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An Idyll Of Oyster Bay

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(Contiuiied from lnjt week.) Oh, Clara, pity me! 1 have lound my Ufe just as I ara to lose it! I am writinR this letter to you because I must do so or break my hcart. Hans has promised to come undei my window In un liour for it, íor, Clara, i am no longer able to leave the bouso myself. I am a prisoner, looked up by Harriet lest, I should see Mr. Douglaa and giveup every thing for hlm. Let me teil you all about Uquiokly, for the minutes fly and Hans may soon bo hcre. I told you last week how muota I was seeing of Mr. Douglas, and baw muoh I ■wished I wure free to care for Mm. Clara, I have been a fooi, a waak fooi, and have let myself drift with the tide ofmy feelings, without a thoupht, to the sharp rooka on whloh I miprht be drifting. Harriet has beon with us all the time, Harriot has approved of him, and there has been nothing to warn mo that he thought auy thing more of me than of an ordinary acquaintance until to-night. We were all sitting on the yorch watching thR sim ro down. He had rowed us homo, and at Harriet's rcquest stayed to suppor. Cliira. when I ara old and all the íife and passion has died out of my heart, I suall still remember the red glow of tbat sunset, the litüc; ruddy dimples each stroke of his o;ir m-ade on the glowini: bosom of the tiile, the fleecy clouds overhead, deopening fioni pearl to rosy tinta until they reacnoa the water, whon the . ■'" P llrlli contimied In dceper, gtronffer hues, till they reached our boat and enveloped us too in their glory and spiendoi-. Sunset has undono moro lovers than Over the oold, prudish gleain of raoonlight. Harriet was in the wAist of the boat, he in the bow, and I Bteerinjf. Over Harriofs shoulder he gívo me one look. Clara, if tlir.t. is the way all uien look at, the vromen they lovo, I no longer wonder at the power men havo over us. Jt was us though some one had struck me. I was powerleaa to speak or even move! I sat Bilent, hardly daring to hreathe and if my lite liad depended on it I conki not have raised my eyes. Harriet must have seen my face and tnterpreted its aeaning. She was singularly pleasant to Mr. Donólas, and would ask bim to supper when I longlng for hitn to go tliat I mijfht be alono to fathom if 1 could the strango term: ' "irTbroughout the mr;il I ilid not speak, and I co "'!l1 wten prriet il in the poreh with i ■Vtsvhen I iound cut her i ,iV, , ■ must of this evening," she said, "for to-morrow my Miece and 1 havo to go away." I startod, and so did ho. "Yes," she oontinued, quickly, before I could say a word. "It's timetbat my niece went back to her people; she's getting kind of notiony out bere, ana the notions she's setting won't be good for her;" ihen gotting bolder as we both maintained silence: "Ididn'tsay nothing to you about it, Naa, but I put yourbits of duda together this afternoon, and ivc'll start by the first train to Long Island City in the morning." I was silent, and for a few moments not a word was said; then from the cowshed came the voice of William Sayer: "Harriet! Harrietl Come herel The old cov's a-dying, sure!" The old cow was theapple of Ilarriet's ye, and without a word sho rose and ■rsn to the sbed. In an instant Mr. Dougtas was on his ioet. "A blessinsr on the old cow! And may 8ho need all-nigbt treatment. Nan! Nan'. I must speak to you! Come wlth me, quickly!" He hurried me down tho bank to the boat that was beuched below us, and in a trico we were off and rowing for dear Ufe to round the point before Uarriet ehould come back and miss us. There was not a Kound of the oar in the rowlock now; silent as dcath and as swift, we sped out into the darkling waters. A moment - two - and tben we had rounded the point, and, stretching to hia work with lonsr, easv strokes, vo were soon under the shadow of old Firefly. Not a word did he speak as we sped along, only as we passed the rock whioh had been the flrst means oi bringing U3 together ho rested his oars, and, leaning forward, took my hand and kissed it. Silently he beached the boat, lifted me out, and, taking my hand, led me toward a spot we both had often loved. A spring camo down from tho heighta above to mingle with the waters here, and over its mouth a great tree had ifallen, leaving a branch that had served us for a bench inany a time. As wc walked my feot slipped on a stone, and involuntarily 1 grasped hls shoulder for assistanco; whi'ii I would ïave withdrawn my hand he placed his on mine and held mo fast, but spoke no word till we reached the seat. Then he Btood before me and spoke: "Nan," he said slmply, "I love you! 1 ove you with my whole soul. I ought not to teil you so, because youraunt told me two weeks ago that you woro already proraised to a younpf farmer near your 5wn home. Hush. Xan, don"t apeak. You have been all that was sweet, womanly and modest, and had I not known this 1 should have had to leave you long aL0, for I, too, am promised to anothcr; I knew my love could not harm vou. or I would have put the whole iantic between us days ago! But I could not letyou go away foyever without telling you. It can never do a woman harm to know that a man loves her and would mako hor the prido of his home if he were ahle. I feel, somehow, that I must teil you, Nan, and that I can do so without wronging the man to hom you are bound, or forfeiting whatever esteem you may have for me." He was silent a moment, holding my hand in his and caressing it. Then he spoke again: "You have always struck me as being so much above your position, Nan. It seems strange to ftnd a girl of such fine sensibilities among swch people aayours, and it is this Lentle nature of yours that makes ir.e feel that you v.ill understand rac to-night. You have been kind to me, Nan, ;;nd had ive both been free, I tbink ! ooi ;: love me, but it is . I want you to think of ra : I want you to ion to p.i and to know i hal your sweet fricndship will b3 the one solace I shall tako with rao into tbc lovelcss liffl that lies before me." "L tveli ss!" i ?asp ■■i"Yes. lo -■ ! 1 bave rever loved anv vvoman in the world but you, Nan; no woman'a hand has ever lain on niy shoulder as jours cüd just now - no an 's pyos have ever fled from mine asj-ou i Lho boat thia evening - I never tlvnrrhr. of iovc till I thoug-bt of v u -she wl ora am bound in honor lu umivy .ivic s iiü! lovG me, nor I her." ■■Thc-n why- " I began. ■Xa.i." ha said. "don't you know what duty U? I havo :i dear mother - sho ha3 Bacriftoed berself for me a thousand i.;ies sinci; sim first gave rae birth- he ha3 doprived b"!f of necossark'S that I migbt havo luxurios. My fathcr, Nan, ia a poor, blind, old man; Tor lum ana for me my niothcr has done marvels. She sent me to college ttaat I might bo ablo to tako the high pïaoe among men that she covetad for me, and to o thi3 and feed tny blind father she had to deprivo herself of every thing. When I discovered the truth I voved to repay her if it ever lay in my power. The opportunity has come; she who has till now never asked any thing of me in her Ufe now asks that I marry this woman. At the time when my mothor made this reqaest it seemed nothin to me - I promised. Now, Nan, 1 flnd that it was a supreme sacrifico tb at she asked me, and thouL?h I would endeavor to keep my word to my mother at all costs, still if you loved me it would be almost beyond my power to do so, and I rejoice that you have no love for me to make the sacrifico beyond the power of human enduranoe." Clara, what could I say? What could I do? Uere was the love I had longed for, the deliverance I had prayed for, right within my reach, and yet not for me. Clara, you know by this time that [ did care for Mm, and to have him feel conüdont tb at I did not and to believe in a wioked invention oí that foolish Harriei's was too muoh for me. I feit evory thing I cared for in the world slipping away from me, and I did what I could not help doing - broke down and wept. In a moment bis awns wero about me. "Nan. my darlinpf, why do you sob so? Teil me- is it- Nan, teil me, do youlove me?" What could I say, Clara? Nothing. I buried my head on his shoulder and could not speak, but how truo it is that there are times when words are superfl uous! He understood me perfectly and Boothed me like a child. I will never forget the happy moiaents that followed. Then he spoke. "1 havo been wrong, very wrong; I Bhould nave left you long aso, and not jeopardizod your happiness as well as my ov.n!' "You havl been deceired," I said; "Harriet bas deceived you. I arn not bound to any one. Ii is true that in a fow days I have to give my decisión about some one - but I am free, absolutely free." He was silem and paoöd up and down the beach boforo me. "It is, then. your bappiness and mine, agalnst the peaoe of iniiid of my mother," he said at last. "üti, Nan, ought we to listen to the voiofi of duty and part here and now, or ousjht weto throw all elso aside for our love?" He paced tho beach affain, and thoo oamo and stood beside me. "Could you face poverty with me?" b asked. "Not such as you have here, but genteol poverty, where you have t Btruffgle to keep upappearances, no matter how sad your heart, or how empty yourpurse. I am quite a poor fellow: would you be willing to share povorty with me?"' "I could - " I began. Ho interruptcd me. "I know what you would say, you' could work. But were you my wife I would not lot you wear out yonr life working íor me." I pausod. I was about to teil him the whole truth, when swif tly bearing down upon us carne Harriot. She liad missed us and flown along tlie beaoh after us. She was so enraged that she hardly knew what she was saying, and with hor backing of YVilliam Sayer and Hans she was formidable indeed. "You're a une specimen for a gentleman!" sho began; "as for you Kan, I'll talk to you later. Get homo at once I If it wasn't too late you should go back to your home this night!" "You needn't be so angry with your niece, Mrs. Saver," he said, soothingly. "If you had priven us time we would have como back to you ourselves and taken you into our conndenco. 1 nave been askinjr Xan to be my wife." "You have," Harriet snifted. "Well she won'D, I can teil you that rightnow. Lordy, who are you, I wonder, to want to marry the likes of her!'' Mr. Douglas was nettled. "I can satis fy you about my respectablity easily enoug-h," he said. "I can offer your niece a comfortable home with my mother and father, and can give yon a guaranteo to keep her from want." "You can, i-in you!"' saul Harriet, "and you ihink thr.t wonld satisfy her! You don't know her! She's never done a hand's turn in her life, that girl hasn't! What do you ma' "Nearly flfty dollars a wei "Btumph! She couU spend that in gloves, and not know sheVl bad it!" Mr. Douglas looked at me, amazed. Harriet, however, went on qulokly. "She ain't no country girl! She's a girl city born. and city bred, and you d be cursing her in a month if I was fooi enougb to let you both have your way. Look at them shoes on tbc feet of her. I hid them a way f rom herbut she found 'em. If tbeycost a penny they cost a tendollar bill, and vet she knows no better than to wcar them out here on them roug-h stones. Is that tbe wife for a man witb nearly fifty dollars a week! lloist your sails and pull up your anchor, young man, and bo off and forget her as fast as you can. Sho's hot for the likes of you. Besides she's promised to a man who'll gct ber all the sboes she needs." Mr. Douglas' face bad been changing as sho delivcred her harangue, but ho managed to stammer out: 'liutsho says it is not truc!" '■]5ut I say it is, and Vm a s0Oi friend to tou. You p:ct out of hero witb the morning tide! Kan ain't for the likes of you." '■Lct nc speak vj your niece one moment!" he urged. "Xct a word," said Harriet, "and be■3 been deceivinff you rigbt along. She ain't no niece of mino at all." With acry Mr. Douglas threw up his hands and dashed ofr' into t!ie thicket. and Harriet, with the truo instinct of a general, toóle possession of his boat, bade Hans lift mo in - I was too dumb with anger and sorrow lo resist - and thiis we rowed home. Without further parley Ilarriet ushered mo into my little bedroom, lit my lamp, and remarkjng dryly that I should thank her for her nijfht'8 work when I was "quit fooling," whisked out of the room and lockcd tho door on me. Mywindow is pretty high up f rom the ground. but half an hour ago I )ieard a tapping on the phutter. I opencd it; it was Hans. In sailor fashion he had clambered up the rough boards. "I wanted to teil you,." he wbispered, "that I thought the missus was treatin' you povverf ui mean, and if thero is auy thing I kin do I'll do it. Blcssed if 1 won't." "Como back in an hour," I whispered; "I may have a letter for you." "For the yacbt?" I nodded and he disappeared. I sat down to writo to Mr. Douglas, Clara, but 1 could not. I would in the first place havo to ask him to break hig word to his mothor and to that other woman, und all for the sake of one who could not fail to be a burden to him. I would havo to teil him that every word that llarriet had spoken was true, and I could not do it, Clara. I f eel the force of Ilarriet's words. I should be a drag on him, and a hindranco to him - and it is better that I pass out of his life, and let him purgue the even course laid out for him before the unhappy hour when first wo met. Ah, Clara! it gives me somo sad comfort to know that my love for him is strong enough to let mo sacrifico my own happiness for his. Good-byo, dear; I bear Ilans outside. Be kind to me, Clara, and pity ruo that next week I must prive my promise to that doubly bated Pryor ü. Your Kroken-Hearted Friend, Kanette Van Cortland. P. S.- Oh, Clara! What do yon think? Ilans tells mo that Mr. Douglas has just been here for his boat, and that he, Ilans, told him ali he knew about me, and that llarriet had not been speaking the truth, and that I was crying, and hero, Clara, rigbt before my eyes I have a penciled note from him. This is what it says: "Kan, I do not sail till five; I will wait here for a word with you all the nijrbt. Hana says he Unnkshecan brlng yon to me. I foei sure that you can explain every tliing to mo, and if you can. Kan, nothing shall jiart us. "DoTJOLAS." Clara, I shall go lo hhn; and the future? Ciara, the future must take care of itself. 1 lovo him- that is all. DEAJiKST Ci.aiia: I um too happy to wisito, biit I owe it to you to let you kiYow the end of that dreailful nightlast week. Whe'ft do you suppose l urn writing? Leanlng on the roof of tne cabin of Douglas' yacht. We are in New RooheUe harbor, and to-morrow is the day I havo to render my decisión to my lawyer. I shan'tgo to his office, though; ho is coming hero to my weddinp, my wedding with Doupflas, and while I am writlng you Douplas' mother is sitting beside me interrupting mo cvery now and again to teil me what a pood, brave, noble fellow her son is. As if I had not bund that out for myself ever so long ago. Let me teil you: About ten o'clock that awful night I wrote you about, Harrict entered the oom and gave me a long leoture on my niquities, and upon the sin of flying in he face of Frovidence and making a )oor dnidgo of myself, when I oould ïave all the money in the world that I vanted just for saying so. I listoned to ïer patiently. Had 1 not grot Douglas' ettor safely buttoned up in my frock, and at overy heart beat couldn't I hear a faint cracklo of the paper it was writ;en on? At last she got drowsy, and bidding me good-night went out, locking the door behind her and taking away the key. Soon aftor I heard her go to her room, and all was quiet. I waited breathlessly, expeoting Hans to como for me, but an hour went by; then Harriet went down-stairs and out into the cow-shed. I remembered Douglas' wish bitterly. The cow was needing an all-night treatment, and I should never see him again. I laid my arms across the table by the window and cried bitterly, and in crying must have fallen asleep, for I knew no more till a hand was laid on my head. I started iip! It '.vas Ilans. "It's four o'eloek, you must hurry," he said; "she's been round all night with thatcow!" Without a word I oboyod his instruetions. Ilans crept soflly over the sill, tied a pieee of ropo around my waist, directed rae to crawl out of the window, and gently lowered me into the arms of a figure waiting below. Doulas. Stealthily lie hurried me down to the boat, but in a moment Ilans was after us. "Where be you going?" he said, "you can't tako her nowheres in that boat. I'm deaf and dumb, I am. Say all you've a mind to right here, and 111 put her back in her room without any ono ing she's been out of it." Donpias paused. "Nan," he said, "your coming' to me tells me all I want to know. My mother is staying in Kow Rochelle; lot ma tako you with mo to lier, and pre tho sun sets as'ain you shall bc my wife." I drewback. "AYhat she said was truo," I said, Blowly. "I am not her nieco; I havo been broujrht p in luxury; I do r.ot knowny thing about earning my llvinof- bi'.t' I am free. In a few days I would hai r I would marry a n,s.n I do not love for the sake of the wealth the i ould bring me. Ha arry this ;na,n - but since I hav ou - I can not," "You do love , cclaimod, rapturously. I smiled up in bis face. Hans bad discreetly turnea bis back, and with a sigh of deep content Doxiglas took me in his arms, and for the first time, Clara, a lover's lips met mine! Olt! Clara! don't let any one persuade you to marrv for money! Wait until you have found your happinesï as I have dono. "Wi'll vou novae -.vitli me?" he asked, after a minute. "Anywhere, evorywhere!" I replied. "Hans," he callcd, "Miss Xan has promised to bo my wifc. I want to take her with me on the vacht to my mother in New llochello. Will you come with her and deliver her into my mother's hands?" Hans'only answer w&s to shovo off the boat and lift me ín. In fifteen minutos we were at the yacht's side. Already there was a stir on board. It was ten minutes to üve, and the two men who sailcd her were anxious to be off. The boat was hauled up, the anchor weighed, and in a few minutes the wind was bellying out the sails and we were off. Oh! those sweet first moments as she answered to her heltn and with the glad bound of an impatient horse thrust hor pretty noso in the waters and sent them bubbling and seething along her sides. Suddenly there was a cry: "Look out, there! Boat ahoy! Look out!" and to Douglas, who was at the wheel, a cry of: "Put her hard down to port, sir!" Right up alongside of us sped a catboat, and its oooupant, with a dexterous lunge, fastenud himself to us with his boat-hook. It was William Sayer. Tho lumberIng oíd oysterman liad been made to hurry for once. "Harriet knows you're gone," ho gasped, the wind blowing his words back down his throat, "and sho says you're to come right back alonsr o' me, Miss Van Cortland." Dousjlas let go tho wheel and left it to fatc or Hans. ( Jood gecurity - Pistola. "Jfiss what?" he oried, springinfj to my side. "Van Cortland!" I said, surprised. "Is your name Van Cortland?1' "Yes." "Nanette Van Cortland?" "Yes!" In the face of everybody he took me in his arms. "Nan, my darling Nan, is it possiblel Why, Nan, I am your cousin, Pryor D." Ohl Clara, how every thing changed! It was "farewell grief and welcome joy, ten thousand times thereforo," as the old song has it. We haulod down the sails Ion? enough to go on shoro and teil Harriet all about it, and get mo a decent gown to land at New Hochelle in. We took Harriet on board along with us, and as we sailed Douglas told me how he came to bo called Douglas and not Pryor D. Pryor is also his father's name, and as his father's old firm had omployed him as soon as he was able to join them, they had always been spoken of as Mr. Van Cortland and Mr. Doufflas, andthus Harriet's mistakO had arisen, which he had nevor thought it worth whilo to roctify. What a happy party we wore as we sailed down the sound- and how overjoyod his mother waswhpn lio presentad me to her, an she found that the desiro of her heart was to bo so happily gratifled- aro thinps that 1 will teil you when you come back; but I wish that every brido tiiis yoar may feel as glad and proud as I sball to-morrow, when I put my band in Douglas' and become Mrs. Pryor D. Van Cortland. Ever Your Loving [tiie END.]


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Ann Arbor Courier