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Jack And Dolly

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A Diiy in ] relamí in 18gl. The air is soft and warm, like spring, and "the southerly wind and the cloudy sky proclaim a hunting morning." It is breakfast at Ballyhague, and the master in his red coat is standing on the hearth-rug. Breakfast comes soon enough; and with it the post-bag, and a ninute later his wife. 'Any letters, Jack ?' "Ilere, Dolly!" Capt. ïrevor tosses a letter to lus wife, and tlien reads his own correspondence. Everything about the house speaks comfort and ease. There is a wide stretch of park and woodland beyond the Windows. Capt. Trevor and his wife are yonng, comely, and strong; yet over their faces hangs a cloud, a something that looks like dread in Dolly's soft brown eyes, and more like anger and disappointment on lier husband's stronger features. With her own letter unopened beside lier píate, he watehes him tearing open his envelopes and glancing at the con tents, and the fear never leaves her eyes for a second. Suddenly across his facesweeps a criinson flush, and muttering soniething that is not a blessing, he thrusts u letter into his poeket and attaeks his breakfast with savage energy. Dolly turna white. 'What is it, Jack?' 'Oh, nothing!' 'Jack, teil me, was it - ' Capt. ïrevor tries to laugh as he ineets his wife's eyes, but it is a failnre and he answers hastily: 'Only another threatening letter, Dolly. You mnsn't befrightened; I don't ïnindthem a Mr ' lkltDolly does, and her lips tremble: 'I wish you wouldn't go out hunting. Jack, it isn't safe. Suppose - ' 'Yon musn't suppose.Dolly. I must have a day with the hounds, and no one can possibly know I am going; btsides I'll come home by a different road; there isreally no danger, dear, or I wouldn't go.' 'Take the pólice with you, then,' she urges pitifully; but Jack laughs. 'Xonsense. ïhey couldu't follow me icross the county, and I assure you I'iii all right.' Uut there is a moody, dissatislied look on his kaiidsome face, and presontly he bursts out: 'Hang it all! what a beastly country this is! A fellow can't even go out witli the hounds without the chance of being iired at from behind a hedge.' 'Jack!' she whlapers, 'what are we to do, dear ?' ' Ton my honor I don't know. We can't live without the rents, and there doesn't seem rauch chance of gettinsr thetn.' 'Won't tliey pay anything?' 'Only (iritlith's valuation.' I won't take that, so I'm to be sliot because I want my rent- the rent they paid to my fathei and grandfather before me. It's deuced hard, but I won't eive tn.' Dolly looks up at the stalwart six feet of manhood, with his ttushed face and kindling eyes, and her lieart goes out to liim with a great cry. He is her lord, her king, the fatlier of her children, and le is ia danger of his life - not from a foreign eneniy, not from war, but in danger from his own countrymen, the people he has lived with since he was boni; yes, in danger of being murdered, and in her love she feels that if they do Mus thing, woman though she be, Ler hand shall avenue the debd. b 'What have I done?' poor Jack goes on with passionate vehemence. 'I have uever done anything unjust; I liave never pressed a tenant unduly; vet l'm hunted down, marked out, not by my tenants- I don't believe they would do it - but Jjy some infernal secret society. Dou't look so wretched Dolly; t will blow over. The governnient must do something soon.' Thegirllooks lip with ilainingeheeks. 'And if you were shot, what would it matter to ine what the "governiueut" were to do? What vould tnything matter'? These dreadful things ought to be prevented, Jack. What good would it be to do anything af ter?' These weary weeks of watching and anxiety have told on Dolly Trevor, and her fair, fresh face has lost its roumlness. ïhe door opens, and the butler appears. 'A man to see yon, sir.' Dolly springs up. 'Vou niusn't go out, Jack. Let mego. Who is it, Martin 'í' 'I don't know, ma'am, but tlie pólice are with him.' It's all right then; and Jack goes out on some ordinary business, while two policemen on the gravel sweep, armed to tlie teetli, watch c'osely. Capt. Trevor comes back to tlie dining-room. "Well, Dolly, I'm off. Get the children down for a minute.' He knows well, and so does she, though neither say it, that it may be the last time he will ever look upon their pretty faces! Uovvn they come; wee Cecil and smaller Dorothy, shout ing for "papa," and hetakestlíem up in his strong young arms and kisses them Why doea Dolly cryV Only going out for a day's hunting, yet he must say good-bye like thisl Martin brings ;i sandwich, case and flask, and with them, as a matter of course, a loaded revolver. Capt. Trevor puts the ujflt tlring quickly into liis pocket, hoping liis wife doesn't see it. Bat she does; and though her heart jumps she is glad he i.s taking it. 'ïake care of yourself, Dolly, and don't go beyond the place.' 'Vou'll come home early, Jack?' si whispers, putting her face to liis. 'I can't say,' he answers witli pretended cheerfulness. 'It all dependa on what soit of a run we have, and so you niusn't be anxious if I don't turn up Uil dinner time.' 'Xo,' J)olly answers, disnmlly thinkng of the long, weary hours of watchng before she will see hiin again. 'Well, take care of yourself,' he says igain. 'Good by. my glri.' He holds ler tight. tight fora second, and bends liis comely brown head to kiss lier lips tliat quiver forall thetrustiag words She follows liim to the hall, holdinj Iris hands ;is if her close, clinging clasp would keep him from all liann. Hei vhole life seems made up in this one assionate, absorbing love for her husjand, and well she knows it would kill kt if anything should happen to him. 5ut she smiles bravely whilehe mounts lis horseand rides slowly avvay under ie bare branehes of the big elins. At he end of the avenue he tunis and aves his hand and smiles at the little gure watclring liim, watching till the st gleam of liis red coat disappears, id thon with a sigh goes into the ding room, where the children are playg on the hearth-rug. Jt seems a terribly long morning. It s only two hotirs since her husband ft, buttoDollyit is ages since she ard his voice, and her heart is f uil of gue forbodings, and this inacivilized country- free Great Britain. Jack Trevor lias, as he hiinself says, done nothing, braken no laws, harmed no one. Klid-heatted, generous Jack ! he wouldn't be guilty of crnelty toman woraan or child for the world; yet tlie last few weeks have been weeks of terror, during whicli he, his wife and children have all been threatened. Ballyhague is adesert. Such cattle as were not maiiiied are sold. Gapt, Trevor is under pólice protection, and for wliat V Hu asks the question often enough in his own honest, straightforward way, and no one seenis able to answer it! His land is letbelow the letting price. Ilis tenante have a fair, just, honorable landlord to deal with; but any day, any hour, he mny be shot.' Ilis corn and hay were burned to einders long ago, and ruin menaces hiiu. A very dreary morning. Mrs, Trevor watelies the children, out for a walk, and a lump comes iu lier throat as sho sees tlio little procession going down the avenue in tbe soft, gray light of tlie winter noon, baby Dorothy in her preambulatÖE, iittle Cecil walking by the nurse, and two policemeu, armed with loaded guns, keeping a keen lookout on either side! lf it were not so real, so terrible. Dolly could almost laugh to see the preambulator with the two great policemen in attendance. However, it's no laughing matter only a wise precaution. Outside on the terrace under the drawing room windows another policeman marchas up and down. It seeins iiioredible that this should be uecessary in the year 1881, but so it is, and Dolly is getting iiccustomed to be guarded and watched. She goes out, too, and walks about with the children, protected by their escort. ïhey see nothing, hear nothing uniisual. It is a soft, lovely day, with a gray sky and a taste of spring in the air; but Dolly cun take no ure in anything till lier huaband is safe home. Slie gatliers a bmicli of violeta and comes in again, witli that vague uneasiness that has made her so restless of late whenever Jack is out of sight. The newspapers are f uil of agravian outrages. land meetings, and threatening notiees. l)olly glances over thein, but the subjects are not cheerful, so the papers are laid aside, andshe writes a long letter to au old school girl friend in England. After beating about the bush for some time, Dolly scribbles out the fullness of her heart: ' 1 daresay in England j'ou have not the faintest idea of the awful state we are in hare, aetually living in terror of our lives. Jack is out hunting tc-day, the ürst time he has ventured out without the pólice lor three weeks. I did not like his going at all, and sliall not be happy until he is home again. Poor fellow! he feels it dreadfully, being almost a prisoner, or drivingout with an armed guard. Fancy! the children have pólice armed at all points to protect thein vliei they are out even on the place. It mak es me very miserable, aiul the wretehed government will do nothing. That dreadful Land League held a meeting hare last Sunday, and we expect that something terrible will follow. I am trying to persuade Jack to leave the country, but he says he won't be frightened away, and in the meantime there i.s nothing but ruin before us. We have got 110 rents and I see no prospect of getting any, but I do not care tot that; 1 only mind the awful fear that is perpetually before me- that they will dosomething toJack. I believeit is a regular system, and they have hired and paid assassins. Is it not terrible to think of y i ardly ever let Jack go out without me, and I eanuol teil you how wretehed 1 feel to-day, knovving that he is in danger; and how long is this dreadl'ul state of aflates to last- how many inoro widows must be ni;uU beí'ore it is put a stop to V' So Dolly writes, her pen (lying over the paper and lier thoughts with Jack in the haating lield. But the long, weary day fades into darkness only too soon. She sees the crows llying home far up in the quiet sky- sees the faint sunset die out in the west, and the blue, dim shadows creeping up fold after i'old. Dolly comes back with a sigh trom the window, wheie, with herface against the glass, she has been watching for Jack, peering out till it is too dark to see the avenue, and the rows of ghostly trees under which he rode tliat ïnorning. She can only see the relieetion of her own face now, and the leaping, flickering.firelight, dancing up and down, so she comes in from behind the curtains and aendfl for the children. It is past G o'clock, and still no papal The children have long ago gone up to the nursery, and Dolly sits alone by the iire, trying not to be frightened, pepsuading herself that she is not a bit anxious, that Jack couldn't be home jet if there had been anything like a run. Vet all the time she feels sick with a strange longing, and her Opa grow dry as she listens to every sound and starts at the slightest noise. She is horribly anxious, but she will not allow it yet; and by-and-by the dressing bcll rings with asuddenness that makes her jump, so stiained are her nérvea with thi.s watching and waiting, tliis awful dread that sooner or later sonietliing will befall her liusbaml. oh, God] perhaps even now while she is sitting by the lire, souie hand may be raiswl against him! Jack won't like to lind her so low, so aha wipesaway the i'alling tears and goes lodress i'or dinner. In the hall she ineets Martin, and the old, tried, trusted servant looks as worried and' anxious as his mistress. 'The master not liome yet, ma'am ?' 'Xo Martin,' Dolly answers, with lips that shake in spite of themselves. 'J5ut lie didn't expect to be home till late.' So slie speaks, trying not to believe tliat lier heart is sick with fear, anc slowly passes up the stairs. Somehow slie never runs up now with ilyiuj steps, and oíd Martin looks after lier and sliakes liis head. 'It'll kill the mistress,' he says to hiniself, and, waiting till a turn in the wide staircase hides lier from view, he opens the hall door caref ully and looks ut; but there is no sign of the master f Ballyhague, and after watching and isteníng fcr a minute or two he comes n again. The niglit draws on. He never comes! üolly, with cheeks like snow, stands in the nursery and watches the children; but she never smiles, as little Borothy splutters in her bath, crovvingand laughing, the íirelight Hashing on her rounded limbs. Dolly has no stories for the children to-night, and presently tliey catch the infection of her niood and grow grave and silent too - awed and hushed when thoy see their mother's sad face. The boy whispers bis prayer at her knee. 'God bless papa-' 'And bring liim safe home to-night!' says Dolly with a little catch in her voicé; and the Jhild, looking up at her witk his fathsr's eyes, üsps out the petition after iier, ma uoesn't know why the tears roll down lier clieeks. Down the stak case again and into tlie drawing room, where the flre is warm and bright, and shaded lainps cast a soft glow. But Dolly is too anxious to-night to sit in her own easy ehair and wait for Jack as slie was nsed to do often when he was hunting. Xow she stations herself behind the curtains, for though she can not see but very far into the dim moonlight she could hear the sound of his horse's hoofs in the avenue. What is that'? In the far distance a hors e's footfall sounds on the ear - nearer now, and then nearer. Thank God, he has come home! And the blood rushes back to her white cheeks; he is safe for to-night at least, and Dolly IHes int the hall to meet him. The horse trots past, and she goes back into the drawing room again. Jack has ridden round to the yard, and will ba in directly. All the fêar is forgotten in the thought that in another minute he will be with her safe by his own fireside, and she makes up her niind to be very briglit and cheerful this evening, a-nd never to teil him how frightened and wretched sho has been all this long horrid day. l'oor Dolly! l'oor little wife! standing on the hearth-rug, in her pretty white dress, a smile on her sweet, watchful face, a loving look in the brown eyes turned so often towa'rd the door waiting for the moment when her huskmd shall come in. The door opens. 'Jack!' she cries, and springs forward with a glad cry of welcome. It is Martin, standing on the thresliold, his face gray and leaden. 'The masker has come; I heard him i iic niiinmi jitiís come; i nearu mm ride by a, moment ago. He will be in direetly. Why do you look like that, Martin?' For the oíd man is lifting his trembling hands as if to push lier back. 'God keep him from all luum!' he gasps. 'But, oh, ma'am! the liorse has come home without the maflter !' and then he breaks down. 'But maybe lie's nnly had a fall, and hurt liimself. The police and all have gone to look.' ïhere is no grief on her white face as she listens. In one second all the joy has been stamped out, but there is something awful in the expreszon of lier eyes- a look, that, thank God! is not often seen in a woman's face. All the soft, womanly beauty has given place to this fierce, strange woe. Then the words feil f rom her lips like a wail: 'They have killed him! Oh, my husband!' There is woe and weeping and desolation in Ballyhague; fights il;ishinr, servante running about wildly, the women sobbing, tlie men witli palé scared faces; all instinctively keeping out of sight of the strieken wife, who, with a face like death, gives her orders with sucli awful calmness. She has no hope, will listen lo none. She knows as surely as if he lay dead it her feet, that her husband has been nnudered that she will never hear his voice again. Never again , and she does not cry yet. The fountains of her grief will have all the rest of her lif e to weep tliemselves dry. Yet there surely must besome 1 ingering of a faint shadowy hope in her breast; for, during the terrible hours of torturing anxiety that follow, Dolly moves softly about, getting all in readiness, rnaking preparations with lier own snaking handü. And oli, the pity of it all, to soe the poor wife turning down the bedclothes, and lighliing the candles on the dressing table, to have all ready if so be that Jack is brought home not dead! Only once does she break down; that is when she passes into Jack's dressing room and seus Jiis things hanging before the lire in readiness for liim, his slippers warming in tlie hearth-rug - the slippers she worked with her own hands, In the happy days when she was iiist mairied. At the sight of these inaiimate things she breaks iuto a tempest of tearless sobs. 'Jack! Jack! my darling! my dailing!' She is wild with fuar and grief. Poor Dolly! in all the days to come she can never have such hajipiness as the few short years of her wedded life. And as sr.e waits and listens and watchee, while every heart-beat is bringing the time nearer, she does not know that what she is suffering now, the almost unendurable suspense, will in the after days seem as nothing compared to that" grputer other suffering than this to come. Jack, riding slowly home ín tlie creeping, lengthening shadowa of the evening, little dreams that this is his last day on earthl He has had good sport, and in the pleasure of the moment had almcist forgotten his U'ouWes; bótuow, nioving slowly tovvard home wlfch Í friend, it all comes back to him again, and he talks it over with a certain quiet vehenience. Dr. Kyan, jogging alona beside him, thanks his stars that he doesn't own a rod of land- that he la in nrwise dependent on the vagaries of amisguided peasantry or misguiding agitators. 'Clieer up. Gapt. Trevor!' lie says heartily; 'all this will blow over whttn some strong measures are taken.' 'I hope so,' Jack rejoiris. 'This s my road, and I must get on now, or the wife-willbe anxious; so good night doctor.' ' 'Good niglit!' and Dr. Bjan is the last man to see Jack Trevor alive. All unconscious of danger, lie is riding home at a trot, for the horae is tirad after the long run, and Jack goea slowly on the grass near tlio hedge, Bmokingacig&rand thinking of many things He thinks of tjie run to-day, of the frieuds lie niet, of Dolly, and at thonght of lier he mend.s liis jace, and pushoa on. The twilight lias given place to ■ palo moonjight, that Iooks ghosl.Iy across the meadows. It is a lonely road, high banks on eitlier side, and slowly, slowly comes Jack, the horse's feet making no sound on the grass, the rider's strong figure showing dark and well deHned agaiust the clear blue sky. it's all over in a second. ïwo shots one after the other. My God!' cries poor Jack, and swings forward. The horse rears and )lunges, and liis rider fallsheadlong on lie grass, stone dead, without a moan or a wail, after that one eiy to his God. In the pale moonlight two men fiy across the fields. Jack's horse gallops away up the road; lie lies there on his face, shot down, murdered within half a mile of his ovvn gate? So they find him lying in the moon's rays, cold and dead, fiat on hia face in the grass. ïo-morrow it will be in all the papers: 'Another landlord murdered!' ïhen a nine-days' talk, and tlien it will be forgotten by all but Reverently they carry him in at his own gate and up avenue lie liad ridUen down in liealth and strength 011ly this morniug. There he lies, cold and lifeless, in his red coat, his poor face uptumed to the lieaven that is more merciful than man, carried liome to his wife. Yes, carried home to his wife and laid at her feet in the lighted hall where she stands waiting for her husband. 'Leave me with him.' It is all she says, and so heis laid on his own bed, and one by one they go softly out of the room and simt the door and leave lier alone- alone with lier de.itl.


Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat