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AT F A U L T. I!



T TWO OPINIONS OF CAPTAIN NARES. By MOUNTAINEER. Author of "When the Century was Young," CHAPTER III. Many British subjects rose from their beds on October 27, 1876, unconscious that the day for them was to be a marked one. Fathers who had learned to live over again in the lives of gallant, enterprising sons, so far thsit in that dual living they were sadly vulnerable to a dual death mothers whose hearts sent up prayer*- nightly and daily, for those in peril on the sea;" sisters, brothers, wives, and children, who had each an interest staked in that Polar Expedition, aye, and something far deeper than a simple interest; maidens. Rosamond Barclay among them, who had no ostensible concern in it at all, but whose hearts, nevertheless, had gone with it. and might be frozen to death, too, if, peradventure some certain one among those gallant crews should never mors return. All these roae from their beds that day, and did not know a telegram was to send its message through the heart of England—a blessed Angel of Annunciation under affinateenth Century guise- telling that the Alert and the Discovery, with throll only of their crews missing, had reached Valentin on the 27th of October. Rosamond heard the news rdad out in the prosaic voice of her uncle without a comment, but verj soon she managed to go off by herself the bettei to pour out her gratitude in thanks to God, as many another must have done that day in England. And the blessed tidings were true. It was not a Franklin case this time. Captain Nares, brave, wise, tender-hearted Father," as the crews justly called him, had brought back his trusty ships and men, experience and warning gained for future voyages, scientific researches, and what not laid by in store, safe to port. You may judge whether Rosamond cared much that they had not actually reached the North Pole. And now a joy was given her of which all true women are worthy. Harry Mildmay's name was mentioned everywhere. He had distinguished himself greatly. It was Lieutenant Mildmay who had led the sledging party along the ooast line, and touched the most westerly degree of longitude. He had himself worked in the drag belts, and toiled laboriously in bringing back the sick to the ship. He, who through the winter had been one of the most earnest- teachers in the men's classes, whose acting and songs had been among the most popular and most willingly given, he it was who had risked life the most heroically whin th« working time had come. And now Lieutenant Mildmay wts to be made commander. In the first humility of her gratitude and joy of her triumph, Rosamond would admit no bitter in her cup. but learnt the -1 Palteocrvatic Chorus" by heart with smiles and tears. If the drop be there, however, the taste cannot long be cheated. Harry probably loved Miss Archer, why then should she, Rosamond, arrogate to herself any personal share in his success from henceforth, no doubt, they would be only strangers. In these degenerate days, great events accom- plish themselves very quietly. When Harry came home, although in that circle where he wae much beloved, there were doubtless rejoicings, the neighbourhood did not go forth in a body to greet him as Rosamond haif expected it would. The excitement had already begun to go by. When he came to Denman Court the talk ran a little on the expedition, but toon it was— You saw about this and this in the papers, I suppose ?" Ah, yes, the accounts were quite interesting," while, in reality, no one but Rosamond had taken the trouble to do move than glance, superficially, at them. It was so dear an interest to Harry still, so living a reality, that he shrank from thrusting it upon unwilling hearers, and so the subject dropped. But although he had loved so keenly through it all, no eyes had longed more to sight. Old England once again. "Whetner true to him or false (it was ao open question aftec ali) that winsome face of osamond's, wistful as he last saw it, would n- I ive him. It was not. the first. time Harry h,! ved. More than once before had this tender hearted sailor been caught in the toils, but never so deeply as now. This love of his for Rosamond bid fair to be a master passion. He had warmed his heart many a time on ship board and sledge, by settling how, when he returned home, he would go to her and put it to the test at once. But now that he had come he hesitated. A hundred of those small obstacles that arise in society always got in the way, and Rosa- mond was never to be met with, it seemed, alone. He bided his time, however, and Rosamond's face had given him a warmer welcome home than perhaps she had been aware. The next time they met Rosamond was driving with Lady Dundonalcl in an open pony carriage. Lady Dundonald was in excellent spirits, delighted at Harry's return, and very sanguine on many points. And you did not get your letters after all on your way back ?" said she, that was very stupid of you all, wasn't it ?" Very," said Harry, leaning on the carriage with a sailor's utter disregard of the chance of the ponies going off; "and now I suspect their news will be a trifle stale by the time we get them." "Ungrateful son of Neptune that, you are! Perhaps if I chose I could enlighten you a little as to what lies there for you." No! Could you ? Then I declare you ought to take compassion on a poor fellow and tell him." Rosamond's hand was close to Lady Duudonald's. rihe contrived to press a warning finger on it un- seen and only just in time. You don't deserve it, and then you will enjoy it the more for not being anticipated. When can they come ?" When some stray vessel touches at Littleton Island and brings them. That will not be for some years probably." W hy, gracious heavens! you don't mean to say so! I thought they would be here by Christmas, perliaps. Then I, for my part, cannot keep a secret ever. There is a long, delightful letter from me awaiting you there, with all kinds of pleasant tidings!" Did you really write to me? Bravo. Lady Dundonald! that was very good of you. And you, Miss Harclay, you, I suppose were not so kind as to write, too ?" "Never mind what she did," said Lady Dundonald, still under partial control from Rosa- mond's finger," if you were so misguided as not to call at your post-office, wherever it might be, we shall not tell you any more." But Rosamond, looking very shy and pretty under her Rubens' hat, added, "No, I did nut write to you," and Harry stood up from the carriage to let them go on. Now, Rosamond, you are a very foolish, tire- some child, and I am only too stupid to attend to you. Why could you not let me set that little matter straight ?" u Lcould not, I could not. Please don't do it, Lady Dundonald. He is sure to ask me about them, and I would rather wait until then." But Harry did not not ask, the truth being it was. to him, a sore subject, so that he kept deferring its discussion. He kaew well, too, that when once it came to that question, another and more momentous one would follow, yes, let her answer be what it might. Witll so much at stake Harry felt an unwonted tfmidity in running into action, in spite of his valour in high latitudes, A few days before Christmas Rosamond was in her bedroom preparing for going out, while her cousin, who had just come iaa from a ride, sat idling and talking by the fire. There was to be a Christmas tree for the school-chidren at the village, about a milo from the Court, and Rosamond intended walking over, carrying with her a basket with a few contributions of her own making. Mildred turned the basket over and over, examin- ing them. Oh, and I met Firry Mildmav, too," she said, gaping over her rssearches. The Archers want him to go there for Christmas. If so, I lay ten to ono he gets engaged to that piece of inanity who came here. 44 Has he settled to go, thenel Oh, I did not ask. What do I care. I should imagine most likely he will go." Rosamond said no more, but took her basket and left the house. She did not go along the customary approach A walk, enclosed nearly all the way in shrubbery, led to a side entrance, nearer the village, and she chose it for the sake of its seclusion, for a deep depression was on her. When she came to the iron palings and gate that divided the part next the house from that r„yond, she stopped, and, leaning on those palings, tried to eaae her poor, sore little heart by crying with all her might. Someone rounded the corner oeyond, coming up over the grass and stopping short hard by. regarded her fixedly. It was Harry. He had not told Mildred that he had resolved that very day to put it in Rosamond's hands whether lie shouldsfcop at home or not for Christmas. Now, if Miss Archer had been the last woman in che world, Harry would not have fallen in love with hqr. His feelings towards her did not swerve in that direction by a hair's breadth. But he looked upon her, and yet more upon her brother, as true friends, and thought their society would be more coiwtmting to a rejected lover than staying on in the vicinity of an unkind Rosamond. Yes, if -lie refused him, he felt be could not endura re- maining passively at home. Well, here he was at Rosamond's side, watching her tears, and uncertain how to address her, until she suddenly turned and saw him there. She started like a hare, brushed off the toll-tale tears with a hasty hand, and, as was not unnatural, upset her basket, on the grass beside her. Nothing could have been a more timelv diver- sion. In tho occupation of picking up the basket's oontsats be^ideac*m« to thair places and Rosamond laughed at her own twkwarfrnefife, as if earth knew no such things as tears. But why did Harry pause before restoring some of the fallen treasures to their place, hoWing them L'uriously in his hands? They were some knitted utiijftttees He looked up at her with a questioning look. Well?" she said, still smiling. You arc more kind to the school children than to me," he said, although I was going on a voyage that might have cost me my life, you re- >iw--d me even this much as a token of good- will You are sure of that, of course?" she said. Why—you did refuse, did you not ? I was led to suppose so, as a matter of course." 1 never knew of the request until after you hau sailed. Miss Archer made some mistake about. it. The muffatees, if you want them, are waiting for you now with Lady Dundonald's letter at Litt,leton Island." Then Harry made an eager step forward, and in a voice unsteady in spite of himself said, Rosa- mond !—if I may venture to call you so and I leave you to suppose what happened after. That basket somehow got, upset again, and there vas much merriment over it, and it was Harry, not Rosamond, who carried it down after all to the Schoolhouse, while her hand lay on his other arm in the happy abandon of a lovers first and stolen interview. Well, they were married in the following April, when the larch trees first began to wear the ten- derest green and balsam trees were fragrant, and wild flowers most abundant and all bright, bud- ding, sapful things seemed types of Rosamond. And oh," she said, as she leant on her bride- groom's arm, "you have only one rival in the world, Harry, and that is Sir George Nares! Make him a knight, indeed, why. I would have made him a peer of the realm, dear, gallant-hearted, wise, and noble man!" And I can but apologise to Captain Sir George Nares, Lieutenant Aldrich, and all the officers and crews of the Arctic Expedition for taking liberties with their names and doings as I have done. But they will forgive me, I know, for it was done only in .1 dream, dreamt by one of their most loyal ad- mirers. Harry and Rosamond are fading back into the world of shadows, whence they came, only as they go their lingering voices haunt me, saying Long days and long happiness to all the gal- lant hearts who sailed in the Alert and the Dis- w covery in the year of grace, 1875."



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-------lY BARDD CYMliEIG.

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