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"well Done!"

"well Done!" image
Parent Issue
Day
24
Month
April
Year
1874
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

I. Just'where one of our beautiful western rivers widens to tbe sea, nestlea the little fisher-hamlet of Ferrybank ; its low, ibatched cottages clustered on the rugged ieach, and dotted here and there upou ;he noble cliffs whioh rise behind - briliant in siinimer-timo with furze and room and heather. On the otber side he river, tht quiet and picturesque watering-place of Lilanvriar lies cool and white among the rich, warm blossoms on he hill-side, and between the hamlet and he town plies the üttlo ferry-boat which ives the village its name. But the trusy little suiling vpssel is rarely used ; for at least halt' its time it leans in utter idleness under the ferryman's cottage, while the waters lap it softly as they pass, and augh that they are close upon the sea at ast. But the fishing-boats at Ferrybank lave no such holiday. When they rest bey do it in an uhcertain manner, standug ready for action, thuugh high and dry upob the rocky beach, waiting to be dragged down ainid tbose busy shouts, as hey are dragged so many times in every rear. But one there is, even of these, which from month to month lies useless and rudderless upon an isolsted shelí of rocks. And the fishermen- their rough voices softened a little - tell how one evenng the squire's yacht found that boat ossing tenantless upon the waves, not quite three miles froni shore, and towed t slowly home, landing it on the beach ust where the missing fisherman's son stood waiting and watching for his father's signal. None of them can tell how )wen Vxughan - the ablest and most earless sailor on the coast met his death upon the secret sea; but they wili tell iow the boy, through all the night that bllowed, sat ïilone upon the cliffs, and low, when he carne home at-last, he had a look upon his face as if he had borne he sorrow oí a man's life - a look which bey tell you he can never lose again. And then they add, turning a little from your face to look beyond the very sea it elf, to where the sky spreads white and 3right above, that though such things may be like oft-told tales in Uves like heirs, yet that the shock they bring nevr is the less keen for that, nor the bereave ment the less deep and sore. This is how n Owen Vaughan's cottage there feil the reat bush of a sudden grief, which the joy - who bad loved his father with that trength and tenderness of devotiou which t is given us sometimes to see in boy naures - battled witb in a strange, uuboysh silence, while his nlother let her sorow overwhelin her, and the baby-girl, íerself an unconscious comforter, cried wonderingly in the gloom of the darkened ottage. But this grief grew less as years went on. The mother earned a scanty liveliïood by her washing, and little Duddgha, n spite of the weight of her Welsh name, rew from babyhood to girlhood, tall and ithe and active, ever ready with her nim)le feet or fingers to lighten her mother's oil ; while Uwen won his way so rapidy in the village school that the lame ctoolmaster began most painfully to feel he narrowness of his own erudition un[er the boy's wide questioning. He wás even right, too, when he muttered suggesively among the villagers that " Owen was an odd child, and would not associate witb his schoolfellows." Uwen was an odd cbild. Since be bad lost that one iiend who shared every thought, he had et the reserve and solitariness which characterized him grow and deepen. And ittle sympathy had the restless village ads with Owen's deep and concentrated ova for tbe studies which to them ineant only imprisonmeut. Nothing could they understand of the still bright dreams in which he sat alone by the whispering sea, or of the brave and fearless resolutions which he had gathered strength to keep wbeu he stood and watched the stormDeaten waters, finding perhaps an echo in lis own longiug beart te the wild, uiystic voice whicb was to make all doubt and wonder clear to hiin oue day. At last the village schoolmaster, seeing be could take the boy no further on tbe path he trod so rapidly, mentioned generally the advisability of his leaving school now, and mentioned il particularly to Sir Bulkley Gwyrne, the rich, eccentric bachelor who owned all Ferrybank, and lived in tbe great house upon the wooded bank above Llanvriar. Sir Bulkley, always quick to see the help which it was wise to give, and always proud and glad when be found unexpected gifts and. powers among bis people, examiued the boy hiinself, - startled, without puzzling him, frightened, without bewildering him, - atid then dismissed him with afewcurt words of advice, but no encouragement. Yet, only a few days afterward, he appeared again in the village school, and, walking through the rows of standing boys to where Owen waited with his bead raised from his open book, he told him he had chosen another school for him, and that the master had promised, on condition of the boy's progresa being satisfactory, - here the equire's hand, which was upon Owen's shoulder now, grew a little heavier, and his voice a little mpre empbatic, - to retain him as tutor, and pay him according to his services. Sir Bulkley, making nothing of his own share in this, and saying nothing of the great hope be entertained for the lad, feit that be bad given him just the start in life whicb, by hi own industry and talent, inight lead hiin bafely to the end ; but ho never guessed the depth of his protege's gratitudo whea Owen fouud that this school to which he was seut was one of the first private schools in Walqs, nor with what iatense earncstness the lad pursued this uew path, which his generous patrón had opened tor hiin, aud which it was Buch happiness to walk in. One day a new light broke upou this path for Uwen, showiug him the track tor which he had been unconsciously loDging. A friend of Sir Bulkley who was going abroad, and wanted a secretary aud interpreter, heard of üwen's wonderful facility in acquiring languages, and offered to take him. The baronet, always ready and kind, traveled himself to the inland Welsh town, and started Owen olí' to London, handing him a note for L100, with a few kind words ot encourageuieut, which Owen never forgot through all his lite, and telling him that when his engagement was over, if he would like to stay abroad and study, thia would give him the power. To a fisherinan's widow who has never been twenty miles from her cottage on the beach, who knows nothing of the world but its vague immeusity, and nothing of the sea beyond the shore but its deep treachery, a journey to the continent was terrible as exile. And so Owen, fearing anxious days and sleepless nights for his mother while she could faucy him upon his journey, would not teil her of his projected departure. Then, what a proud and bright astonishment there was in the cottage on the beach when Owen's first letter caino from Paris! The. mother's eyes had for years been weak and easily tired, but they never tired of roading thono loving words, nor did hor lips ever tire of kissing them. With the letter there caine a portrait, which was tenderly placed in the bible which had been the father's, and was opeued at that page almost every hour of the day. The mother looked upon it as the picture face of her handsome, loving buy ; Sir Bulkley, studying it quietly, read somethiug more than that. Through France and Germany and Italy went Owen with his patrón, perfecting himself in each language with that extraordinary power which seemed boni with him, and bis patrón, returning to England, lelt him at a Germán univeisity. Three years after that first letter trom abroad had Ulied the fishing village with a great astouishment, it was to receive a greater one. A haudsotue, grave-looking gentleman, with kindly, gentle words lor all he met, walked trom the station to Mrs. Vaughau'8 cottage, and there put his anus about the slight figure of the little washerwoman and held her to his heart, while she sobbed out aloud in the strength and weakness of her joy. Duddgha, standing by in shy bewilderment, agrave and gentle girl ot' seventeen, feit the wouderful charm of his t'acp when he turned to take her, too, within his arms; and, in a cry of gladness, there broke from her the old pet name for him, which had uot passed her lips since she was a child, and he had been used to carry her out upou the cliffs and teil her wouderful and beautitul legends of the sea. Next morning Owen walked up to the great house on the bank, to see, to repay, and once again to thank Sir Bulkley, who with a genial handshake, eyed hiru curiously, and atked where was the L100. " Here, sir," said Owen, touching his temples iightly. " You bade me store it here." And Sir Bulkley, laughing heartily at the thought of receiving the mouey, feit that the debt had been discharged in the way he best liked. Now feil the second cloud on Owen's life; a cloud, whose lengthening shadow was to reach the end. Before he lelt Germany he had obtained the appointmeut of secoud master at the grammar school in Vicester, one of the first, il' not the very first, in Englaud. And it was whispered that to win this appointment was almost equal to winning the headmaster ship, because Dr. Hope was very auxious to resign, and his second master, who would necessarily perfosm many of lis duties temporarily, would stand the aest chance of succeeding hiin. Proudy Owen told his mother and sister this, is he pictured glowingly the restful, rest'ul life they should lead with hiu. Then 'ellsthe cloud, darkening at once his lovey anticipations. The mother would not eave her cottage on the beach. " I'm too old a tree to bear such movng, Owen, dear lad," she said. " It would till me to be set in a new home I'd rather tarry where your father lived ; no other place would ever be the same to me." " Not the home which J would make you mother; where you shall do what fou like all day ; ouly being thero to make it home for me 'f" But hispleading was of no avail, though ie never wearied of it. " You shall not work, then, mother," he said at last, foeling tb at he must be oon ;ent with that. " Not work '(" she echoed, as il' the prospect were most dreary. " Why, Owen, I ihould soon be tired of my life - a fretting, ïdle old woman. No, dear; let your motber live and work just as she has been used to do ; that's thu kindest for her ; and Duddgha chooses to bide with me." So-Owen, all his loving dreacus taded now, took possession of his solitary rooms, and the pleasure which he might have tiad.in sending his frequent gifts to his mother was destroyed by hor oft-expreosed wish to having nothing move than she had been used to through her lowly life ; nothing more than her boy's cherished [etters and her proud knowledge of his goodness. He hved at first a busy but almost saddened life at Vicester, too deeply studious to make any frieuds ; but at last he fuund iu Dr. Hope's household a sweeter companionship than he had ever dreauied of. A pleasant genial companion was that of the head-master, and here Owen was always made most weloome, hked and respected for himself alone. Dr. Hope, always cordial, was doubly so to Owen, on whose young strength and power he had learned to lean in many ways. Mrs. Hope, doubting nothiugof theyougman's antecedents, because he had been lecommended by those who stood high on the world's ladder, encouraged his visits and made them pleasant to him, with that subtle, delicate tact which some ladies possess so pre-eminently ; and Alice, their only child, greeted him always with her gladdest smile, flushing brightly when she heard his step upon the paveruent of the court, as she daily watched for his coming. But no mie saw his eyes gladden in her presence ; no one saw his hand tiemble when it met hers ; for Owen, always remembering the cottage on the beach where his childhood had been spent and where his mother and sister toiled, kept a close, firm grasp upon the burning hope which gometimes rose within him stronger than his strength, and placed between himself and Alice the shadow of his early poverty ; so much the darker from her own frankly-avowed pride and pleasure in her old, honorable name. " It is always well fora man who would attain a good position in my line of life, to have on his side good birth and a good name, followed up, of' course, by an English university education." So the doctor would say, Bometimes, and Owen would laughingly argue in favor of the Qerman education, and let the other criticism pass. But though he uould so laugh it off at times, the strain wa3 slowly telling upon him, and at hia solitary fireside he would make a resolution - bravely enough he could make it there - not to go to the schoolhouse, save on rare and necessary occasions ; and when the hope of which he was scarcely conscious was inastering him, he would travel tb Perrybank, and again plead with his mother, in the low, dark cottage which grew to seem more and more gloomy to him on oach visit. - Still no pleading, even of his, availed. "But, mother, if you will not come with rue," supplicated Owen, " let me find you another home. You sh&ll choose where ; it shall be in this very spot, if you like ; only let it be freo from gloom and discomfort." But the mother pleaded in her turn to be left where she was happiest ; and, silenced once inore, Owen sought to beautify the place a little by his generous gifts. But no ; these made no difference in the poor dweiling. All the money that he sent his mother was put sacredly away. " When I am gone, Duddgha," she said to her daughter, " you will find it all untouched, and you. may want it then." II. It was Christmas eve, and Owen waa to dine at the Schoolhouse. He entered the long, warm rooin just as Alice, wifh her hands full of flowers, came in from the greenhouse. While they lingered together, arranging the flowers, she wooed him on to talk of what she feit he loved, and, knowing that home would be near his heart this Christmas time, asked him of his mother and his sister. " I never like to mention your sister's name, Mr. Vaughan," she said, " because I do not know how to pronounce it. I have seen it in a'book of yours, but I never heard you say it." The color mounted slowly to Owen's brow, for something in gentle words sounded like a rebuke. " We pronounced it Duthga," he said ; " it is an odd name, is it not? But it looks worse than it sounds." " I like the sound of it," Alice tnswered. " I think I should know your sister if I saw her, Mr. Vaughan, though I do not fancy her like you ; no girl could have your kind of face. Is she tall as - I am Y" " No," answered Owen, srniling a little, as he pictured the two girls- in her pltiin, calicó gown, singing to herself as she stood ironing in the cottage kitchen, and the other as she stood beside him now in her soft velvet dress, with the delicate fern and crimson rose-bud in its bosoin. " Is she as fond of flowers as I am ?" asked Alice, guessing nothing of these thoughts. "Icannot teil," said Owen, watching the white fingers as they touched caressingly the brilliant petals, "tor she has not such flowers as these within her reach." " There are some beautiful ferns to be found at Tenby," said Alice, in quick fear lest she had hurt him. " Papa and I have found some choice ones near there. Does she know, I wonder 'i because - because your home is not far from Tenby, you once told me." The girl's voice grew unconsciusly a little wistful as she spoke, remembering how seldom ho had told her anything of his home, or of those whom she feit he loved so dearly ; but just then her father called Owen into his study, and she was left to wonder. She had a misty iinpression, though she could not teil how gathered, that his mother did not like society, and that her daughter could not leave her; but she knew that Owen had never definitely told her even this. " Does he think I would not care to hear, or does he not care for me enough to speak to me of those he loves 'i I think they must be very, very good," she sighed, letting the flowers drop from their listless hands, " and I seem shallow and flippant to him, and I vex him almost every time we talk together. Even those few words I said about the flowers pained bim somehow. I wish I knew how ; I wish - I suppose women can never bedeep and real and true, just quite like men. I wish I didn't care. I wish I hadn't said it" And suddenly and pettishly she swept the flowers away, as if the sight and scent were painful to her. But Alioe had forgotten this passing cloud bef ore the long and cheerful dinner was over. The servants had left the room, when Owen, sitting next to Alice, and listening happily to her sweet voice, telt a sudden chili creep in upon the Scène. The words of one of the doctor's uests struck upon his quick, keen ear. " Much as I want a tutor in my Bchool before next term, I could not engage Leslie, because he cannot have been brought up a gentleman. His father, I hear, was a village tradesman. But what looks particularly bad is that he does not teil me the fact himself. In inany ways he would undoubiedly suit the post. He is entleiuanly-looking, and speaks well, besides having testimoniáis of the highest class. Still, there is that insuperable objection." " Insuperable," muttered the doctor, assentingly. "I would not entertain the idea. What do you think, Vaughan V" " If," said Owen, "taking a long time to peel an atom of walnut, and looking down upon it Tery intently, "if his words and acts, as well as his appearance, are those of a gentleman, I cannot see what dift'erence is left for his birth to make. - One can but look and aot and speak as a gentleman, let one's birth be the noblest in the land ; and if we miss one of these things in each other, what need have we to question fuither?" " You speak warmly, Vaughan. Inmy place you evideutly would engage this son oí a village shopkeeper to help to educate noblemen and gentlemen' s sons." " We men do not often question each other on our birth and early life," said Owen, "and do not often volunteer to talk of it unquestioned. Then will it never be that we may judge men by what we find them - respect or despise them, not according to the rank they bear, but according to the part they act." " Better in theory than in practice, Vaughan," said Dr. Hope, lightly. " Still, my objection is the want of truthfulness tit starting." " Many of our highest families," said Alice, " have been founded by one man who has riseu from the people, and they are proud t& trace back to such au one. Why, because we are his con temporarios, should we scorn him for it ?" " Suppose," said Owen, glancingrapidly into Alice's face, while his heart beat gratetully for her words, " suppose, Dr. Hope, that one of your own masters had come to live amoug you, of lower birth, even, than this candidate you speak of, and had told you nothing of his antecedents, feeling that if he were suitable for the post, that was all, and that if he were not, you would soon discover it ; suppose you had liked him, and had associated froely with him, giving him a welcome always in your house, and had then discovered his history - should you blame him for his silence 't" "Blame him!" echoed the doctor, hotly. " I should turn my back upon him promptly, I assure you, were he the finest scholar in England." Slowly and darkly the color rose in Owen's face. " That is the general opinión, I suppose," he said ; and Alice was not the only one who noticed the tone oi pain in his voice. " What should you do yourself, Mr. Vaughan ?'.' asked Mrs. Hope, merrily. " Come, next to the doctor himself, you are the one most likely to be placed in such a position." "I think," said Owen, quietly," that I should inerely care what the man himself might.be. It would signify as little to me what his father had been as what his son would be years and years afterward." " Wait until some one imposes upon you," returned the doctor. " He would not like it, would he, Alice ?" he added, laughing up at her as she rose to follow her inother. Eagerly Owen waited for her answer. " I do not think a really low-born man could succeed in such an imposture, papa," she carelessly said, " even if he tried." Christmas mirth had all died out of Owen's eyes, when he joined Alice again, and her shy, kind words could not bring it back ; neither did their inemory bring a tender smile to his lips when he recalled them afterward. " I will not go again. I will live my life apart from theirs," he said, as he walked wearily through the silent streets, to meet the midnight train. " A friendship with deceit for its foundation cannot last. It is better it should grow no deeperthan it is. Heaven knows it clings too closely about my heart to-night." In love and quietness that Christmas day was spent by Owen in his mother's cottage on the shore, but never had the want of comfort in his old home struck him with such weight of suffering. " Yet," he said, " it would have been better to have known np life but this, rather than be living two, so far apart." Once more he urged his old entreaty; once more, and never so ardently as now; but still she gave the one answer which he could not neglect. No ; she was happier so. And, with a kiss she bade him leave her there, because it was better for her. "But, mother, take'my gifts," he cried, the words wrung from him in his deep heart-loneliness, and in his longing for the oonsciousness that bis life-work was not utterly useless, and beneflted no one. " Take my gifts, mother, aud let me feel that I ain not working uud living in vain." " Dear, there are plenty of other nsea for your money," she nswered, her voice a little broken now, to see his bitter earnestness. " But none so s weet to me, none so pleasant to me," he said, in eager dissent. " There soon will be, dear lad," she whispered, " even if it is not so already." Then the mother, all unlearned though she was, could read the faoe she loved, and seeing there a trouble which she vaguely understood, she took the tired head within her anus, and wept and whispered over it, as if those far back days had come again when the mother's arms were all the heaven he knew. That was the last time Owen urged his old request, that was the last time the grave eyes found that sweet relief of tears upon a mother's breast. III. Well and bravely Owen had kept his resolution ; while Alice, from the sombre rooms of the old Sehoolhouse, listened in vain for the familiar step upon the pavement, waited in vain for the old pleasure bis coming ever gave. And he 'i He pert'ormed his old tasks just as he had perEormed them always. As the spring cameon, shedrooped and pined so sadly that they said she needed the sea-air, and they begged her to accept the invitation of an old school-friend who had lately married and gone frorn her home in Scotland to stay with her busband's relations on the Welch coast. " It is to Llanvriar I am going, Mr. Vaughan,', said Alice, a little wearily, as she told Owen of her approaching departure, while he stood steadily before her, looking into her pale face. " Papa says be thinks I shall be close to your home. May I take anything for you ? Is there anything I can do '(" " No ; there was nothing," he told her, speaking with cold, tight lips, while his beart grew hot and wild with rebellion as he thought how, if nis home had been different, Alice would have brightened it now for his sake. And so they parted, with a simple hand-shake. While Alice was at Llanvriar there was a concert given by the patrons of the Ferrybank school. One of the singers, a pretty, grave-looking girl of about twenty, struck Alice particularly. ♦ " It alinost seems to me asif I had seen iier before," she said to Mr. Gwynne, her tiost ; " and yet I know I have not. I lave not even seen any one very like her, and yet something in her eyes, I think, seems familiar to nie. Who is she V" " She is supposed to be rather a peculiar girl," was the answer ; ' yet no one Icnows why, unleas to be good and faithful to one's mother is peculiar ; perhaps they think so in Ferrybank, for it isn't a very common failiug there. She has a brother, though, who is peculiar, really : a specimen of that rare wild plant genius. - a specimen no one would expect to flud drifted into a wretched fisher-cabin on our Bhore. He was one of my uncle's proteges. I wish Sir Bulkley were at home now, that you might ask about him. My uncle is so proud to rehearse his career. I believe he is doing excellently now, in England, and I suppose he deserves it, for he studied like any old don you like to mentjon, Miss Hope." " Did he '(". asked Alice, but little interested. " Please teil me what is this girl's name." " Duddgha Vaughan. Her mother is a wash-woman, and lives in one of those desolate cabins on the shore, in the very midst of the fish odors ; a lasting disgrace, I think, - though I dare not say so to Sir Bulkley, - to the son, who lives in abundance himself, and leaves his mother and sister to earn their own livelihood in such a hole. You can see the cottage from our windows. I will show it to you ; such a poor place it is." "What?" The word carne from Alice in a wbisper, and seeing she was anxious to hear, Mr. Gwynue told her his version of Owen's story ; while the words crept into her icy heart, and the music to which she had come to listen died unheard. That Owen should have been her truest friend.for two years - her nearest and tirst friend, she repeated to herself, the flush of anger and mortifloation rushing into her face at the thought,- only to give hor this pain at last ! Day after day at that window of the houso upon the wooded bank whioh overlooked the fishing hamlet, aud from which Alice could see the thatched cottage standing alone upon the beach, the girl would sit in a listless, dreamy pain. - Could it be true P Could it all be true 'r1 Could that be Owen's home ? Then she would drop her work or book, and rise and gaze upon the cottage, in a wondering, auxious doubt, which yet could not prevent the longing tenderness shining in her eyes- so proud, and yet so true. Could that bj Owen's home? Could Owen's mother labor there, while he was living in ease and luxury far away ? Could it be true ? So the thoughts hotly ran, while yet - though Alice did not know it - the very truth of her fear was plain in her eyes while she gazed and gazed down upon Oweu's home. " I think I will go over just once and see his mother," she said to herself over and over again. during her stay at Llanvriar ; but a strange, new feeling of shame which she blushed to recognize, prevented her. Alice had boen back at home a week or more, when Owen Vaughan canie voluntarily once more to the Schoolhouse. Dr. and Mrs. Hope were both out, and Alice sat alone. The familiar step, for which she had so often listened, was close behind her now, yet she never turned. - How could she turn while that light - half of anger, but half of passionate affection - burned in her eyes? He sat besida her, grave and gentle as of old, but there was a new tone in his voice when he told her the story of his life, a new longing in his face when he told her how he loved her. In a few simple words he told her, but these words she saw were uttered frora his heart, and their truth and earnestness were like the truth and earnestness of prayer. " I have determined many times that I would never utter these words to you, Alice," he said, " I have struggled long and hard against temptation, but it has mastered me at last. Bufore you went away, looking so frail, I almost broke my resolution. But when you carne back, still looking weak and ill, and when I found you cold and strange to me, I said, ' I will listen to nothing now but my own beart. I will teil her the story of my early life, and then how feveutly I have loved her and must love her always. I will teil her both these things, and leave my fate in her hands.' Alice, I read my answer in your face. You disdain this love of mine. You send me frora you, and it will be hard to trust or hope in any one again. Wait ; do not say it, yet. I thoaght I had prepared myself, but the darkness falls so suddenly." Bus Alice did say it. She told him she disdained the love he offered ; and told him so in cold and scornful words, which were to come back to her afterward with the crushing weight with which they feil upon his heart. And he watched the young, fresh lips from which the cruel words were falling, as if he were struggling to awake frain some desolate dreara. " You teil me this story of yotir childhood, Mr. Vaughan," she ended, with chilling slowness, " because you rightly guess that I heard it before I returned. It is as unnecessary to teil it to me at all now, as it is unnecessary to teil me of the imagined love that was built upon deceit." The shadows, darkening his eyes as he turned them slowly from hers, frightened her, and she dared not glance at him as he sat in that deathly silence, his chest heaving with violent emotion. " If you werë capable of such love as you speak of," she went on, with cutting emphasis, in his long silence, " would your own mother and sister be toiling in poverty, while you are living among us as a gentleman f" " Hush !" he said, slowly, as he rosé, with a suppressed passion in his steadfast eyes. " You have said enough to kill my hope ; more thau you will care to recall in the years to come. Ouly in rare, sweet moments have I ever dreamed that you would accept my love when you knew all, whatever you may havo been to me before ; but I never dreamed that from your lips could coine such words of cruel contempt. I will say nothing of their truth or falsehood. It is enough for me that you can believe them." The spring sunshine still streamed through the old window, but it touohed the white, brave face no longer. The slow step died below urjon the pavement, and as each echo feil heavily on Alice's heart, she longed to cry aloud. " If I had been prepared," she sighed, wearily, " or if I had really been what he has thought me, I should have- said it differently." " I think, mother," she whispered, that evening, when her mother wondered at her wan face, " it would do me good to go back to Llanvriar for a little time. I promised to do so if I could. Will you let me go at once 't" So the next morning Alice went. IV. A little of the old color had come back to Alice's cheek, and a little of the old lightness to her step, before she had been many days at Llanvriar. But she knew it was not the sea-air only which had broughtthem back. Sir Bulkley Gwynne was at home now, and on the very iirst evening of her arrival she had heard Owen's story from him. Thinking over this story as the generous old squire had told it, Alice feit a great change had come over all her thoughts of uwen. " When I go home again," she mused in silent happiness, " I shall see him and speak to him once more. And then, perhaps " The words died here ; but it was plain that Alice, though she had longed to come, was looking forward already to this going home. And more than ever now she stood beside the win dow overlooking Ferrybank, and gazed with auxious, loving eyes on Owen's home. " It strikes me, Miss Hope," remarked Mr. Gwynne, coming up to her at this window one day, " that you are not to leave Llanvriar without seeing a storm at sea. You say you have never seen one in you life." " Never," answered Alice, shuddering unconsciously. " Well, I think my uncle's prognostio of this evening is likely to be veriñed ; he always dreads this Southwest wind. I am going across to Perrybank tb see how things are looking,' for the gale increases fast, and threatens to be violent." "Is there a life-boat on the coast?" asked alice, late that night, when she and Mrs. Gwynne sat listening to the wind as it rumbled through the trees, and moaned of its owa dark deeds upon the sea. " Yes ; it was one of Sir Bulkley's generous gifts to Forrybank, and many a life has been saved already. We have one of the ablestcrewsin Britain, - so we always say, - ready to go out at a minutes notice. Don't look so frightcned, dear. Shall we go to bed ? " "Oh, no!" pleaded Alice ; "let us wait for Mr. Gwyune. It is too terrible a night for sleep or rest." So they waited in the cheerful light and warmth, very silent and subdued, and sitting olose together, except vvheu Alice, in her great fear, rose and opened the Bhutters to look out through the splashed panes into the blackness of the tempestuous night. A night, indeed, it was, " on which the bounds of heaven and earth were lost." As she stood so, there flashed before her a sudden, rapid light, dartiug upward for an instant, and then gone. Alice kuew it carne from a vessel in distress, and with a cry of fear she threw open the window, bending her head against the wind, while the foam rushed up into her eyes. The soleinn roar of the waters on the beach was heard beyond the thunder of tbe wind and rain, and the lightning, nashing swiftly over the angry sea, showed her for one moment the high and heavy line of surf. With a prayer upon her lips for those tossed helplessly upon the sea to-night, she closed the windows and the shutters. Then the two frjends sat quite still together, waiting and longing for the morning. Down upon the shore at Ferrybank, a breathless, eager crowd had gathered, leaning hard against the wind, and blinded by the spray which dashed in showers to the wild shore. Gazing out into the darkness which hid the hungry sea, they waited while the wide doors of thé lifeboat house were unlooked, and the great boat wheeled down to brave the storm. Atnid all the inightier sounds, 8ir Bulkley Gwynne's voice rose clear and sharp, as watching the trained crew take down their life-belts, he counted them rapidly "One is missing- Hughes ! Where is Hughes r No one had seen Hughes, but half a hundred voioes called his name now. "His place must be supplied," the squire shouted, sharply and distiuctly. " We dare not delay one second." A young man who had been active and prompt in his help, carne into the light of the lamp which Sir Bulkley held. " I am ready, Sir Bulkley ; let me go. You know that an oar is no new toy to me. If you refuse me I shall take out my father's boat. Listen ! Oould I stay upon the shoro while the drowning plead for help? In the rockefs light I saw the life-boat from the brig put out, and I know it could not pull through such a sea as this. Let me go, Sir Bulkley." As he spoke, the baronet, raising the lamp which he was placing in the boat, saw in his faoo the steady bravery which was so plain in his low, quick tones. " Vuughan ! I did not know you were heie. I trust you in this as I have trusted you before. Go, if you think it well. "ïhank God!" said O wen, softly, as the squire wrung his hand. Amid the cries and prayers of the excited crowd, the strong, swift boat put out upon the dangerous surf, and all eyes foüowed its light, as it rose and feil upon the waves, and slowly neared that other faint white light which glowed on the masthead of the Btruggling vessel. Only five miles trom shore the brig could be, and now and then distinctly seen in the sudden blazing of therockets; yet how the lights reeled and tossed, and' would not meet ! " "Sir Bulkley, I've been ill for weeks, sir," - the one member of the crew who had been absent when the life-boat started, oame panting breathlessly upon the scène, - "but I saw the rockets and couldn't lie upon my bed, and leave my place here empty." " The boat is out on its way, Hughes," the baronet answered, a little sternness in his voice, though he inarked pityiugly the man's hurried breathing." " Your place is filled by one who will do -his duty, even unto death." "It shouldn't have been O wen Vaughan, though," said Hughes, when the bystanders had told hiin of the launch. "His arms haven't been in lately for that sort uf work, and they say that, two or three years ago, he was forbidden to use an oar. What could induce him to go when he knew that? Ah, there! see how she rides that heavy sea - God bless her 1 " V. The waves sobbed gently and softly, tired of the passionate unrest of their long night ; and gazing upon them with wide and tearless eyes, as if their inellow plash bewildered her, Alice stood again at that wiudow from which she could see Owen's oottage home. It was quite late in the morning when Mr. Gwynne returned to teil of the scène upon the sea-shore last night. "After all, I'm thankful to teil you only one acoident occurred," he said, wondering at the depth and sadness of Alice's Bympathy ; " but it was a painful one, indeed. That young Vaughan, of whom my uncle told you so much, Miss Hope, happened to be at his mother's cottage,- came only yesterday or day before, - and he volunteered to take one place n the life-boat, -begged for it, indeed. Bplendidly he handled his oar, - so all the crew say, - and was untiring in all he could do for the rescued. Strong and brave and ready, they said ; and if you knew them you would understand what that means. Whether it was only that Ue worked too hard, is not known, but when he tried to land he feil upon the beach. I helped to carry the poor fellow into his mother's cottage, aud I shall not soon forget her face as it met his. The doctors talk of paralysis of the heart, and they say he must have known that such a task as he undertook last night would probably kill him. He had been warneü in Germany, it seems. I'm glad to say they have not told the mother this, for they had before told her how he entreated my uncle to send him : and how could she reooncile the two facts?" Every word entered deeply into Alice's sore heart, and when all had been told, one thought and longing held her. Alpne and unobserved she slipped away and hurried to the river. The old ferryman was busy enough this morning; the boat had been ceaselessly plying its way to and tro sinoe daybreak. Eagerly Alice listened to the voices around her as she was pulled across, for all were talking of the storm, and all spoke Owen's name. When she reached the opposite shore, she walked on rapidly among the spars of the lost vessel and over the dismal line of drifted seaweed, to the cottage on tho beach, in which she knew that Owen lay. Por a moment she feit she must be mistaken, because no crowd had gathered bere, but one glance around showed her a group of people whispering together at a short distance, and unoonsoiously thanking them in her heart for the silent respect thus shown, she knocked softly at the half-clo8ed door. " I am an old friend of Mr. Vaughan's," said Alice very softly, as she looked appealiugly into the faoe of Owen's sister. " May I see him ?" Duddgha's evyes, swollen and flred with weeping, flxed themselves for a moment wonderingly upon the lady who said this; a lady with a beautiful pale face and eyes as tired as her own, quietly and simply dressed, yet elegant as few visitors at the gloomy cottage had ever looked to the girl before. Without answering, she led Alice into the kitchen, and then stood ia hesitation beside the window, where a hunch of primrose8 and wild white violets drooped as if they feit the sorrow of the house. " My brother is very, very ill," she whispered ; every word uttered in keenest pain. " Do you think you had letter see him ?" " Yes, oh yes, if I may," replied Alice, her voice most earnest and entreating. Without another word, Duddgha walked on noiselessly to an inner room ; gently drew her weeping mother from the bedside, and stood aside for Alice to pass in. The end was very, very near. Alice saw that, even in her iirst yearning gaze, "Owen!" she cried. But she could say no other word, and only feil upon hei knees beside the bed, and looked at him with all her heart surging in her eyes. " Alice, once more together," he whispered, and the look upon his face was one of perfect peaoe, no agony and no regret. " Together at the end. The distance that lay between us, , dear, is all traveled now." Kneeling there in the presence of the greaf Leveler, and looking back upon her life and his, Alice feit how slight had been this distance of which he spoke, vet how impossible to pass it now. ïhe barner which had stood between them wheu she feit herself above hita had been raised by her own hand, she owned, with a sobbing pain at her heart. Now, with that wonderful glory on his face, he stood immeasurably abovor; and this barrier was from the hand of God. And still she could not speak to him one word, only her eyes, so full of love and pain and penitence, told all. His two kind friends were with him at the end. üld Dr. Hope, who had only the day before received the short, sad letter in which Owen told his story and resigned his appointinent in the grammarschool, was in time to teil him, with dim eyes, how he had come himself en purpose to tempt him back to the place he had tilled so well ; and Sir Bulkley Owyyne was there too, walking quietly in the outer room, and muttering that the sunshine on the water dazzled him. Xhe eyes upon the pillow, bright with unutterable happiness, read the yearning love upon those faces gathered in the silent room, and read it in that highest light which made all clear. Softly, through the open doorway, carne the soothing murmur of the sea. Away in the wide blue above the open window, a lark's song faltered toward the unreached heaven. The only shadow on the bright spring noon was the hushed

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Subjects
Old News
Michigan Argus