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The Beauty's Choice

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Mi-r. Hafrley's prettiest bóordër'WM the bit of a blonde girl nanied Florence Castleton. It was a romantic name and sbe had a romantic history. lier párente were dead, she was the heiress ot' tbcil' property, and had a guardián, lie had been in love wilh her mol her, and was vcry jealous of the daiightér's guardianship, t rea t ing her with arbitrary power, ail teasin.; her quite is much as plcasinghei' with big affection. Yel it was qnito oxasperattñg to the young men to see her hangiug on his arm, and he a handsome bachelor of only 40. He boarded at a hotel ; she liad Mrs. Uawley's prettiest set of rooms. They were fnrnished by herself, and mostcharmiugly, in rosewood and blue damask. ihe bad canarios and a paroquet, and a King Charlea spaniel, and a maíd ander her authority, and it was but a short time after her arrival beforc every young man in ;he house was nuirkedly subservient to her. There were four yoting men in tho ïouse - Cliarley Childs, Fred Grove, Leonard Martin, and J)ick Manchester - all bright, agreeable, marriagcable young men, and all admirers of Flormce Castleton. Finally, there was inother; but herwas too plain and jashful to bc admitted to the elegant ranks of Miss CasUeton's g-alaxy of le:iu.-,and no one thought of bisb'eing any ono s lover. ixid evideotlysti-aigh tened iniueaus. - ■ lle had ono of the smal lest ot' Mrs. Ihiwlcy's side rooms, spent all of lus dayi aml most of Uis eveninga n the office where he was enjployed; never vont to theaters or the opera, and possessed not the sliglüest style of maiiner, The others lfuighcfl at hiin - he was so shy and awkward and bashful. And Florence Cnsileton often joined the laugh, gilverly ; yct no one oliered him any disrespect. Indeed, they all - knowkdged hirn to be "a good yonng man, but so homely and awkward !" Florence Castletou had a very pretty voiee tor singiug, and uscd to ])lay upoñ a guhar, a beaiitiful one, inluid with nearl, which her guardián liad givcn her., One evening, after David Atwood li:d resided in the house about six w eeks' ihe brought itdown to the parlor and sat down to play. The yoimg men gathered around to ■Ing with her. Yonng Martin Bang very wcll, and Cfcarley ChiWs sang better. While they were singing David Atwood carne in. He slipped into a corner, and sat down in lus shy wav, and was unnoticed nniil Dick Manchester, who was restless for mischief, callea out: "Mr. Atwood, wou't you come and sing with us?" "1 do not sing, ne saia quien y. "Nor play?'' asked Diek. "Only upon the violin," he answercd. Florence was strumming lier guitar car(!lcssly. 'Vroii''t Mr. Atwood letus liear liim play upon the violin?'' asked Dick, glancing shyly at Martin, as it' lie was starting gante. All awaited Atwood's answer with a ccrtain degree of interest. "I have not usedit since I carne. liere. I will unpack it, and it' nono of the Btrjnga are broken í will play," said Atwood, and lie rose quic ti y and lel't the room. "llow cuukl vuu stv tlvil Dii-U? lie probaoly pia 'c.mtAíiIv áirn irrtso Jeanette Manchester, Dick's sister. "1 never knew a country hinnpkin who hadn't a fantagy íbra flddle,wsaid Martin. Theni, lic's coming back! - Now, if any one has fastidious musical sensibilltiea I would advise liim to decaí i ip." 'Til stay," answcrcd Dick. "Wc'll all stay and sce tho fnn," said Grove, sitting down by Miss Castleton. David carne Ín. I began to understand what was coming as he bent his head over the violin and drew thc bow lightly acroís th itrings; In a moment íie glided into au air of Verdi's, no light and gracct'ul that it was liko tlu: iull ot' sea spray. Every car and dvc was given in rapt attciition ; sonio in delight gome in tronbled doubt; as if they could not believe their own eenses ; sonie in spleen aml envy, and all in amazement. Astonishinent waa thu prevailiag eráotion. When lie had iinished tlic opera air, lio asked : "Ís there any tune yon would 'particulai-ly like?" And he glanced toward the side of the room where Florence Castleton eat, rather than at Dick and Martin. 'Will you play tho riinntom Chorus' l'roni Faust?" asked Florence.- And the mild, sweet tonos canio forth übediently, in beautiful perfection. - Air follón ed air. Tho compooy sat gpell-buund iintil tho sudtlenly reveal61 musician laid down bis bow. A chorus of eulogistio pirrases and expre8sions of gratitude tbllowed, but David Atwood eniilod ouly at Florence Castleton's simple reinark. "Wo tbauk you !" lie left the room. A little while after í wem through the hall and met bina. "Yoa have surprised and delighted us all with your performance Mr. Atwood," 1 said. He smileit. 'i learncd to play to pienso a littlo Biok sister 1 had once," lio answered. - "Since she died 1 do not can; to play tnuch, although I love music." Jutjt tlicn Florence Castleton ilitled by and went up stairs. 1 thouglit she lieard what ho said, -Do yon ihink she liked it?" he said wilh aniushig siinplieity and directness. "Yes, I am su re she did," I answered. It soon beoonie perceptible to all obServing people how ínuch David Atwood was in lovc with Miss Castleton. lie would turn palé every time she epoke to him, and once, whon lie brought herachair in an awkward hurry, 1 savr him trembliag liko a leaf ouder her bejiutiful eyes, ïlioy were together that evening, with three or tour oihevs, inthe yarlor. "Misa Castleton, said a pretty littlo school-girl, wlio idolized Florence tor her beauty, after the mannèr of schoolgirls, "your eycs ar just thecolorof the water off Couy Beach, wherc 1 saw il i;isi suminer." MÍS3 Ciistlcton laug-hed. ,„.._ ■ iicy are like sumuier sïïies," said Ckarley Childs. I swear that thoy are Just like the bindin? of Owon MeredittT- in om and irold," said Dick Manchester. "And ■vrhafc is your companson Mr. Atwood?" said Florence, looking archly al David. llis answerwns involuntary. "They are like the blue lËrkspur vrhlcb. used to srow in niy mothcr's garden," he said. Florence Cast.let.on blashed; it was tlieonly time I liad geen her blush. Looking np, she suddenly met, f.lie eyes of her guardián, Mr. Gray, who was present. Rising quickly, she went to tlie piano, and herself, playea a li"lit air. That night a ory of fire awolce me. I lay miaffeetcd a moment unlil I Biiddenly pei-ceived the odor of smoke. Risiug quickly, T opened mydoor: the h:ill was filled with smoke, and there ■was ïreat confusión in the house. Thfl cry of "Fivc, tire !" aróse. I ílunir on a wrnpper, drew on slippers, and commenced puttingmy most valuable papen Into my wriiiii.-desk. While I Tras doing this there carne a quicb slep on the stairs, and a voice erying the names of all who slept on the landing. I opened my door and siiw tbr the flrst time that the doors oí all the othcr chambers werc open, and the occupants had fled. It was a servant. '■Oh, come down, for heavon's sake!" she cried. "The back part of the house is ftfire from cellar to roof, inside!" There were doorsin the hall shutting all the back part of the house oif from the front. "Are all out?''I asked, flinging n coat around ino, and takingr up my preciouswritiivr-dpsk. "MÍS9 Forbes,Mr. ind Mrs. Blake, Miss Houston, and Miss Castleton 1" said I, as we went tbrough the snioky hall. "Heaven have mercy!" crind the Irisfo girl, "but I don't hink Miss Castleton is out! I haven't seon her! Oh, .lust tuen a figure carne leaping opBtaira. '■Go down!" lic cried to me, as ho Bpmnar i:ist me. He il n ng open the door between the (wo halls. Á volume f smoke poured out, and I retreated. It was David Aiwood. I kiiow instinctively that h had gone for Florence Castleton, and that she would immediately bo safe. Down Btairs the people wore oarrying out furniture, and the greatest confusión and ooiiaternation, mingled with much active euerjty, prevailed. Mr. Gray caught the arm of Mrs. Ilawley, as she ñed down the Btairs witli a pile óf valuable e-lothing. "Miss Castleton, Mrs. Ilawley - wlicre is she?" he cried. "I don't know ? [don't know!" she exclaimed despairingly. "Some one went for her. 1 have not seen lier " Mr. Gray interrupted her wilh an oath, and sprang l.o the stairs; but at that instant the figure of David Atwood emerged from the snioke on the stairs. with the senseless form of Florence Castleton in his ai'ins. She had apparently fainted with fright, or been overwhehned with smoke. Slie was half dreesed; lier beautiful hair erwept over David'B arm, her white, unconscious face was clasped to his breast. They carried her hito the air, and she soon revived, and was carried to the hotel where Mr. Gray resided. ïhe fire was iinally extinguished, but the house was veïy miich injnred, and rendered unlenable until repaired It was Bpring and 1 went out of town but that slimmer I received the follow'm letter trom Jeanette Manchester: "My d arett i:l!ter: I've such news to tel yon? Florence O&stleton luis niilrried tlia hoirir], iwkwaril David AlwoíxI, wint i a fright, even il ho ilues play Ijcau Liiiilly on tho vioiin. IL seeins that h; savd hor from tlio lii' , in'l she went intoa passion of gralituiie aml lie told her thaL hti loved lier; and thu was a pretly slaie olaU'airs for tl. at aristocra tic Uray, wlio is moie Uian halt In luve wíl] lier hiinself, 1 helieve. JiiH they say tha Florence said lohim: 'Dear gnnrdian, reraem ber my mot e',1 and he gave right up and Ie her maxry Ativood. Iwaaa'taithe wedding it look piare at the Or y's country seat, ani Mm ■ v sa v tlie bri l' wore blue iarkspur in he I snnled. I was vcry glad.


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