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I ^ - ! í THE GOOD WE MIGHT…

THE STRANGE CLAIMANT;I OR,…

MINIE, THE MISER'S DAUGHTER.

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MINIE, THE MISER'S DAUGHTER. --+-- Frank was not without the chivalric romance of early youth. He felt himself the protector of the young girl, and planned means of defending her. At the same time he did not like to own all his suspicions and watchings to his uncle, or to any one. He trusted to himself and Bosen. That night he stole from his chamber, and began to patrol before Minie's cottage, but at such a dis- tance that he hoped his footsteps would not be heard. Bosen did hear them, however, and within the house kept up such a barking that Frank knew the young girl must be cruelly alarmed. He tried standing perfectly still, but that did not pacify the dog, whose quick ear or scent assured him of the intruder's con- tinued stay. Frank was expecting the pedlar with such certainty that he feared to go away, so he re- solved to knock, and declare himself, with his reasons for coming. As he approached to do so, he saw the girl's pale face pressed against the window, in the attempt to see the disturber of the night. She knew him in an instant, and threw up the sash. Thank God! it is you," she said. I thought it was the pedlar. Down, Bosen, sir! A friend, bo1 Silence! Do you think I have cause to apprehend danger, Mr. L., that you have come to protect me ?" There was a touching tone of gratitude in her voice, and many things in her words themselves, which struck Frank. She knew him she called him her: friend; and she naively took it for granted that he had come on purpose to protect her. I saw the pedlar watching you to-day, and I was ( fearful he might mean harm; at least, I thought it 1 would be well to be on the look-out to-night; to- 1 morrow he will have left the neighbourhood. But I ( hoped not to disturb or alarm yeu. You have a i watchful dog. Here, Bosen, you must know me better next time. There is my glove, sir. Nose it well, T and remember, old fellow. Be quiet will you now, and let me keep guard in peace? I will remain < until daylight, Miss Wilhelmine, so you may sleep ) fearlessly." v "God bless you!" was the old-fashioned ac- knowledgment of her sense of his kinflnnaa, and the old words, from those young lips, sounded thrillinglj earnest, if they were quaint. Bosen was satisfied that the honesty of the midnight visitor; he wagged hit ponderous tail, and lolling out of the window, licked the air by way of apology for his former suspicions. Then the window was gently closed, and Frank spent the night in dreams, though he did not sleep. The house was undisturbed, and when the earliest fishermen were seen among their boats, Frank went home. He was at his post, the end of the village street, at the usual hour of Minie's arrival on the same morning; but, instead of passing on without sign of recognition, as usual, she advanced to meet him with eagerness, and when near, she begged him to come and see her dog, who seemed to be dying. Frank instantly suspected poison. He hastened to the cottage with the young girl, administered some antidotes, and watched with zeal for signs of improve- ment. They came. He had saved Boson's life, and his mistress s gratitude was past expression, even by her eloquent face. More than ever sure that some evil design was meditated, Frank informed the magistrate, procured a, watch, and established it without the house, for Mime would permit no one to enter it. Bosen was so far recovered that she declared she needed no other protection. It was nearly morning when the pedlar came. He felt sure that the dog was out of the way, for he had seen him devour the poisoned meat, and matters had been so secretly managed in the village, that he had no cause to think any one suspected an attack on the cottage. He approached the house stealthily, bored an auger hole in the door, drew the bolt, and was about to enter, when he stepped back to look at a hatchet which he held in his hand, and to feel its edge. Bosen was quiet; but when the guilty man turned again to enter, ho saw two green eyes in the dark; and the next moment he was felled to the ground with angry teeth at his throat. A shout of triumph resounded in his ears. The dog was taken off; but he was in the hands of justice. This adventure was soon known far and wide, and the miser's daughter was more talked about than ever. She was still the same reserved, silent, isolated, being she had always been but the kind and gentle pastor's wife now made more advances. Though Minie still held her father's words sacred, and proudly avoided favours, she did not refuse motherly counsel, or occasional instructions in household duties, and the proprieties of dress. She not unfrequently took tea at the parsonage, always leaving Bosen on guard, and returning before dark. Mr. L. took care that upon these occasions she Bhould meet with some of the wisest, or most agreeable persons in the village, or with distinguished strangers who frequently visited him. Thus the young girl had the advantage of seeing the best society, and of hearing the topics of the day discussed by the most intelligent minds, though she never entered into conversation herself. Mr. L.'s children were very fond of Minie, and they often came to walk upon the beach, or sit with her upon the rocks, and when Frank returned from his college, he accompanied them. Minie always re- ceived him with unmistakable joy. She was now a beautiful and stately girl; interest- ing, by reason of her lonely life, and lovely nature, to strangers even. But to Frank she was the peer- low woman, the queen of the world, in her own right of noble soul, and gentle goodness, and glorious beauty. But what lent the crowning charm to all, she acknowledged him, I will not say her lord and master, bat her cherished, most admired, and best beloved friend. She disdained all concealment of her warm feelings towards him. Hers was a loyal heart, and it was not ashamed of its loyalty. She was proud of its strength of devotion. She was naturally dignified and reserved; but Frank read through it all her surpassing lova for him; and at last, when worldly prudence warranted the step, he told her his love for her, in "words that burn," and asked her if she could consent to share the hard life of a country clergyman. It was a tough battle for her to fight; bnt she con- quered, and answered, after many minutes of; Btruggle— "No. She would be faithful unto the end. Until her father's return, she would not abandon the charge he had "given her." Frank urged reasonable objections to waiting any longer j but with eager, trembling ;haste, she looked beseechingly at him, ana «ai<*— 46 Do not tempt me! Frank, you know my own heart wants to be a traitor to its duty. Do not tempt it." ■_ He began another entreaty, when stopping her ears, she said- If A b; then f must not listen! No, Frank, I will never listen to you again rfntil I have obtained 811 father's consent. I dare not let yon speak so to me. Frank L. was ordained, and obtained the curacy of a church but a short distance from where Igsis lived, and they frequently met at the parsonage* Her only wish now was to fit herself to be his wife, and to be able to fulfil all the duties of hep station to his satisfaction. She was far superior in mind, and discipline of character, to any of the womeil o' the village. A man in a much higher station than Frank's might have been proud of her and Mr. In- sincerely rejoiced that his nephew had been so fortu- nate in loving. The five years had nearly expired. Every day. morning and evening, Mmie was at her old watch on the cliff, and the villagers saw her standing like some statue of warning, watching the sea, her form looking almost supernatural ly tall against the dear sky or the storm clouds. If any vessel came in she made ready at home, and awaited in intense suspense, until all hope of her father's arrival in it then was out of the question. For one week before her twenty-fin* birthday, she spent the whole day long on the rocks, watching fixedly, or walking to and fro in uncon- trollable restlessness. Not a ship entered during the endre week. When the day at last arrived, Mr. L., the magis- trate, and Frank met, by invitation, at her house, to open her father's will. She laid it on the table before them, and sat quietly down. She had spent the pre- vious night in gnef. She gave up all hope of her father. She knew now that he was lost, and the long-cherished delusion left her affectionate heart desolate when it vanished. The will was a matter of no moment to her; she knew it was but to tell how to dispose of his gold. It was read aloud. Old Peter O.'s immense property was all left to his daughter, except two small sums, one for building a new stone pier, and the other for buying a town clock to be put in the tower of the church. Minie was left executrix, together with the magistrate of the village. She was not, however, left absolutely uncontrolled in the use of her property. One half of it was in- vested in such a way that she could only obtain the interest of it, while the rest was all her own to do as she pleased with. This was carefully explained to her by the gentlemen, and then they took leave, and Minie was left alone. It was a week before she was again seen by any one, except Mr. L., who duly called at her house, and held conversations with her, ihe.resnlt of which was that she placed a paper in the hands of the magis- trate, to be put into a legal form, giving the whole half of the property which was at her disposal, for benevolent purposes, to different institutions. The astonished man went to remonstrate with her, and ask her if she knew what she was about. Certainly," she said. What to do with even the income which yet remained to her, she was sadly puzzled to know." "You might marry the highest man in the county, with your property, and be the lady of the manor somewherp. Ob, madam, you don't know what a splendid future you are sacrificing." Smiling at the suddenly acquired title of madam, and still more o at the bewildered brain of the lawyer, she persisted in her benefactions, and dismissed him. That evening, accompanied by Bosen, who was no longer left at home, now, that the treasure was Minie's own, she went to the parsonage, and before she left, said to Mr. L., in a calm, low voice— The next time you see Frank, tell him I should like to speak to him, if you please." Now Frank, startled at finding Minie such an heiress, and fearful of misconstruction of his motives should he now address her, knowing, besides, that she could command far more brilliant matches, had re- turned home without calling upon ber, after the reading of the will, and she had heard nothing of him smce. Minie was sure of his heart. The minister's wife enlightened her as to his scruples. It never entered into her head to let conventionalities part them, so she naively sent him the message to come to her. When he arrived, she was standing on the rock- surrounded beach, watching the tide rolling in, with her hand on Bosen's head. She heard Frank's foot- step, and her eyes dilated with a warm glow but she I she did not go to meet him, or even turn to look at him. He stood by her side, and then she turned her head away from him, and looked far out upon the I waters, while she said- "Speak on. I'm ready to listen." I Frank's words, few at first, but rich and deep with smotion, brought a tide of happiness, full and perfect, to the woman's soul, and as if the old familiar ocean were in sympathy with her, its spring-tide waters ;rept up the sands, until they kissed her heedless I reet. When at 'her marriage, Mr. L. addressed a few words to the assembled congregation, he said, She a daughter, and faithful over a few things. *od has made her ruler over many. And beneficently las she begun her reign." las she begun her reign." TV: THB MTM. 1 -W- of t.O,.

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