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A Lucky Sovereign

A Lucky Sovereign image
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Tliey made a strikingly contrasting picture standing ia the warm June twilight, and the fragrant odor of the roses and the budding grape vines ; lingered around thom as if the tender soents were íitting tributes to thein. Two fair young eirls, the sarae pse to an hour, and unlike as sisters coufd be, and each a perfect type of her own Btyleof lovoliness - both of them peeresses in their royrl dower of beauty. . Kose stood leaning against the ing of the veranda, her haughty eyes, that could melt from the cool, hi-il!ianf, gr.iy they now looked into sueh liquid darkness when occasions required gplendid, calm, cool eyes - were gieaming away out into the gathering dust that was failing in a purple-gray veil of tissue over wood and lawn. She tnroed her face toward her companion. Her eyes suddenly called in their wanclerjng, lislless gfanoes, and showing a half-vexed, half-araused expression. " Bell, how ranch longer are we going to stay hore? - at least, how mucli er du you want to stop? I am sure 1 sluill die of einui if I have much more of it." "Oh, don't think of going back to town yot, Kose. 1 wish we might never have to go." "Never go back? Why, Bell, is it possible you are so nfatuated with tho country as to actually wish that? Child, for tln-es months it is all very wcll to bury one's self as we are buried, and Tve no doubt mamma will feel much better and Btronger for it; but to stay Jonger in a hired cottage, with on!y one half-grown girl to assist in the work, and no aniusements oí any sort, and our joint stock of etïrnings exhausting itself daily- I teil you, Bell, I prefer our own suite of rooms at home, and my music scholars, and your bookkeeping, with a chance of occasional enjoyments." "I dare say yoi are right, dear. But 1 do love the country." " So would I if, for instance, I lived in the mansión over yonder- Fernley Court, you know - where the stately housekeeper showed us through and descanted on the many qualities and vast wealth of its ovvner. I forgot to tell you, Bell, that there will be a grand reception given a weak after he gets baek, and he is expected hourly." Bell lifted her eyes in a graoeful little gesture of surprise. "A reception? Oh, Rose! and of course theru'll be a dance. Oh, dear, how I'd like to go!" " Of course you'd like to go. But do you tbink for a moment that the aristocratie families around here would condescend to associate with us?" Bell's face grew stern. " Why notr We are ladies born and bred, if we do work íor a living." "You foolish cbild. I can tell you our faces and our bandsome dresses - if we had tbem - wovild take us where our famiiy name would not. And, I can tell you something else, Bell " The little gate at the roadside opeiiod at that instant, and the sound of laggfn footsteps coming toward the house inlerrupted Rose's reniark, touched his ilingy hat-rim to the girls. He was evMenily ne of the many respectable, discouragecl, disheartenèd men oue so often sees tramping through the country in search of work. Kose drew lierself up. " Go away. We have nothing for you. We don't eucourage trampa here.'; He touched his hat - the rim was deoidedly battcred and dusty: "I beg your pardon, ïadies; but if you wil] give me a " Kose swept acr;tss the floor angrily. " WilJ you rnnxch off, or will 1 have the dog set on you? Bell, go teil Jane to unfasten Rover. " . The man turned away slowly, as if to move was an elibrt, and Bel! sprung up in an impulse of remonstrative protest. " Rose, how can you be so heartíess? He is as pal. as death, and only seo how he draga hiruselí along! You might have let Mm sit down a minute, ana ál least have given him a kind word and a piece of bread and butter." A conten, ptuous laugh pealed f rom Rose's red lips. " Tired and ill! Drunk and a thief, you'd betier say! A piece of bread and butter! Absurd, Bell!" Bell raised her fingcr warningly. "Oh, Rose, don't; ho'll hear you." Rose raised her voice a key higher. " Let him hear, tken! Pmhaps you had better sit and watch that he doea not faint and f all." She swept haughtily into the house, leaving Bell with her cheeks ilushing, and a compassion born of the sweet womanly sympathy glowing in her deep blue eyes as she wafehed the man walk slowly, painfully along, and finaly halt at the gate, as if in utter couragement at the long stretch of road öetween him and the next house, where he might iind what llose had rudely denied- the magnilicent country seat of Lionel Granvüle, from whose doors no beggar was ever turned away hunBell saw him, and her quiok instincts told her what she iinagined his manner meant. Quiclr as a bird, she dashed up-stairs o her room and snatched her poi'tenionnaie from the bureau drawer, and was down again with a sovereign in her hand, as she ran swiftly after him, still leaning agaiost the gate-post, and still looking with that same strange expression on his palo face at the towers of Fernley Court. " Here, please. It isn't much, but it's all I have to spare. Take it, please." He looked surprisedly at her, and then at the money. " Y ou are very kind, but you are mistaken. I only want a " Bell thrust the money in his hand. " Never mind, please. I think I can see you are proud; but please take it. ïhere!" He seemed amused at her eagerness, but made no more ado about acoepting the gift and pocketing it, as he stood and watched her slim ligure flitting away like a spirit in the dust. The next day lióse carne into Beli's room, radiant a3 she only permitted herself to be under rare circumstances, her gray eyes flashing, and ber red lips parted in a smile of triumphant delight. " Bell, see this! Now what do you say?'" She iatd a square monograrnmed envelope in the girl's lap, addressed to the Misses Melton, and bearing inside invitations to tho reception at Fernley Court for a fortnight from that night. Rose watched the sweet girl's faco glow under the surprise, then saw, to her amazement, the flush of delight fade "Well, Bell, of conrse we'll go. I'U take some money I can spare and got some suisse, and wcar natural ers with it; and 1 know you have a sovereign laid away for an emergenny. You can g-et a good many things with it-gloves and sashes, you know- and who knows but what Lionel Granville may be captivated?" Bell laid the envelope softly down. "I can't go, dear, unless I wear my old wliite nmslin, which will look wrotched bpside your new suisse, l've spont my money," Eose frowned. " Spent your money? Why, 1 saw it yesterday niorninn; in your drawer. I noticecl that the edg-e of the sovereign ivas a little chipped, and remem bewondering if it was good or not. Spent your money! Bell, wliat do you mean?" Bell met the vexed eyes as calmly as filie could. She was just a little in awe of this magnificent sister of hers. "I gav it to that poor man last night, Rose. I was so sorry. I am sme he wasn't the sort of man to talk as you did. I know he deserved the money." Rose sat down and íolded her hands in icy wrath. "Give a sovereign to a tratnp - a beggarl Well, ií it doesn't pass my com prehensión !' ' Rose swept out of (he room- she was like a duehess in her movements - and poor Bell went on with her sewing, wondering if hor old white muslin wouldn't look pret tv well if it was mcely got up, thinking that there was a sea-greon ailk sash somewhere she had nover worn; and a pair of white kids at home that Rose could go for when she went to buy her suisse. So, while her busy, deft iingers sewcd through the summer days on Rose's airy dress, little Bell decided she would go, aftcr all, and wear her fref,h white dressj, and tca-roses in her golden tresses, and the sea-groen s?„sh knotted on her skirt- a simple, exquisite toilet, that made a very Undine of her, that made people turn their heads for more than a second or third look when she and Rose entereu the magniiicent ball-room. It waa perfectly delightful every way. Mr. Grandville possessed noni but high-bred, intelligent friends, anc the Misses Meltoa were treated ao cordingly. The music was heavenly, and from her seat where she sat Jike a queen in state, Rose walched the handsome host, who had bowed low over her nand when he was introduced - watched him as, in his quiet, selfposssssed manner, he went among hia guests. Her heart was ber.ting; would he, oh! would he ask her for the first dance, or would he go among the groups of stylish ladiea from the city, auy of whom would be eo honored by his attention? And then Rose saw Mr. Granville go straight aoross the room, right by her, and bovv slovvly to Bell as ha said a few words and oflered his arm. Bell! Bell to lead the grand quadrille! Bell on Lionel Granvilla's arm, the observed of all obssrvers- as íair as a sea nymph, and so graccíal, so sweetly unoonscious of her radiant beauty! Rose sat gloomily through ths first handsome face as he Lent i 6 cver Beli's golden curls, his ardent, admiring eyes, looking so eagerly into the sweet, girlish face, that others beside Rose noted his attention. Dien, tho dance over, Lionel gave Belt his arm. " 'i'hat has been a delightf ui quadrille, Miss Melton. By the way, did ycu know í have something that belongs to yon?" They had reached Rose's chair by this time, acd Bell turned laughiugly to him. " Something of inine? I do not see how that can be, Mr. Granville. Do yon, Rose?" Rose favored him with hor most faseinating smüe. " Jndeet!, I do not, seeing that this is the first time we ever saw Mr. Granville." He smiled in Beli's eyes. " l'll leave you to fathom the mystery. Don't forget the first waltzíor me, Miss Bell." He went away, so handsome, so courtly, and Bell's foolish little heart was throbbing with new, vague delight, while Rose wasalmost suflbcating with envy at the signal triumph of her sister. Mr. Graúville carne promptly íor his waltz, He drew her hand through his almost authoritatively. " Miss Bell, it seems I have always known you, yet you say you never saw me before. Suppose we take a walk through the conservatory instead of having this waltz?" Into the fragrant semi-dusk they went, where fountains tinkled, and rare flowers bloomed, and the niusio came in veiled sweetness and richness. " I want you to be sure I am righl, Miss Iïell, when I say I have something of yours. Look at me closely. Have you never seen me before?" He bent his face near hers. It was gravely smiling, and so tender and good, and Bell looked timidly at the smiling yet stern eyes. "1 am sure I never saw you before, Mr. Grar.ville." He drew from his vest pocket a sovereign - the very one, with a tiny bit chipped off it, that Bell had given the tramp " üon'tyou understand, dear child? I had taken a freak into my head that I would walk from town here, and it was a grand walk, although it took three days, and ruined my clothes. 1 etopped at your little cottage to beg a glass of water. You know the rest." Bell's face was a marvel at that moment. " In your kindness and goodness you gave it to me, Miss Bell, and the little act gave me an insight into your heart that a year of ordinary intercourse would never do. I shall keep it until you buy it back. I have set a price on it, and if ever you are ready to give it you can have it." He put the money reverently away in his breast pocket, and took her out among the erowd again, a strangely happy girl. And before the summer roses had faded, Bell paid the priee for the chipped sovereign - her own heart - that Lionel Granville had pleaded for 80 eagerly. She is the mistress of their grand hou3e now, and Rose visits her once a year, not of tener, because Beli's husband doesn't care much for her. But the in valid mother has a life-long home amid the luxuries of Fernley Court, and Bell is happier than the bird3 that sing ia the trees of the big old park. Negroes about Vicksburg are preparing for general emigration. The farmers in the State are getting uneasy over the prospect of a wholesale departure of ncgroes for Kansas. '


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Ann Arbor Argus