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EDDA'S BIRTHRIGHT.

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EDDA'S BIRTHRIGHT. BY MRS. HARRIET LEWIS, Author of "Her Double Life," "Old Life's Shadows," Lady Kildare," etc. Cn APTER XXI. LA TOUR DE ST. PIERRE Upon the coast of Normandy, in France, npoa a tall, precipitous bluif, overlooking the English Channel, stands a quaint grey old chateau, with a round tower so close upon the edge of the dizzy cliff, that it seems to over-hang the water. This tower, two stories higher than the main edifice, terminates at its top in a cone-like peak, and with its narrow, slit-iike windows and massive rough stone walls, preserves a strangely feudal aspect. From the top of the tower to the water lashing the base of the steep cliff on which it is perched, is a sheer descent of nearly three hundred feet. The chateau, which seems but an append- age to the tower, is of more modern origin, and is a long, picturesque pile, with hang- ing windows, airy balconies, a stately entrance porch, and a long cloister-like colonnade, and is crowned with a stately Mansard roof, in which are set innumerable casement windows. The trees of the outlying park-or wood, as it is always called shut closely in around the dwelling upon three side3 like a grim army of defenders, but on the western side the cliff presents its bold, inaccessible front to the sea, and no screen from the winds is permitted in this direction. The chateau, taking name from the tower, is known as La Tour de St. Perrie. It is the ancestral home of a noble but impoverished Norman family, which in the present generation has dwindled to a siugle representative, who spends the lar" er portion of every year in Paris, going to Vichy and Biarritz in the season with the fashionable world, and spending a fortnight of every year in t' e hunting season at his chateau. The sterile farms belonging to the estate are let out by the owner's shrewd agent to peasants, from whom the last franc of rental possible is extracted but the Count de St. Pierre retains for his own use the chateau and park, with the right of hunting over the farms. He invariably brings with him upon his annual visits to his home a party of masculine friends, whose ad vent is always dreaded, and whose departure is always hailed with joy, by the farm-tenants. The Count de St. Pierre and Lord Clair were intimate friends, the English baron having spent many years in Paris, and Lord Clair had often visited the count's chateau in Normandy. The count was a bachelor, a member of the French Jockey Club, a frequenter of the boulevards, a fashionable idler, but, withal, a firm upholder of parental authority, and, like most Frenchmen, a firm believer in the light of parent to dispose of the hand of his daughter in marriage. I It therefore happened that while Lord Ronald Charlton was aearching everywhere about London for Hellene, and undergoing imprisonment upon her account in the little villa at Hackney, Lord Clair and his daughter were safely domiciled in the secluded Tour de St. Pierre, upon the coast of Normandy. The manner in which their installation at the chateau had been brought about was exceedingly simple. Lord Clair had taken his daughter, with her maid, up to London, and to a private family hotel, as is already known to the reader. His demeanor towards Hellene from the moment of leaving Charlwick-le Grand had been marked by a gentle- ness and consideration which, if it had not won her heart, had at least won her confidence. On leaving the hotel, Lord Clair had convoyed his daughter with her attendant by post-chaise to Dover, avoiding the railway in order to elude Ronald's expected pursuit. Hellene was not per- mitted to know her intended destination until they were actually in sight of the channel. Then, in response to her questionings, her father laughed lightly, and said So you thought we were on our way to your country seat of Rosemount, in Essex, Hellene ? I know I gave you that impression, but Rosemount is in the hands of a tenant, my dear, and we could not occupy it if we wished. The truth is, I have planned a little surprise for you. You need a change of air and scene. You are depressed with the recent death of the old Earl of Charlewick, and I am going to take you over to France, where I have lived so long. How will that please you, my dear ?" Very well, papa," said Hellene, with a sigh, as she thought of Lord Ronald. But is not June unseasonable for Paris V' The weather is cool and the summer is late. Besides, we shall not stop over a week in Paris, and you are in no frame of mind to see society, even if your deep mourning did not compel your seclosion. Your health and happiness are to be my chief care, and so I have planned to take a leisurely journey with you through France in a private carriage out of the beaten track, and make you acquainted with French people and French scenery, as few English people ever become ac- quainted with them. After a delightful summer we will return to England for the winter, and you shall decide where our winter rosidence shall be. Perhaps we may even obtain possession of your favourite Rosemount by skillful negotiation with its present tenant." The programme thus indicated pleased Hellene as well as any other that could have been devised. She knew nothing, and her father was equally ignorant, of the encounter in Charlewick Park between the earl and Lord Ronald, and of the dan- gerous ensuing illnesa of the latter. She believed that her lover would seek her out wherever she might be, and she intended to write to him secretly on arriving at Paris. No thought of personal danger entered her mind, She was confident that she could not be married to Lord Charlewick against her will, and equally confident that nothing could ever occur to cause her to think more favour- ably of him. I am glad that I am to go to the Continent," she thought. I shall see no more of the earl until we return to England, while Ronald will fol- low me, I know. Whatever his business and cares, I shall see him sometimes and receive his letters often." In this belief Hellene was cheerful and hopeful. They crossed the Channel to Calais by a night boat, and journeyed on to Paris by the connecting mail train, arriving at the French capital at an early hour of the morning. Lord Clair possessed a suite of apartments in a quiet street of the Fabourg St. Germain, and the little party pro- ceeded thither without unnecessary delay. They remained a week in Paris, and it was during this brief stay that Hellene was seen and recognised by the Devonshire acquaintance who had given lawyer Hartson the clue to her where- abouts. One of the first acts of Upllene upon the first day I of her stay in Paris was to write to her lover. Hellene's maid addressed the letter and undertook to post it. Attiring herself for I he street, the .1 maid descended to the ground floor, letter in hand, and addressed herself in English to the concierge. "The post-office, Meea ? It is too far. The lettare-box it is what you want. It is not necessaire that you go out alone to post the lettare," said the concierge, good-naturedly. Behold here the Ilettare-T>ox,wwhere all in the house post their let- tares. Put in your lettare, Mees, and it will be post with the rest." J The maid, a simple Devonshire girl, devoted to her young mistress, and despite her simplicity pos- sessing a fair share of shrewdness, was satisfied of the good faith of the concierge, and conformed to the very convenient custom of the house, dropping Miss Clair's letter into the letter-box. She tken returned to her mistress. It might have been ten minutes later when Lord Clair appeared, in apparently great perplexity, declaring that he had made a strange mistake, and deposited a letter in the box which he de- aired to withdraw. His lordship had been an inmate of the house for years, and possessed his suite of rooms by virtue of a genuine lease. He was liberal to the servants, was respected an Eng- lish "milord," and the concierge, upon whom the baron bestowed a franc, made no difficulty in unlocking the letter-box and permitting him to i withdraw a letter. Lord Clair rapidly ran the dozen letters in the box through his hands. He knew that the occu- pants of the house were all French, besides him- self and those of his small party; and when he came upon a letter addressed in a stiff, angular English hand, to an unknown name, but to the address of "Little Charlewick, Devonshire, Eng- land," he seized it and declared that it was the one of which he was in search, and bore it away unquestioned. Thus it happened that Hellene's letter to her lover never reached its destination. Hellene looked in vain for a reply or for the coming of Lord Ronald during the ensuing week. At the end of that period Lord Clair and his daughter, with the latter's attendant, sent out in a strong, easy-travelling carriage, drawn by two stout horses, ostensibly upon a rambling tour through France. The carriage was equipped with guide-books, drawing materials, hampers filled with every delicacy for impromptu luncheons, the baron was smiling and gentle, the weather pleasant and the driver skilful, and Hellene's spirits rose with every league of travel. They avoided the larger towns, stopping at night at secluded villages and hamlets, traversing by day lonely country roads shaded by tall rows of pollard willows, making acquaintance with quaint French inns, with odd Norman costumes, and with the simple, kindly peasantry, with whom Hellene was wont to exchange pleasant greetings. They visited little ancient churches, ivied ruins, picturesque scenery, and Hellene's portfolio began to show evidence of her industry. It was some ten days after their departure from Paris, and late one pleasant afternoon, when they quitted the narrow country road and turned through an open gateway into the avenue leading through the wood of St. Pierre to the lonely coast tower. This avenue, wider than the public highway, was rough, full of ruts and mud-holes into which the carriage frequently sank nearly to the hubs. The ancient trees formed themselves into a pointed arch high overhead, and scarcely a riy of sunlight penetrated to the road beneath. Hellene shivered with the sudden chill and gloom. "Where are we going, father?" she asked, in surprise and some uneasiness. Are we not in a private park ?" "Yes, in the Tiois de St. Pierre, belonging to the tower of St. Pierrie," replied the baron. You have seen no building so ancient and picturesque as the tower of St. Pierre since we landed in France- scarcely perhaps in all your life. It is the resi- dence of a French nobleman of the old regime, the Count de St. Pierre, who, by the way, is my intimate friend. I have visited here many years in succession during the hunting season. It's a charming plaoe, a little gloomy, Out oertalnly grand also. You must make a sketch of the tower." Hellene did not reply, but looked intently from the open window of the carriage, and drew closer about her the carriage rug and her shawl. The ground was covered with a thick underbrush, through which she could see scurrying hares, and startled deer with antlered heads upraised in listening. The avenue ascended gradually from the moment of leaving the public road, and a half- mile drive through the dense wood brought them out suddenly upon the high plateau upon which the chateau was situated. The carriage drew up before the porch. Lord Clair alighted and assisted Hellene to the ground. The maid clambered out, and the coachman began to disencumber the interior of the vehicle of travell- ing-bags, boxes and parcels, just as an old woman in a high-crowned cap-the housekeeper evidently -flung open the front door and appeared on the steps, making a series of little courtesies, and bidd- ing the travellers welcome in a high cracked voice and very provincial French. It looks as if we had been expected," said Hellene, as a little man in a clean white blouse also emerged from the house, and after greeting the new arrivals, began to gather up the luggage. Are we to remain here over night, father ?" Yes. It's a delightful little surprise for you, Hellene," said Lord Clair, hurriedly, avoiding her eyes. "The truth is, I met the count in Paris and casually mentioned that we were travelling for your health, and he kindly placed his chateau at our disposal. The two servants were warned of our coming. The place is in entire readiness for us; your room is in order, and Madame Binnet will show you up at once. Come. He offered his arm Hellene took it, and the two ascended the wide stone steps, followed by the maid burdened with shawls and bags. There was no time for inquiry or remonstrance, had not Hellene been too bewildered to attempt either. Miss Clair," s;ii<! the baron, halting wilh his daughter upon the broad platform at the top of the steps, this is Madame Binnet, the wortky house- keeper of the chateau. Madame Binnet, this young lady is my daughter, and your mistress during our stay here. You will lose nothing, my good woman, by making our stay agreeable and by paying particular attention to Miss Clair. You will now show the young lady to her room, while I speak with your son." Madame Biunet, a stout person of medium stature, with very black eyes, a very black moustache, and a very sallow complexion, immed- iately led the way into the chateau, and Hellene followed her. The housekeeper conducted her new mistress through a grand old hall into a staircase hall, and so lip stairs. Monsieur ordered the tower-chambers to be prepared for Mademoiselle," said the old woman, volubly, as she moved on through halls and corridors that seemed interminable, past long rows of closed doors and through an extensive picture gallery. Mademoiselle is romantic and loves fine views. From the tower she can see the waters, the boats, the fishers, the islandsâa world by itself, and different from any she has ever known, it may be. Ah, here we are She came out upon a narrow passage lighted by a slit-like window. From this passage a slender stair ascended to an upper room, and off this passage a single door opened. co That is the door of Mademoiselle's maid's room," said Madame Binnet, flinging open the door and revealing a barely-furnished apartment. "The room of mademoiselle is on the floor above, commaading the romantic view. We asoend." Heliene parsed on in advance, and came to a halt in the passage above. The housekeeper came up panting, and opened the single door that opened off this passage. Your room, Mademoiselle," she said behold I" Hellene entered the room. '» W-as ,iarSe and circular, containing fthe entire inner aiametsr of the old round tower. Six narrow windows gave admittance to the light,and permitted views of the world outside. These windows had been originally without glass later, mullioned sashes had been employed to shut out wind and raio, but now, in these luxurious modern days, a single sheet of p'ate glass, shaped to fit the aperture, was employed, and this glass was arranged to slide into the wall when required. was arranged to slide into the wall when required. The room was luxuriously furnished. The floor was covered with a thick carpet of velvet, of shaded yellow tints the walls were hung with tapestry embroidered by the hands of fair chatelaines of St. Pierre which had mouldered to dust centuries ago. There were no curtainsânone were neededâbut there were sofas, easy-chairs, a small book-case, a grand armoire with an immense mirror framed as a door, and a marble bath similarly inclosed. The low white bed was wholly modern and wholly luxurious- Hellene swept a jingle glance about the room, and then went from window to window, looking out. Three of the windows commanded magnifi- ¡luxurious. cent views of the channel. A fourth looked down upon the cliffs and shore, and a fishing village three or four miles distant. A fifth looked into the gloomy wood, and the sixth, upon the opposite side of the room, looked, over intervening roofs, down into the paved court-yard of the chateau. This is delightful," said Hellene, her eyes sparkling. Papa could not have pleased me better than to bring me Jieie.* His surprise is a most charming one." Madame Binnet courtesied,, as if personally com- plimented. I will leave you now with your maid, Madem- oiselle," she said. "I am cook as well as house- keeper. Dinner will be terved at six. I have a kitchen-maid, and my son, Alphonse, but there are no other servants in the house. If you will ring when you are dressed, Alphonse will come and show you the way to the drawing-room. Excusiug herself, the housekeeper departed. "You may go down also, Letty," said Bellene, addressing her maid. You can overtake Madame Binnett and learn the way. And you must make the acquaintance of Alphonse, for I shall have a letter to post in the morning." The maid hurried out after Madame Binnet and Hellene was left alone. For some time she loosed intently from her windows, and was aroused at last from her con- templation of the sun-lit waters and white sails by the return of Letty. It's four miles to the nearest village, Miss Hellene," announced the maid, and that is a mere hamlet. Letters are sent there from this chateau to be posted, and Alphonse is going down in a spring cart in the moming on business, and will take any letters I may bring him in the morn- ing. Alphonse knows a little English, but Madame Binnet and the kitchen-maid do. It's a lonely place here, Miss Hellene." But a lovely one, Letty,' said her young mis- tress pleasantly. Our stay here is to be short. I wish we were to stay all summer. You may unpack my boxes -they were brought up directly after you went down. I have barely time to dress for dinner." The maid proceeded with her duties with exped- ition. Presently Hellene dismissed her and locked her door. The bath was filled with water, ready for use. The young girl refreshed herself with a bath, nearly dressed herself, and summoned her maid. Miss Clair's toilet was soon made, and she was ready to decend to the drawing- room. With her pale golden hair coiffered high upon her head, a dress of silky black grenadine setting off her pale fairness, and with a high Elizabethan fraise of plaited white muslin standing up and about her slender neck, Hellene's appearance was not out of keeping with the grand old round tower in which she was domiciled. Letty had learned the way, and conducted her young mistress down to the drawing-room, upon the remotest side of the chateau. Here Hellene found her father, in dinner-dress, awaiting her. The drawing-room was a high, handsome, modern apartment of great length and well furnished, moat of the furniture, however, being very old and mas- sive. Lord Clair crossed the room and met his daughter near the entrance. Well, Hellene, how do you like it here ? was his greeting. Very mueh indeed, sir. You are fond of sur- prises, father," said Hellene, smiling, "but if all surprises were to be delightful as this, one could not object to them. How long are we to remain here ?" As long as you please, my dear. The Count de St. Pierre placed the chateau at my disposal for the summer. If you would like to stay her by the sea, well and good. If you prefer to continue our aimless wandeiings, we will go on whenever you please." Lord Clair looked at his daughter furtively but sharply, and was relieved at her reply. I I would like to spend the summer here, father. Life must be a romance here. Since the count is so kind, let us remain awhile." The baron assented with secret satisfaction. Dinner was announced, and his lordship con- ducted Hellene to t:,e dining-room, where was served a tempting little dinner, cooked and served with real French art. After dinner Hellene strolled with her father upon the terrace and out upon the cliff, remaining out long in the moonlight. Upon retiring to her tower-chamber, the young girl wrote a long letter to Lord Ronald Charlton and sealed and addressed it. Then she went to bed and to sleep. The next morning LeLty re inclosed Miss Clair's letter and re-addressed it, and carried it down to Alphonse, then returning to dress her young mis. tress. The maid had scarcely disappeared when Alphonse, obeying Lord Clair's previous instruc- tions, conveyed the letter to the baron, and received a handsome gratuity. And thus Hellene's second letter to Lord Ronald fell into her father's hands, and was destroyed by him. The week that followed was one full of pleasure to Hellene. She rambled among the rocks she walked over to the fishing village she sailed on the Channel; she frequented the wood, gathered flowers, made sketches, and recovered health and spirits. She waited day by day with hopes and fears for the coming of Lord Ronald Charlton, believing every morning that he would arrive before night-fall. But one day, at sunset, a post-chaise came lumbering up the wood-avenue with a guest. Hellene was on the terrace, and her eyes sparkled and her face glowed with expectation, and a strange trembling seized upon her. But it was not Lord Ronald Charlton who alighted, but instead, Lord Ronald's uncle, the Earl of Charlewick who came toward her smiling, and with outstretched hands. The earl, with his swarthy, Spanish face glitter- ing teeth, and gleaming eyes, was as repulsive in < Hellene's sight as if he had been a deadly cobra. §fee_ £ gtreated before him, clasping her together, and greeting him only with a formal little bow. You do not look rejoiced to see me, Miss Clair," said the earl, with a curl of his lip. "And yet I have traced you out with all the patience of an Indian and the devotion of a lover." The devotion is quite wasted, my lord," said Hellene, coldly. If you wish to see papa, he's in the drawing-room. Ah, there he comes. He has seen you from the window." She glided away without apology as the baron came out, and hurried up to her own tower-room. She declined to come down to dinner, and Lord Clair came panting and puffing up to his daughter's chamber, and demanded fiercely if she meant to insult him or to insult the earl. I don't mean to insult auy one," replied Hel- lene, with spirit; but the earl is Lord Ronald's enemy, he drove Ronald from his house; and I cannot be friendly with him." By Jove, Miss you will treat him civilly, or I'll know the reason why. He a my invited guest, and you will pay him proper respect. You are my daughter, and I demand from you a daughter's obedience. You are in a land where a father has rights over his unmarried daughter, you must I understand." Hellene grew pale as death. A whole flood of light poured in upon her soul. She trembled, and a quick alarm thrilled her. "Did you say that this man is your invited guest, father ?" she asked. I did. He is an olu friend, and I will not give him up, even for you. I lme.v him as Lord Odo Charlton twenty years ago, aud we have now renewed our old friendship. Th's chateau is mine for the summer, and I have asked him here for a week. Knowing that he wants to marry me, and that I will never marry him ?" questioned Hellene. Father, I cannot meet this man." You canâyou must," said the baron, brutally, his fat face flushed with anger. You are all dressed for dinner. Come with me, and mind that yon treat the earl with politeness." He took her hand and compelled her to accom- pany him down to the drawing-room. The Earl of Charlewick was there in dinner dress, and came forward to greet his young involuntary hostess; but Hellene, though courteous, was cold as an ice- berg. She scarcely spoke at dinner or throughout the evening. Lord Charlewick remained some days at the chateau, and then departed, greatly to Hellene's relief. The girl was growing pale and thin. She was perplexed at Ronald's silence and his non- coming. Alphonse brought no letters addressed to Letty, and Hellene began to suspect that treachery was at work somewhere in regard to her letters, or that Ronald was ill or absent from England. Other days glided on. The baron grew morose and communed with his bottle more frequently. Hellene grew anxious and even impatient to leave the tower of St. Pierre for the aimless wanderings first planned. She had seen something of her father's real nature-had detected the tiger's claws under the sheath of velvet, and was secretly troubled and apprehensive. But Lord Clair was not to be persuaded to leave his pleasant Norman retreat, and Hellene began almost to feel herself a prisoner. The Earl of Charlewick was absent only a few days, returning in great spirits. He had employed his absence in effecting the imprisonment of Ronald in the villa at Hackney, and he believed that now he would easily command success in his wooing, having safely disposed of his young and favoured rival. Hellene was standing on the cliff, when he alighted on the terrace and approached her unseen. She wore a long black dress and a round hat trimmed with black, and her tall, slendBr figure was outlined against the sky as if cut in cameo. Her face was turned seaward, but the grace and spirit of her attitude struck her swarthy half- Spanish lover with a new admiration. She's the handsomest woman I've seen since I came back to England," said the earl to himself, gloatingly. It's no disgrace to a man to go wild about her, and yet she's as shy as a partridge. I'll come upon her unawares and make love to her. May as well get her used to the idea of marrying me, for marry me she shall. When I leave this chateau I will take her with me as my bride I" He moved toward her stealthily. (To be continued).

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