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Brilliant Wedding

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Everybody who knew anything about the Evermonds knew that there had boon troublo and disgrace attending tliem for many years. First, tlieir oldest daughter, beautiful Nellie Evermond, became infatuated with an opera singer and eloped with him. Following that came the death of the youngest, and pet cuild, dear little Bessie. ïhen, the only son, handsome Will Evermond, was arrested for embezzlement, and, although nothing could be proved agalnst him, it was established in many minds that he was guilty. lic could not bear the contemptuous glances and scornful WOfdl of those who had forraerly welcomed him among them with delight. So he departed for a f oreign land. There was left only Mr. Evermovd, his wife, and a lovely young girl, of this once proud family. Susie Gray had come to live with the Evermonds when she was an infant. Her mother had been the only sister of Mr. Evermond's flrst love, and when she died he took the little girl to his home and treated her with the same consideration that his own children enjoyed. She had been secretly engaged to WÏM Evermond for some time before liis disgrace and departure. After he was accused of embezzlement he had Btudiously avoided her, and no word of love had fallen from his lips. Susio had waited patiently for some allusion to the engagement between them, and longed to assure "Will that whatever happened she would not change, but her retiring, sensitive nature would not allow her to speak lirst. The day of his departure arrived. lic had been out with lus father in the morning, and only came home to lunch at noon. After lunch there wanted but one hour to the time appointed for the steamer in which he had taken passage to sail. His trunks had been sent early in the day, and there remained but the farewells to be said ere the unhappy young man left his native land. Will Evermond had nothing of the coward's blood in his veins, but he shrank from this parting. He loved Susie with all the strength of his deep nature, and he said to his heart, when his trouble first came upon him: "I love hor too well to allow her to share my disgrace," and so he was going away. Mrs. Evermond lay upon the sofa in fashionable hysterics. Will knelt beside her and touched his lips to her brow, murmuring " God bles3 and keep you always, mother, dear," and strode from the room. Susie was waiting'for him in the hall. He took her tenderly in his arms and kissed her with the old-fashioned, loving tendemess. "Good-by my poor little Susie! If ever my name is cleared from this dreadful stain I will come back and marry you " "Oh, Will! do not go! I care nothing for the opinión of the world. Stay, and let me prove to you how true a woman's heart can be!" lic put her clinging arms from about his neck, whispered: " wait a few years, darling, it may be that God will bring everything right; good-by," and was gone. Mrs. Evermond, was shrieking in the parlor, and the servants who were attempting to quiet her found themselves onequal to the task, and sent for Susie. During that whole day Susie had not ont; moment to herself, but devoted all her time to the fancied needs of the fashionably nervous mother. And because she was his mother the noble girl bore with her. This happened live years before the time of which 1 write, and Susie was then twenty-five. All this timeshe had waited patiently for some word of love or hope from Will; but none ever came, and she had settled her heart to a quiet state, resolving to devote her lit'e to doing good. Mr. Evermond had grown fretful and moody since the departure of his son, and upon this Xew Year's morning he was unusually irritable. A timid ring at the door-bell brought out the exclamation: " There it goes! I wish the beggars were all in Xophet! Ann, go to the door and drive that beggar away. Box her ears " "How do you know that it is a girl? asked Susie, sriiiling, as she rose to leave the room. "Can't I teil every style of beggar in the city by their ring at the bell?"he snarled. Susie followed Ann to the door, arriving in timo to hear a timid littla voice say: "Please, ma'am, I cannot go away without seeing the masterl Mother Í3 dying and I must see him." " An' what'll the likes of yer mither be axin' of him if she be dyin'? Begone wid ye!" replied Ann, slamming the door, and turning to Susie with a self-satisfied air. "Let me speak to the child," Susie cried, opening the massivo door with her own hands. The little one stood upon the marble, sobbing with tho abandon of childish regret. "Teil me all about it, little boy," she said, drawing the scantüy ciad child into tho hall. which was warm and fragrant with the breath of rare flowers. " My mamma is most dead, and sha told me if I could see Mr. Evermond and give him this paper he would take care of me. My papa is dead, and-." Ilere the little fellow broke down and commenced to sob wildly. "There, there! Don't cry! Teil me your name and give me the paper. I will take it to Mr. Evermond." said Susie. ' My name is Willie Evermond, and - Oh, dear, I have lost the paper. What sliall [ do?" cried the child. Susie put her jeweled hand to her pale brow. There was a rush of feeling within too powerful to resist, and for a moment she was speechless. When she found voice to speak the tones were far off and hollow. She asked: " What was your f ather's name ?" "Will, mother always called him. He died four weeks ago. We have not been in this country but five weeks," was the reply. " It musf be Will's child," murmured Susie, as she observed the resemblanee of the little face to one whose every lineament was impvinted upon her lieai t. " Five years sinco he went away. This child is ibout four. Poor "Will must, have married soon after roaching a foreign short1," she soliloquized. Then taking the child by the hand she led him into the presence of Mr. Evermond and told his simply story. " Mr. Kvermond was pale with anger. " Take the brat away!" he cried. " It ia but the artfully contrived story of some greedy wretch who thinks to make money out of my troubles! Why, Susiel only last week a little girl carne to me with a pitiful story, claiming to be the child of my daughter Xellie, who, slu; said, was dead. I thought the child looked altogether too much like some porson I had seen, to belong to my family, so I told her to lead me to her home, and I would do my duty by her. She hesitated, but I insisted, and she led the way to i ülthy street, and in one of the crowded tenement houses, I found the mother of the little girl, and who do you think it was ? Our old nurse, Mary Ann Galloway, who livcd with us when Nellie went away, and knew all the particulars of the alTair. Just as likely as any way, this boy was sent by the same person. I shall not give him any money; show him out!" Susie led the child from the room, and bidding him .wait for her in the hall, quickly put on a warm shawl, and furs, and taking a hat from the wardrobe, she left the house in company with him. Up one street and down another, until it seemed that they would never stop. Susie followed this shivcring child. She feit that she was going to find Will's wife, and her generous heart formed many plans for the relief of the suffering woman upon this way. At last they paused before ia ricketty-looking building, and the little boy said: " 111 take hold of your hand, and when I say 'go careful,' you must mind where you step, for the stairs in some of 'em is broke. I know where every broken step comes." She followed him into a filthy entry, and up a dark, winding staircase, then into a small, bare room. The woman whom he called " mother " wa3 yet alive, although it was evident that her hours were numbered. She made a feeble effort to turn her head toward the new corners, but in vain. Susie bent over her. The dying woman opened her eye3 and whispered: "Susie! oh, Susie! I did not expeci. you would come after I had so disgraced you; but I did want father to take care of Willie. You are too good, dear Susie." The dying woman reached out her hands with one convulsive movement. Willie pillowed his head upon her breast, and the weary life went out- Nellie Evermond was dead. Among her few papers were found a brief history of her life. The villian who had lured her from her home had never deserted her, and at her entreaty had taken her to her native land to die. Ilis death occurred soon after their arrival, and little Willie, who bore his mother's name, was all that was left of lier six children. Mr. Evermond caused the body of his misguided daughter to be buried in a costly casket, and it rests now beneatb. the quiet shades of Greenwood. As Susie entered the house after her visit to the wretched home of Nellie Evermond, a well-remembered voice greeted her, and a well-known form hastened to meet her. Will Evermond had returned. In far-off Italy he met the man wliose guilt had been fastened upon himself, and from his dying lips he heard the confession. Ile hastened to have it put in writing and properly witnessed, then started for home. With f uil faith in Susie's truth, his heart beat joyfully, for he knew that it was to cali her " wife " that be was hastening homeward. "Susie, I have come back f ree from the imputation of crime!" Lowering his voice, he whispered: "Has my dading been true to our troth all these years ?" Womanlike, she wept because of her great joy, and for an answer hid her blushing face upon his broad bosom. Two months later there was a bvilliant wedding at the home of the Evermonds, and gentle Susie stood beside Will Evermond, perfect in her love and trust.


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Ann Arbor Democrat