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"belle's Beau."

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A wide, roorny, picturesque oíd house, frach as one sees nowhere but in country toms, set back frota the village street among spaoious grounds that stretched to a river - a house that would have delighted an artist, with the broad drive before it shaded by yellowing elms, its piazsas overhung w'ith Virginia creeper and scarlet woodbine, and with the gay glimpses of a garden op. the right. Th'e haze and ooter of a Superb September aiternoon were over everytbing. ïwo girls, evidentïy just from school, stood at the gate, one within, the otfaor i ing on the fence to gcwsip. " What is she going to wear?" the latter was asking, with deep interest. " White silk and pink trimmings. " " Won't she look lovely ! What shall you wear yourself ?" " I ? Belle says I shan't come in the room at all. She says I'm only a child. I always have t) stay off iu the nursery with David evenings when there's company. I did think I might come in to her birthday party, though ;" and the speaker's lip quivereJ, and tears stood m her eyes, "And she won't let yon! What a shame ! Why, you're 16 years old, ! thongh you don't look it. If Iwas you, Fd- Oh! see, Clirieiyi-' she finished in a hurried whisper, as a horseman galloped out of the Bunlit vistas of j the road, and passed them, " there's Charhon Ros3, yonr sister's beau !" Ohristy looked up in time to cath the momentary glance of a pair of dark eyes. "Why don't you bow?" She did not answor for a moment. She was watching the gray horee, and noting the careless grace of the rider as he wheeled and dashed through the fitone gateway of the Boss mansión. " Don't you know him ?' "Only just by sight. When he comes to our house I never see him. But sometimes I see him in km grounds. They join ours, you know.'' Her eompanion's eyes followed here to where, at a little distance, a cluster of gray-stone chimneys rose high under ancient elms. " Is your sister going to marry him ?" " I don't know. I don't suppose he's ever asked her. Why?" " Oh ! I should think she would if he did, that's all. He's ever so handsome - and rich, I lieard Honoria say. " " I must go, Kate ; there's Belle calling me now," and with a hurried goodby Christy ran up tho walk, rushed into the hall, and tossed hor books 'on the fcable. A voice from the top of the stair8, rather incisive than sweet, stayed tier progresa. "Bring those books straight up to the nursery. And attehd to me, Ohiistv. You're to show the ladies their dreesingroom to-night. Maria '11 be busy in the kitchen, una there 'il be no one but you to do it. You can just stand here at the Í head of the stairs, and show them which i way to go, you know. Your white muslin dress wül do to wear, and mamma says it's all ready ; and afterward' " O Belle ! mayn't I come down stairs and see the dancing Rfterward V' ■ ; The pretty blonde at the hearl of the stairs tossed tack her half-braided hair with a gesture of vexation. " You are the greatent baby." "But it's your party, Belle, right in the house, and I do so love dancing, if it's only to look on. And I'm 16 years old; and Kate Olapham " "Oh! don't quote Kate Olapham, and don't bother me. Wait till it's time for you to go to parties. " " Why, Belle," said a voice from one of the chambers, good-humoredly, "do let the child come dDwn. She won't be in the way, and her dress looks very well. Maria can curl her hair. " "Asif she could help being in the way," muttered Belle, turning away with a shrug of the shoulders as she noted Ohristy's radiant face. I " School-girls are always awkward and stupid in company." "O Belle! " " Come, come," said the good-natured voice again, as a portly matron appeared at one of the doors, " don't stay there talking. Come back, Belle, and let rae finish your hair." " Am I to come down V' queried Christy, breathlessly. There was a hearty " Yes " from her niother, and a sulky one from Belle. Christy waited for no more. Dropping her books on the tstair landing, she ran down and out the rear door into the suushine, tossiug up her flat hat exult" O my ! I almost feel as if I was a young lady." Bhe did not look mueh like one as she raced down to the river, intent on rowing off a little of her excitement. She looked very young indeed, with her slight figure, short dress, and careless curls tied i.own under the flat hat, as she loosed her boat and puahed out into the 8tream. And sha feit just like a cbild as she rowed off in the perfect air and ennshine of the autumn day. The ripeness and mist of September were on the rusBet fields and painted woods. Warm soentfl came from hedge-blooms and gnrdecs along the banks, and here and there the dark water caught a ecarot refltction frora a vivid cardinalI íovnott reddened boupth. Ghriety, ruwicg laailv down with the ourrents, rouudefi a suady bend in the stream,ancí carne npon a little cove, where an adventnrous wild grape bad climbed over low trees and hung its rare,purplirig clusters from pendant bongbs. Now, Christy had an especial liking for wild grapes. She no eooner saw them than, with a deft moveínent of the oars, the boat was pushed into the cove, and the rowor, standing on one of liie teetering seats, ■was trring in vain to reach the lowc st tempting cluster. It was out of reach. In vain she jnroped for it, at the imminent risk of drowning herself ; in vain, orgetting her aspirations after young lndyhood, she wished hereelf a boy, that she might climb the willow from which it nnng. She difl not know what a pretty picture she mado as she stood there in the rich, purple shadows, the richer purpJe fruit above her, the gold of stray fiun raya filtering down thrcugh the million leaves above. Her dark, cUrliDg hair was pushed back, her cheeks were flushed, and the sleeves had fallen away from her upraised, roünded arms as she stood on tiptoes below the provoking clUBter. A voice startled her, and brought her eyes back to the shining level of the river. " Will you allow me to get you the grapes?" lf Christy had been a youug lady she would not have türned scarlet and uttered an eXclamation of surprise. Being a Echool-girl, she did both ; for there, beside the boat, was a slender searlet wherry, the oars lying lengthwise, and the occupant standfig within it, cap in hand. Christy did not need to glance twice at the close-cut jetty hair, the bearded lips, the face olivetinted by the sun, fot sttrely the dark eyes looking down at her could belong to no other than the hero of her girlish dreams-Belle's beau. Nor could the " iated fairy prince," who comes sooner or later into the life of most girls have come in more attractive guise than in tb e person of the young aristocrat who stood awaiting Christy 's reply, and regarding her with mingled amusement and admiration. "Excuse me for start ling you. I am certain you cannot get the grapes, and, being a kead and snonlders i aller ihmi you, I am equally certain that I can," he said, with a smile. " Oh ! thank yon 1 I - I do want them. I like grapes." " Most people do," was the laugbing response, as he reacked high over Christy's head and plucked two or three bunches. He öropped these in her lap, and retlched for more, while she sat in schoolgirl fashion, holding the gatherings and stealthily watching the gatherer from undter her wide hat-brim. When he at last looked down at her, haVing filled the bottora of the boat with grapes, to ask if those werc epough, she was betray ed into a laugh. ' ' ' Óh ! a great many more than enough forme, But you like grapes yourself, dOn't you ?" "Indeed I do. But pray don't do that!" for Christy was eagerly piling fruit-clusters into the wherry. "There isn't room for them and for me too. If you will let me," he added, with a glance at Chnsty's still-flusbing face, "I will eat one buneh here in the shadowbefore rcvring down the river.'' There followed a time - Christy nerer knew how long - of positive enchnntment. How it was that she forgot her awe of the elegant Mr. Ross, and began to talk to her companión of her doings and feelings, as she did, will ever remain a myste'-y. And how thoroughlyckarming he was ! How he listened and laughed at her school girl relations ; and how handsome bis dark Spanish face looked under the scarlet boating-cap! Anu how enthu6iastically he talked of a hundred things seen in travel ; while Cnristy listened as enthusiastically, with widö eyes and lips, and fingt-rs stained with the purple juice of the grapt s ! Mr. Ross must haye forgotten about rowing down the river. The sün was very low and the shadows were growicg chüly, wïen at last he said apologetically, rnising himself from kis lotinging position in the wherry, "I beg your panton for talking to you so long, and without an introduetion, too ; but I believe we know each other. You have twict) Called me by my name, so I know you know me ; and I know you are my neighbor, the youngest Miss Evarts. " "Christabel Evarts," she said, simply. "You must let me row, or rather tow, you home, to pay for my impoliteness. There is only room for one in the wherry, unfortunately ; but if you will let me fasten this obtain to the bow of your boat, it will save you rowing up stream." The light of the sunset was on the river, and they seemed to be going straight into the crimaon glory. Christy was too much astonished at her poRition to say much ; but Mr. Ross was very merry - " just like any boy," as Christy soliloquized. The latter was still in a state of wonder as she stood again on terra-firma, and watched her cavalier fasten the boat and remove the oars. "Ialwaysdo that myself," she said, taking perforce the last clusters of wild grapes which were imperatively thrust upon her. There was a bow and smile, and the scarlet wherry shot ont into the stream again. Christy turned and went ! slowly up to the house, a flaming buneh of cardinals in one hand and the remnants of the grapes in the other. "Where have yon been, Miss Christy?" was the cook's rather cross greeting. "Supper's over an hour since. You'll have to teke pickings in the pantry." Supper was the last thing Christy thought of. The remembrarjce of the party came back to her, and, after a hurried peep at the decorated parlors, she ran up stairs ard began to dress. She was very happy as she industriously scrubbed the stains off her hands. Could it be possible that Mr. Ross- that Mr. Ross whom she had admired afar off as she might have done a young god - had talked to her an hour and rowed her home ? And he was coraing to the party to-night (Cbristy shrewdly guessed that the party was given for him), and perhaps he would speak to her agair. Maria curled her hair, and pulled it cruelly, but Christy was very serene. Her white muslin dress and tiny slippers were quickly donned, a few flowers pinned at tliroat and belt, and she was ready. l'he parlors were already lighted, and the f uil moon shone on the piazzas and dewy gardens. There was a Bubdued bustle in the kifccnen, and Belle, a radiant visión of beauty, had already swept down stairs. It seemed as if every one had come. Tho first etrains of music had already sounded, the dance was beginning, and no Mr. Ross yet. Ohristy was much in demand. So tired was she of fastening sashes; and trains, and bows, of running for pins and powder, that, when at last the dressingroom was empty, she tbankfully deaeended the staire, and, timidly cveepjrig in at the rear door of the parlor, immediately shielded herself behiná a lace cuitain. Tliey were waltzing. What would poor Christy have given to have been "agrownap younglady!" Her little slippered feet beat the carpet as she enviously watched one gay couple after another whirl past her. And Christy caught her breath suddenly when an opening in the crowd showed her Mr. Rosa waltzing with Belle. There he wap, transformed againtohis aristocratie self, danciDg with the haughty, indolent grace that Christy knew so wel!, as handsome and courteoüs as a prince. The little obseirver's cheeks burned while she thought of her afternoon's experünce, and how she had reckoned him " just like a boy." And Belle, whirliug in graceful circles, with his arm around her. how beauiiful she looked ! Kobody noticed Christy. Two or three dances passed. People chattered and laüghed about her, promenaded and whirled past her. Sitting still was becomícg a torture, and she was casting longing glanees kt the stairway, when the strains of her favorito waltz floated through the rooms. In sheer despair of enduring it, Christy sprang to her feet, about to seek refuge stairs, when some one put the cuttain aside. Turning, astonished, she beheld Mr. Ross bending before her and offering his arm. "I have been trying to find you. Will you do ine the honor of waltzing with me ?" Waltz with him ! Between fright and delight, Christy stood undecided, türning red and white alternately. Then, forgetting everything but the music and the dangerously-beautiful dsrk eyes looking into her own, she put her hand on his arm, and in a moment they were circling down the room. Christy's cheeks burued like nre. Whenever she dared raise her eyes from her partner's broadcloth sleeve, she became aware that she was the focus of all eyes. For a I while she was dreadfully eonseious of this. Then she forgot everything but motion and mnsic, and the handsome head bent so near her own. When at last they paused, and Mr. Ross led ber out to the moonlit piazza, the fright came back again, and she nervously withdrew her hand from his arm, and flushed scarlet when he asked her for the next dance. "Do you care for quadrilles?" Poor Christy looked wistfully toward ! the parlor, and pulled a blossom to pieces. " Oh ! I do like to dance - before anything - I'ni very much obliged to yoü, but I cah't dance again." The yonng autocrat in society, whose invitation to a dance had never before been refused by aDy lady, looked at Christy in surprise. " You oughtn't to dance with me; I'm j not grown up," said Christy, checking j a sob. "They '11 all want you to dance withthem." Mr. Ross would have laughed if his politeness would have allowed. He only said, leaning closer to Christy in the moonlight, and speaking low : "But I want to dancfe with you." j And Christy, of course, yielded. What I a happy evening that was that follOwed! If pöople looked ámazed at Mr. Ross dancing with a girl, it was no matter. He wanted to dance with her, and the thought made lier eyes shine and her chee'ss glow, as she moved through the quadrille with the prettiest I grace in the world. A wallz followed, then a polka, then another quadrille, and still she monopolized the lion of the evening, apparently to the lion's satisfaction. "And now," he said, as they returned to the piazza, kcitting his brows over his dance-card, "now I must go and dance with Miss Honoria Clapham. But I shall ome back to yoü. You will give ma the rest of the dances after supper, won't you!" "Ohj haven't you any names on your card ?" "Not one. But perhaps you would like to dance with some ohe else?" "Oh, no! nobody wants to dance with me." " Then you will wait for me here till after this dance?" he said, hurriedly, as the music sounded. Christy feit as if she were in a dream, as she sat alone, the moonlight lalliDg around her, the music drifting out to her, waiting for Mr. Ross to come back. She had a rude awkening therefrom. A hand grasped her shouldor bo harshly that she almost cried out, and Belle's foice said, in a flerce whisper ; "Go straight Up stairs to bed, miss. Do you hear me ? Go this instnnt! " and each pause was emphasized with a shake. " O, Belle I- " " Hush ! not a word aloud. You've been making yourself ridiculous, and mamma and I are ashamed of you. Go straight round the piazza and up stairs." Christy never thought of disobeying. Her rose-colored visions all floated away, and she went slowly around the house, and up the back way to her room. There she sat down in the moonlight, with wide eyes and burning cheeks. Oh! what had she done ? And flnally all her wondering resolved itself in a bitter burst of crying. When Belle carue up stairs, after the last guest had gone, and looked in her sister's room, Christy was lying across the foot of the bed, asleep, her pretty dress all crumpled and hor cheeks stained with tears. So her ndigration did not break upon Christy's heaü till morning at the breakfaat-table, when her piqued pride sought revenge. Poor Christy ! before the meal was through she saw a forward, pert, bold chit, at whom Mr. Roes had laughed in his sleeve, and of whose simplicity he had made capital. " If you oould have seen yourself whirling around with that silly smile, and he paying mockdevotion !" "Did he say anything about me, Belle Í" "Bah! whyshouldhe? We had better things to talk about," said her sis ter, with a little conseious toss of the head. Why need I teil of the days that followed ? Surely every girl will understand the change that came aver Christy's school girl life. Why say that her cheeks grew pale, that sne had frequent fits of crying, and that the very mention of Mr. Ross' name brought a guilty flush to her cheeks? She would not have met him for the world, and it would hay e been hard to calcúlate how many times sho avoided him on the street ; yet evening after evening she waited and hoped he would come. The evening af tei " the party he had come. She heard him ask lor her in the hall, and heard Belle say, with a laugh, that ' ' these school-girls ilways were deep in study evenings." Then, crouched in the dark, after David had been put to bed, sho listeued to his rare tenor voice as he sang song after song, hia notes blending with Belle's, his laugh mingliug with hers. What a fooi ehe had been ! she thought, afl she closed the French grammar, whose leaves were wet with tears, and crept to bed. He was Belle's beau, that was all. But after that evening he did not come, whioh was strange for Belle's beau. Nay, more ; his lady mother mentioned, in the course of a cali, that they would return to New York in the middle of Ootober. " We have staid in the couutry much longer thar usual this year," she continued, "and I wish I could persuade Charlton to go to the city at once. " "He wants to ftay on Belle's account," mused Christy; " but I wonder he does not come and see her." One thing was certain j Belle was unusually cross, 80 cross that Christy was fain to do her studies out of doors or locked in her own room. A little summer-house eovered with vines was her favorite retreat, and thithor she repaired every afternoon upoü retürning from school. She had no more river exDeditions, for, poor child, she was afraid of meeting the proprietor of the scarlet sherry. Bnt perhaps the secret of hor liking the summerhouse was because she could see the aforesaid wherry pass and repass, and wateh the rower from behind the sheltering vines. Two weeks passed. Then a crisis came. One Indian-summer afternoon, tvhen Belle and her mother were out calling, Christy was having a romp with the dog on the side piazza. In the midst of this romp she was horrifled to perceive Mr. Ross entering the street-gate. Her flrst impulse was to run away ; but, knowing that he had seen her, there was nothing for it but to meet him with flaming cheeks and diaordered attire. The dark eyes that had hauhted her waking and sleeping dreams so long were lit by a merry smile. " Why, Miss Chrisfy, if I hadnotjust shaken hands with yon I should have supposed you a myth," he said,withone of his biight laughs. " What are you going to say to me in excuse for running away a fortnight ago, and keeping away ever since. Do you know you robbed me of flve waltzes?" ' ' I - I - Belle - tha t is, mam ma - I mean I couldn't stay. And you danced the waltz, you know." "Indeed I didn't. I searched for you. Not finding you, I sat still the rest of the evening. Then the next night I came over to let you apologize, and you wouldn't come down to see me. I tried to see you on the Street, and you always vanished. Now, what have I done 1" asked the pet of society, looking sincerely puzzled. "Oh! did you really not dance?" asked the delighted Christy. " Really, no. Why do you ask ?" " Oh ! I- I thought- they said- " " Who said?" the young man asked, surprised at the shimmer of tears in Christy's eyes. "Nobody." Mr. Ross, not knowing what to say after this climax, sat silent. Christy desperate! attempted to cxplain herself. " Why, I thought - people thought - you were just dancing with me for fun, and laughed at me because I didn't know how to act and " Here Christy broke down and burst ini o tears. For a moment Mr. Ross looked confounded; then exclaimed : "Thought I was laughing at you! Why ?" "I know I'm not grown-up, and oughtn't to have gone to a grown-up party. I had never been at ene bef ore," sobbed Christy, pitifully. " Why, my poor little girl, I never thought of laughing at you. You dance like a fairy. Who could have told you such a thing V' he exciaimed, distressed. No answer. All the sorrowa of the past weeks seemed to be crowdei into the moment, and Ohristy cried as if her heart would break. " ril never go to a dance ágain till I am a young woman. " Probably, if she had been a young lady, Mr. Ross would not have acted jast as he did. In a moment he had taken her hand, drawn her down on the settee bv his side, and was vainly conjuring her cot to cry. " It is too hard of you," he pleaded. I have staid two weeks for no reason the world but to see my little rivergypsy again, and now she won't look at me." She did look at him with wisle eyes ef wondt t. " Staid to see me! Oh ! you don't mean so !" " Why do you say that?" " You're laughing at me again, as if I didn't know " " Well?" was the patiënt query. Poor Christy was crimson to the wavee of hair on her forehead, but she finished bravely from behind her screen of curls : "As if I didn't know I.hat you are Belle's beau." There was a pause. If Christy had dared to look up at the young man's face, she would have seen first bewilderment, then amusement, then another expression harder to define, as he said, lather mischievously : "Yes, Belle's beau- Christabel's beau !" Christy uttered a little cry, and hid her face. Mr. Ross began to think he should never see the face again, it was so persistently concealed. "Won't you look at me? Christy, won't you teil me if I offended you V' Silence, till he was fain to ask again : " Won't yon teil me whether you care for me?" " Oh !" was the almost inaudible answer, " you know I do." " I don't know how I know. I can't see any thing but your curls, and I want to see your eyes. Christy, your mother is coming in at tho front gate." The last sentenee was effectual. Christy sprang to her feet with the idea of escaping, but found herself detiined. " She is not here yet. Stop just one moment, and teil me if I may ask your mother if she will let you marry me some day. Christy, may I ?" And Christy, blushing like a rose, answered low : " Yes - Roino day - when I am a young lady !"-


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