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My Own Same

My Own Same image
Parent Issue
Day
21
Month
September
Year
1877
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

i'j ,Robert Edward Rommelaine jpushed back his morocco-lined arm-chair irom his comfortable breakfast-table and opened the morning newspaper. He read the editorials, sludied carelully a column of commercial quotationg scanned the " Cleared " and " Amved " of the Marine Intelligente, and, turning back the sheet, proceeded leisurely to investígate the miscellaneous items. Suddenly his eye became flxed with an expression of abtonishment; the color flashed to his cheeks. He read quickly witn an absorbed air, the paragraph whose flrst sentence had aroused him. lhe expression of astonishment gave place to one of keen pain. He re-read the paragraph tíoúj, and, sighing deep-" iy, tolded the paper across his knees. " My own name !" he said. The ejaculation was made aloud but n ear recorded it. Simon, the antiquated butler, had brushed awaythe crumbs, and had placed upon a dainty porcelain tray before Mr. Kommelaine the bright red apple that invariably concluded his morning repast; then disappeared. And there was no guest at the table. Por two months, indeed, and more the sociable long oval liad been drawn to round and laid for solitude. This contraction marked the absence of Mrs. Kommelaine, Mrs. Rommelaine's ei, mr. .noinmeiame s mother, the five Misses Rominelaine, and Kobert Edward Eommelaine, Junior, the pride of the houseliold heart. " My own name !" Mr. Bommelaine repeated, reading for the third time the paragraph that had caused him to feel astonishment and pain. When, after due interval, Simon retumed to the dining-room, he found the red apple untouched. He lifted it scrutinizmgly, rubbed it on his coat-eleeve to be sure if it could have been susceptible of one glimmer more of polish, and then put it ruefully into his own pocket. "What 'as 'appened to marster?'' was the mental reflection of this philosophi cal personage. In the meantime Mr. Kommelaine, without any of the leisurely preliminaries that usually marked his departure, had left his house, and was hastening "downtown" by an unfamiliar route, toward a quarter of the city quite removed from business streets, and filled witk dingy habitations. He studied the small signs visible at the street corners, and presently, alighting from the avenue car, turned into the dingiest of these dismal byways. Walking slowly, and observant of every house that he passed, he reached at last a small, old-fashioned domicile standinsr in a courtvard. npmipd in between too towering tenementhouses of the modern type. There he pansed. "And hereit'is." His face actually flushed with chagrín as this conclusión ■was made; flushed again when, having passed through the rickety gate, up the dingy little couxt, he asked of a ragged loiterer in the open doorway, "IslVTrs. Bobert Edward Bommelaine within ?" "Second floor front," answered the lounger, removing the pipe from his mouth, and nonchalantly puffing a whiff of rank tobáceo into the inquirer's face. " Walk right up. There's been plenty enough to see her since the night of the - " Mr. Eommelaine had walkcd right up. From the head of the stairs a narrow passage ledto the door of second floor front. Closed as this door was, it could not conceal the presence of misery within. There came the sound of a woman's moan and heavy sighs, and a child's voice: " Don't cry so, dear mamma ! oh, don't cry so, dear mamma !" But when Mr. Bommelaine knocked all became still. He waited, and knocked again. No sound. Five minutes of silence passed, and then he turned the door-knob deliberately, and, finding the door unlocked, entered the room. A woman knelt beside a bed, with her face hidden in her hands. A little girl, standing by her side and clinging to her, turned with alarm toward Mr. Bommelaine. The place they occupied was poverty-stricken in the extreme. "You must not hurt my mamma," said the child. She added, as she saw fully in his face, "You will not hurt dear mamma; she is ill." The woman, whose moans had snddenly ceased, did not stir, and Mr Bommelaine, approaching her, Wk the little girl's trusting hand. "I havo come to help her," he said. " I have come to make her well. Bousê yourself, Mrs. Bommelaine." He did not for one moment hesitate to decide the identity of the object of his search. But, when the young woman with difficulty aróse and staggered to a chair, and gazed helplessly with haggnrd eyes upon her guest, he liad but one thought, and that thought audibly crossed his lips in the same tone of wonder and pain as in liissolitudé that morniag - "My own name." The woin looked at Jiim Vitii a i weary apathy; her lipe mechanicailj framed a questiq'jj " Wliftt tlö Voh know of iW" SheMfiëa. " I know everything of it," Mr. RommelaiBe answered. "Iknow that he is charged witli tlie gravest crime that .man can cornmit agninst man; 1 know tliat be has been toril aivay from yoti and cast mto prison. Ëut I know that he is innocent.' Ho pausöd n iüoffleht; tiie nameihftill crossed his mind- Eobert Edward Kommelaine. "Yes," he contmued, very earnestly, "he is innocent It is imposBible Umi it isíiould be otherW1Ë? His mnocence must be proved." Half an hour later a carriage ordered to the door received three occupanta. lo the City Frisos," was the direction given to the driver, and thither Üiey drove in silence toward the wretched owner of a valued name, who all that day, as all the nightbëf ore, paced hís narrow cel! in the misery of imprisonment, goaded by every passionate grief that raii overtake a man wheia purstiit is inrvihible anti flight impossible. It Was one of those days that sometimes occur in late January, when, with snow still lying on the ground, the air seems fnll of spring. The büsy streets of the great city, in the eudden thaw that iollowed unpi-ecedented "good sleighing," were almost impassable. Foot passengere were ankle-deep in the flood, and their clothes vrere bespattered by the horses that slipped and stumbled through the mire, Overhead the wcather -n-as glorious; ünderfoot nothing cotild be.more inglotious than the effect of the unseasonabïe warmth. The contrasts that the day ttssumed -were mental aB Veil as physical. It was the sort of day that makes labor irksome, that tempts vagrancy, and repudiates Frank TllUïston, a studious young lawyer, becarue unaccountably restless abeut noon tlwit day. Se left bis compaüiobe bendiDg over tlieir desks, and, opening tiie window of an outer office, one of two or tliree used especially for consultation, lie drew a chair to the win.low and gazed out. The opening was only upon a court, but a break in lieigat between opposite buildings gave a ge.ierous space of sky. Across this sky, tenderly blue as April's own, floated a fow light clouds. Frank Thurston's eye followed them; they were in accord witli the gentle balm of the spring air that midwinter surreptitiously breathed. He feil into one of those moorls tíiak the most active and content-to-work souls must sometí mes f all into - the mood of dreamy disoontent. Twentysix years of life already passed, and wbat liad come of it? Fortune? No. Happiness? No. Á moderate success? Yes. Much to be thankful for in health, friends, and a congenial field of work ? Yes. But, after all, on such a day as this there comes an ennui, a sense of incompleteness, a vague longing for experience, for possession, for lií'e, so exquisite and go intense that the achievements of youth seem paltry in comparison, and its finest pleasures awaken disgust. A morbid mood ; Frank Thurston knew it, but he yielded to the spell, nevertheless. A f aint knock on the door aroused him. " Come in," he shouted, in no particularly attuned voice. A lady entored - a young lady richly costumed; velvet, dark fur, si'lk, diamonds perhaps; such was the soft, dark tinted, yet brilliant effect. A beautiful girl with a face like April ; that is, if April has laughing blueeyes, and "baby roses on the cheeks, a pearly brow and a tangle ot gold-brown hair; and a way with her at once delicate and insinuating, spirited yet shy, altogether fresh and new and yet familiar as an old, old song. Frank Thurston did not wait to make tilia coniparative analysis. He applied himself instantly to courtesy and reapectful attection, and the young lady told her errancl. "Isthis Mr. Thurston? My father, Mr. Rornmelaine, is at home to-day; he has taken a severe cold, and the doctor says he must not go out of the house for il week. He has sent me in his place to give you a little note; he would not trust it to messenger or telegraph. It is very important. You are to read it, please, and send a verbal answer.'' She gave him a letter inclosing another letter. He read them carefully. She watched him while he read. " Do you know the particulars of this case, Miss Kommelaine?" he asked. "Yes; I am the only one at home that enters completely into my father's feelings concerning it. I have heard from him all its perplexities. I was with him ■vvlien the news carne oí the verdict of ' guilty. ' He lias told me tliat 'twas by your ingenuity and exertion that the new trial has been ordered, and delay gained. I know, too, the contents of the letter that you have now read. Do you think it encourages any reliable hope ?" "I do think so," Mr. Thurston aaswered. " I am so glad, so very glad. I am now on my way to see Mrs. Bommel - aine; and my father said that, with your permission, I might teil her that a gleam of favorable evidence has at last reached us." Mr. Thurston objected to this as premature, but promised a speedy investigation of the new source of information opened by a letter sent in answer to foreign advertisements made by Mr. Eommelaine, who had been indefatigable in seeking the assurance of an innocence in which, with stubborn unreasonableness, and in contradiction to much circumstantial evidence, he kept faith. "Are you walking this morning, Miss Eommelaine ?" asked Mr. Thurston, as his visitor was about to depart. " Yes, I am prepared for a walk; but I hardly realized when I started how wet the streets would be down town. " Mr. Thurston, with a strange flutter of anxiety lest he should be refused, begged to be allowed to accompany Mise Eommelaine on her way, so far, at least, as the crossing of thoroughfares made that way dinicult. She accepted readily. And so it happened that Frank Thurfiton, on that spring-like day of January, suddenjy thrown into a protective relation toward i very lovely girl, found himself presently in something of the condition of Marius when "the water went through his boots, and the stars went through his soul." Conversation was simple enough. It related exclusively to the case in which Mr. Thurston's senior partner had been engaged as counsel, and in preparing whose evidence he had himself taken most active part. " The wife is so young and so amiable," said Miss Eommelaine. "She was a governess brought from England by a family in B . And there she feil in love with her husband. They are both orphans, and they were both poor, I think, from the first, but not ; so poor as after his long illness they became. I suppoee th&tujoverty was i ngainst bii in the oapa tus pfcoving ío. tive for the deed; was it not Mr Thnrston ?" "It had its weight, no doubt," the lawyer answered. And here they reached a crossing, where, in the ibi-üng anti üpoh ühsaie pavenient, ciertaih littife attehtions beoame imperative ; at one juncture Mr. Thut-ston eVeii seiSSetl thë hand of his beautiful compahion, and lid sb quite consciously. It was, indeed, a little gloved " angel" of a hand, not oft entertaihed by ñlen-folts "unaware.'1 On they went, still talking over the oase. " Tis really wonderful," Miss Bommelaine said, " how the poor raan's oiVh theory is sufatained by the letter that father received this morning. That corroboration, I imagine, causes you to hope," "1 have feit from the first," Mr. Thnrston answeted, "that the death was by suicide, not by rourder. Èut the prisoher s earnest assertion on this point could not be brought before the jury in offset of the proved facts. The watch and money were found beside the pistol several paces beyond the place Where the dead üian lay, and certainly had the appearance of being laid together for the purpose of removal. The direction of the shot-wounds was possible by suicide, but not probable. " '"Twas strange, too, that the accused man should have chosen that lonely by-wayfor l-eturning home m late at night. " "Yetit was the most direct course, almost parallel with the railway. Poor fellow, he says he hesitated some moments whether to take the car or walk. Even in the assurance that he had found at last a saying employment, and had ' a cnance ot lite again,' hishabitof poverty made hito cling to the few cents that walking could save." The words "a chance of life again" brought vividly to Miss Bommelaine's mind the vital interest. " Can you save him ?" she asked, and added, with girlish warmth, "oh, if you can save him. I think you will win the best love of three people to the very end of your life - my father's beyond all ; he has taken this whole affair into his heart of hearts." " The water went through his boots, and the stars went through his soul." Frank Thurston, returning to his office after taking leave of Miss Eommelaine, accepted the whole day as the most beautifulof days. The very contrast of oveihead and underioot had become idealized. If he looked up into the spring-like sky, he thought of her sweet face; if he looked down into the miry path, he thought of her bewitching üttle feet. ': Overhead" liad actually not done as much for him as " underfoot. " Wlien he reached the office, every trace of ennui and of disgust at the want of harmony between the work-a-day and ideal worlds had vanished. Miss Eommelaine visited the prisoner's wife, still oocupying, by her own wisn, me same room where Mr. Kommelaine liad found her; but everything in it was changed. An anteroom adjoining had been added, so the main room could be a comfortable parlor; it contained now pretty sofas and chairs, a sweettoned cottage piano, pictures on the walls, and delicious groups oí' flowering plants. The poor wife, no longer haggard and utterly hopeless, had been surrounded with every comfort by her powerfnl friend, and she leaned devoutly upon his assurance that all would yet be well. She occupied herself with the care and teaching of her child. The child, a loving little creature, flew to greet Miss Bommelaine; aiid, during the half-hour visit, both mother and child so perceptibly drew comfort and hope from her face and her words that she was quite absorbed in thoughts of them. But when she had lef t them, and had taken the avenue car for home, their images gave place to that of the young lawyer, Mr. Thurston. Was it the strange loveliness of the winter day that gave the delicious atmosphere to that rêverie ? She ended a day-dream with one practical thought. "If Richard Willoughby was like Mr. Thurston, I think perhaps - perhaps I could love him, and please mamma; and, oh ! I should like so mueh to please mamma !" jwiy rebruary brought storms of wind and sleet and bitter oold. Winter once more reigned. And on one wintry evening Frank Thurston was summoned to visit Mr. Bommelaine, -who, although convalescent, was still confined to Lis house. The lawyer was reoeived in the library, where Mr. and Mrs. Bommelaine were enjoying a tete-a-tetc in the warm firelight; while Miss Bommelaine, at a lowlamped table near by, bent over her embroidery, for which a foppish-looking young man at her side appeared to be assorting the colors. Miss Bommelaine had not forgotton Mr. Thurston, but their words of recognition were brief, for Mr. Bommelaine appropriated him immediately. Mrs. Bommelaine became an indifferent auditor of the talk, and her daughter withdrew herself from it to entertain the young man, for whom Frank Thurston conceived at first sight a dislike. As the legal conversation procceded, Mr. Bommelaine beoame more and more excited. His voice grew loud. He recapitulated with earnest delight the details of the favorable turn apparent in the progresa of "the case." The attention of all in the room was soon drawn to his remarks. Mrs. üommelaine mterposed. "Dear Bobert, do not be too hopeful. You were disappointed before; you may be again. Mr. Thurston, I do not sympathize with my husband's intense appropriation of this case. Idon't think there is so much in a name that a man should sacrifice himself indiscriminately to keep it in repute. What if John Smith should interest himself vitallyin the doings and sufi'erings of every other John Smith ? To be sure, Bommelaines are not so common as Smiths. bnt the principie is the same. Weíl, Frank, you might as well speak; I know you want Frank Thurston sterted, but one glance at Mrs. Rommelaine was sufficient to assure him that this closing address of her speech was not made to him, but to Miss Kommelaine - Francés, ' ' Frank, " as they called her en familie. "My own name," he thought ; and ñe feit a thrill of delight, as from one of those fond little proclivities for ooincidence that one indulges in when the object of the eoincidence happens to be interesting or dear. Miss Rommelaine, being allowed, spoke, but her cheeks flushed and her voice slightly trembled. Mr. Tlmrston looked at her with that gaze which draws into itself the strength of the conscious nerves. She dared not return his gaze, for to do that would be to lose composure. "I cannot help feeling as father does," timidly yet earnestly eaid Miss Homnielaine, "It goema to me right , „ _ - .-,,.. , .■..-■.w.ainji.ka ■- ■ ■■■■■■ - -■ Ti i tliat lie should have taken just this interest in these people, although they i nre in no way related to us. They oertainly have iather's name, and dear Robbie's name ; there is soinething sacred i about that. I am so glad that fatlier has worked very hard and spent a great deal; and Jou, too, Mr. Thurston, to save this inan. 1 believe he will be saved; then he trill indeed bless the name. And then, and then" - brighter gloWed her cheek ; her Voice still slightly trembled- " I think more than ever now, since I see the just and kind effect, that people should consider that they are relatcct to each otlier. For my part, I yrtea 1 coüld be to every one just as I woüld be if thoy Were my on, of my blood and of my name. I believe thafc would be really the ' fulfllling of the law,' as dear father fülfills it." And here Mies Rommelame very gracefully, but altogether girlishly, aroee from her place and calne close behind her iather's chair, and, putting her arms around his neck, gave him a little kiss on the side of his cheek ; and then carne her silvery little laugh, and they all latlghed at her enthusiasm ; and she went back to her erabroidery and to the gentle fop whom Mr. Thurston detested ; and very aoon thereafter Mr. Thurston took his leave. But one month irom that day he carne again; he carne to congratúlate Mr. Eommelaine upon the succeesful issue of the second trial. The message conveyed to him by Francés Eommelaine was the proof, now collaterally sustained, that the death of an eccentric misanthroiie had been by suicide, and not by the hand of the fellow-man who was found near him in hisextremity under circumstances I of convicting suspicion, and who was ar _"! I 1 t 4 1 mm raigneu tor "üjgüway robbery an'l niurder." A letter written by the suicide, and mailed upon the day that the fatal act took place, described, as part of his plan, the very details which had told heavily against the accused. Tliis letter was directed to an obscure merchant in an obscure town in Germany. Only the most indefatigable and unstinting assiduity on the part of Mr. Ronimelaine liad reached that obscurity and brought the bidden thing to light Winter came again, after a bïief summer - are not summers always brief ? - and aftcr an autumn eventful to more tiiiin one expectant heart. The new year had begun, and the gay city was astir with New Year's calis. Never was there a clearer, winter New Year's day upon which to make good resolutions; never a more crisp, white, sparkling sheet of snow to receive new tracks and footprints. The air rang with sleighbells and merry voices; the houses were gay with bright costumes, bright lights, and bright lires. Mrs. Rommelaine was receiving calis, and in the pleasurable excitement she did not heed a package of letters that the postman had brought to the door. -DUG eme oí mese, as it was directeu to her name, Francés Rommelaine seized, and escaping from tlie drawing-room, till mamma missed her and sent word inimediately to return, she found time to read: My Deakest Kind Feiends- Your good and must welcomo letter was received to-day, and, in answor to your inquirios for aJl the particulars of our Ufe here ana our new home, I íind great pleasure in (rjlpg to sketch for yon the scenery, and giving yon an idea of our plans. The pencil drawing I inclose will show you the house and garden, and the lovely rivet that runs close by the garden wall. The largo buildings in the dist anco are the faetones, and never have 1 seen my husband so happy as he isïow. It seems that the factories areaimost completely under his control. He comes home at evening, being absent all day, but not at all weary. Our evenings are so happy - I l;now jou will be pleased to hear, dear Miss Eommelaine, for you take interest in us, I know- and little Lucy sits up till 9. I teach her in the mornings, and am busy about the house alt day. It is a delightful home. The neighbors are pleasant, and we all like the place, and think this Western valley the garden of the world. It seems that our great and terrible misery has gono forever, and I wish that all women could be as happy as I am now. And the letter contimied witli a strain of gratitude that never in the hearts of the Eommelaines in the far West could cease to flow to their benefactors at home. " This letter comes on the right daY," said Francés Rommelaine. " Everything is bright and happy to-d,iy. The flrst thing this morning dear father Callad ÍTie tn llim nníl ■nrliíc-noTOíl T Vioi said yes,' and tlie noxt thing was Frank Thurston's happy, happy face. I love him so much ! And ow these poor dear people are happy; and mamma is - at least mamma lookx happy; Iknowshe can hardly forgive me about Eichard Willoughby, but I really was conscientious about him, for he is very rioh, I know, and I tried to love him, and I tried not to love Frank Thurston; but I suppose such things cannot be helped, and it really was fate that he should be just where we were all summer - oh, what a sweet summer, only too short ! And to-day is so bright and beautiful; I wonder what happy thing will come next !" Almost as she spoke it came. It came in the library by the fire-light of the closing day. The hum of voices rushed from the hall and the drawingroom, for New Year's calis were at their height. But in the library there were only two people. And then he took it out of its little case and put it upon her finger; but first he kissed her hand; he kissed that particular ñnger too, first. Her engagement ring. The diamond was not big ; porhaps Frank Thurston thovight that his love engagement should correspond with business engagements iu me Bize oí prooiaimmg sign. The diamond was not big, but it was a very pure, a very bright, little stone. It was big enough to hold all the colors of the rainbow in its small adamantine heart, and to refleet every movement of the New Tear, that shonld have clear sweet light. Before he put it upon her finger he looked within its cirole; they both looked within, with their yonng faces very close together, and their hands clasped, and read together the word engraved beneath the stone : "Frank." She understood the choice. " My own name," she said. "My own name," he repeated ; and then, although it was extromely dangerou8, for ' both the library doors were open, and people were, going from the drawing-room and hall wherever they liked, and miglit have seen, and it wo'üd have been wiser to wait- althougli it was extremely dangerous, he took her into bis arras and gave her his engagement kiss.- Itarper's Weekly. It is a significant proof of progress in Ireland that active steps are taken to extend railway communication. Landed proprietors bave become so sensible of the advantage to their property by proximity to a line that they now come forward liberally. Thus, toward a branch line recently constructed, a lady Bubacribed half the money reqixired, and otber proprietors gave the necessary land, TJie üae trr sooti made,

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Subjects
Old News
Michigan Argus