« הקודםהמשך »
rose up and made “every common bush afire woman thought. “I shall hear no more of not ask. Hers was not a confiding disposiwith God," Joanna dropped upon her knees, demitrains."
tion. In Joanna's excitement she could see and hid her face in her hands. Her plaint But Joanna, quietly as she got herself to nothing but a querulous, illegitimate curidid not shape itself in words, hardly even in bed, could not compose herself to sleep; the osity, that it was her duty to curb. Sie definite thought; but these dumb orišons of shadow that had arisen between Pamela and knew not what golden sympathy she was the heart express our needs better than herself haunted her so persistently; if Pa- i sacrificing to this ruthless dutiolatry.” words, sometimes; and presently, when a mela only would come and put it aside for- Yet, for an instant, Nature was stronger than mocking-bird in a neighboring thicket burst ever! After what to her seemed intermi- the sense of duty, and she asked, with a into rapturous song, she rose from her kneel. nable hours, she called, softly :
tremor that Joanna was quick to note: ing posture, calmed, is not consoled, and be- " Pamela! Pamela !"
“What stranger do you mean, Joanna ?” gan to awake to the beauty of the summer Miss Basil's room was across a little en- And then, with the instinct of precaution, night.
try, and the doors between were open. Now, she added, " But you are talking wildly." The rushing of the little brook through to Miss Basil, any call in the night-season “But I am not talking wildly, 'Mela, you the ravine beyond the fence sounded loud meant illness, and she was always quick to know, for you tremble. I mean this stranger in the still moonlight; the breeze rose and respond.
who comes here and thrusts himself between fell dreamily, laden with the heavy odors of “Did you call, Joanna ?” she questioned, you and me, with his story about your past, jasmines and honeysuckles, while ever and anxiously; and the next moment she came that these people have taken up—this Basil anon the mocking-bird uttered its passion- pattering across the bare floors in her list Redmond that I never heard of before." ate strain of rain-like melody, giving to the slippers. “What is the matter ?"
Miss Basil gasped and paused. Then her garden a weird, unreal aspect. Joanna hard- Joanna was sitting up in bed.
sense of duty came to her rescue and gare ly knew her own familiar haunts in this soft Pamela," said she, tremulously, “I her words. This untoward inquisitiveness moonlight, for Miss Basil, with a wholesome cannot, cannot sleep. No; my head does must be checked peremptorily, she decided. dread of night-air, had always strictly for- not ache”-putting away Miss Basil's hands “Joanna, I will not have any more of bidden her to remain out after the dew —“ the trouble is, you are not yourself any
this-I will not!” she said. “ Have I not fell. longer; you are somebody else."
explained to you that Basil Redmond is no And Miss Basil, with the protection of a “You've got the nightmare, child," said stranger; that he lived here under this very ragged old nubia over her head, was coming Miss Basil, giving her a little shake. “I roof as a boy; that his grandfather was your now in search of her. She had expected to charged you not to eat that salmon salad; grandfather's second cousin ? find her in the neighborhood of the mimosa- it was entirely too rich for you."
thing be plainer ? Don't speak of him in tree; but Joanna stood leaning on the brick- “I didn't eat it; I ate no dinner at all," that way; he's my best friend, and yours. work vase, over which the verbena had now said Joanna ; “and it's not the nightmare.” And whatever you may happen to overhear, grown rank, and hung tangled wildly.
“ Then it's an empty stomach," said Miss don't snatch at words here and there to build “O Joanna, Joanna!” said Miss Basil, Basil, with decision. “Joanna, when you
fanciful notions upon about a body's past querulously, “ I've been looking for you know how thoroughly I disapprove of going life. It is unbecoming. But I'll fix you with everywhere" (which was not strictly true). to bed on an empty stomach, I wonder you a dose of valerian, and I hope you'll wake up “ How imprudent you are; out in the night- did not ask for something to eat before this." in your senses ! You should endeavor to air with nothing on your head! Don't you “But I am not hungry, 'Mela. You talk curb curiosity ; it leads to miscbief, it is idle know I've warned you, over and over again, to me about an empty stomach when my and sinful." about miasma? And quinine three dollars heart is breaking." and a half the ounce!”
“Joanna! Joanna! what foolishness have curiosity never yet gave any one the beart“ Well, 'Mela,” said Joanna, the old hab- you been listening to to-day ? cried Miss ache. If you would only stay and hear me it of antagonism asserting itself as usual, Basil, shaking her now in good earnest. “It patiently!” “ you don't need to give me an ounce for a is all pure fancifulness, and I shall just give But Miss Basil was gone, glimmering like dose, ever." you a good dose of valerian."
a ghost in search of the valerian; and pres“And this polonaise; you reckless child !” “No, no, 'Mela; no valerian for me; but ently she returned, bearing a bottle, a spoon, exclaimed Miss Basil, running her long, thin stay and tell me if it is foolishness, this that a glass, and a spluttering candle. fingers over the limp muslin with the scram- I have heard to-day!” cried Joanna, throw: “ He's not my best friend,” said Joappa; bling rapidity of a father-long-legs.
ing her arms around Miss Basil, who was "he comes between you and me as no one new, and perfectly stringy with the dew!” about to go in search of her medicine-chest. else ever did. You can put on your best
“Only pompa and vanities,” said Joanna, “ What do they mean, this stranger that I dress to see him; yes, and you can find timo bursting into tears. “ () 'Mela!”
never heard of before, and all these Middle- to talk by the hour with him, to walk with The cry was sharp with anguish.
borough people, wben they talk of your-your him about the garden in the busiest time of “There, child, there,” said Miss Basil, story? O 'Mela, that you should be a wom- day, and not call it idleness.” Now that the relenting. " I'm not scolding you; I'm past an with a story, andand another life out floodgates of her distress were opened, every that. I suppose you must always have some West, when I believed in you so! When I petty grievance clamored for redress. one to look after you. Tie this handker- thought you had always belonged to only me “Nonsense!” said Miss Basil, pausing in chief over your head and go to your room. and Basilwood!”
counting the drops. “ Don't interrupt me, I'll see what can be done to remedy it.”
Miss Basil was powerless to interrupt this Joanna." Nothing but p-pomps and—vanities,” outburst. She understood clearly enough “Mela, I don't need that stuff!" Joanna sobbed Joanna ; "and this world is all a that Joanna must have heard something that remonstrated, piteously, as Miss Basil calmly Aeeting show, as you told me, 'Mela ; but I hall revealed the sorrowful story she had put the glass to her lips, saying, inexorably : wouldn't care if only you were true to me." thought must die with her; but how? "I am the best judge; you do need it; it
Mercy guide us, child !” exclaimed Miss Through Basil Redmond's inadvertence, she will make you sleep, and you will forget your Basil, impatiently ; “what nonsense are you could not doubt; and she had relied so upon foolish vagaries." talking ? I am glad to see that you've come his discretion! She was utterly unconscious “Shall I ? " said Joanna, with an hysteri. to a reasonable sense of the world's ways; of the fact that Joanna had been present on cal sob, as she swallowed the contents of but you mustn't abuse good clothes, for that the day of his first visit, when he had startled the glass. “Shall I, indeed, awake to-morrow is sinful extravagance."
ber so by the announcement that he had and find it all a dream ? O 'Meia! I do feel Joanna did not say another word. She learned her story. He had begged to hear 80 old since that day he came." She clasped tied the handkerchief over her head with it in detail from her ovn lips; and she was Miss Basil in her arms as she spoke; but meek obedience, and went up to her room so glad, now, to remember that, though she had Miss Basil, with a movement of alarm, thrust quietly that Miss Basil was thoroughly ap- told him the truth, she had not told him the her patient back upon the pillow, saying, peased. “She has had enough, I see, of this whole truth. How much of her past history excitedly : thing they call society,” the much-mistaken | Joanna knew she could not guess, and would “Joanna! Joanna! I knew that your fool
""OʻMela, it is not idle curiosity — idle
ish head would be turned. You are talking These last questions were in reference to the of concern about the gear and the springs, nonsense, You need not pin your faith to Griswolds, who were a sickly set, always he resorted to speech. Arthur Hendall because he carves your name making demands upon Miss Basil's skill in “ All right, Thurston," said Arthur. “Are on a tree.” “ doctoring."
you to drive me?" “ He is not the one that makes me feel “Not to my understanding; no, Miss “No, sir; that honor's not for me, sir," old !” said Joanna, impatiently; “it's that J'anna, they've not sont for Miss Pamela," said old Thurston, bowing low with exagMr. Redmond, with his influence over you." answered old Thurston, with Afric dignity. gerated politeness. “ This buggy doesn't
But Miss Basil's suspicions were not to be "The Griswolds are 'bout as usual, nothing b’long to our establishment, as you may see, parried by this thrust.
more than general want of thrift. But Black sir; and they've sent a boy to drive you.“I tell you," said she, thumping the pil. Hawk, he's dead lame with constant riding Hi, you! wake up, wake up there!” This, lows excitedly, “I don't believe in him. When of the madam to visit her relations, and that's with an utter change of voice and gesture, I was a girl"
the way we are bebolden to the Griswolds." was addressed to a small negro that, with the “Yes, 'Mela,” said Joanna, starting up The Griswolds evidently did not command somnolent facility of his race, was fast asleep with eager interest, as Miss Basil paused, ab- old Thurston's deepest respect.
in the glare of the sun. “ You black rascal! ruptly. “ Tell me! It would comfort me so “Beholden to the Griswolds for what? I To forgit your manners and go to sleep in to know about when you were a girl !” wish you would say, Thurston—if you know?” the 'tendance of a gentleman!”
“Nonsense!” answered Miss Basil, turn- Thurston looked at her, with mild re- From which reproach it will be readily ing away. “It is but idle curiosity, child. | proach in his dim old eyes.
seen that Thurston belonged to the old school Go to sleep, or I shall have to be giving you " In course I know, Miss J'anna,” said be, that believed in manners. another dose."
in a deeply-injured tone. " Wasn't the tele- “What time does the train leave ?" asked Poor Joanna sighed deeply, but said no graph delivered into my hands primarily ? " Arthur, looking at his watch—“the Westport more; and Miss Basil, picking up her candle, The ominous word possessed no terror for train ?" vial, glass, and spoon, hastened to her own Joanna, who had no one out in the world to “Now pretty soon, sir," said old Thursroom; but sleep did not soon visit her pillow. be anxious about.
ton, with eagerness.-" The sun is scorching " What did all these rumors and whispers “ Telegram, you mean," said she.
your skin, Miss J'anna." portend ?" she questioned with herself, as telegram ? "
As long as she stood there, old Thurston she turned restlessly from side to side. Ba. “It was to call Mr. Hendall away," an- thought, Mr. Hendall never would remember sil's hoped - for return had not brought her swered old Thurston, indifferently.
his justly-earned recompense. the peace she counted upon. “I see,” sighed Joanna received the information dumbly. But Joanna did not care for the sun ; she Miss Basil, wearily, “I must caution the boy; Over the sun there seemed to come a sudden was as brown as a berry already. he is young, and youth is indiscreet. He cloud, a mist that overshadowed not the gar- Why must you go ? " she asked, timidly. must learn silence."
den only, but the whole future.
Was life, “Is not Basilwood your own! " And Joanna, gathering up in her mind after all, to be nothing but the same dull old No," answered Arthur, hastily, and colMiss Basil's disjointed utterances, was saying story it had always been? In the shadow
“ Basilwood is my aunt's, you know, to herself, “ If he is indeed my truest friend, of the cloud Joanna had caught a glimpse of 'the grandmamma's,' as you call her " (putI will make him speak; I have a right to her own foolish heart, and she shivered. ting the ownership in this way did not seem know."
“For what is he going?” she asked, pres- so much like robbing Joanna), “and a man ently.
must go out and battle with the world," he "He'll be going to seek his fortune, it's continued, grandiloquently. “It is business CHAPTER XVIII.
likely,” said old Thurston, briskly. For him that takes me away.”
more brightly, perhaps, in anticipation of the anna, with more interest than any woman Joanna awoke the next morning with a fee from Arthur's liberal hand.
of the world would have dared to show-unstart. It was very late; the burning summer And Arthur was coming down the sloping less she had been absolutely indifferent. sun shone hot upon the garden, and at the walk at this very moment.
He had said “ That I cannot tell," answered Arthur, gate, which could be plainly seen from her good-by to his aunt on the porch, which was lowering his voice, so that old Thurston, who window, stood a little open buggy, with a hidden from the gate, as though he was eager was vigorously berating the little drowsy valise strapped behind. At the first sight to be off; yet when he saw Joanna he began driver, might not hear. “But don't forget of the vehicle she rubbed her eyes, believing to find it hard to leave Basilwood, with the me, Joanna," holding out his hand. “Don't herself in a dream; but when she looked still midsummer shadows, the faint, mid- let that Mr. Basil Redmond make you forget again, there it was still, with a hungry-look- summer murmurs from the parched grass, ing horse in the shafts; and old Thurston and that life of “dreamful ease."
"I–I don't understand you," she stamseemed to be mending some part of the har. “So you are here to see me off, Joanna, mered, shyly, giving her hand, but quickly ness with a piece of twine. The temptation | Miss Joanna, I should say, now that you have withdrawing it. The next moment she had to inquire into this was too strong for Joanna; made your début ? ”
turned away, leaving old Thurston making she dressed as quickly as she could and ran “ No," answered Joanna, avoiding his his abject reverence for “ value received." down into the garden.
eyes ; “I did not know, until this moment, Arthur had spoken jestingly, Joanna “That's the Griswolds' buggy, Thurston, that you are going.”
knew, and his words had given pain. But, I know, and their horse, too. What is it “At least you are not glad to have me as she went to the house, she passed by the doing here, with that valise strapped be- go?” said Arthur, holding out his hand. mimosa-tree, and her thoughts and feelings hind ?"
“ You know I am not glad! How could underwent an instantaneous change. She “It's a-waitin'," answered old Thurston, I be glad ?" answered the artless Joanna, bad been so busy with her flounce and her with aggravating slowness of speech. “Hey! | turning away her telltale face.
demi-train that she had seen nothing of you, I say !”—this to the horse, an inoffen. “The sun is mounting, sir," said old young Hendall for nearly a week, and she sive brute, “ of his port as meke as is a Thurston, respectfully,“ and your conveyance now remembered with keen self - reproach mayde" —“ mind wbat you 'bout!” Old is all in order."
that she bad lost the opportunity of expressThurston, conscious of possessing interest- Influenced by the wish to stimulate Ar- | ing to him her appreciation of his graceful ing information, was bent upon enhancing thur's memory in regard to the reward he compliment in carving her name. Joanna his importance by a dignified reserve in re- coveted for his services, the old negro bad had many little notions of her own on the gard to the buggy.
been bustling ostentatiously around the rick- subject of propriety and good-breeding; and “Never mind the poor old horse," said ety buggy, like a wasp that cannot deter- she had meant to say something very wellJoanna. “ He is quiet enough. What is mine upon which side of a peach to settle, worded and proper on the first occasion that that buggy here for ? Have they sent for until finding that Arthur's attention was not should offer; but it bad all gone out of her my cousin ? What is the matter this time?" to be attracted by such lively manifestations head at the thought of his departure. How,
ASK ME NO MORE.
she asked herself, impatiently-how was she bas eaten a hearty breakfast with good appe- face bent over the open bureau-drawer, in to prosper in life if she was always so un
“Just have every thing ready, 'Mela. which her hands were wildly tossing about ready ? (For Joanna, you see, was practical I've finished my breakfast.”
the orderly array of collars, and cuffs, and as well as romantic.) And what must he “Here is the basket of apples, child; handkerchiefs, and Joanna kuew that it was think of her? It was not for him to mention and here is the basket for the cores and the not nonsense." the name he had carved, she knew rery well. peelings; and here are the knife and the Poor woman! She thought this child,
And then this foolish little Joanna stood tray,” answered Miss Basil, categorically. that she had so striven to train up in the way still in the shadow, and dreamed a foolish “Tie on this apron, to save your dress; and she should go, utterly unreasonable; but she dream; from which, however, she was soon be very careful to cut the peelings as thin had never attempted to reason with Joanna, rudely awakened by Miss Basil's shrill voice, as possible ; let there be no waste, Joanna.” she did not know how. When Joanna be. calling wildly :
“ Aren't you going to help-to assist, I came "unreasonable,” she could only use au“Joanna! O Jo-an-na!"
mean?” asked Joanna, mindful still of ex- thority; so, when she had recovered someAlas ! how many a lovely vision has been pressing herself with elegant propriety. what from her confusion, she said, sharply: dispelled by that clarion-cry! Joanna, with “ Because I should like to talk to you." “Joanna, this idle way of hanging about a frown and a sigh, came back to earth, and, Joanna was hoping to hear the untold story annoys me so that I cannot find what I want. loath to be found in the immediate neighbor- of Miss Basil's girlhood: no wonder she was Haven't you some knitting, or some crochet, hood of the tree that bore her name, ad- so willing to work at the apples.
that you can fill up the day with ?” vanced hurriedly up the broad walk that led “Why, no—not exactly; that is—I be. May I take it into the garden ? " asked to the house.
lieve I must superintend Myra just now," Joanna, resignedly. But Miss Basil, whom she met half-way, stammered Miss Basil, uneasily.
“Yes, surely, child,” Miss Basil replied ; saw at once whence she came, and was seized “Pamela !” said Joanna, tragically, ris- for now, that Arthur Hendall was gone, why with quick alarm. Joanna had had no ing and stretching out her arms, “there is a should she not have the freedom of the garbreakfast, she knew; and she feared that great wall growing up between us—and you den? Any thing to keep her out of the way the case must be nearly past bope when a are building it."
just now. girl gave herself up to romance before ap- Miss Basil turned white, and then red. But Joanna was going into the garden peasing the demands of hunger.
At last, “ You are talking nonsense!” said with the express purpose of waylaying Basil “Joanna !” she exclaimed, vehemently, she, angrily; and walked out of the room. Redmond, whom she felt sure of meeting you are the despair of my life! Have you But Joanna saw that Miss Basil under. | alone, as, by the time he took his departure, forgotten that you have had no breakfast ? stood her; she saw, too, that Miss Basil Pamela, she knew, would be under the neDo you expect to live on air ?"
could not be at ease in her presence; why cessity of skimming the cream. “No, certainly, 'Mela," answered Joanna, else should she make Myra an excuse, Myra She bid herself, therefore, within the briskly. She had a good, healthy appetite, who was so thoroughly trustworthy ? And friendly shadow of a ragged, overgrown euand just now she was very hungry. “I Joanna, embittered by suspicion and distrust, onymous, and waited; but she waited long. could not eat my dinner yesterday, I was so began to exercise a ruthless espionage over Basil Redmond was much later than she had -excited by company, I suppose; and I feel the uneasy woman, who, before that day was thought he would be, and when at last he half starved."
over, became keenly alive to the fact that she came he was not alone. Joanna, within the “Yes," answered Miss Basil, in a much was watched. For Miss Basil was by no shadow, distinctly beard Mrs. Basil's subdued calmer tone; " I remember that you ate no means in so great need of assistance as she but clear tones in earnest discussion. dinner." Though no great eater herself, she would have had Joanna believe. The ab- “... But I found her here, as you know, was always sorry for hungry people, and sence, so far, of visitors bad rendered the when I married, and I asked the judge no anxious to feed them. Joanna's matter-of- summer a far easier one than had been known questions," Mrs. Basil was saying. fact admission of her famished condition qui- at Basilwood for several years past, and Miss They had evidently arrested their steps eted her apprehensions somewhat, and ap- Basil had, just now, rather more leisure than at this point, and were standing now quite pealed to her sympathies strongly. “I've was good for her, under the circumstances. near Joanna's retreat. kept something hot for you, child; but you If she had been really so very busy, she “I am utterly free from idle curiosity," should have eaten it long ago. I don't ap- might have escaped the uncomfortable con. continued Mrs. Basil. "I have not the faintprove of long fasts at this season."
sciousness of Joanna's great eyes that fol- est desire to pry into her affairs; but you Happily for her peace of mind, it did not lowed her everywhere. Even when she went must agree with me that it is extremely emoccur to her that Joanna could have been up-stairs, late in the afternoon, to dress, Jo- barrassing to find that she has become a subbidding farewell to young Hendall at the anna was at her side, restless, miserable, in- ject of gossip. One really does not know gate; and her clouded visage cleared apace dignant, and tyrannical.
what to say when one is assailed with the when she saw with what good appetite the “There!” she cried, reproachfully, when statement that a quiet, inoffensive, retired breakfast was assailed. Surely, now that the black silk was taken down from its peg woman like Miss Basil is the centre of some young Hendall was fairly out of the way- in the closet, “now I know that Mr. Redmond great mystery. Pamela is 80—so reticent that and Miss Basil devoutly prayed that he might is coming again! A clean calico is good I hesitate to say any thing to her.” remain away forever-she need not despair enough for most days."
“Thank you; you are very considerate,” utterly of Joanna. Nevertheless, she felt “ Joanna," said Miss Basil, irritably," you said Redmond, quickly. that she must now make it her study to are speaking disrespectfully. How often “But, indeed, this sort of gossip should counteract the pernicious influence of the must I remind you that Basil Redmond is a be stopped ; and I appeal to you, Mr. Redill-judged honor Mrs. Basil had conferred | friend, a good friend of yours, and a relation mond, to say how it can best be done." upon the child, in having her at the dining. besides?"
“ The best way to stop it, I should think,” “Joanna," said she, mildly, “I do not “Then, if that is so,” said Joanna, with replied he, after a pause,
“would be simply wish to hurry you; rapid eating is ruinous prompt malice, and rising, “why may I not not to heed it." to the digestion: take time, and eat leisure- dress to receive him?"
“But consider: this story, or rather this ly, but when you have finished, there are the “No, Joanna, no," said Miss Basil, hur- hint of a story, for there is nothing tangible apples to be peeled and cut for drying; and, riedly, "you are but a child, and he comes about it, so far as I can learn, comes through really, I need help." No fruit was allowed to see me on business. You should not be Lydia Crane, a sister of Lebrun the milliner, to rot on the ground at Basilwood; day by | forward.”
who has a cousin living out West, in the very day, every windfallen apple, or so much of it “ He is no friend of mine! I'll not have neighborhood from which Miss Basil came>" as was available, was dried for market. bim for a friend !” cried Joanna, bitterly. "It is many years ago,” interrupted Red.
“Very well, 'Mela,” said Joanna, cheer- | “He comes to talk secrets with you, secrets mond, briefly. fully ; “I'll help you all that I can." Though that shut me out from your heart."
“And this cousin of Lebrun's,” contin. often idle, she was not lazy; and the bur- “Nonsense!” was all that Miss Basil ued Mrs. Basil," writes to her relatives here, den of life does not seem so weary, after one could say; but she said it with her flushed I declaring that there is some mighty mystery
about Miss Basil; and that only very receut- Joanna, as she heard him, began to feel never known Mrs. Blandford at all well, ly some one has been out there instituting miserably guilty.
though he and she had once or twice found very strict inquiries about her. One can “I see I have been wrong," she said, themselves fellow-guests at some of his cous. hardly refuse to listen to statements like meekly. "I would like to be comfort and in's fashionable dinner-parties, this cousin this, though I blush to relate such tattle ; consolation to 'Mela, for often enough I've being a certain Mrs. Churchill Abernethey, a yet it strikes me that you are the proper per- been a pure aggravation
lady of great wealth, and a prominent social son to refute it."
“You can be a comfort and consolation leader. A pause followed, during which Joanna, to her without a doubt,” said Redmond, Philip, whom Fortune had favored with a whose conscience did not reproach ber in the smiling to himself at her artlessness. "Jo- neat inherited income, was frequently the releast for listening, feared that the loud beat- anna, you and I should never forget that she cipient of summer invitations to countrying of her heart must betray her.
has been to each of us a mother indeed. houses ; but he remembered Mrs. Blandford At last Redmond spoke:
What should we be without her? For my. much too accurately for the commission of “All this seems to me too vague to be self, I tremble to think."
any such blunder as to infer that she was worth refuting; but it is due to you, perbaps, He paused, and was silent a long time. playing the manæuvring mamma; yet the to say that— Miss Basil has a story—"
“I don't understand you,” said Joanna,,, maneuvring sister or bosom-friend was a “Ah!” cried Mrs. Basil, sharply.
timidly. She was awed by his manner. wholly different matter. Who was the pret“A sad and painful story. It was known “You cannot get over the impression that tiest woman in America ? Philip examined to the judge, who counseled silence; and si. I am a stranger," said he, with a kindly smile. the dainty, violet - scented note again, and lence certainly seemed best under then-ex- “Sit here on this bench, and let me tell you made himself quite sure that his would be isting circumstances. The time, however, is about the time when you were my playmate hostess had not answered this vital question. coming, I think, when silence shall no longer in this very garden ; let me, if possible, re- Then he assumed a plaintively bored look, be advisable ; but, until this time does come, call myself to your remembrance."
and told himself that there was little I cannot feel at liberty to reveal what I know “And yet,” said Joanna, yielding a reluc- doubt of the prettiest woman in America beof her story; and, meanwhile, I rely upon tant consent, you don't live bere ; you've ing unwedded and perhaps poor. Spare him your known discretion and-sympathy." been away for years, and when you come the charge of egotism because of these re
In grappling with the world at so early back you stay over in the town as if you flections. He had been made so often to an age, Basil Redmond lad certainly learned were a stranger, really.”
feel like a peripatetic money-bag in the pressome adroitness.
His face darkened.
ence of diligent feminine self-interest, that a “ Thank you," said Mrs. Basil. “But, I “I can never make basilwood my home," certain sort of skepticism (which, as we must express a hope, Mr. Redmond, that this said he ; " but I do not wish to talk about know, comes from the Greek of “to ob. -mystery of Miss Basil's, into which, it is that, Joanna ; I would rather make you re- serve ") had necessarily singed, if not blightneedless to say, I will no further inquire, will
if I can;" and then he began to ed, the freshness more natural to his twentyreflect no discredit upon the Basil family. I tell her about his boyhood at his Basilwood. eight years of manhood. bear the name myself.”
Miss Basil, in lier dry, brief fashion, had On the whole, Philip had no reason for “It will reflect no discredit upon the Ba- recounted it all before; but there was so wide refusing Mrs. Blandford's invitation. None, sil family,” Redmond replied, rather coldly. a difference between her manner and his, that is, except one. Her husband, John
“It is getting late,” said Mrs. Basil. that the story had all the charm of novelty, Blandford, whom he saw now and then at Then, with a long, shivering sigh: “I will po and, though it was not possible to recall the club, and was occasionally thrown with, longer detain you. Good-night.”
more than a very faint image of that time to he disliked to a considerable degree. Bland“Good-night,” responded Redmond, stand- her remembrance, her prejudice against him, ford, Philip had some time ago made up his ing for a moment wrapped in thought where as a stranger, began slowly to fade away. mind, was a purse-proud, social bully. Mrs. Basil bad left him. Only for a moment, Her interest deepened when he came to As it turned out, however, he went up to however; hardly had she disappeared when speak of his life“ out in the world.” It had Blandford's place on a Hudson River steamJoanna sprang out of her retreat and startled been a struggle full of adventure.
boat, not many days later, in the society of his thoughts away.
“I must have succumbed to temptation that gentleman himself. Philip scarcely " I've beard what you said," panted she. and been lost forever,” said he, with feeling, knew why he subjected his nervous system “I listened on purpose; right or wrong, I as if to sum up all that remained to be said to this last trial, except that perhaps there must know. I waited here to ask you. Pa- about his debt to Miss Basil, " but for that lurked within him a deep curiosity to see the mela is all I have in the world ; why must constant soul. She never lost sight of me, prettiest woman in America; and, besides, you come between us with your secrets and she never lost faith in me. I was the hope it was insupportably hot, and a steamboat, your mysteries ?”
of her life, she said, and she made it impos- even with Blandford, preferable in this weathPoor little Joanna ! she had been all day sible that I should disappoint her.”
er to a railway-car without him. conning a well-worded, deliberate, effective “ H'm !” said Joanna ; "and I am the During the voyage he learned the name speech ; and this was all that she could say, despair of her life ; she tells me so from day of the Badoura, to whom he had perhaps half choking with the utterance, as it was. to dar.”
been asked to play Camaralzaman. It was “ Joanna!” exclaimed Redmond. “Poor “Oh, no,” Basil Redmond answered ; “ you Mrs. Eustace Averill, the widow of a well. child !” And Joanna, who had persuaded must not be that. Did you not say just now known Philadelphia lawyer. Blandford, who herself that she hated him, burst into tears that you would be her comfort and consola- was a large man, with a beardless face and a at his sympathizing tones. “Joanna! Jo- tion?"
great, arching nose, was enthusiastic about anna!” he said, distressed, “be quiet, try Then he bade her“Good-night," and was her. Being by nature a bully, as before bas. to be quiet, and I will make you understand gone.
been said, he strove, with hand-wavings, and it.” Joanna, then, by a great effort, having
with grimaces, and with occasional pattings subdued her sobs, he continued, gravely:
of his companion's shoulder, to bully Philip "If you have heard what I said to Mrs. Ba
JOHN BLAND FOR D'S into believing that there had never existed so sil, there is no need for me to repeat it; for I
great a beauty as this same Mrs. Averill. can tell you no more than I told her. But
Not long afterward Philip had an oppor. hear me one moment, little Joanna-can you
tunity of assuring himself that Mrs. Averill not see that your 'Mela, as you call her, has YOME and make me a visit," wrote Mrs. was a sort of animated wax-figure, after the a right to withhold her confidence from you ?
John Blandford to Philip Amyott, pattern which we see in barbers' windows. If you love her, you will trust her without “and I will give you two delicacies — the It was a face of the utmost pink-and-white exacting confidence; you will hear in mind largest strawberries of the season, and the regularity; but it was worn as the mask of what you have heard me say, that her story society of the prettiest woman in America." a complete mental vacuity, and somehow is a sad and painful one, and you will shrink Philip Amyott was a great deal surprised suggestions of this stole out - – principally from all allusion to it for very pity."
at receiving the above invitation. He had through its mouth, no doubt, though Philip
fancied he saw them even in the soft eyes, assaults while Philip and the Italian were erable means. He usually passed in society and in the classic forehead line of Mrs. Aver-presert. Old Mrs. Blandford, however (the for being rather more John Blandford's ill's irreproachable profile.
lady with the gray curls and the sweet smile), friend than his wife's. Anyhow, he had gained All that evening he talked to Mrs. Bland. more than once exerted over her social and certainly deserved the pame of a house. ford, and let his host bully this nonpareil of scape-goat of a son the gentlest and yet the hold intimate. beauties on whatever subjects might conver- most accentuated influence.
After his return to New York, Philip sationally present themselves. He had sat There is no doubt that Philip Amyott Amyott went through a great deal of severe next to Mrs. Averill at dinner, a certain Ital. had begun to feel, at the commencement of mental pain. He had never loved any woman ian gentleman named Bernotti, and a certain bis subsequent two-weeks' stay, that some before, and this woman had now seemed to elderly lady, with gray temple-curls and a emotional disquiet, wholly foreign to his pre- him the sweet epitome of all lovable graces. sweet smile, whom Mr. Blandford addressed vious experience, had somehow entered his He was miserable, as a man hopelessly in as “mother,” occupying the other side of life; and the following fortnight developed love must of necessity find himself. But he the small dinner-table.
this disquiet, so to speak, into å full-grown, struggled hard with his own passion all that The conversation had not been so general undeniable passion.
summer, and toward autumn he had reached but that Philip could make up his mind pret- Philip had what, in its broadest and best a state of either real or fancied peace. ty clearly as regarded Mrs. Averill's capaci- sense, deserves to be called a moral tempera- During October chance directed that he ties for boring him. There was something ment. The thought of his feelings toward should fall in with Blandford, one afterexquisitely and surprisingly refreshing in the Mrs. Blandford was not alone a sorrow to
noon, at the club. Blandford, it happened, interview that followed between his hostess him, it was a source of chilling self-disgust was in one of his most bullying moods. and himself. The Blandfords' house had a as well. “I feel like a man in a French He was to start for his country-place on the great, commodious piazza, nearly surround- novel,” he told himself, on a certain evening, following day, and, having always liked Phil. ing it. They found themselves walking this, just before the quiet-spoken, commonplace ip, it struck him that he would bully that while a large, vivid.yellow moon, ascendant little interview which informed his hostess gentleman into making himself and wife anin the limpid east, came to them by many that he was going back to town on the mor- other visit. Philip received the proposal, sweet golden glimpses through crevices in
felt a quiver of temptation pass through him, the dusky tapestries of woodbine and clem- No personal ambition had brought about and politely refused it. Blandford insisted atis.
Mrs. Blandford's marriage. She was "literal- Though himself perfectly indifferent to Na. Meeting Mrs. Blandford at a fashionable | ly puppet to a father's threat, and servile to ture in all her moods, he spoke with enthuNew York dinner-party, and meeting her here a shrewish tongue.” Her parents were poor, siasm regarding the beautiful autumnal tints in the country, were two very different mat- and it was out of the question that a great this year, and promised Philip (a subject on ters, as Philip soon discovered. She was not match like John Blandford should fall in which he was much more at home) some at all a beautiful woman ; indeed, she paled | love with Sybil Emlyn's hazel eyes and not capital woodcock-shooting. to nothing before the unblemished correct- make conquest of their owner. She remem- How little he knew, this persistent dealness of Mrs. Averill. She was slim of figure, bered well enough how she inwardly shud. er in hospitalities, that an infinitely stronger very graceful in every movement, and pos- dered when she got her betrothal kiss.
inducement than any thus far mentioned was sessed a pair of darkly-humid hazel eyes ; Perhaps her husband discovered soon pulling at poor Philip's heart-strings ! It is this was all that her most vehement admirer enough her utter indifference, and so grew no wonder that passion, to this slight extent would have dared to say about her physical vehemently to reciprocate it after his own at least, slowly gained the upper hand of charms. characteristic fashion. However this may principle. Philip began to waver.
" I had a “ You don't seem to have conceived any have been, their married life had turned out half engagement to go and visit my cousin, great fondness for Mrs. Averill," she told a sad farce. From the first moment that she Mrs. Churchill Abernethey, to-morrow," he Philip, a day or two later.
had met Philip Amyott, Sybil Blandford had audibly meditated, “but—" And he went “Oh, your husband monopolizes her," he liked him ; but she foresaw no vaguest pro- up with Blandford on the following day. answered, “and your Italian friend Signor phetic sign of what was to come when she Bernotti accompanied them. He was Bernotti. By-the-way,” he added, “I was asked that he would eat her strawberries sort of social salvation to Philip on board asked up, was I not, because of this lovely and admire her handsome guest.
the steamboat, for his suave, high-bred manlady ? "
Slight marvel, indeed, that the interview ner made Blandford's flimsy, self-assertive Mrs. Blandford looked candid.
in which Philip told of his purposed depart- commonplaces much less to be minded. Phil. “You read my note. She and the straw. ure should have been both placid and pro- ip inquired of Bernotti whether this was the berries were put forward as inducements." saic. Mrs. Blandford was an inflexible casu- first visit he had paid to their prospective
“Both powerful ones, of course," an- ist on certain points, and, if Philip felt at all host and hostess since they themselves bad swered Philip, with a little laugh ; " but par- like the hero of a French novel, be sure that both come down together in early July. don my telling you that I have found the she did not contribute by least word or look “Oh, no," Bernotti answered, with what strawberries—" And then lie broke off ab- to the effectiveness of bis situation.
struck his listener as a kind of frank sad. ruptly with: “Since I was only asked up be.
ness. “I have been many times since thencause of her, I suppose I shall be expected she told bim, “if you choose to take the at least three times each month, I should say. to vanish when she does."
eleven-ten train. He always takes that." But short visits, you know-short visits." But he did nothing of the sort. He It must not be supposed that the Italian “I believe the man has some hopeless staid two weeks after Mrs. Averill took her gentleman, Signor Bernotti, had been staying love-affair,” thought Philip, stealing a glance departure, under the protection of Mr. Bland- all this time at Mrs. Blandford's country- through their mutual cigarette-smoke, while ford, the latter having conceived a sudden house. Indeed, he had made two short vis- they sat side by side on deck, at the duskilyfancy for town again.
its there since Philip's arrival, not remaining pale face of the Italian and his dark, drooped, Up to the time of Mr. Blandford's going, more than a day each time, and the present meditative eyes.
“And I believe, too, that Philip had grown pretty clearly to under- visit was now his third, Mrs. Blandford he goes to Mrs. Blandford for friendly consostand the terms on which husband and wife seemed fond of his society, as indeed she lation." stood. Ambition, or some such motive, had cordially was. He received from her a cer- Philip was doubtless a bombshell to his made this woman marry John Blandford, tain humorously-patronizing treatment, some. hostess. But she met him magnificently. and the presence of the man was now in it-times, that appeared both given and accepted Her “ How have you passed the summer, Mr. self a weariness to her. As for Blandford, in complete good - nature. Bernotti was a Amyott ? ” was the supreme of nice acting. he omitted no opportunity of bullying his handsome fellow, with his vivid dusk eyes As for Philip, he found that he had much wife on the most trifling subjects, and be- and bis clear-cut, colorless face, and lithe, over-measured his powers. The hand which fore their two guests as well; it was only erect figure, The Blandfords had picked him gave her greeting was cold, almost clammy. the lady's practised tact that often saved up somewhere abroad, people said, and he His face bad paled as they met, but while her from the most irritating and unsolicited was of quite distinguishad birth and consid- she spoke it began to Aush feverislıly.