Press enter after choosing selection


Classified_ad image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

It was a sultry day in late July. The ocean breeze failed to diepel the fever of the air that waited impatientbr for the fnlfillment of the promise, thatïay broadly legible along the eastern horizon, of a coming thttnderstörm. Tho sultriness and impatience that pervaded the atmosphere, thirsting for the excitement of eléctrica), volleys and a díish of impetuous rain, also pervaded the mental atmosphere of a group of idle young men who lounged upon the sh'ady corner of a hotel piazza killing time until the dinner hour. " Celia Oarr was the belle last year," said iiled Grosvenor, " and we shall not 'look upon her like again.' " "Tho array of beauty at present isnot alarming," obsorved Sam Dent. " The Brewsters are nioe gil-ls ; Miss Fanning may be willed quite stylish, Miss Hayward decidedly so ; Jennie Hammond will he a capital creature, but she is rather ' bread-and-butterish ' yet ; her sister is a scheoled coquette. Adele Ferris is the belle so far." ' ' I never pay court to beauties, " said Armand Du Bois. " When a girl expects every runn who beholds her to be at her f eet, as a matter of course, I prefer to pique her, for some time, at least, with indifference. " " There have been several arrivals today," said Grosvenor, " Miss Monroe among the number. Look out for Miss Monroe, Du Bois. She isn't a beauty exactly, but - " " Let us make a belle," suggested Arthur Lindsley. "Let us take some moderate girl and idolize her, one and all of us. Ñot ridiculously, but just enough to turn her head and have all the other dear creatures dying of-jealousy." " What will you make her of ?" asked Sam. "Where's your material ? Produce your belle-metal, Lindsley." " She must be a novice," said Grosvelor. "And susceptible," said Sam. " But not too susceptible, or there'l be no fun in it," said Dick Wilhurst. " She must not be a beauty," said Di Bois. " Nor a stupid," said Lindsley. Wanted - a belle. So stood theii agreement, when all minor tintinnabula tions received an obligatory knell from " That tocsïn of the soul, the diimer-bell." Two days later a party arrived at the hotel, who were registered as "Mr. Wolf, Mrs. Wolf, and Miss Wolf, oí C ,"and on the eame aftercoon Lindsley announced, triumphantly, ■"I've foundthe girl. No, don 't ask me what she's like. Nothing startling, I promise you. Just a passabie sort of a rather like nobody. The raw material, that's all ; and that's what -we want. A mighty pretty little fooi she had, though, peeping from under her water-proof cloak. But plain, unmistakably plain and unpretending, I assure you. Jnst tho nondescript sort of thinpr we require for our made belle." A more inviting drawing-room no summer hotel could boast. Qiven the lights and the musio and what volatile creaturës could desire a better field for" the danoe ? Eaeily disencumberéd, too, and convertible for private tlieatricals, tableaux, and games, its entertainments were fameil. Au occasioüal clu.ll day could be endured in anticipatioa of the unfailing ' toewitohing qualities of its "faliing grace." In this inviting drawing-room Miss Irene Wolf made her debut, olinging. rather closely to the side of her mother' until the niusio struck up. The dance began. The young and. shy stranger found herself introduced to i number of agreeable young men. Every one seenied pleasod with her. Every {hing she said, overythiiig aho did, proved to be just the happy word of the moment or the happy act. "It has been such a deligLtful evening," she said to her mother, when, after midnight, she lingprëd to talk over the novel ovent. "I was a silly girl to dread the beginning so much. How kindevery one is !" Happily she was not mediumistic, to know the comments made upon her by ïïerge'ntle sisterhcod of the house. She carne in mention quite disparagingly in contrast to Miss Monroe, lifoiwiae a debutante of the evening - a young lady just returned from a tour in Europe, who had brought the "lovelieüt cos turnes " from Prngat's and Worth'y ; in one of -which, purple and pale blue, with rococo jewels and a won derf ui fringe, she had appeared that niglit. "Wasn'tit amiable," eaid Miss Fanning, " in Ned Grosvenor and other fellows of our set to take up that btnvildered little Backwoods? Poor thing ! I hope they will not drop her flat all at once." Drop her ? Thïs was_ the last thought likely to occiir to the kind young men ; they had no such intent. On the coutrary, they congratulated themselves u])on the f act that Irene Wolf was not only just the thing they wanted for their made belle, but a nice sort of a gL-1, and a good dancer thrown in. As time rolled on, sisterly solicitude for the ultímate fate of "Backwoods"beoame extinct. Propitious circumstensces elevated "the poor thing" to "that Miss Wolf." Favorito partner of the dance, abettor of games, receiver of the prettiestbonbonnieres and the loveliest iowers, tho iirst-thought-of-invitation for the rido, drive, and walk, the qucen of the picnic, and the belle of tho bftll. "I asked Sam Dent," said the beautiful Miss Ferris, "what was the charm of that Miss Wolf. He said it was simply the 'je nes air quoï whieh always attracts men, but tkat women invariably fail toperceive." "I always knew," pondered the devont beart of Mamma Wolf, who, with her beast-of-prey cognomen, reflected upon the vexed question of "what's in a name" the most lambent possible light - "I always ktew that orar Irefle had the dispositiou of an angel; but Í never realized before that my child was the raving beauty I find she is." As the scason advanced, the triumphs of the made belle lost none of their brilliancy. Her success began to reflect óredit upon hor makers, Every daj she seemed more lovely, every day more worthy of preferelice. ÍTor is there a cosmetic like praise ? Is there a tonic like siniles ? It is worth while to a woman to have a oredulous heart, if only for the beautifying effect of flattery upon her graee and complexion. Irene Wolf, in her midsummer experience, thought that watering-place life was an episode o.i' parfldi. " Ëüt the serpent always .crawjs int Eden. And in irene s parauise tne mtmaer laad, as in Raphael's picture, a woman's face. Miss Hammond thought it lier duty to confide to ML s Wolf a secret that had been intrusted by Dick Wilhurst as something which he considered "too good to keep. " Imagine the delicacy of the self-imposed act; for the secret was no other than the fact that tlie belle of the season was the creature of a joke, the envied idol of the slimmer literally nothing more than "a bloek of wood or stone" at whose eflcaöy the priests of lts worsiiip mooked. Miss Hammond perforniod hor selfmposed fluty without trepidation. If n the rivalry of the season she had alowed herself to feel bitterness, and if malice lay in her motive, she was not rewarded by the effect upon her victim of ïer astounding revelation. In listening o the , humiliatiag tale, given in strict confidence anc! without suppressioli of any stinging detail, Irene remained calm, ofering no iliterruption or exclamation. ïer heart, indeed beat violelitly, her color went and came. When the whole tory was ended, she pondered a minute, and said: 'rifT ( 1 "Do you believe this, Miss Hammond ? hardly can. I think these gentlemen - these friends of yours - are too wellred to have placed a girl, an unoffendïng stranger, in such an ignominious poition. No ! Do not trouble yourself about this story. I feel sure these men have better hearts." Butr oh, the storm that swept over that bared bit of palpitating mechanism, the woman's heart, in the darkness of the night. The pain, the tantalizing torment, the bewildering doubt. Could it be true? Let the. careful memory, the calm 'judgment, take up the f acts. Alas, the story was not without its corroborating proofs ! The first night of anguish that sweeps aci'OSB fcte pillowof ayoung girl robsit forever of all the white roses of which girls' pillows "are made. Thenceforth the softest is but ruffled linen in whicb tlie liead rest. In the morning Irene awoke - for at dawn she caught one miserable hali hour's sleep - awoke for the first morniug of her life upon a flat, stale, unprofitable world. . 3&O CL vV What pleasure waa there to a made belle in flxingh er blonde hair at the glass ? The first thought of the child had been this: "Oh, how I wish I could teil mother!" But she reasoned with herself, "No, it is better I should bear it myself. And father, dear father, howhe would resent this cruelty ! how much he loves bis poor little girl ! He must never, never, never know." The evening af ter Mis Hammond's dutiful act Irene was beautifid - really beautiful for the first and, perhaps, for the last tirne in her life. She came down into the drawin g-room arrayed in an excellent Paris dress; for her mother, whose maternal instinct liad been aroused to the perception that Irene's costumes were not the style of those worn by her oompanions, had purchased for her darling, at an irnmoderate cost, f rom one of those fashionable modistes who follow in the wake of the summer-faring gay world the very last importation of drápe'ried graoë. i i i'ria.i .1 i Irene came down into the drawingïoom attired líke a little princess ; bnt it was not that which made every oye discover she was a beauty at last. It was the hectic rose-leaf on her cheek, the searlot of her lips, the violet shadow about her ëyes; the ïnystical shadow upon young eyelids that grief has at last kissed ; it was the kindled excitement of conflicting pain and pride, the quick flame that made her gentle, fawn-colored eyes shihe steel and gold, gold and steel, brilliancy her modest, softly-tinted, pleasantly-featured, but never-beforestartling face. She was really beautiful, aud every one said so tliat ight. The belle, without possibility of mistake. But to those who knew her, aud were with her frequently, or watehed her closely from that time forth, there was something missed in Ireno that hitherto had part in hérself - the joyous confidence, the innocent abandon, the quiet butgenuine under-tone of real happiness, had fled. With all her pride, she was too engenuous to Goncealfrom those who cared for her that her perfect peace was lost. Our friendly young men held a conultation upon this point. " Mark me," said Sam Dent, "I know ometliing of girls, and that girl has filien in love. Mark me, has fallen in ove with one of us! I on ly hope, since 'm an eügaged man, that it's not me." Du Bois looked infinitely self-concious, bnt did not speak. "Don't trouble yoirrself, Sam," said )ick Wilhurst, with iusinuating selfissertion. " I happento know she hasn't jeen sucha fooi as that." " We've played too deep," said Grosvenor. " Upon my word it hasn't been right. We've had our fun, but, by Jove, it has been hard upon the girl." " Well," said graceless Diok, "it isu'l a wrong that eau be made rigLt. If ita me she is in lwo with - and - but - wel! - n 'importe. If it's me, I don't care if I do become a victim. 'ïis a cool tliree hundred thousand. It might be worse." " Wilhurst," exclaimed Lindsley, vith flashing eyes, "toke caro. Miss Wolf is too trae and good a girl to bo lightly spoken of, in my presence at least, k girl that any man n;aybe proud to make bis wife." "Hear! hear!" cried Dick. "Excuse me, friends. I meant to praise, net to seoffi What greater compliment can be paid to a made belle than to ring the change out of her - ring the changes, I mean. Lindsley, my dear fellow, I pass. Take her, and a thousand blessings go with yon, my boy!" "Lindsley Í3 right," said Sam Dent. " The girl has metal in her," "Who ever lieard of a belle that hadn't metal in her?" asked Diek. "Nonsense! but I teil yon there's a genuine ring to lier." "Of eourse." "And a smart tongue, asi can testify, when she's put to it,'' said Grosvehor. " I like a womah wlio canholdherown." "Her own tongüe? So do I," said Diek. " Oh, l'm sincere. Irene Wolf is all right. Hurrah for our made belle! She's a trump. Lindsley, you're a suceess. Well, good-night, boys ; I'm off. By-by, Lindsley. Bing the belle - dingdong ?" The fetninine portion of the house had not been so sensitively aware of the change in Irene. The truth is, they were too thoroughly engrossed in a wonderful event to condescend to trilles. The event was no other than the unexpected arrival at this delightful sea-side hotel of an English lord, a bachelor, crossed in love abroad, it was rumored, and come to tüleriíjá eipressiy to marry. A live lord ! One and all of the feminine portion of the house fixed heart and soul upon him at once. There was no turning back from the plow ; there was no dallying with time to be "well off with the old loves," or loss of liaste in going flrst to bury one's dead. The affair demanded, or commanded rather, a religious zeal and dispatch. ' ' Up and strike "was the motto of evurv Bonian atnbition whose bewitching ftrchery suddenly flsted upon this shining büll's-eyes íf the thought of "Mrs."hadto any one been sweet, the thought of "My Lady," "My Lady Lindehurst," wasineomparably a treat. It was, of course, necessary to be prestntedto " My Lord " first. And Lord Lindehurst, who had been thrown by accident of foreign travel into intímate relations with Grosvenor and Du Bois, came speciallyi introdüced Se was legitimately a prizé of the set. Not uutil a fortnight had elapsed did it become faintly fumofed that Lord Lindehurst, whose attentions had iso far been generously general, had "taken partioularly " to Irene Wolf. A torrent of indignation swept through the House. Miss Hammond feit her plane of duty so broadened that she actually contemplated confiding Dick Wilhurst's secret, "too good to keep," to the young Énglishman - to illuminate his note-book as a characteiistic episode of Amerioan marmers and life. She as delayed sotnewhat in her benevolent intent, for the reason that the live lord was not easily approached. As for Irene, when she feit that the illustrious stranger was unfeiguedly attracted by herself, she experienced some womanly tumults of satisfaction. He, at least, was sincere. This lover, at least, was unaffected in his marked preference by any latent relish for a joke. "He did not make me," she very naturally, and with some grateful sense of restored dignity, said. The yomig nobleman, au unassuming youth, who seemed hardly to appreciate the furore he had created, was rather an exception to his countrymen in his personal history. But of that history it is only necessary to say that the rumor of his having been crossed ia love -was not correct. He had been crossed in marriage, not in love. His own temper - far from a base sort - had made the cross by decidedly ref using a match proposed for him upon worldly principies alone. Personally, Lord Lindehurst was a man who, without a title, would not have been popularly remarked. He was a traveled, but uot a "society," man ; observantly, not experimentaïly, educated; nor was he particularly intellectual. But he possessed an agreeable presence, reflned manners, an ampie fortune, and an excellent heart. He had a presen timent that he should find his wife in the New World, and his presentiment was fulfilled. He feil in love at first sight with Irene The night of his arrival was the night of Irene's beauty. In whatever degree she faded from her perfect brilliancy after that, his kindled iinagination supplied the defect. He saw her first in the apotheosis wrought in her by the one cruel moment of her life. He never altered from his faith in hef bright supremacy from that time forth. For a fortnight he studied her unobserved and ':afar off;" then he asked to be presented, and from that time he de voted himself to her with an incroasing devotion. „ Ur At the close of the season their engagement was announced. ïhe refined prcjudices of the young lord were not disturbad even by a prolonged visit in the Western home of Papa and Mamma Wolf. He found there what he esteemed most, the aristocracy of a heart, It was a long wedding journey that Irene took, and for many months and even years she had no visible part iu her flrst-loved Western life. liut her image was idolized in that home. " My little gir! " was the theme of incesaant delight; and dearly as her affection clung to those who had fllled completely her childish faith and trust, she never repented her choice. She lovod her husband as truly as he loved her. " I was made for him," sho said, both flrst and last.


Old News
Michigan Argus