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JOTTINGS.

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RHYL PETTY SESSIONS.

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AN APPEAL FOR THE OLD CEMETERY.

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ItOBBED OF A CRIME;

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ilne tears rushed to Thella's eyes and rolled over her white cheeks, but without a word she obeyed. She had moved half way to the door, when she all at once paused, and all at once walked swiftly back. Silently, and without a look, she seized Lady Elgar's hand and pressed it passionately to her lips. That touching act performed, she once more turned away, and the next moment disappeared in the gallery. "viper I" ejaculated Alice, contemptuously. Lady Elgar s eyea bad followed Thella in a speechless misery that no words could have described. But at that malignant exclamation they turned slowly and painfully back to the triumphant pair. Her first words were words of dismissal addressed to Martha Gregory. As the door closed on the woman, she addressed Ellen, her eyes carefully averted, and her steps hurriedly directed to her dressing-room. "I must be alone," she said, huskily. Do not wait for me, but when sufficiently composed go down to Lady Beverley. And-and do not broach âthis subject to me again. When-when I feel equal to the trial I will reopen it myself." With those faltering words she disappeared Thella had taken less than a half dozen steps from the boudoir door when the handle of the lock was hastily turned by Martha Gregory. The girl paHsed and looked baok, thinking she was about to be recalled. But at the sight of the woman coming from the room she hastily moved forward again. Martha smiled ferociouly, and reached her almost at a stride. Seizing her arm, she looked wickedly down into the pale, haughtily upturned face. She Bpoke: "The next time you cross my path, Miss, have your proofs at hand." With those words, hissed close to the girl's ear, she loosened her grasp, and tne next minute was out of sight. Shuddering from head to foot, Thella stood look- ing after her with a wild, overwhelming sense of fear. before she had sufficiently removed herself to think of going on to her room, the door of a guest chamber, at a little distance, suddenly opened, and Lord Courtney stepped into the gallery. As he caught sight of the girl he moved hastily toward her. 0 The next instant he quickened his stops still more, a look of vivid anxiety effacing the smile with which he had at first greeted ber. â¢' My darling he cried, softly, clamping her u«jv\ L-J,, I)etN%,een both of his own. "Mydar ling, what has nap^â»" ilia girl littei her eyes half aoujjn-eiy h;â face. Rachel Bartram denies all!" The marquis understood her on the instant. A torrent of red blood mounted to his brow, and he said, hastily, haughtily: "But the countess does not question your vera- city ?" At those hot words the half doubt in Thella's eyes vanished as if by magic. But, in spite of herself, the tears rushed to them in a blinding tor- rent. The marquis bent over her, pale with anger. "Never," he said, sternly-" never ask me to forgive Lady Elgar this insult, for 1 never will To-morrow you shall leave Cromlech. Lady Elgar shall spare Melissa long enough to see you safe in your own humble home under my care, and-" Till that moment the girl had been struggling with her natural emotion, incapable of uttering one word. But there she gently checked him. Her lovely eyes wet with tears, her lovely mouth tremulous with feeling, she cried softly Co Oh, Neville! Neville think no hard thoughts of Lady Elgar, and utter no hard words I W hat- over she may say to you, receive it gentlyâ" She suddenly checked herself. The young lord had set his lips together in a way that boded ill for her plea. She looked at him a moment, and then whis- pered, shyly, entreatingly: For my sake, dear Neville Because I-I love you He lifted her hand passionately to his lips. Because I love you he whispered. "Because you love me, and because you are an angel But, mind, I shall express my opinion of you. And I shall remove you from Cromlech without needless delay. With these words, and another impassioned pres- sure of his lips upon the dainty hand, he hastened away. As he reached the foot of the stairs Ellen issued from Lady Elgar's boudoir. She cast a triumphant look towards Thella's closed door, and then, in accordance with Lady Elgar's instructions, proceeded to Lady Beverly. A very few minutes later the boudoir door opened again. This time it was Lady Elgar that emerged into the gallery. Till that moment she had been locked in the privacy of her bod chamber. With the aged face, and the slow, feeble step of an old woman, she dragged herself to Thel'a's dressing-room. The girl recognised the light tap in a moment, and flew to the door. She opened it. The countess looked at her timidly, and then spoke, timidly. I am intruding, I fear," she said, pausing in wistful hesitation upon the threshold. You are making your toilet.' Dear Madam cried Thella, brokenly, how could you intrude upon me ? Surely you know how welcome you always are I The countess answered with that same timid look and that same wistful hesitation. I may come in then ? she asked. Thella burst into tears, and hastily extending her hand drew her in, and closed the door. The door closed, the countess again fixed her eyes timidly upon the girl. There was a moment of silence, in which the two stood gazing at each other. The next Lady Elgar utter a low, anguished cry, and all at once sank upon her knees at Thella's feet I f <, <i .'C CHAPTER XLVI. LADY -ELGAK'S ABOLISH. U Because my heart is broken you will forgive me, my poor Thella ?" With those passionate words Lady Elgar lifted her clasped hands and raised her pleading eyes. Thella caught the hands and pressed them to her lips, the tears pouring thick and fast over her pale cheeks. Dear madam site cried, falteringly, you break my heart with such humility Can you doubt that I would gladly suffer your contempt to save you all this pain ? If you can, you little know the love I bear you, my lady That impassioned reply only seemed to add to the countess's grief. "Alas I" she cried, rising from her knees, and casting her anguished eyes upwardâ" Alas that one so angelic should even temporarily have been sacrificed for one so hopelessly And, oh how am I to bear this heart-breaking sor- row ? Ah! better, far better that her infant life had been extinguished in the depths of the sea, than that she should have lived to becojiie-" Her voice dropped. She paused and covered her face with her hands. She went on, her voice sank to a husky whisperâ" Aâa fury andâa liar I" Thella stood silently weeping. The sound of her hushed sobs aroused the countess from her trance of misery. She dropped her hands and looked at the girl. The next moment she folded her tenderly to her breast. Think not, my love," she said, more calmly, that you are to bear this burden of shame Oh, no Ob, no I shirked my duty under the awful, overwhelming shock, but I shall do it yet. Give me a day or two, my poor Thella I cannot think I I can only see that my child is in col- lusion witij this low woiiian-tliat she is-what I have said But there my palsied mind ceases to act I must have time to rally-time in which to think and reason intelligently, md timeâ" lhella lifted her lu-iid from the countess's bosom in I p:lîMII.II\ of #om>w. o. Oh, what does it matter to me, dear madam ?" she cl"h-"i, J^dn^'y. "It is the knowledge of your grief and disappointment that wrings my heart r As Heaven Is my witness I could wtSu your ladyship's eyes had been blinded by the love you bear the Lady Alice I wished it then, I wish it now Tien think iiot of me, Iear niadaiii, for that which brings you peace or happiness will be wa, that which restores my own 1 have no thought or wish separate from your happiness Once more the countess strained her to hei breast. Oh my d arling," she cried, II you comfort me when I thought no comtort was left me on I Through your sweet ministrations I shall be able to join my guests with a heart somewhat lightened of its awful weight,. And now, dearest, trust me till I feel equal to the task before me With those words, and a last fond kiss upon the girl's tremUing 1 ip-s, she hastened away. Meanwhile, Lord Courtney had joined Lady Beverly, and, directly after, was duly presented to the beautifil young adventuress. Ellen used all her arts to fascinate the young marquis, but without avail. i.,i,esli from his short interview with Thella. and disturbed by the dreadful suspicions already men- tioned, he was in no state of mind to be imposed upon. He deported himself with the high-bred courtesy which invariably marked his nunner, and which her position as Lady Elgar's daughter demanded, but underneath tint was a cold, ciitical observa- tion which the girl felt, and resented tiei cely. For a time he held lii, judgment determinedly in abeyance, but the trifling event of Thella's en- trance, clcc-e upon Lady Elgar, at last brought him to a swift and unalterable decision. There could be no mistaking the baleful -gleam of triumph and hatred which shotfrom Ellen's eyes at the sight of Thella. The girl is bad bad to the core 1" he said to himself, chancing to cdtch the look. Heaven grant she may prove an adventuress as well as a Bend Lady Elgar was not a woman to carry her sor- rows into the world, and no trace of her secret care and anguish marked her doportment. She was the same graceful, seif-possesaed hostess that she always was, dispensing courtesies and smiles on all alike. rillen observed it with a glow of fierce, jealous rage. "She carries her hospitality too far!" shethought. Why does she not permit her manner towards Thella Erht-" The angry query was suddenly banished from her mind by the unexoectcd aooearance of Hugh Tri ft on. Hugh advanoed and shook hands warmly with the marquis, expressing his regret at not being able to meet him at the station, and his pleasure at get. ting back in time to lunoh with him. As those courtesies came to a close Ellen eagerly .v.Jbç,d.. ¡';m And did you secure my Vior.se, Cousin Hugh ?" she cried, musically. Not only the horse, Lady Alice, but a saddle also. At that gracious reply Ellen clasped her hands ecstatically. "And you will give me my first lesson when luncheon is over?" Hugh's second answer was as gracious as hIs first. "With the greatest pleasure," he bowed, "if Lady Elgar approves." Oh, mamma. will approve. Won't you, mamma, dearest ? And Lord Courtney will kindly excuse us." She looked radiantly from the countess to the marquis, and was answered by both according to her wishes. I:> Lady Beverly patted her affectionately on the hand. How happy you are, my dear," she smiled. Ellen caught the hand, and with charming grace laid her cheek upon it. "And have I not everything in the world to make me happy, dear Lady Beverly she asked, softly. Lady Elgar brought the guileful exhibition of grace and sweetness to an end by the reminder that lucheon had been announced. Luncheon over, and the necessary preparations concluded, Hugh Trafton and Eilen started for their ride. Lady Elgar, who with the others, had been watching them off, turned from the colonnade with a suppressed sigh and led the way to the drawing- room. At her request Thella sat down at the piano. Lady Beverley seized the opportunity to settle for a nap, and Lord Courtney politely seated himself near his hostess. near his hostess. For a little Thella's divine music lul l them in a rapt admiration. But gradually Lady Beverly's thoughts of the performer and the performance bee>.me grotesquely confused, and gradualiy Lady Elgar's wandered back to the wretehed one of Ellen Gregory. A low-toned, enthusiastic observation from the maiquis recalled her to herself. Slightly starting, she looked up n.t him, and then, without reply, glanced quickly, first at Lady Beverly, and then at Thella. Both were absorbed the one in her slumbers, the other in the delicious harmonics she was evoking. As quickly as she had looked away, she looked back. But instead of answering, she said in low, agitated tones Come quietly with me to the library, >"evi!!e.' Startled and amazed, Lord Com tney instantly arese, and, unobserved by Thella, left the room with her ladyship. Shut in the privacy of the library, Lady Elgar's manner underwent a distressing change. Her lips quivered, her pale face grew noticeably paler, and her slight, elegant form trembled from Lead to foot with irrepressible enn-tion. My dear Lady EL;ar cried the marquis, alarmed as well as surprised. Lady Elgar rested one hand on the edge of the writing-table, and extended the other entreatingly towards him. Don't she said, hastily, brokenly. I have a sad task to perform let me get through with it as quickly as possible I wish to sneak to you of Thella." At the mention of Thella's name Lord Courtney's face suddenly Hushed. holly misinterpreting the cause of the countess's agitation, he drew his magificent form haughtily to his full height alfd interposed onickly. I am already acquainted with the fact of Rachel Bartram's denial, Lady Elgar, and value it as it should be valued." The countess looked at him in surprise. AN-itiiotit waiting for the inquiry she was about to utter, he explained I met Thella in the gallery as I left my dress- ing-room," he continued, his tone and air still un- compromisingly haughty. Her evident agitation drew an inquiry from me which was answered as I have just stated." Then you know all the shameful truth cried the countess, in anguished accents. All the shameful truth which I was about to force my own lips to utter Thank Heaven, she has spared me the sad task As she spoke the words she raised her hands and half covered her face. Lord Courtney's eyes darkened with anger. Lady Elgar he exclaimed, you were my mother's dearest friend, and from my earliest recollections I have loved you devotedly but if you were an angel from heaven, you could never make me doubt the truth of the lovely girl I have chosen for my bride Lady Elgar dropped her hands and looked at him in startled surpiise. Never heeding the look, and burning with indignation at the supposed insult to Thella, he hurried hotly on. II To-morrow Thella shall leave Cromlech: As her- Lady Elgar stopped him there, heavily grasping his arm with both hands. C, You mistake she said rapidly, hoarsely, and looking him full in the face with her anguished eyes. "You mistake It is my own child that is the-the-liar The marquis started back in shocked amaze- ment. SheâThella did not tell you that 1" she asked, hoarsely. Deeply affected, the marquis shook his head. "She burst into tears when I questioned her about your indig- nation won me to a promise not to bi.une you iu either thought or w.adâa p.-o>id,e which, lam ashamed to say, I hav forgotten "The angclic child!" cried the countess, bro- kenly. "She would not expose Alice even to you. Oh I Neville, if you had seen her standing there js her ^shocked, innocence and spotless purity when Rachel denied thy c'u < â g* i.5 was that which led me unerringly to the tiuth, uvea £ o the Condemnation of my owu chil, "I can imagine," said the rair^iis, with emo- tion, "but," he added quickly, "L do (litite understand. Lady Alice made her appearance before luuchoon looking radiantly happy, aud throughoutâ" Lady Elgar's pale face flushed slightly as she interposed "Alice is labouring under l: fulse impression which, at the time, I was too much overwhelmed to remove. Lord Courtney flushed in his turn. Observing it, Lady Pllgar said sadly "Thella has forgiven me, Neville,and you must. To morrow, ot next day, she shall be jus- tified in their sight. I must have time to think. I seem confused and unable to reason properly. It is clear to me that Thella must be I ighted as soon as I am equal to the task, and it i just as clear to me that you should be made acquainted with the facts I have stated. But there my mind fails. It seems to be swallowed up in a fathomless abyss of anguish in which the thoughts of my childâ' Lord Courtney broke in upon her with a sudden agitated vehemence. Your child, Lady Elgar he cred. Heaven forbid. It id monstrous to believe it. I do not believe it. That bad giri is no child of yourse madam." CHAVTKR xi.m. A PT-EA AND ITS A>'SWKTT. Lady Elgar feii back with a gasp, and dropped white and speechless into a chair. Grieved at his own hastiness Lord Courtney sprang to her side, entreating her pardon. The countess silenced him with a gesture. "Tell me," she cried faintly, for Heaven's sake tell me what you mean, Neville ? The marquis diew forward a chdr and, sealing himself beside her, atlectiuiiately took her hand. My dear Lady Elgar," he began, gravely, "I spoke from my feelings, arid from the suspicious engendered by what I have learned to-day. As you are aware, I am but slightly acquainted with the story of your child's loss aud supposed restoâ" Before he could complete the sentence the countess interrupted him. "Perhaps I have been unwise," she said, speak- ing in accents of the deepest agitation. But I Was so assured in my own mind. And if Lady Beverly and Hugh Trafton could see no-" Hugh Trafton suddenly exclaimed the mar- quis, adding hastily the next moment: Pardon my interruption, and also my ill-advised words. I had wholly forgotten that Hugh had to be satis- fied If lie is satisfied, Lady Elgar, I have no cause to entertain doubts. A man who has a grand title and magnificent revenues at stake, is a man whose judgment is to be depended upon." Hugh is satisfied, completely satisfied," re- turned the countess, agitatedly as before. "But I must now confide the whole story, with my excellent lociaous for secresy, to you. Tim d (>11 ht you have expressed, with the events of the last two days, has penetrated my mind with a great shock. Of the latter events Hugh knows nothing. They have seemed to me so unworthy of especial notice that the thought of mentioning them to Hugh has never once occurred to me. And, until my half paralysed faculties resume their wonted activity, I shall maintain the same silence. My child may be a disappointment and aJiving sor- row, Neville, but it is none the less my duty to protect her interests. And my peace, Neville, must be found in leading her to higher things I have exposed her to you because justice to Thella imperatively demanded the exposure. But, oh Neville, try to remember, with me, the dreadful 1 influences to which she has, for so many years been involuntarilyâ" Her voice broke down she caught her breath spasmodically and her eyes dimmed with the first tears that had moistened them that day. Lord Courtney bent his head, and in silent sympathy, and silent assurance that her wishes would be regarded, pressed his lips to her trembling hand. The countess understood the act, and directly resumed. "I will now," she said, "give you a full account of everything from the beginning to this hour." With that agitated preface, she opened her nar- rative at the moment that she had received the Earl of Elgar's message in front of Hartford House. Lord Courtney, as Lady Beverley had done the week previous, sat in the profoundest silence throughout the whole recital. As the countess ceased speaking he slowly lifted his eyea from the floor, to which they had dropped, looked at her for a moment, and then hastily arose and began pacing the room. Lady Elgar watched him silently, and silently met his gaze when he came back and reseated him. self. But her countenance was expressive of the keenest anxiety. Observant of that anxiety, he spoke, without prefatory words, concisely to tho point. Lady Elgar," ho said, it is my belief that you have been made the victim of a most nefarious plot." There was a momentary silenoe-a. siloucc in which the countess gazed at him with wide, troubled eyes. She was tho first to speak. "NevilIe," she said hoarselyâ" Neville, yester- day those words would have killed me. To-day I cry, May Heaven mercifully prove them to be words of truth I'" Again there was a silence. Again the countess broke it. She spoke wearily, and with the deepest sadness, Go back to the drawing-room now," she said, and leave me to myself. The further considera- tion of this terrible subjeot must be deferred till my mind is more capable of asserting its powers. Lord Courtney instantly rose. As he was pre- paring to leave the room she suddenly called him back. One thing," she said, quickly. At what point in my narrative did your suspicions arise, or, rather, re-assert themselves ? "At the point of the appearance of the new, and, I believe, true Rachel Bartram. l'p to tint point my opinion was the opinion of Lady Elgar, Lady Beverly, and Hugh Trafton." Lady Elgar's lips all at once turned to a chalky whiteness. She all at once spoke one slow word. Lost I" she said. At that word Lord Courtney bowed his head, with twitching lips. Who could attempt to con- sole such a grief as that ? Presently the countess spoke again. Lost she repeated. Lost in the streets of London To think I could have forgotten that I" She buried her face within her hands. Lord Courtney bent gently over her. Heaven is merciful," he brokenly. With those faltering words he turned hastily away and left the room. To his unbounded delight, he found Thella the sole occupant of the drawing-room, Lady Beverly having some time previous wandered off to finish her nap more comfortably in the seclusion of her own apartment. The girl looked up at him with eyes that anxiously inquired the cause of his absence. He answered first with a tender oaress, and the words of love and admiration rushing tumultuously to his lips as he thought of their late encounter in the gallery, and next with an account of the inter- view with Lady Elgar, excepting such portions aa touched upon the earl's crime. They were yet sadly discussing the subjeot when the gentle beat of hoofs upon the sweep announced the return of Hugh and Ellen. The marquis stepped to the window and looked out upon the pair. Ellen caught sight of him as she ran up the steps, and immediately hurried in to the drawing-room. Oh I I thought mamma was here," she said haughtily, drawing back as her eye fell upon Thella. The marquis courteously advanced. I left Lady Elgar in the library some time ago," he said, and it is possible you may find her there," f To be continual, )