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CLAUDIUS. 1 ------


CLAUDIUS. 1 Lynn Vaiworth's courtship had been a brief one he hdvill met, wooed and wedded Marian Lavinge within the era of one briihanr. Parisian season. :\1:iao, svitii azure eyes in whose dark depths there lurksti an appealing tendern 7r skin and a wealth oi rippling gulden-n. together with a aappl»>, girusli form. object de-i^ued ooiy to be a(hrr" Lynn Valworth, tall, dar" h the bearing of a prince a 'or' iOlk .Llg sweetness, ind alwy" 'avcv t.3 fair sex. His young bride na; jis past Jife, and she Rave bar a :bo: .i bygone space of time wbe. â J. V a him not; she only knew th â¢.â â¢.r-: ed him, and could ri^t bear ide remote from bis presence. Lynn, on ç id, knew much of Marian's lif, Eo 4-»-,«w t hers was a character pure as ne,, 'II(', and that from infancy she bad t .al!t\d Kinsfolk who were of the tAte of Fw and from whom, being the on1', I-W a heir, she would some day fcecorr.; t '<>i of a rich estate. Lit fair and beautiful as an angel, JO {1., cl, in spotless robes into a ballroom, on' id had been pointed out to Lynn as tr. j of half a score of men but it was not v ⢠fher position as a beautiful heiress that *d at once sought an introduction and be f iately won favour in her eyes. air nupitals had been consummated without ostentation or display, according to the bride- groom's deeire-wberefore, be had never ventured on a reason to Marian or her family, further than to explain that he had always held marital rites as a thing too sacred to be viewed by the vulgar world," and this, to her, had sufficed. The wedding was followed by a tour though Italy, and a prolonged yachting excursion up the Mediterranean. The summer being elysium to them both, wherein they had forgotten all things existant save one another. Upon the night after their return to their charming little villa, located in one of the suburbs of Paris, they were quietly discussing a cczy din- ner, when suddenly a voice., clear and full of searching pathos, came floating in through the open window, causing them to cease in their Conversation, and Lyazq at each other. o peaceful night! 0 bright moonlight t. O jewei tars in heaven's dome 1 am wand'rin^ minstrel boy, Bereft of friends and home. The words suog in a foreign tongue, stole tremb- lingly in through the half-closed shutters. While Marian sat silent, her face full of deep, womanly solicitude, into the eyes of her husband there Came a sudden shadow. Again came that low, plaintive voice:â ?; 4) tranquil niaht! .'J-: moonbeami bright! 0 gems of heaven's deep blue dome, 1 am a roaming minstrel boy, Forsakenâall alone "Lynnâoh, darling', did you distinguish those pitiful words ? It is some poor little waif. Let us speak to himâbut, Lynn, why are you so pale! Oh, your looks frighten me, dearS" "It is nothing, Marian, my sweet one do not be alarmed. But come, ii you so desire, we will investigate as to this mysterious singer, and if he be in distress, as his sung would imply, we will see what ean be done." So they went arm-in-arm, through the dimly- lit ball, and Lynn Waiworth placed a hand, which trembled despite his assumed calm, upon the door knob, and tha next moment they stood within the rose-covered veranda, where soft moon- beams lingered. It was just beneath this latticed retreat, upon the step, that they saw a youth, over whose shouiders was strapped a well-worn mandolin, and upon whose tawny, beautiful face there were traces of recent tears. He turned a pair of glorious black eyes, in which there dweit a half terrified look, toward them as be heard their voices, and presently faltered in FreuL:i 411 hope monsieur and madams will take nc offence at my resting here. It looked so tempt- ing with the moonlight and the roses and the white steps to res: upon and I was so weary, that I lifted the latch and stole'inâbut I will go now âI am still weary, very, but I will go if madame will but give me a crust." He arose, and as he did so let fall the cloak which had hung carelessly ab"ut his shoulders, and standing thus, with his curly head bared, his slight form bent forward and his lingers upon the strings of his instrument, he pi-esented a picture which caused Marian's tender he..rt to swell with sompassion. "No, no!" cried sRe. "You must sing no tnore to-night. Your voice falters with fatigue. Come into the house we-my husband and 1- will have care of you till the morrow, when, if you are sufficiently rested and willing, you can tell Vis suiaetliine: of yourself-wrztt may have brought you to wander thus. Come with me now. Come, Lynn, dearest." The youth drew back hesitatingly. Upon the face of Lynn Valworth be bad fixed bis great dark eyes in an expression half of fear, half of bewi I derment. Heâmonsieur will hurt me not if I come ?" aslced he in a shrinking tune. "Hurt you! Why, lad, you little know the noble man from whom you seem to cower in dread S Come we will soon banish ail such fancies." And with a happy lit.le laugh Marian re-entered the house, leading her protege, and gently pushing her husband in advance of them. The brightiy illuminated diningroooa, the glitter of crystals and china, the richly ousbioaed chairs and gilded appointments seemed to datzle the lad. He shrank away into a corner, that frightened look coming back into his eyas. Marian stepped softly to her husband's sideand whispered,â "Lvnn,try to comfort the poor fellow. Reassure bim whilst I order his repast." Nonsense, dear, send him to the kitchen, or let us fill a hamper from the table here, and send /bim on his way at once. I am jealous of every moment that keeps you from me." Marian shook her pretty bead obdurately. For the vary reason of our perfect happiness, Lynn, should we be compassionate to the poor lad. Now do be less selfish and entertain our freest." Pursing her lips saucily, she disappeared, wondeiing at the strange look upon his face. Lynn Valworth, upon being left alone with the boy, turned impatiently toward him. "Well," said he, with a contemptuous curl of the lips, why do you sit staring at me in that idiotic fashion ?" And he strode up to where the minstrel sat, his face pale with what seemed to be an undercurrent of passion. "Iâ" faltered the la.tter-" I was trying to remember where I had see you before, monsieur." Lynn Valworth laughed bitterly then, placing one band heavily upcu the boy's shoulder, he bent I and looked searchingly into his face. "What is your name?" be asked at length, almost fiercely. The people about Paris call me Peri-Italio it is the only name I have known since mother died, but it is not my true one. My mother's name was Leoni, and my father's was Lynn Valwortb, so that makes me Claudius Valwortb. My mother always called me Claudiusâbut, monsieur, let me go out into the night again I feel safe under the stars here I am much afraid, not of the beautiful madame, but-but of you. I was afraid of you from the first." He arose and retreated slowly toward the door, bis tawny little bands clutching at bis tattered cloak. Lynn Valworth stood with bated breath and dilating nostrils. He was goaded by a mad impulse to press forward and hurl the minstrel mercilessly into the street ere his wife should return. He made one hasty step forward, when suddenly a shr;ek rang through the house. Lynn Valworth! Lynn Valworth I know you now! You are my mother's murderer and my father Curse you He was paralyzed he only realized that a form plunged toward him with upraised hand in which there glittered a long steel blade, and yet be stood powerless to move. There was a dull, quick pain at his heart, a shutting of the outer door, and then there came a vision between him and eternity. It was his wife, his beautiful Marian. "My husband Lynn she gasded. What is the meaning of it all ? My God! You are dying Marian," he gasped, it is my just reward. I alll that boy's father and his mother's betrayer aDd-murderer. He has been revenged." That was all. Marian Valwortb remained sitting beside the dead ferm of her husband, her eyes fixed on his features vacantly, his cold band in hers and there they found her the next morningâ-wedded with him in death.











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