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Paul's Term At Craysmere

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The long, slanting rays of Mie ] ber sunshine cast grotesque shadows ] upon the pure snow that surrounded , the oldschool-houseat Graysmere. The huiré elm tree, whose mossy boughs ■ had waved above the roof for many a long year, was now leafless, and swayed to and fro in the bleak wind. ■ The snow-covered path that led f rom the door bore upon its surface the impress of many little feet, all pointing in an opposite direction from tlie house, showing plainly that the labors of the day were o'er; in other words. "school was out," The little ones whose laughing voices had lately resounded through the winter air, had now departed for their several homes; aad the scène was deserted save one slight, girhsh, figure, attired in a bright wrap, a combination of cloak and hood, whose scarlet hue contrasted prettily with the white snow heaped on every side. She tripped lightly along, with flushed cheeks and sparkling eyes; and as an occasional gust would come wliirling along with greater force than usual, she would turn and walk backward, smiling to hei-self as it tried in vain to force the gay cloak from her ghoulders. Ilavinir reached the door ot the house, she gave a gentle tap; but receiving no answer, lifted the latch, and, after a moment's hesitation, timidly entered. ïhe only occupant of the roooi was a gentleman apparently about twenty-eight years of age, who was seated at the desk, with his head bowed upon his hand. ïhe intruder thought tor a moment he was asleep; , at the sound of her footsteps, however, upon the uncarpeted floor, he started, and, raising his head, diseloseda grave, pre-occupied face; manly it certainly was, and should an observer hesitate hafore ronouncing it handsome, the bright smile that swept over his countenance on perceiving bis visitar was all that was required to settle every doubt on the subject. The thoughtful expression gave place to a warm look of weieome as lie exnded his hand and said, smilingly: 'This is an unexpected pleasure, Miss Bertha. What happy chance muy thank for this unlooked-for visit?' Bertha Stanhope's timidity vanished at the sound of the eheery voice; and she said, contidently: 'I have coine to aak a favor, Mr. Erickson; You will grant it, will you notT 'That depends altogether upen what it may be. If it is in my power, I will certainlj endeavor to answer in the affirmative; but it must be something of importance that brings you this far from home on sueh a blustering day.' 'It is simply this: üie ladies of the town are desirous of holding a fair and festival for the relief of the poor. The pastor of the chureh has some conscientious scruples against allowing us to use that building for the purpose; the town hall is out of the question on account of the expense; and the only resort left us is to beg the use of this room. It will take place during the Christmas week, and will not interf ere with our school duties. We called on Mr. Burman, and he said it rested entirely with jou. Come; say yes, for I will not listen to a reí usal.' Mr. Erickson smiled indulgently as ke looked into the anxious face, and gave a ready acquiescence to the iered request. lsertie only waited to ïear his mswer before beginning an eager examination of the room, talking gayly and volubly all the while. 'This lavge closet will be the very place for a post-office, for you know we must have a post-office and a fortuneteller, or the affair would not be complete. Soine of the folks talk of ïnaking me the sibyl of the evening; but who ever saw a gypsy with yellow hair, like this'i' and she gave a spiteful little tug at the bright golden locks tbat surrounded her face. 'it appears to me, that if they want a gypsy fortune-teller, they should havSbne whose appearance corresponda with the character. Now, I know a lady who is ray beau ideal oí wliat a gypsy prophetess should be: tall, stately, with jet-black hair and eyes, and clear brunette com plexion. If she could only be persuad ed to take the character, I kuow Mrs Forrest would carry out the idea ter than I ever can.' Mr. Erickson had watched the girlish figure as she ílitted around the room, and smiled quietly at her volubility; but at her last words he started suddenly, and in a quick, eager tone asked: 'Whom did you say ?' Uertie looked at Urn in wonderment, and replied: 'Mrs. Forrest, my sister's governess. She has been with ua about a month, but is very retiring, and ref uses to see any company: tliat accounts for your nerer meeting lier in your visita to omhouse. I think you spoke as though the name was familiar; am I rightV Mr Erickson did not answer immediateíy, but after musing for a while, said slowly and evasively: 'Yoh have aroused my cunosity, Miss Bertie. I would like to see this handsome governess of your8. What did you say her Christian name was?' 'I did not mention it at all, for the simple reason tliat I never heard it,' replied Bertie, pettishly, for it piqued her vanity that tlie gentleman sliould express so much interest in a 'mere governess;' but a moment's thought made her ashamed of her petulant reply, and she continued: She wears mourning, and seems to be a stranger in the vicinity. Mamma considere her a perfect treasure, and I begin to love her dearly. It is singular you never heard me mention her name bef ore this. I shall endeavor to prevail on lier to attend our fair, and then you can satisfy vour curiosity.' Her listener bowed absentiy ana murmured to himself, "Can it be possible?" and then, seeing the curious look upon his companion's face, he answered the muta inquiry by saying: 'I see you are surprised at my interest in an apparent stranger; bat your words have giveu rae cause to hope that a long search in which I have been engaged is at an end, and that I have found the object of my pursuit. I om not say any more now, but, if possible, persuade your friend to attend the fair, and then I shall have an opportunity of knowing whether my conjecture is right; although I fear it will be another hope dashed to the ground.' Bertie assured lnm that she would do her best, and then, saying it was getting late, she moved toward the door. Mr. Erickson followed her out, and after locking the door, walked down tlie path at her side. 'You said that you liad called upon Mr. Burman in reference to the schoolhouse,' he said, after a few moments pause. 'IIow did he seem to-day 'f' 'Mueh better, and assured us he would soon be able to resume his dutie at school. You have no idea, Mi Erickson, how grateful he feels toward you for supplying his place during his illness. It must be very trying to you to bear the incessant noise and confusión of a school-room. "I cannot say it is very disagreeable to ine,' replied he, with a smile. 'Poot Burnam is an old friend of mine, and when I carne to Graysmere three months since, and found him too ill to attend to his duties, I hailed the opportunity to prove my friendship, and gladly ïelieveü min ior a seaauu. x . must acknowledge, however, tliat I , will not grieve when he is able to , sume his dubes.' Bertic soon reached her home, and after parting from Mr. Erickson at the door, she went to her room and removed her wrappings, then seating lierself at the window soliloquized thus: 'What possible interest can Paul Erickson have in Mrs. Forrest? He said he hoped to ünd in her the object of a long search in which he lias been engaged. What can that mean? It inight be that Mr. Erickson is alawyer, and that some great suit in Chancery has been decided in Mrs. Forrest's favor, and he is hunting up the successful claimant; or maybe,' and here a peculiar expression ílitted over his face, 'maybe it is a new version oL 'EvangeI line,' and he is thehero of the romance. But, no; she appears to be a widow, and an Evangeïine could never love but once. I wonder who and what Paul Erickson really is: he is Hked by every one, despite his grave manner. He always seems to unbend from lus dignity when he is with me, and I love dearly to liear him converse - he is so intelligent and well-read. But if he should fmd his 'Evangeline' in Mrs. Forrest, I shall be overjoyed, although I suppose it would put an end to our intimacy." The last was said with a sigh, and anything but a joyf ul expression. In the courseof the evening, she took occasion to mention in a casual tone Mr. Erickson's name, furtivcly watching the governess as she did 80. She saw a sudden start, and the lady raised her head quickly, as she ïnq'iired: ] 'Mr. Erickson, did you say V Some ■ f riend of yours ?' 'Yes; he is our schoolmaster at present'' said Bertie, looking attentively at the eager face. Mra. Forrest drooped her head with a slight sigh, and resumed her reading. Uertie gave a knowing little nod, saying to herself: 'Ah! She knows the name, but does not dream that lie would condescend to assuine the duties of a country pedugogue. I will not say anything about Mr. Burman's illness, or the way in which J'aul camc to take his place lor a while. I will keep my own counsel until the night of the fair, and then witniss the denouement.' UnselQsh Jiertie! She was more deeply interested in the handsome teacher tüan she cared to acknowledge, even to herself; yet she was willing to lend her aid to bring these two people together, wheu their veiy meeting miffht be the .leath-blow to all her sh visions. The black eye, ïHtellectiuü counteiianee, and pleasant smile of 'aul Erickson had made luvoc in the ïearts oí several of the Graysmere datnsels; and Bertie Stanhope hüd llattered ïerself that the grave lips unbent inore readily at some sally of Lera than at the most brilliaht wittirisms )l others. The days passed rapidly, and at length the long-looked for evening carne. The school-house wa3 a scène of merriment and confusión. Tables were placed here andthere througli the large room, wliere pretty maiueas and comfortable-looking matrona disposed of their ware to any who wouli buy. liertie had carried her poiir,, and the large, well-ventilated closet was transformed into a "post-oflice," where the letters were distributed by pretty girls, who were kept constantly busy by the throng of eager faces wlo besieged them with demanda for litters. In one corner of the room was raected a tent, and under its shade the 'gypsy queen" reigned, and read the sters for those who desired to peer into tin mysteries of the future. Bertie was elad in a fantastit eostume, and, despite the golden hslr, made a very presentable sibyl. One after another of the promenaders vould I pass under the curtain tliat shadcwed lie entrance to the tent, and after a ittle while would emerge therefrom with siniling faces- tor never wastliere i sibyl who predicted brighter futures or those who soughther interpretation of liidden mysteries. At líist, a well, kuown figure darkened the doorwayand afamiliar voice inquired in tones of mock seriousness; 'Wliat do the stars presago for me, air prophetessï Shall happiness gleam o'er my patliway, or is the fume dark and gloomy 'f Bertie blushed as she took the extended hand, after looking attentively :or a few moments, replied: "Ilappiíess, great happiness, awaits yon, is even now at hand; the dearest wish of your heart is now about to be realized. The object you have sought long and vainly is naar, and you will flnd yourself ere long blessed with all that will contribute to your happiness.' As she concluded, she raised her eyes to his to note the effect of her words, and was startled by what she saw there. The large black eyes were flxed eagerly and enqiiiringly upon her face; aiu', as she loosed her hold upon tiis liand, he caught hers in a detaining grasp, and bendingnearer till lus warm breath fanaed her cheek, said softly; 'Do you know what is the dearest wish of my heart, daiiing?' Bertie blushed, locked frightened, and drooped her head in confusión. She was at a loss for a reply, and just at this inopportune moment the curtain was drawn aside to admit another of the gay pleasure-seekers. Paul dropped the hand wluch he helo, ana steppea aside as the new-comer advanced ïoward Bertie, demanding her inspired interposition in her behalf. Paul walked to the door of the tent, and stood looking idly at the crowd swaying to and fro through tlie room, when suddenly his eye rested upon a lady who had just entered, accoinpanied by Mr. and Mis. Stanhope. He looked intently at her for a moment, and s,tepped Uack into the shadow of the tent as she drew near; shepassed so closely by kim that her mourning robe touched the curtainsthat concealed him f rom view. Just at this moment the visitor left tho tent, and turning to Bertie, Paul eagerly pointed toward the receding figure leaning apon her father's arm, asking in a hurried tone: 'Is that the lady you mentioned the other day as yoursister's governess?' 'Yes,' replied Bertie, while a pang ot jealousy made iteelf feit. 'I must speak to her; can yon not aid me Ín procmiug an interview away f rom that curious crowdi1 Invent some pretext to summon her here, and I will be unutterably grateful to you,' and in an excited, eager manner Paul again attempted to grasp her hand; but tliis time she turned coldly away, with a palé face and compressed lips, aud taking up a pencil and paper f rom a table near, hastily wrote: 'If you would know what the future has in store for you, come to the tent of the sibyl. 'Bektie.' Calling a lad to hei side, she bade hiin give the note to the lady she pointed out. She watched him in silenee as he made his way through the crowd, and thrust the note into Mrs. Forrest's hand and after a few words with Mr, and Mrs. Stanhope, leave them and move toward the tent. Bertie then turned, and saying, "She is coming; doubtless you would prefer being alone,' left the tent by raising one of the curtains at the rear. Paul did not notice the chilling coldness of her manner. for at tuis moment the stately figure of the governess appeared in the doorway. Bertie found herself surrounded bya crowd of eager f riends and besieged by questions: 'Are you tired of fortunetelling already, Miss Stanhopeï' 'Not going to become an ordinary mortal so soon, I hope?' and so on ad infinituin. From every lig came some reraark, and all anxiously d'esiring her to return to her post. At length she was alraost carried along witli the crowd to the door of the tent, and several stepped forward to enter. Supposing, wiih her usual thoughtfulness, that the present oceupants would not like a half-dozen strangers to break suddenly in upon them, she sprang quickly forward, and motining them back, said laughingly: 'The queen must enter alone, good people; wbea she is seated in state, you may approach the throne.' Drawing aside the drapery, she entered the tent; her hoart gave a quick bound as her eyes rested upon the couple before her. Paul was standing with his arm wrapped closely around his companion, and his head bowed until his lips touched her cbeek. One quick glance, and Bertie exclairaed: 'I am sorry to interrupt you, but the public deraand an entrance.' And as Paul loosed his hold of the lady, she called tor the eager tlirong to enter, without giving him time to utter a word. Half-a-dozen claimants f or her magie aid made their appearance; and, af ter hesitating for a moment, and íinding he would have no opportunity of speaking to her tor awhile, Paul offered his arm to Mrs. Forrest, and they left the tent. Poor liertie was compelled to resume her usual marmer, and sumtnon all her powers to her aid in order to answer themultitude of questions wlrieh were propoundod. lïy a great efïort she succeeded in maintaining her assumed character until the gray crowd left her side and moved on to seek other amusernents. Tlien she gave way to her surprise and indignation. Wliat could it mean 't He had called her "darling," had looked at her witli seemingly loverlike eyes; had elasped her hand, and ton minutes later she had found him with another clasped to bis heart. 'Yes, I am right; he has found his Kvangeline,' she ïnurmured, as tears lilled her eyes. 'I am glad for both their sakes, and I was foolish to suppose lie could ever care for such a little insigniflcant creature as I am.' Just at tuis moment tiie curtains were again thrust aside, to give admittance to Mr. and Mrs. Stanhope, Mr. Erickson, and Mrs. Forrest. Mrs. Stanhope bustled in, saying, with a little ílutter of excitement in her tone; 'Beitha, child, come and rejoice with onr dear friend. The strangest things sometiines occur in real Ufe. Now, whom would yon suppose Mrs. Forrest to be! 15ut it is needless to ask you, for you would not guess in the wide world. Slie is neither more or less than Mr. Erickson's own sister, for whom he has been searching for years.' I Bertie ratsed her eyea to Paul ï face to seek confirmation of her motlier's words. lie extended his hand and staid, smilingly, 'Have you no word of congratulation for me?' She niunnured an inarticulate reply, and theu Mis. StanhafW exclaimed; 'Come, sit down, all of you; and do you, Mr. Erickson, explain this niystery. 1 am curious to hear tlie whole story, ii you have no objections to making it public 'None at all, I assure you,' replied Paul, heartily. 'The facts, thougb rather romantic, are simply these: Paaline and I are the only children of a proud and wealthy Englishman; our mother dying during our childhood, we were lcft to the care of hired instructors. 'At the age of eighteen, Paulina met and loved a poor American artisl, who was disdainfully ref used by my fatlier, when he dared to aspire to her hand. Finding that all her pleadings were ia vain. Pauline determined to trust her future ia the hands of her lover. They were privately married, and sailed for America. My father was enraged when he learned of their elopement, and forbade her name to be menüoned in his presence. He retumed all her letters unopened; and as years passed, we lost all knowledge of her whereabouts. 'Two years ago my f.ither diod, and Idetermined to go toAinerica,and,if possible,lind my long-lost sister. I inserted advertisements in many of the leading joumals, and f requented places of public resort, but all in vain. Some time since I chanced to visit your town, and in your schoolmaster found an old friend. I was tired of my idle lile and iïuitless search, and his illness gave me an opportunity to prove my friendship for nim, and at the same time,try the effect of hard work to van quish ennui. 'I assure you, some of the happiest hours of my Ufe have been passed in Graysmere; and through my sojourn here, I have found the object of my long, and 1 began to thiiik fruitless search. 'Pauline's story is a simple talo of every-day Ufe; her married Ufe passed happily until about a year since, wlien herliusband died, leaving her a childless widow. She obtained a situation as govemess iu a private family, where she"remained until a short time ago, when she became an inmate of your house.' Bertie's eyes had been riveted upon liis face during his recital, and as he concluded, she drew a long breath, and ejaculated: 'it seems too good to De true - u, sounds like a fairy tale, I am afraid I shall awake, and lind it all a dream.' 'Maybe this will convince you that you are not asleep,' said Mr. Stanhope, niischievously, giving her a sharp pinch, and causing lier to cry loudly for quarter. At this moment they became aware that the crowd wíis swaying toward the door, and the lights were being extinguised. The time had passed so rapidly that the hour was later than they had imaginöd. As Bertie stepped to the back of the tent to procure her cloak and hood, Paul followed her, and placing the wrap upon her shoulder, whispered: 'May J. accompany you home? I wish to teil you what is 'the dearest wish of my heart,' which you assured me to-night was about to be realized.' Bertie bowed her head in token of assent, and accepting the offered arm, joinod the crowd of persons issuing trom the door. Mr. and Mrs. Stanhope, accompanied by Mrs. Forrest, proceeded directly home; but Paul aud Bertie did not make their appearance for an hour after. When they at last entered the house, Mrs. Stanhope exclaimed: "A pretty way to treat your newlyfound sister, voung man; what excuse liave you to offer tor your conduct ?' Paul drew his blushing compauion forward as lie replied: 'Pauline will forgive me wlien she learns that I have been doing my best to procure lier another relative, in the form of a sister; and it only remains for you to say whetlier I have succeeded or not.' Mr. Stanliope iniderstood the position of affairs in an instant, and gave a hearty assent to his proposal, only saying, as he drew his hand acroas his eyes: 'Yon won t take her away trom us, Paul? You won't take our eldest child away to England?' '2io, sir; I have no desire whatever ' to return to my native country. It has no attractions for me now; the only ' persons who care for me are here; and when I realize 'the dearest wish of my lieart.' and claim Bertie as my wife, I shall be perfectly happy in tliis, my new hajpe.' "When the spring-time carne once inore, Mr. Stanhope was compelled to procure a new governess for lüs little girl, for Pauline liad consented to liare the lióme of her brother and sister. Mr. Barman was p'rofuse in his thanks to Paul for his kindness in taking his place during his illness; but Paul assured him it was tlirough that means that he found both his sister and his


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