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Oliver And I

Oliver And I image Oliver And I image
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"Yon wlll excuse me BByiog so, I am sute, Ms - Miss - I beg your pardon, but really I forgol your name.'1 "Grey." "Miss Grey; but Indeed ycu are too pretty for a goveruess. I knew perfectly well what was coming. I bad foreseen it In the mauner in whicli slie luid eyed me froni liead to foot ever since I liad entered the room growing more sternly disapproving with eacli glance; and since the same reproach, couchüd in varylng forras of phraseolory, has been convcyed to me exactly six timos that day, I should have been very simple if I had nof, anticipated it. ' It is of no use, Bob," I cried, as, after my long, weary tramp, I entered our shabDy lodí;ing - "no use. I am a great deal too pretty. They all say so, and I eant help it. What shall I do?" Uob and I were twitís, and we were botll cx;ict!y nincteen. We had lost our motlier when we were chilJren, and our fatlicr was worse thaii dead to us, for to blm ueowed itthat we were reduced to the straile we were now In, A man of good birth and fortuno, he had j'ears ago run tbrough evcry penny he possesíed, and nll iur Bhort lives liad hitherto been passed in llying from one place to anotber from the pursuit of bis creditors. When we had boen younger thls perpetual packtiig up and gouig offotani.ment's notioo had been a constant delight to lis; but now that we were grown up, the coinedy had turned into grim tragedy, of wliich ti 10 last :ct had been played a few weoks ago, when our father bad Bed and left US, his two ouly cliildren, to thitt fur ourselves uest we COühl. Atter the flrst buret of despair at finding ourse'.ves abiindoned to our fate, we liad made up our mfnda wltn all the rapldity and confidence of youth. Bob, wild to become n soldier, but without the education to enter as a gentleman, was to enlist, and quiekly work his way up ty meHDB of desperate deeds of vulor; whilst I was to flnd a sitnation as governess In au ideal family, wlio wouid trent me ss one of themstlves. We were very young and very foolisli; but, at any rute, we were brave and we were proucl. ''We will not be troubleaome poor rel itives to nnyone," we had said, knowing thüt our tather liad by Lii conduct ;strang(;d all uur relativcs; "we will ust go our own way, and tiy always to remeuiber who we are." Kut nmv how was I to carry out my sbare of the programme in the face of my own beauty, which was always beiiif; thrown In my teoth? Even if I had had the wisli to do so, I had not the power to make myself old or ujfly; and it seemed bhat it was indispensable thata governesg should be either one or the other. Utterly dispirited and wearud out, I sank nto a cli.-iir, and, hardly listuning to Bob's well-meant efforts at consolalion, caugbt up a newspaper, behind whose shelter I proceedeil to give away to a ;ood steady fit of crying as the best reliet to my disappointeü feelings. WAXTED, for asltuatlon in the country, a governess for iw little chlldreu. Slie must be young, nice looking, nnd ladylike. Apply to Mrs. Vibart, 60 Jlali Moou Streut, at tW6lve o'clock in the morning. Through my tears my eye9 suddenly ligbted on this advertiseinent. I turned the paper round. Why, it was a fresh one tlnit I liad not seen in the morolnjT. Apply! of course I would apply. Was 1 not young, was I not good lookiiifr, and was I not ladyüke? Certainly I thould jet the situation. Bob thought so, too; in f act, lic was quite con tulen t of it; and, üoniforted for all (llsappolntmenu, we both went to bed, and sfept souudly until the ncxt morning. The next day, punctually at twelve o'clock, I found mystlf in Half Moon Street, and on inquiring for Mrs. Vibart was shown up into the drawin-room. It was occupied, but not by a lady. A man of about thirty years ofa-je was striding up and down the room, evidently in a state of iuipatience, for is the landlord of the house - they were elearly apartments - opened the (loor to admit me, he came rushing towards me, then, Beelng that he had made a mistake, withdrew with a mumiur of apolo'y. On my part, somewhat confused by tlii reception, I retired to the furthest corner of the back drawlng-room, leaving him ia possession of the front room. After a few seconds of niaking a f-int ofreadlnga newspaper, he re-commenced !il quaiter-deck acüon, varyinji it trom liini1 lo lime by standing at the wlndow nnd lookiiij; up and down the stieet. I luid notliing to do but to watch lila), althoujíli I should have preferred readlng in bis discarded uehspaper. By dejrres, bowever, I became intcrested in him. I Uked bis face; I likcd bis brown eyes and square jaw; and I liked biin all the botter that he never gave so much as a lance !n my direction. Suddenly whilst I was wonderini; wlielher he could possibly l)ti Mr. Vibart, he stopped, then advanclng towards me: "Do you know," he asked, abruptly, "when Mrs. Vibart is likelj' to be in?" For tlie lirst time our eyes met, as I answered, monosyhabically, "ïfo." Then he smiled. I never saw a Tice light up from a sinüe as bis did. "I imagine," he said, conrteoiulv, "tuat we are botli waiting for Mrs. Vibart?" I 8inileU too. I have unfortunately n sense of the hul icrous, and there had been to me somcthlng comical in our botli occupying Ihe smnll sitting-room for the same purpose without addressing a word to one anotlier. Now that lie had broken tüe ice I was resolved that I would speak the tr.ilh, eveu to this ttranger; nevertheless, I felt mycelf blusliing crimson as I stammered out, "I huí waiting to sce her about a situation as governess to children;" aml then I looked to see what effect this cominunication wuuld have on him, almost ufraid lest he too should suy at once I was too pretty. But no; after suppressing a slij;ht moveinent of surprise, he began to dicus8 the cuuses of Mrs. Vibart's abfence in a general kind of way, but b3' no ineins returning my conüdenee by statiug the reason of his presence. Mtüinwliile the door-beil kept souuding, and each time it rang my frlend jamped up and went to the window, to come buck diíappointed, liiinlly settling hiinself in a cliair by uiy side, and entering luto a conversation which to me was wholly engrossing, to hiui but a means of passing time. At last, just after the clock had struck a (íuiirter-past two, and I was seriously thinking of going away, there was a soumi of iiiiuiy voices on the stairs, a tramp of feer, laughter, and, tinally, the throwing open of the drawiug-room door and a confused liihcl of voices. M y companion rose, and now he was more neivous thn 1 was. Under his bronze and tan he turned palé, and there was f) tUffnen in his gait and manner tb at I had not noticed before, as he turned to a lady who had just entered the room. follovved by two young men. "LUah!" hesaid. She gaveatiny, bal' -sinothered shriek, par ly real , p irtly aüVcted. "Uood ttracious, Ollvei' !"' sbe crled 'have you arrived?" 'It sueing so," be answereil, griinly almost harshly, it struck me. "Why, iny dear boy, I never expected you mi til to-murruw, or you knuw" - herc Bhe lookeil up into his face wiih the sweetest half-shy expe;s:o - 'thtt I would have been at home to ricelve you.'' "I thought 1 wrote to you ?'' "Oyes, yes!" imputiently; "but you must forgive me ; I have no memory. I forget everything since my Illnes, you know. To show you how bad I am, I liad utterly forgotten that I had put au advertiseuient in the paper for j?ernessess, and now Mr. Hayes tells me the dinning-room is full of them, and I am famishing, Wh:it amito do? D teil mu." She looked around her in a beseechiiig helpli s? kind of way, and sorne one ot the young men who had acconiD&Qied lier iuto the room burst out laugblng. "Ask tliem to lunch with you,'' lie said. I, in uiy corner, feit a strange inclination to cry, as mucli for my friend as myself. Snmehow, he looked so sorry f0'Tl!S,-e'ís a lady walting for you her,," lie S!i!(i, gravely turniug towaids wliere I was standing. I oolorcd criinson. for all eyes were tlireeted towurds me. "Are you come after my sittiatlon as overness?" asked Mrs. Vibiirt, in lier ligh treble. "Yes," I answered. "Then you must be so jjood as to wait, ileasc, for I must have some food. Come lown stairs," turning to the three men. "Oliyer, what are you stopping for?"' Poor Oliver ! If ever I Baw a man with disappoiutinent and bewildertneiit written on every feature of his face, it was wiit en on his. With downcast eyes he folowed Mis Vibart a few tteps out ot" the room, and then he carne buk. "Are you going to wait?'' he usked. "1 tliiiik so," I answered, simply. "You know it isa {ireal tliingtor me that Mrf. Vibart does not iusist upon my buing plaln." Somehow he was a person who provoked confldence. He looked rather surpiised, but anked for no explanatlon. "Are you noc bungry V' he Inqulred. I was ravenous, liaving breaktasted on very little at eight, auil being blessed with a healthy uppctlte; iievertiieless I answered, promptly and mendaciously, 'Not in the least, " whereiipon he once more withdrew, leavin; me to specuhue on what had brouaht liim to H ilf Moon Street, and ou Mrs. Vibirt. O how ovelyshewas! how beaiitifully drossed I iiow dalnty and nrlnaome, mi yet - Tlie Uoor opeijed, and enterad Oliver, bearing a trny ou it a pl tte of cliicken. [le smiled shyly. "I iliought you mu-t want soine luncheon,'1 he saiil. "I do not know if you ike ehlckerr, biit - " I suppose my face betruyed my fcelngs, lor he said, viry grave!}': "YVhy (lid you say you were not luiügrj ?'' I blushed. "1?. c itise- because - " "Never mind," he ar.swerect, quietly: "I knew you were." Wnthont another word he tiirned on lis heel, and shutting the door buliiiid íiin, let't me to my cliicken ttnd my tbouglils. Halfan hour later I waë walking home as if on air. Mrs. Vibait had engaged me as {{ovemess of her two children, at what seemed to me a most liberal sulai'y ot forty pounds a year. CHAI'TER II. 1 had been at Croyland, Mis. Vibart'a coiintiy place, a month, and wn8 as mppy as a glrl of ninetecD, who has to ut a restraint tipou herself the whole of :he live-long; day, can expect to be. I iked my pupils. I liad a prctty schoolroom and bedroom ; and, moreover, a iltle drama was being enacted under my vis tbat was becomine to me of sucli ib-urbing interest that I dreamed of il at niglit, and iave it my waking thouglits n the morniug. Tlie lieroine of t was Mrs. Vibüit; the hero my old frlend Oliver, transforined into Captain Drummond; the subordínales, nn old deaf annt of Mrs. Vibarr, who acted as chaperon, a singularly iniinteresting girl cousln, and i chanjflng pair of young men, wlio variel vvith every week. The children and myself did not count, as we only showed oursrlves at luncheon-time, wht-n we ate out mea] in illence, prejiared to retire to our schoolroom :is soon as ever we had tinisliecl it, leavmg our bctters to !in,'er over their talk. During tlie inontli I liad not at all made up my muid about Mis. Vibart. One day I liked her- that was when shc called me "my deur," patted me on the shoulder, and said slie looked on me as eider daughter; the uext I positively liated her, when she would rneet me as thotigh slie had never seen me before, t:ilk to me of my "pupils and thelr studies,'1 and conyey to me how very neces(Contlnued on Fourth Page.) OLIVEU ASD I. (Contlnued from First Pnge.l sary it was tlint a governess should be very discreet in her beli ivior. A Itttle, vain, sliallow woman, living on admiration, thcre was uot mucli t interest one in lier, except in as far as she concerned Captain Drummond, who, I must conf'ess, engrosted a good deal of my thouglits, and who was so perfectly different from her. I suppose so long as time lasts the Hetty Sorrcls of this world will attract Ilie Adam Bedes, the very strength and uprightness of the latter character findiug a Hctitious fascination in the weakness and shallowness of the former. liit by bit, partly from old deaf Mr?. Barbour, partly from my own observation, and partly from Mrs. Vibart herselt, I found out in wlwt relation she and Captain Drummond stood to one another. Years ago they had been boy and girl togethcr, re.=iectively the son iind daughter of a clergymnn and squire of a country parish in a remóte part of Eng. land. As boy and girl they had loved each other, and pllghted their trolh, when stern fate, in the shape of the parents on both sides, had Interveued, and bidden tliem to think do more of such nonsense. üliver had been sent to India, and Lilah told to return to her studies and not give away to idle sentiment. Tbla behest she luid obeye 1 to such purpose tliat two years later, generously reeased by Oüver from any tie to liimself, she was marrled to a rich stockbroker, under whose auspices she bloomed from the trusting, ignorant, ctutitry girl into the marrled woman of the most faskionab'e modern type. What she would eventually have beconie it is impossible to say, for six years after lier marrkige Mr. Vibart died, and she was lelt a rich widow with two cliildien. It was then tliat eighteen months atter this evcut, Oliver, haying ceasedall inteicourse with her duiing the six years of her marrled life. wrote to her from India, and once more proposed to make her hia vvife, he havlug meanwhile come into a conMderable fortune. Ou receipt of bis letter she telegraphed to kim to return at once to Kngland, as she could not possibly give biin an anïwer without seeing liim again. It was this return, and his meeting with Mts. Vibnrt, to whicli I had been Rn onwilllnjE witness. And now, week nfter week at Croyland, he was still walting her fiat. That he was unhappy, very unhappy, I was certiiiu. His grave, eurnest face seldoüi reluxed lulo a Bmile. Tlirough Mis. Vibart's endlcss sallies, through all the noOMoae lier attemlant young men talked, he would preserve the saine uncbanginL demeanor, which, as the days wore on. grew yi-t Btiffer in proportion as Lilah exhTblted to hlm more and more of her real character. Not but what he could be checrftil and livi ly enoufjli f he chose, as I could testlfy on my rirst arrival at Croyland, when lie liad come in, evening after eveninfr, to the si'lioolroom to romp with the children. This. however, had only gone on f or a iVv days ; for the last three weeks he had not set foot in my domxin, and if [ and the cliildren met him in the garden he Wi'uld only give us a nod and a sinile, and pnaü on without speaking. It was all very strange; now was t KOins to end, and what did it signil'y to me? Il ended, as I learnt afterwarrfs from Oliver himself, in bis steruly demanding from Mis. Vibart, at llie ei.tiof aeren week?, during wliicli time lie liad given beruvery opportunity of studylng iiimself HDll liis fortune.., an answer to his proposal. This he liad tlie greatest diilleuliy in extiacting froni her, and t was nol uiitil afler entilen temporizin;?, beating about tbe biish ; an ti trylng hard to retnin 1 1 í tu in lier train, by putting him off indeiinitely, tinit be compêlled her to come lo tlití poiut, and {:ve bim the refusa! -!:e was so lotli to speak, deeming it better that be sbould bang on na one of her Rppendagefs to be disc.irded or not in the course of time, according as sbe fnund soine one else to suit ber butter or not, iis tbe case miüht be. That very alternoon he went away, I liappened to tneet bim in the garden just hetore he starled, and I never saw a man so transformed In so short a s pace of time. He looked ten years younier; bu sniiled and laugbed, be joked the cbildren, and wben be bade me {ooü bye, "We sim 11 meet :ifain some day, Jli.-s Grey," he tald ; and, ulthough I did not know l.ow or where, I believed biin, and Í!.!):'.!.1íe.:llVl: í'WíMW A[mK witii Captain Drummond gone, the weekt were dreary, in spitc of the house beiiip; full of cempany, and young men mul gaiety tbe order of the day. The f;ict was, I was rery anxious abotit Bób. He bad not enlisted; h's letters were as vague as his conduct, anc! ill be told me was tliat lie had made a very jcood liiend, who gave hini excellent advice, and wbo would probably j;ct liim nn iippointment of some kind or other. Allofjeiher, 1 feit so worried about blra that at lust I asked Mrs. Vib.irt for a day's holiday to go up to Loudon ftnd see bim. Sbe was very good-natured In grantlDg uiy request, and I wrote to Uob to 8iy ibat I was coming, and tliat be wis to meet me at tbe station, as I had not m:iny hours to spare. Bul wben I teacbed Waterloo; of Bob tbero wiis no sij;n. Up and down the platform 1 r-ought bis fair hair and erect youtbful tluie, but all in vain, and with every minute I grew more conyiuctd tliat something had gone wrong witb bim. In an agony of apprension I was makin my way out of the station, wben all at once, to my deïigbt, I saw Captain Drummond ndvanclng tuwards me. He came up witb both hands extended. "I was )) kinjf for yon," lie said, witli liií iherry volee; ''Bob sent me as hia sub3titule." "Jiob," I fctíimmered; "why, do you lvMOW 15(lb i" "Of course I do," lie answeied. 'J'hen Beeitlff my look of utter bewildei inent, '1 will tel] you all abont it wlieu we have reacbed our destlnation," he conClnud, us lie hailed a hansom and put me uto ir, placing hlmself by my side. To my ttmiizement lio directed the cabman to drive, instead of to Bob's liumble lodglng?, to Ouslow Square; but by this time I was feellng 80 8uy, mys:ilitd, and altogether nncorafortable, that I could not brinft myself to nsk any quistions, more especiully as my companlon remuined s silent as my.-elf, and did not scem lucllued to voluntcerany Information. Whcn, bowever, tlie cab drove up at No. US Oiiílow Square, I could con tai n myself DO longer. "üh picase tell me what it means?'1 I ezcluliued, turnlñg to Oüvcr. "This liou-c, I know, belongs to a cousin of my fatber's, H Mr. Courthope, who has not spoken to him or to us for ages." "And who lastycar iimrried my sister," lie adde 1 as the door oponed, and lie led the way up slairs to tlic dru.ving-rooni. Oue K'aui'e at the kindly face of Mis. Courthope, its solé oceupunt, reassured me, as shc took my hand In ben, and mude me slt down on the sofa by her side, whilst Captain Drummond quietly left the room. Then I learnt for the first time, Ihat my father was very ill in America, and tlmt he had only this mor ni ng teicgraphed for llob, who had immeillately Bturted tor Jjlvcrpool, leavinfc Captain Drummond, wlio it scems had soujrlit h lm out and made his arquaintance immciliatt ly on his return from Uroyland to meet me at the station. It all seemed like a (lro:iiii as I Detened to the gentlc, fympathetlo voice that spoke so kindly of my poor father and when nt lunciieoo-time my cousin, wliom I had never seen, but often heard of as the Incarnution of all that was detestable, presented hiinstlr. I found hiin to be as nice and as pleasant ae iiis wife. AHoKether it was i wondi-rful day fur mp, for wliilst Mr. Conrtbope went to dresc, to take me in her cairiage to tbe stallon, and I retnaJned in the dr(twln{[room tinniii'; over pliotograph books and looking aboiu me at the pretty tilines witli the eagcr curloslty of ntoeteen, the door opened, anl Oliver walked in. Somehow there was soinetliing in his face which put me all In a tremble; in n moment, as by u fl.isb of inspiration, I knew what was comiug, and when, two minutes later, he was telliníf m; that lie loved me, and wanted to innke me his wife, my heart was beatlng so 1 could iiot answer hlm. But I suppose lic uu - derstood me, for he went wlth me to tlie stntion, and the last thing I saw ng I stenmed back lo Croyland was bis face uniling at me from tlie platform. Olivi-r and I were mnriied the very -unir day thai Mrp. Vlbart exchanged her aame for tïi :it of Lewls, and becarae tlie wife of another very rich city man. "Ah! dearest," said my husband, as we stood together on tlie deck of the Bteamer that was to bear a hoi-oss to America - our wedding trip - where niy father, although from well, was on the 1ikIi rond to recovery, "what should I have done If she lind accupted me? I had proposed to Lilah Mauricc; I was not prepared (or Lilah Vibart, and the moment I s:iw her come into the room in Half Moon Street I feit that my old love was a dead aslflkad seen her in her collïn. There was not a bit of Lilah Maurlce left ubout


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