am so miserable, so desolate, so
crushed! Here is money for your comfort,
if there be any comfort in it but do not
sing that song for me again, please."
She put a handful of shining silver pieces
in the faded cap, and bidding him "good
night," shut the window down gently suV
went upstairs.
"Bagpipes belong to Scotch man, I
know," she said to jr^y on the stairs,
"but they worry VQf to-night as much as if
they were in tb.f nands of unsophisticated
Teddy McGlyr'.."
But Patricia knew that Miriam was trying
to dissemble.
CHAPTER XII,
As days slipped into months anu years
at the Hall, Sir Rupert Percival grew stead
ily more morose and discontented.
'Harder and harder to please, he often
found an occasion for abusing the servants
roundly for some trivial matter or imagin
ary dereliction. In short, the servants began
to think their master's mind had weakened
sadljr s?ace Miriam had gone.
Oft^ri, quite often, they could hear him
walking about the dark, gloomy corridors
far inio the night, and mutter to himself of
the absent daughter and of the dear, dead
wife Sometimes in his midnight marches
they could hear him bemoaning the strange
decV.ee
of cruel destiny that hung like a
pali
Heatherleigh, and cursed his life
witjy such relentless fate. And in their
he^Jts they speculated and wondered
wt.jre and how it would all end.
Toe weeks dragged each successive
week being a perfect counterpart of the
preceding. Even the chapel bells in the
distance sounded dirges for the sunny Sab
baths of merry old England, and the even
ing chimes came to the solemn ?oc
•rs like
smothered moans over the couch of some
dear, dead friend.
The dwellers of the country side kept
aloof from the Hall, as if some sort of dark
necromancy held sway beneath its ancicnt.
gables they shrank from the presence oi
its aggravated and perplexed master with
common consent, and pitied the servants
imprisoned under his iron rule.
Occasionally the servants would steal
away across the fields to their «ympat,hizing
neighbors for a social chat and to air some
new whim of their peculiar-minded master.
But seldom did the servants' quarters at the
Hall behold a visitor or the over joyed in
mates entertain a caller, for a superstitious
fear of something uncanny and unexplain
able kept them away.
Taken altogether life at Heatherleigh was
other than enviable. Four years of this
silent, aimless life at the Hall had. gone the
way of the sunsets, and once more the sad
anniversary of Miriam's departure had
dawned.
The inmates of the Hall had heard once
from Miriam Percival Fairfax, and her hus
band, Arthur, had succeeded, so rumor had
b, far beyond his most sanguine expecta
tions, and now was a gentleman of wealth
and much influence in the first circles of his
city. But although the servants had a gen
eral time of rejoicing when the good news
reached them, the aged father gave no sign
of joy, or even gratification, over the very
desirable good fortune.
Yet, strange to say, he did not venture 9
word of reprimand to check the flow of re
joicing, nor seem "put out" with their cheer*
ful, happy faces and lightheadedness. The
influence, rather, of their merry speeches
and glad manner seemed to settle down
over his irritableness in a sort of calm,
soothing way that rendered his presence and
commands more endurable. And itseemed,
as old Peggy had said, that "the climax av
'his timper had been rached, praise the
saints."
And now the fourth anniversary of the
daughter's flight had dawned, and it had
been quite a while since any news of be?
had been received Aigh.
Pe^gy Clurkson, faithful old soul, bad
been growing uneasy for some time, ana
had been praying to her patrnja sgint "for
newz cSrecht from the young misthress,"
when there came a vague rumor floating
about the country side that the health of
Arthur Fairfax had failed. Doubtless from
overwork, they said, when sr» &tu«idanC
was wasting at the
Hhu.
'There's no lirro' i.Jwi aware how sune the
£iatf&uion will dhrap off and lave the puir
childer comfortless," Peggy would say
when a fresh rumor would reach them.
But on this eventful day John had gone
to the city on an errand for Sir Rupert.
The austere master had grown to trust John
to transact many little affairs, which, al
though important enough, had become dis
tasteful and irksome in his old days.
It was a little transaction of this kind
-yhich took John to the city on aaemor-
SU5 BuPERT BROKE T»£ J»AT)GB OP pEATH.
able day. On hie return he Lad pcught Sir
Rupert's apartments hurrJ£diy, and handed
hira ifetter with a black seal.
His master was lying on a couch, near the
window, in the cold, uncertain light of the
ausumn afternoon. He turned wearily over
toward the shimmering sunlight, and
stared at the suggestive seal of black then
he said, hurriedly: "Pull the curtain aside,
John." Then with trembling fingers Sir Ru
pert Percival broke the badge of death, and
read the solitary line written in Mifiasa'Ji
fine, lady-lijra hand. Over and over the
one Eiu^le sentence he went, forgetful
of John's presence. The servant would
have gone dowc-etairs, as was his wont
after delivering a message, but in this case
his inquisitive anxiety overcame his man
ners, and he stood with hungry eyes fixed
on the master's white, haggard-looking
face, shrewdly guessing it was from the
long-absent daughter, and trying to divine
the coritsato c5." iba
Presently th% old man looked wearily,
sadly from the letter to the anxious face
bending over him, and said, as if measur
ing each word by its sorrowful meaning:
"He is dead—Fairfax is dead, and Miriam
is a widow." Then he turned his white face
away in the shadow of the curtain, and
motioned to John his dismissal.
"Miram has written," said the tender
hearted John to the servants, as he wiped
his eyes with his handkerchief. "Her—
husband is dead yes, Arthur Fairfax is
dead!"
A moan escaped the hps of the little
group gathered about their lonely dinner at
the close of this memorable day. "Poor
Miriam," and John made another applica
tion of the handkerchief to hide the tears
gathering in his honest eyes.
"An' it's dead ye say he is? Oh! this
wurruld is full of throuble. Dead, an' not
a pairson fro comfort misthress. Oh!
Oi expected i*n-acl Peggy bowed her
gray the table and wept aloud.
'tfead!" echoed Ancil, shaking his
whitened locks as he knocked the ashes out
of his pipe against the broad, hospitable
jamb, and came over and sat down by his
Wife. "An' now the masther'll be afthur
sendin' fur the heart-bhroken misthress
an' repintin' ov his sins," ventured he
further as a sort of comfort.
"An' he won't nayther!" blazed Peggy,
angrily, and suddenly forgetting to sob
her resentment of any thing humane
as expected of Sir Rupert. "Niver! whin
he let the young gintleman wurruk hisself
into the grave, and niver a welcome loine
could he sind—not even to her."
As usual, Aiieii subsided with his notions
of charity and devoted himself to his dinner,
while Peggy enlarged on the doings of the
past and wandered off into the future, with
very severe opinions concerning her mas
ter.
She was the ruling faction in tjjp west
wing, and wljen any one of its inmates ex
pressed the hope, or belief, that Sir Rupert
would .send for Miriam, or may be go to
her himself, "seeing she was in mourning
so soon again," Peggy would shake hercap
rufflf-s into confusion dire in her authority.
Her negatives usually silenced all hopeful
expectation as with the spell of a seer,
capped with her Hibernian climax of
"niver a bit will the haythunish masthur
go to the childer hewuddoie forninst the
day of puir stubborn maneness."
And uncharitable as Peggy seemed, she
was, nevertheless, right in her assertions,
for not a word of condolence or pity did Sir
Rupert send to his bereaved daughter,
neither did he express any sympathy. he
might have felt for her in her sore be
reavement.
But Peggy, good old soul, seat a letter
brimful of comfort and loving sympathy to
the lonely-hearted Miriam, "unbeimowin'
to the masthur," for, as she confided to
John, who smuggled the missive in with
the mail of the Hall, "he needn't think as
how the whole wurruld is goin' to walk in
the loikes of his mane footstheps." And so
the long letter of condolence indicted to
Miriam by the faithful Peggy was sent,
and all the servants promised to keep it
secret from the master. They ne^er forgot
his commands of four years ago, to never
mention Miriam's name in his hearing, nor
to appear concerned in her welfare for
fear of his wrath. These orders they had
never broken, with the exception of the
time when they heard of Arthur Fairfax
having gained in wealth and position. In
keeping their thoughts far from the master's
ken they had "grown wise as serpents and
harmless as doves."
Some weeks after the cuckoo had sound-
edits note along the sunny hedges and told
the pleasant story that spring had come,
there fell another memorable day to the
Hall.
All winter long the inmates of Heather
leigh had lived in utter seclusion from the
merry outside world and catered patiently
to the whims of Sir Rupert. And when
the snows vanished from park and lawn,
and the dry alder leaves whirled sorrowful
ly into odd corners at sight of budding
life, and the dark-budded elms bowed gent
ly to the great English ivy which had been
clutching with naked arms at the weath
er-stained facade and dreary dormer win
dows in their wealth of bursting new life,
there came a break iu the routine.
Up the long silent avenue came, winding
slowly as if iu fear of' intrusion, a close
carriage. Sir Rupert was in his own apart,
ments, and the servants were lolling list
lessly about lite grounds, when the sound
ef wheels came to their ears. They started
up with beating hearts as the welcome
break Lti the monotony dawned on them
*Ai.£ rw-^mation of surprise burst in
voluntarily from lips while they
came together on the flagging as if by
magic, and gazed at the carnage and into
each other's faces in an inquiring, mystified
way.
-trc Lbt carriage stopped at the front
entrance a lady dressed in deep mourning
alighted, and ieading a bright little child
slowly along over the flags, she came to
ward them. And when quite near she
threw back her blaei vail revealing a very
sad, but familiar face, It was Miriam Miri
am. the lost-lost daughter.
Sir Pv,upert looked from his window. He
had wakened from his drowsy, listless
dreaming he BO much indulged in, and
heard the unusual stir below. And, hurry
ing to the pane, he was just in time to see
and hear the tumultuous greeting of the
servants. It was some minutes, however,
before he could make out who it was that
had come and raised such an unearthly
hubbub among the generally well-behaved
inmates of the hall.
CHAPTER XIII.
Drawing aside the heavy curtain he
silently watched the animated group below.
Awoadering expression taking the place
of the usual sullen demeanor was soon sup
planted by one of recognition. Then a
pleased, happy light so foreign to him
ciawned in those hard, cruel gray eyes as
they rested on the crape-clad figure of
Miriam and then on the fair child now
her arms.
Auu, doubtless, the angel of love, poising
on white wings above the gr y-liaired
father, was waiting c^tch the first syl
lable of endearing forgiveness: but the
light died out in his face, and iw word of
affection hi.d escaped the thin lips, although
t^r-.v worked convulsively in their struggle
against T'USSbetter prompting. In a moment
more the victory in favor of cruel hardness
of heart had been won, and the uncompro
mising lines settled back around the fiz*m
mouth, and the spirit of hi3 accursed an
cestor swayed Sir Rupert with its •Bvil
power.
Hurrying down the long flight of stairs as
fast as his aged limbs would carry him, he
reached the great nail door just before the
daughter essayed to cross the flagged pave
ment in front.
Miriam looked up and saw her father
standing there but oh! how changed, how
frail and white-haired he had grown since—
since. Ah! well, how careworn his face,
but—he was still angry. Her heart sank
like lead at sight of the stern, repulsive look
on his countenance, but she said in a wist
ful, piteou9 way: "There is father." But
the glad light of recognition which had
leaped to her sweet eyes and had tinged the
fine face with a little flush of happy light
died out suddenly, leaving it paler by con
trast, for no answering gladness of heart
reflected in response on the paternal brow.
"Begone! begone!" he shouted, as Miri
am made a move toward him. "Don't come
near me unless you beg my pardon, my
forgiveness unless you can do that, don't
come near me, I say!"
His angry face was startling and pitiful
in the extreme to see, framed in by the
long, white, silken locks thr* swept his
shoulders.
He was clinging to a pillar now, as she
gazed at him, with his left hand and arm,
and waving his children impericuely off
with his right.
Miriam put down the wondering child on
the paved walk and stretched out her arms
toward her father impulsively, while a
strange light crept into her proud face.
"Father!" cried she, deprecatingly. The
aged face, despite its angry expression, had
touched a long-silent tender chord of affec
tion in the heart of the woman so sadly es
tranged from paternal love, and with con
flicting emotions she uttered the endearing
name.
For a moment Sir Rupert's face lost the
hard lines it was evident a long-silent
chord of his heart was also touched, asid he
turned away, hiding his head behind a
column, lest any should see the conflict
waging between love and pride.
Miriam made a step forward hoping—she
could hardly have told for what. Her foot
fall aroused Sir Rupert, and with a desper
rtCtJness born of Satan he fell X»ack on the
evil in his soul, ever suffio»ent to the
emergency, and faced the group once more.
Miriam paused was there reconciliation
beaming on that paternal face? No.
"Don't come near me don't call me that,"
he cried, vehemently "don't call me
'father' after—after—"
iiis voice failed him, and he clung to the
column nearest him for support, looking the
iaiiance he could not utter from sheer ex
haustion.
The little group on the flags were silent
and almost terror-stricken at the fury of
the old man.
"I have gone far enough, it seems," said
Miriam, after a long silence, in a choking
voice. Then in an undertone she continued
talking partly to herself and partly to the
white-faced group around her:
"Father will not forgive me unless I beg
for the boon, and that, of course, I shall
never do. 1 had thought to come back to
Heatherleigh if Sir Rupert cared to have
me do so, and had fondly dreamt of making
his remaining days pleasant, if 'i eouid.
But to beg admittance to the accursed doers
that never had but frowns for me is more
than a child of the Percivai3 will ever do.
I shall never grovel in the dust for love
rattier the hatred."
A wave of proud, cold defiance swept her
pale face for a moment, and the fine eyes
kindled with an angry, insulted expression.
The child, frightened at the loud tones
and angry imprecations and gestures of his
irate grandfather, sought his mother's eyes
with a troubled look on its dimpled face,
only to see a sternness there that chilled
his trusting heart with childish terror.
Hiding his perturbed, frightened eyes in
the folds of his mother's gown he was
ready to cry.
"You swate little darlint," moaned Peg
gy, kneeling down beside him. "An' ye's
don't know at all how mane the wurruld
kin be whin it tries, me pet an' its yer
haythunish gran'fayther that moight be so
proud of ye if the divil hadn't such a theri
ble hold of his hurd old heart."
The child turned quickly, seeming to un
derstand by intuition that a great wave, of
sympathetic love was setting in toward him,
and in a trice he had thrown his djbnpled
arms around the neck of the demonsiniwvi
Peggy. Putting his fair, baby cheek up
lovingly against that of the housekeeper, he
began cooing and caressing her old face in
the appreciative love of his tender little
heart.
Peggv's warm soul could stand no more,
and, clasping the fatherless innocent to her
great
heart, she burst in to tears.
"Never mind, Peggy." Miriam said in a
tender, soothing tone, putting her hand
lovingly on the gray hairs of the bowed
head. "We all know just how it is, except
baby," she continued in a low, confidential
tone, in order that Sir Rupert, who still
stood looking at them, might not hear.
"Yes, yes, we all know, andl trust there is
no one hurt verv much by'this show of hos
tility on Sir Rupert's part. Peggy you are
grieved, but I should not' shed a tear if 1
were in your place. It is not worth the
while, as by so doing you can not remedy
the matter. See! I am calm enough, Peg
gy take pattern from my tearless face."
Clarksou raised her tearful face and
searched the eyes of her long-lost mistress
bent kindiy on her.
What did she see in those clear, dark
depths I Beyond the haunting sorrow of
her great bereavement there smoldered the
old, proud, willful, unrelenting spirit. Yes,
it always had been, always would be, in
spite of death, sorrow and the grave, shaft
for shaft with father and aaughter. Sword
to sword when a Percival aroused the evil
in one of their own blood had been a say
ing, and Peggy remembered it plainly now.
The vengeful fire in the eyes of Miriam
confirmed the truth of the adage, and prom
ised balefully that the breach existing
could never be healed. Truly the woman
was not much changed trom the proud, re
bellious child in its nurse's arms.
Miriam read the innermost thoughts of
poor, simple-hearted Peggy in that inomen
tarv upward gaze.
"You are startled, taken aback, Clarkson,
by my heartless coolness after my long ao
sence but think a moment, Peggy what
have I lost here, beside my sainted mother?
I have not misused any paternal confidence
nor crushed any fatherly affection, having
never been the recipient of that mucli-to
be-desired blessing. Surely I have lost
nothing rnd am none the less miserable for
my independence to-day.
"I have forfeited my right to Heatherleigh,
it is tr'-e, but with me that is a minor mat
ter.
"If father will not receive us, baby and I,
because of the name we bear, why, all recon
ciliation is at an end at once, as I shall not
beg forgiveness for imaginary sins and to
please Sir Rupert's love of authority.
Never!"
The shapely hand covered with its black
glove clenched itself in defiance, and the
hot wood of vexation and inherent dislike
surged up to the smooth white brow and
burned in roses on either cheek. A silenca
as of the grave fell over them as she ceased
speaking, for the housekeeper could find
no words for reply in the face of such an
impassioned outburst, because of its truth.
The irate father still stood silently re
garding his children while leaning on tha
column for aid. Not a muscle of his faca
moved, but he was thinking, nevertheless.
A sweet, pleading face of one long sinca
dead seemed to come before him and pe
tition in its old, tender way ft/r reconcilia
tion and atoning love. And a strange mist
obscured his vision somehow the womanly
daughter out there, by her presence, drew
h'is soul toward her in spite of all he could
do. Oh! God, that this chasm, of bitterness
existed between them. If she, hi3 daugh
ter Miriam, would only call across the years
to him again, and reach out her arms in
that yearning way, why, he could not re
pulse her again the spirit would be
crushed, and peace would brood white
winged over Heatherleigh.
But Miriam did not call.
"I must be going now," she said. "I had
promised myself a somewhat different greet
ing from Heatherleigh's shadowy doors,
why, I hardly know, but never mind, that is
over now. I fear, however, this day's
deing3 will sit much harder on father
than It will on me. Good-bye, Peggy good
bye, Ancil, James, and all an affectionate
good-bye."
She finished in a softened, subdued tone
&s she gave her hand to each in parting.
"She is a Percival to the very canter of
her proud soul," murmured John to his
fellows, almost gladly. Somehow he felt
happy to find that Sir Rupert could be
withstood and ignored in his commands of
submission, and that, too, by one of his owu
house.
Miriam took her little son in her arms,
and called across the intervening space in
a clear, unhesitating tone: ^'Good-bye,
father—-a long good-bye!"
Little Arthur, following his mother's ex
ample, stretched out his little arms toward
the frail, tottering form in the doorway,
and piped in clear, bird-like tones: "Dood
bye to 'oo, dood-bye Ion' dood-byel"
When his children's voices floated- melo
diously to him in these sweet yet sad, sad
words, Sir Rupert made no repl#. But
what his thoughts were, who could say?
Silent and wordless he stood, gazing
after the retreating forms of his hapless
children hi3 beautiful, bereaved daughter
and the innocent little grandchild, with its
long, bright curls flying in the sweet spring
wind. Would he ever see them again He
did not know. Oh! yes, he felt that he did
know he was certain that he never would.
And—
Peggy broke in on his sorrowful reverie
by throwing herself at his feet and wail
ing: "Oh! masthur, masthur, call her
back. Oh! masthur, do, Oi beg!"
She had rushed forward and knelt at his
side on the steps, forgetful of the angry
demonstrations she had just witnessed.
She was only thinking that she must lose,
fyever, perhaps, her beloved. Miriam.
And, in her despair, she feared nothing of
word or deed from Sir Rupert.
But instead of replying with a torrent of
invectives showered on her devoted head,
as all the dumbfounded servants expected,
Sir Rupert turned away from the kneeling
housekeeper with a eesture of w«aHneR
vouchsafing not a word in response to her
appeal. A moment of. hesitancy, anil he
went in, shutting the door softly after him
then, slowly and painfully, he went sadlv
up to his rooms and their solitude. There
was a strange mistiness about the stair
ways and a deeper shadow in the cor
ridors as he passed to his apartments.
The very shades of death seemed to gather
around him as he turned the door-handle
and went in.
(To be Continued.)
Cardinal Lavigerie, following the ex
ample of Mgr. Frepj el, protests forcibly
against the application of the French
conscription laws to the Catholic clergy,
ile says that french priests have never
refused to accept the responsibilities of
pa'riotism he claims the dangers of
the batt^field for iests, but he will
not admit the obligation of earning
arms.
Order your ball programmes wed
ding invitations, cards, etc., of tne
"Irish Standard" Job Printing com
pany. 2Teat work and satisfactory
1 rices guaranteed.
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