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" You went away very abruptly the other day, Mrs. Marbury," said Mrs. j ' Chappell io me, when I called as I was passing about a íortuight afterward (I ' had in the meantime been nursing a sick j : child). ' "Well," Ianswered, " you were busy, and I had stopped short in my narrative i ! just at that point of my life where flotion ordinarily ends; and such a flood of l recollection came over me as I stood leaning alone against your counter, that I did not feel inelined to disenchan teven m self . "You see, Mrs. Chappell," I went on, j " when an elderly woman's memory goes i into the dreamland of her courtship and honeymoon she does not like the jolting journey back to common life. 80 when you left me thinking of Oliver Marbury as ho appeared in his ivaisted, tightfttting, claret-colored coat, his white satin stock and waistcoat, palé, i colored trousers, and patent leather j boots, and myself in my pretty white j satin drawn bonnet and blonde fall, my white book-muslin dress and satin sash, I my small white Paisley-bordered j wich shawl and sandalled slippers, I was so full of that happy marriage morn i ; our old church at S- - , and tho dinnei' afterward, when my father astonished Amos and Leah by givmg me the j sand pounds, that I did not care to shut ; out the picture, and took myself off j stead." "Then did your marriage turn out so badly?" questioned Mrs. Ohappe], with j one eye on the shop-door the while. " Badly ! It was an unfortunate day ! when David Beeeh allowed himself to be talkecl over, and let hls pet daughter come Mary Marbury. Better ten ] sand times have remained Mary Beech to the end of my days !" " Yet as I went with Oliver inside the hired chaise to the new home I had not yet seen, and his arm held me close to him all the way, and he stooped now and then to whisper, ' My wife,' and teil 1 me how ranch he loved me, and how j happy we ■ hould be, I thought that one word ' wife ' comprehended all that was ecetatic and sublime, and the vista of the future held not a cloud. "Two things struck me about our house (which had been father's) - the j unused, dusty look of the library, a small room like an offshoot at the back, but crammed with books, and, secondly the hunting-whips, gig whips, spurs, racing calendara framed and glazed, the guns, shot-belts, and powder-flasks, the boxing-gloves and foils hung up or littering about the whole house. Then, too, tiiere were cigars and pipes, cards and dice in drawers and boxes, and the flrst faint, impalpable sbadow of doubt crept over me. " ' Oliver will forego üiese things now fchftt be is mtwried,1 said 1 to myself, ' and I wili raake that delightful old I library quite a snuggery. It is tMe I most cosy room in the house.' At flrst he drove me about hero aud there, and one or two of hisfather's very old friends called upon me ; but his own acquaintnuceü werè rnostly men in Newmarket coats like hi3 own, who talked slang, smoked inceseantly, stared hord at me, or rnadt freer than I liked, and who i walked in and out oí the house, ordered the servants, drank beer and brandy, went and stayed with a freedom very foreign to my notions, ftnd altogether upset my theoiïes of the privacy of domestie life. " There was one, a Capt. Thornton, I especially disliked, and I told Oliver so. ' He will ruin you if you continue to I sociate with him,' I said. " Oliver langhed, patted my cheek, aud replied, knowingly, '. My dear, he might if I were not too deep for him. I mean to make a fortune out of the Captain bef ore long.' "I had heard f rom my father that Oliver's property was not large, and, little as I knew óf such matters, I could teil my L1,000 woiild not go f ar to support such a mode of life. But he only j laughed when I said captains and country squires were not associates for him. i ' Never you mind, Mary ; I khow what I'm about. ' And tlien he grew angry when I spoke on the subject, so I desisted. "Frequently he was away for a week or two together, and then the whole i tribe went with him - not that at other times we always had the house full ; but j it was seldom quite empty. We rarely had a quiet evening to ourselves. He j was away when my baby was born, and I was partly glad of ii for the house was Vliet. gtt TJt "Oliver had insisted upon a ( ing feast, and gave his ore Iers osif Potosi had been at his command. " ' Hang the oost ! What do I care !' was his reply to my wish to keep expenditure within bounds. " Of course there were friends of his own invited, and of course there was heavy drihkiiig ; and whilst father, Leah, Mrs. Mathews, and I sat together in the drawing-room, listening to the March ! winds blustering without, a noise of i voioes in loud contention came from the dining-room across the hajll. " 'Liar.l' 'Oheat!' ' Sharper !' ' Tagabond!' were among the epitheta which smote our ears. Then there was a I fle. We met the seivaüts in the hall j ! so, hurrying to ascertain what was the matter, and as we opened the diningroom door we saw Capt. Thornton with his hands on Oliver's throat. I shrieked. Sam, our man-servant, darted in, and helped to separate them - drawing his ma' ter away toward the door. " The faces of both men worked with passion ; Oliver shook himself free, snatched a decanter from the diningtable, and hurled it across at his antagonist with full fórce. Instinctively the captain put up his arm to guard his face. The decanter smashed I upon his hand, gashed it frightfully. " I believe there was a cry for a doctor, but not for me, though I had faint! ed and been carried back to the drawingi room sofa insensible. " Capt. Thornton's ufe was in peril i from the hemorrhage. His wist was I bound tightly bef ore a surgeon carne to extract the glass and sew up the wound ; ; but for all that he was for a long time 1 in danger of lockjaw. When he did rei cover the muscles of his right hand were i so contracted that he could no longer shuffle cards, ride at hunt or steeplechase, handle a billiard cue, or fire a gun ; and he vowed vengeance against i the man who had made life a burden to him. T " Oliver laughed, as was his wont ; but evil seemed to haunt us from that hour - not as a conseqiience of that one act, but of much foregone, of which I knew nothing. "My father beckoned me into the library before he and Leah returned home, and he shut thé door. "'Mary,' said he gravely, 'had I known thy Oliver was such a wastrel I'd have chopped my hand off afore I'd ha' given thee to him. I'm afraid thoul't rué afore long. Such riot and gance as I saw last night cannot last. ■ And when his own brass is melted he'll wantthy L1,000.' j " Never shall I forget his look of consternation as I told him I had given the ; money over to Oliver before we lef t home on our, wedding-day. ' ' ' Then, ten to one, it's thy money he's squandering !' he cried, in as much of a temper as I ever saw him ; but he softened at my tears, and adued, ' It's my fault, Mary ; I ought to have tied it down on thee. Never mind, lass, if the worst comes to the worst, thero's a home f or thee and thy little Launcelot whilst I've a roof to cover me.' " The end did not come quite so soon as father predicted, but it carné quite sqon enough. Bills carne poiiring in as soon as the raptare between Oliver and Capt. ïhornton got wind, and I had to soften my husband's ' Hang it, let them wait,' as best I could, to importúnate duns - I who had never known what debtor and creditor meant beyond a ' bül of pareéis ' at school. Then credit was stopped, and Oliver swore over every sovcreign he gave to me. Sometimes, after a brief absence, he came back with rolls of notes, but he would disappear again, and ffaey would disappear too. And as bis ernbarrassments incroased he drank stip more heavily and liis temper grew sajwritable that no one knew how to deal with him. " In our little Launcelot, whose winning waya beguiled many a dreary hour, and in the books in our cosy library, I tried to slttbther the sensivof impending misfortune. " One servant had ah-parly gone. The oíd housekeejjer I myself dismissed, knowing my inability to pay her. And now I feit the value of Leah's sharp training, for I had to do the work of the house, cook, and nurse my baby into the bargain ; and woe betide me if broil or roast or ragout were not to my husband's liking. „Jk "He rode off ono morning with a valiso strapped before hiin, kissing I Launcelot and me before he went, and ! I dio not see him again for years. Bei fore the day was out sheriff's officers j were in the house, and but for kind j Mrs. Matthews, who interceded for me, neithcr baby nor myself would luwe luid so much as a change of raiment lef t. " She took me home with her, a poor, dazed, stunned creature, who had not reached her twenty-second birthday. Consoling Launcelot (who wept because his mother wept, as children will) with lump-sugar and jam, she hushed him to ! rest, and then dispatched a hurried mis five to my father. "A couple of days eiapseJ, during ! which my héart sank to its lowest ebb. ! Then he came. He had been Mmself ! awsy at an auotion and could not leave. " He did not upbraid me. He said l he had 'foreftoen what was coming,' and I know not whether he or I thanked Mrs. Matthews most heartily for her kihdness. " Back to my childhood's home I went with a very heavy heart, and not all my dcar father's heartiness could prevent me from feeling inyself and child intruders. " Soon.after.Jle sent me down to Mosford to my brother-in-law to learn confectionery, then stooked a shop and furnished a house for me in one of the oíd Bows of Chester, tp the great indignation of the others. " ' It's best yon try to get a living for Laimce and yourself, my girl,' said my good father ; ' and though I'd rather have vou near me, it's wisest to remove you beyond tho reaoh oí' envious eyes, and where tliat wastrel husband of yours ■will not think of looking for you.' _ " At-first I was very awkward in my new position. City and people were alikestrange; butjthatperhaps helped to set me at ease behind my counter. "Bright, hazel-eyed, five-year-old Launcelot was the star of my night. He was more like his graudfather Beech than his own father, of whom he had no remembrance ; a black paper profile found at my father's being my oniy likeness of absent Oliver. " Often and often as I stood behind my counter I wondered if ever chance wonld bring him in there among the stream of customers ; and yet I think I generally looked upon him as dead ; no word or sign having reached me of his existen ce. ''It was May - sunny, scented May- and Chester race-week. Matty and I were busy as bees from morning until night. Launce went to school. The second race day, a party of ladies and gentlemen carne into the shop, talking I and laughiiig a& they carne. One of them Was Öliver Marbury ! "I screamed and fainted. When I carne to myself he was gone. AÍter nightfall he came again and abused me for ' making a scene and compromising himwithhis friends.' But finding me ii) comfortable circnmstances he took up his abode with me, professed to have exhausted his means in trying to discover us, and was lavish of careases Doth to Launcelot and myself. " I had never ceased to love him, and I 1 hailed the prodigal's return. Yet, as of oíd, he came and went, and ere long j began to drain my resources. ' He took from my pocket and from my till the j money with which I skould have prei served my credit, and gambled it away. The climas carne when my little Mary was about four months oíd. . " My stock got low; I had no money to give him. Half drunk, he brought a broker on to the premises, sold to him stock, fixtures, and. furniture, regardless of my tears and entreaties; and, while the goods were being hurried away, put the proceeds in his pocket, and, carpetbag in hand, turned on his heel, coarsely telling me oíd David Beech would make a home for me and the squallers. The ! children were both crying. At this i Launcelot raised his little fist and struck at his unnaturil father. " Like a savage he turned upon the child, to strike at him. On the impulse of the moment I interposed, and the blow meant for Launcelot came down on i myself and the baby in my arms. I dropped, and little Mary never cried again. "They teil me I was frantic for months. At all events, I was spared the pain of giving evidence against my own husband. Matty and the broker's men i sufficed. " We had fallen against a piece of furi niture in the way, and there was a suggestion that the babe had been killed in the fall. The charge of murder had been I abandoned, but Oliver was found guilty ! of rnanslaughter, and condemned to seven years' transportation. "Mrs. Matthews, good soul! took i charge of Launce during myillness, and with Matty's help Leah nursed me at my fatlier's, grumbüng _'all the while at the trouble, the cost, and the disgrace. "Itried to shut my eyes on the future - to hope we might remain undis turbed, and to train my bpy to better things. Mean while my father died. He ! had secured a shop for me, and left me a small annuity, to be paid quarterly. " Eight years passed away. , lot, my pride and joy, was fifteen- a frank, good-natured, and kigli-spirited youth, whose mother was all in all to him. ' Snddenly tko avalanche came down upon us. A ñerce, dark, scowling róbate came in at our door, and claimed as my liusband a riglit to sliare my . means. My heart sank. This was not the man I iiad sworn to love and obey. . "Iwas powerless to resist, and he stayed. Goaded by tho thought that while he had been in captivity we had prospered, he tortured me in every way he could devise, and Launcelot becatne my coinpanion. Then ho made the boy his butt to wound me surest. "At last Launcelot, seeing only shame and diagrace bef ore him, conceiving that he was only a cause of outrage on me, as many a good son has doné before, ran oft' to sea, and I was"leít to cope with Oliver Marbury alone. " One night - sliall I ever forget it ? - a man clambered over the outhousing in at iny chaniber window. It was he, haggard, iootsore, bloody, He had woniïded a man and souglit concealment. He threatened to kill me if I spoke a word. . Whát nioney I had he took, ate - greedily gome bread and cheese, changed his clothes, tod theii fled as lio came. " Men were on the watch and ho was taken. His blood-stained clothes were fonnd in my room, where I sat white with terror. "I was told' that, in an affray with poachers on his preserves, Gapt. Thornton and a keep hád been killed, and I i was questioned until my very brain began to reel. " 1 thought I should he called upon to give evidence against him. I had loved him once. He was the father of my children. To' avoid snch a contingeucy I fled, whither 1 neither kuew nor cared. . -in " I had no money - never thought of it. I went álong lañes, through üelds, avoiding the high roada, excitement keepiug me up, though I had no food. The flrst night I took shelter in a bnrn, stealing oft like a culprit at daybreak. I must have'looked hungry, for a lad I swinging on a gate, with a great hunch ! of bread in his hand, broke it in two and j offered half to me. " That night I dropped on a stonc by the 'waysirle and feil asleep. I was roused by some one calling to rne. A gentleman in a gig offered me a seat if I was going his way. Thfe moon was full on his face and in my surprise I ojaculated : "'Mr. Smithson!' ' ' I know not whose miprise was the greatest. My father had dealt with him for years, and ho had dalledon AmoH Bradley only the day before. My ircmbles were not unHnowu to hita, X told hira all. He took me home to Redditch, to his wife; and there I remaine'd. " My husband's sentence now was for life. There -was no fear of his breaking in upon me, they said ; but, ah ! thought and memory did that. "Mr. Smithson would have had me change my narne, but I dared not deBti-oy the only clue by which Latinee might seek his mother. From time to time I heard of him through Mrs. Matthews. Once I went to meet him in Liverpool - only once. I expected him homo from California last Ohristmns. " Whsn I went home from this shop, Mrs. Chappell, last November, I bonght a newspapor to read over my tea. I rend that the Rosicrucian had foundered off Oape "Verde, and all hands gone down with her. It was my on's ship ! "Mrs. Chappell, my last hope went down in the Bosicrueian. It matters nothing now .who lyiows my story, or who does not. It is all as one to " Maby Mabbukï."


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