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A DAUGHTER OF THE TROPICS.
[COPYRIGHT.] A DAUGHTER OF THE TROPICS. BY FLORENCE MARRY AT, 1A.utho)' of" Love'] Conflict," Vironiqvs" etc. CHAPTER XI. THE LADY-SECRETARY. JAFTER a significant delay of a few minutes she appeared, looking very nervous, very pale .and with her eyes cast down to the "round' She did not advance into the room ei< her b<i< ■atood at the door like a servant, waiting until «he was spoken to. ° Please come in and sit down, Mrs. Ar!i.,«- i^u'al tone "T"' ^8 «P«k in his ►not' And -n j 13 very warm to-day, is it fhave had not *°°k to me aa if you remain in -r re9^ Why did you not should n f^.°Ur °Wn room a little longer? I 'had Vian S have asked to speak to you unless I 'had heard you moving about." sir d j ■r6i household duties to perform, j T hope I shall net neglect them—so g as i remain here," she answered, in a low .voice. b" That is just what I want to talk to you out," resumed her employer. I don't think Were ,e'ther of us quite ourselves last night, »T^r^ngton, and we said several things we 'Oad better have left unsaid. Shall we try and forget what passed between us ? Is it a bar- gain ?" You may be sure I shall never renew the Subject, Mr. Kerrison." "Of course not We will neither of us ever refer to it again. That is plainly under- stood. You were over-tired and excited, and 'I daresay you hardly remember what you did fiav neither do I. We talked a lot of nonsense about separation, but I don't think that step would benefit one of us more than the other. I should lose an invaluable ally, and you would rgive up a home that is, at least I hope, a com- 'fortable one to you. What do you say ? "It would be a life-long blow, to me, sir." Very well; then let us consider the idea abandoned and for ever, But whilst we arc on this subject, Mrs. Arlington," continued t Kerrison, glancing towards the door to be sure ,it was shut, and we have agreed it ig mooted for the last time, perhaps we had better speak to each other without reserve. If our con- nection is to be continued, you fully under- stand, I hope, that it will be on the old foot- ing of — what shall we say ?-author and amanuensis." "I understand, sir, fully," rejoined Mrs. Arlington, rather bitterly. You see, my dear Lola," said Mark Ker- risoa, venturing on a little soothing process now that he had settled the main point, I am not a marrying man, and the sooner my friends rrecognise that fact the better. I consider I am past changing my condition in life, and it is a very good thing for the women that I am. I don't think I should make a good hus- band—not even a pleasant one. You see me at my best, for I have a habit of shutting myaetf up when I feel unfit for company. But I am very morose and gloomy at times, and then I am a caution I can assure you." "All persons who work their brains much are subject to periodical fits of depression," ,observed Mrs. Arlington. Then they are better left alone, my dear lady, until they come out of their sulks again. Heaven forbid I should depreciate the kind indulgence of my friends! for no man is more dependent than myself on affection and sym- pathy but I am not fitted to form a nearer tie rthan friendship. I should lose instead of gain, on a closer inspection. I am too much wedded to my own habits and customs to be able to 'break through them without detriment to my temper and disposition. Do I make myself "lain to you ? "Quite plain, sir." The terms on which we have worked to- gether hitherto appear to me to be the only ones on which the sexes can approach each other, and keep clear of the dissensions which invari- ably follow a closer intimacy. You ha ve al ways teen ready to give up your time or your pleasure to meet my convenience aad I have sometimes, I think, made similar little sacrifices for you." Indeed you have, Mr. Kerrison. You have always treated me most generously and con- siderately. 1) I acknowledged as much to you last night." Pooh pooh We musn't refer to last might, remember. Is it buried henceforth as in the depths of the sea. I want only to talk to you of the future. Do you intend to remain with me or not 1" "It must be just as you please, sir." u You know I should wish it to be so, under the conditions I have mentioned— namely, that all things go on just as they did before. But with regard to yourself-would it make you happier to go ? U 0, Mr. Kerrison how can you put such a question to me ?" said Mrs. Arling- ton, with an intonation that made him hurry on with his next sentence. "Very good, then, that is settled you will remain with me. But is there anything more I can do to mark my appreciation of your services? You have your own sitting-room -in it sufficient? would you like to have a writing-room apart from this? Will you feel more comfortable to occupy a separate room from mine? Speak out-don't be baBhful. We need have no secrets from one another." Then I would rather remain here, sir." Very well; and for the future, Mrs. Arliag- «on, we will change your designation and •«all you my lady-secretary. You will still take the cuctr, im establishment, and be ny housekeeper, but my friend Escott and I have been talking the matter over, and we think that the high title is more befitting station in life. If it is in accor- dance with your own feelings also, I shall be :glad if you will take your meals for the future at our table. This will place you at once in your proper position with the ladies who may IC)hance to honour me by dining here. I sup- \p0.ge you will have no objection ? No Objection I By the rich colour that mantled thAL atv.tho .idea» he might have seen if •he had any objection to it, •wonlr) ° he<*t in H^°n keen asked what balm Would best soothe her lacerated feelings of 7nr' f.hG C°Uld not have «*">« £ one ■better fitted for the purpose. To discard the ame of housekeeper, which had always seemed i*> place her on a level with the servants' 1, «nd adopt that of lady-secretary, Witjj tj^ rivilege of sharing the meals of her employer gratified all the ambition which his repulse *»d left her. H- pe returned to her bosom, "hust she had access to his presence she would ^^despair, and her eyes glowed with renewed W Ai jfeg8 5!' Slr> you are too good to me I con- fides *'t position has galled me some- for *or. a kittle—and had it not been thrown jtcerta"1 circumstances I should have strange vr«,UI>-n0rig a8°- It was so new and house*of understand, after having had choice." y °wn, but my poverty left me no Of cottrae X have felt it! I knew that, and it all al()rl make any ,h,, g, but it was difficult to too handsome, Vj S8t I was alone. You are ,ro.tlte with a ba,hel to be dining the.- that the Colonel lives'J <™er old; bat now People will not talk soS,m«. >t is different, increase in your salary ton make an Will settle that next pay^ja'nat"rally, but we ve have made up our little now, since our plans/or the future, I should I?6 anc* laid Co upstairs and lie down and rest „lse y°u to fou are certainly not fit for "Indeed, indeed I am, if you ^iu «ne." °wylet No, I will not let you. Be?i<*e* I atn thi Sng out something, and want the library tQ m «elf. So good-bye for the present, Mr8. 'on, and remember that ■Es")tt } shall Expect to see you at the dinner-table this even- ^ut, left to his reflections, Kerrison looked r*ther Demlexed. and could not decide m ^8 own mind whether he haJ tfat Coloirf judiciously or not. It was true THAT OOLONEI J^eott and he had talked oyer advisability praising Mrs. Arlington's "rrect ^ousehold. It did not seem that the housekeeper should spend halt 2* time in her master's library, help:ing him his work. But there would be nothing in the fact of his LADY-SECRETARY under- to direct his household into the bargain. &cott, under the influence of bis admiratioa for Mrs. Arlington, had naturally argued strong ly in her cause, and Mark Kerrison had seen th* reason of it. But the revelation of the night before should have shown him it would be a mistake. However, his own convenience, and a laudable desire to soothe the woman's wounded vanity, had made him propose the change, and now it was too late to repentit. But he doubted if he had been wise. Another thing troubled him. In orderto justify his behaviour to Lola Arlington, he had told her he was not a marrying man, and would never change his con- dition in life. It was what he had been in the habit of say- ing for years past, and a month ago he would have repeated it over and over again, without compunction. But to-day, somehow, the remem- brance made him uneasy, and he found himself wondering what the new lady-secretary would do or say, if he ever changed his mind. Would she throw it in his teeth, or consider he had broken some sort of a compact he had entered into with herself ? For Mr. Kerrison was very conscious that his thoughts had been drawn of late, far oftener than was necessary, in the direetion of Lily Power; and that this pale, reserved, and mysterious sort of girl was taking a hold upon his mind that alarmed him. He had been grad- ually awakening to the truth for some weeks past, but since Lola Arlington's confession he had been sure of it. What else was it but a heart already fixed in another direction, that bad made him turn, almost with loathing, from the pleading of a young and handsome woman for his love ? Why did her flashing eyes revolt him ? Her dark hair and crimson lipa appear to possess no beauty? Only—because his fancy at that moment was riveted on a slight, fragile form, and pensive eyes that shone through tears like wood-violets bathed in dew. Only-because a white face, with quivering, pale-tinted lips, had taken possession of his heart without his know- ing it, and all riper charms looked coarse and uninviting beside the image enshrined there. And in assuring Mrs. Arlington of his entire freedom, both in the present and the future, he seemed to have put a fetter on his actions, and Eledged himself to a life which every hour was ecoming more distasteful to him. lie was still ruminating over what had passed between them, when Colonel Escott's tap sounded on the door. "Quite alone, my dear Mark?" he asked peeping in. Quite so, Jem. By the way, old fellow, I have just been talking to Mrs. Arlington about the little alteration you suggested in her nomenclature the other day, and she is quite pleased with the idea. So we decided that for the future she is to be my lady-secretary, who is good enough to include the superintendence of my household amongst her duties, and that she will take her meals at the same table as our- selves. Will that satisfy you ? The Colonel's honest face beamed with pleas- ure. My dear Mark, I really think it is the right thing to do. It seemed a shame to me that a woman with such manners, and such a mind, should be placed on a level with an upper servant. She was so out of her place, too. And I am sure it will make our meals much more agreeable to have her sitting at the table with us, instead of hovering in and out of the room, as she was in the custom of doing. It makes me nervous to have a woman waiting on me. I think the change will be altogether for the better." "Well, if you're content, old boy, I am; and own you are here to look after us, we will hope it may give rise to no scandal. I think she will be useful as a chaperon for my young. lady guests. It is sometimes awkward to secure the' presence of a married woman when you want one. I was thinking of giving an enter- tainment shortly to the Miss Oredo' company. I thick it would be a graceful acknowledgment of their success last night. They all played remarkably well, didn't they ?" Remarkably; especially your prottgde, the waif. She came out quite strong in the last act. I had no idea she had it in her "She did well enough," replied Kerrison, with affected carelessness, as he turned over the newspapers that lay upon his table. But, of course, Emily Hartlebury carried off the honours. She is the best comedy actress I know." "We enjoyed it all through, Emé and I," said the Colonel, "but I was quite sorry t9 see Mrs. Arlington in the dress circle I fancied she felt it. She should have been in your box, Mark. I wonder you didn't put her there." Kerrison shrugged his shoulders. Well, I suppose now that she is trans- formed into a 'lady-secretary,' she will claim a seat there for the future? However, she had nothing to complain of she had an excellent view of the stage. By the way, did Fielding return here with you last night ? "No; he wasn't very well, and left me as soon as we found you had no intention of responding "to the cries fur 'author.' Bv the way, Mark, why didn't you turn up ? "I was: quite disappointed at your defalcation. The audience was so very enthusiastic, it seemed quite ungracious not to respond to their demand." "I was called away on business in another direction, and did not get home till half-past one," replied Kerrison, with an averted face. Besides, I don't care for appearing before the curtain, Jem, and always avoid it if I can. Tenniel does just as well. I supposed he apologised for my absence ?" "0, yes; everything was done en vègle, but it was a long time before they left off shout- ipg. It was an exciting scene. I felt quite tired after it, and went to bed as soon as I came home. When will your Miss Credo' dinner come off ? Next week, I hope, but don't say any- thing about it, Jem; we may as well keep it to ourselves. I don't want the place overrun by a lot of men the few we may require to make up the party I can bring home from the club." All right, old fellow, I won't mention it to an/body," replied the Colonel, who looked unaccountably cheerful at the news he had heard. CHAPTER XII. "QUEEN LILY AND ROSE IN ONE." MARK KERRISON'S self-constituted guardian- ship of Miss Power effected its object so far as that young lady's freedom from molesta- tion was concerned, but it did not pass without comment in the theatre. Each night he con- ducted her to her cab himself, or sent her under- the charge of some trust-worthy person, who was bound previously to ascertain that no one was hanging about the stage dcor likely to approach or speak to her. Esme Fielding, therefore, although on several occasions he was lurking round the corner to try and obtain a private interview, was never bold enough to run the risk of a public refusal, especially as Mr. Kerrison was so often her attendant cavalier. This constant solicitude on the part of the dramatise for the young actress's safety was not altogether interpreted to her credit. Men who have reached the top of the tree, and become wealthy and powerful, do not often patronise young and obscure girls from motives of charity and benevolence. Yet Miss Power was so pale and undesirous of attracting attention, that few persons recog- nised the depth of her beauty and so quiet and reserved, that fewer still would have accused her of flirting. The pursuit was universally allowed to be on Kerrison's side only, and he was credited with poor taste for his pains but he went on his way, unheeding public opinion, and was fain to confess to himself that, the oftener he saw and conversed with Lily Power, the stronger hold she took on his imagination, and the more her image haunted him when she was away. Of course his theatrical dinner had been organised entirely with the view of securing her company amongst the rest, but it was a long time before he could persuade her to accept the invitation. I never go out anywhere, Mr. Kerrison- Indeed I do not," she pleaded, in excuse for "fusal—««I do not care for society, and I aa} not fit for it." are fi^TVjCan you say such a thing, when you afford you ft ^1 the highest niche it could you met^ because you do not know me. shy and tim?^ °°mpany, you would see how 1 can never fln i am> how foolishly silent. "And yet ^ing to say to stranger^' upon the stage "U are completely at your etwfl That is difTp my audience, or ^hing; I cannot sm from another. Whe distinguish one fac» alone or raihor. I rj\ am Paying I feel quite ai, j Bgent UJ feci that I am there I and the I waif' is too much occupied with his own troubles to leave me any time to think of mine." You have the spirit of a true artist!" ex- claimed Kerrison, delightedly, "and you interpret the character to the life. How long have you been on the stage, Miss Power?" Not long," she said, evasively. You must have had a great deal of practice is an amateur." I don't think I did." "Forgive my curiosity, but have none of your family been upon the stage ? I I None, Mr. Kerrison but please don't speak to me of my family they are mostly dead, and would rise from their graves, if they could, to reproach me with what they would consider my degradation. Had my parents lived," she con- tinued, in a choking voice- But there* let us talk of something else." Mark' Kerrison laid his hand in sympathy on hers. She did not start nor draw it away. The girl seemed to have outlived the lesser feelings of humanity, but she never responded to his attentions in any way. We will talk, then, of my little party," he replied, cheerfully it is to be quite a family affair, and you must join us." "'Who is to be there?" Only the Miss Credo' company—that is, Emily Hartlebury, Nelly Nevins, Mrs. Forbes, and I hope yourself, with Jack Arm- strong, and Dudley Amory. My lady-secretary, Mrs. Arlington, a very charming person, will be of the party, and my old friend, Colonel Escott, and myself. Nothing very formidable, you see. Only the same faces you meet every night at the Meridian." "You are sure there will be no one else?" she said, nervously. Quite sure, unless I bring a club man or two to fill up vacant places. I wouldn't ask you to a large party, knowing how you dislike publicity but this little gathering will consist really of only ourselves." "And you very much wish me to be pre- sent, Mr. Kerrison ? she asked, wistfully. Very much, indeed-more than I dare tell you The affair will be a complete failure to me without you In that case I will come. You have been so good and kind to me, and I have no way by which I can express my gratitude exeept by complying with your wishes. Bat I am afraid I shall be a very stupid guest-a kind of female Banquo at the feast, and you will regret that you did not ask someone else instead oi me ? When the evening arrived, however, and she stood in Mark Kerrison's drawing-room amongst the other women, she was the fairest of them all. Mrs. Arlington, in black lace and artificial flowers, looked coarse beside her- Emily Hartlebury, vulgar and over-rouged- little Nellie Nevins, insipid—and Mrs. Forbes, wrink',ed and old. Mias Power was the plainest dressed amongst them—many would have said she was the plain- est in appearance. But she looked like a lily amongst cabbage-roses. She wore a white dress of some clinging material, made high to the throat, and hanging in straight folds to her feet. el Her golden hair was coiled round her shapely little head till it crowned it like a nimbus. Her face was guiltless of powder or of rouge. Her complexion was colourless, but clear. Her lips were tinged with a faint flush of pink like the inside of a sea-shell, and the dark lashes of her pensive eyes swept her cheek. She was very reticent and shy at first, as she had feared she would be. Mark Kerrison, to avoid comment, placed her under the charge of Colonel Escott, whilst he devoted himself to the brilliant Emily Hartlebury. But the honest Colonel found hia companion very difficult to draw out. Ho was not vet sufficiently au fait with theatrical matters" to be able to converse with her fluently on the topics that might be supposed to interest her most, and she did n.ot help him out a whit. At last the dinner was announced. What's become of those men ?" cried Kerri- son, impatiently. Jack Armstrong had disappointed him at the last moment, and so, to make the numbers even, he had invited Captain Riley and Esme Fielding to join the party, an invitation to which they had responded readily, although they did not know who they were to meet. But their clocks were evidently slower than Kerrison's, and they were not in Hyde Park Gardens at the dinner-hour. Give them five minutes' grace," pleaded Eseott; and so Kerrison fumed through five minutes more, and then, presenting his arm to Miss Hartlebury, who was, according to theatri- cal reckoning, the highest lady there, he con- ducted her to the dinner-table. It was laid out with perfect taste. Mrs. Arlington understood thoroughly how things should be done, and Mark Kerrison had aided her on this occasion with his advice. The centre piece was a huge block of ice on a silver plateau, embosomed in hot-house ferns, which cast a delicious coolness on all around. Before each lady's plate too, in American fashion, was a spray of flowers artistically arranged for wearing in the dress, and chosen with a view to the taste or complexion of each fair guest. Emily Hartlebury had a spray of stephanotis and geranium; Nelly Nevins, blue forget-me- nots and pink acacia; Mrs. Arlington, deep crim- son roses; and Mrs, Forbes, Neapolitan violets and camelias. But in front of Lily Power's seat at Mr. Kerrison's right hand was a little bunch Of pure white lilies resting on their waxen leaves, and beside it a long gold pin with » pearl of value at its head. She took it ùp, wonderingly. It is not real ? she said, inquiringly. Mr. Kerrison shook his head, and answered in a low voice: No no Merely a little souvenir o* the evening to fasten your lilies with. Are yot vexed because I chose something for you so pure and simple ? It was only because I thought them like yourself-as modest and bashful and-and-sweet He almost whispered the word amidst thi bustle of the guestq subsiding into their seats but Lola Arlington, sitting on the opposite side of the table, noted his looks and did no4 forget them. The soup was not dismissed before the defal. cant visitors were heard in the hall. "Here are our truants exclaimed Mark Kerrison. It is really more than they deserve to find the dinner so little advanced." "Hullo, Riley I Hullo, Fielding!" he COD • tinued, as the two men entered the room aud commenced to make a thousand apologies for being late, "we've nearly finished, but I think you're in time for the cheese. It would aerve you right not to introduoe you at this late hour, but I am afraid that would punish the innocent with the guilty. These ladies you have seen before, though not quite so close, perhaps. Miss Hartlebury, Miss Nevins, Miss Forbes, Mrs. Arlington, and Miss Lily Power," he continued, rattling off their names like an acquired lesson, "Captain Riley, Mr. Esme Fielding." Miss Power started so violently as he pro- nounced the last word, that he eagerly asked her what was the matter. Nothing—nothing whatever," aheanswered, quickly, H only-I have pricked myself with this pin." "I am so sorry. It is awkwardly long, I am afraid. Will you let me try and fasten it for you?" She did not make the faintest objection. She seemed to have lost the power of speech, as he fumbled in his masculine fashion over the refractory little instrument, and finally suc- ceeded in running it for about half an inch into her flesh. But he noted how she trembled the while he bent over her, and how her bosom heaved and palpitated as if she had lost all command of herself; and he interpreted these symptoms of feminine weakness according to his own wishes, and fully believed she was agitated by his proximity. Meanwhile, Esmé Fielding stood stiff and upright, like a soldier sentenced to be shot, and gazed at her. It had been the one desire of his heart to meet this woman again, but he had little thought the meeting was so near. Lola Arlington, regarding his strange atti- tude and the giri's confusion, and remembering the prophecy she had overheard maman utter through the locked door, took in the whole situation at a glance. Here was the white woman who was to be met first in a crowd. In a moment the secret which each heart believed to be its own was her property, and she had resolved to fathom it to the lowest depth. Lily Power was the woman, consequently Lily Tower wai Llic liisk auijiu-yutlv to recover her self-possession, and she made the prick she had received from the pearl pin an occasion for bantering her host upon his awkwardness. "Really, Mr. Kerrfeon. You have half stabbed me to the heart. That pin of yours is a veritable stiletto. May I not try a shorter and a humbler one ? "I shall be very much distressed if you do I have set my mind on your wearing this. Won't you oblige me?" he said, in a low voice. Certainly, if you wish it. But I must put it in myself," she answered, as she again bent over her dress and triecjto hide her face in her flowers. "Fielding, my dear fellow, when are you going to sit down?" exclaimed Kerrison, sud- denly alive to a neglect of his guests; that is your seat opposite your godpapa. I plaeed him there so that he might keep you in good order, that is, if he can spare any time from his next-door neighbour." The Colonel, who was becoming quite at home with the fair sex, answered brightly that he had certainly no leisure to look after gd-wons with a lady each aide of,him, and Esme must be left to his own devices for that evening only, by particular desire. The young man was evidently not ready with one of his usual sallies, for he seated himself in silence, and glared in an imbecile manner at the servants as they whispered the name of one horn cPreuvfe after another into his ear. He was almost stunned by the sudden rencontre. Although he knew that Kerrison was acquain- ted with all the members of the Miss ('redo" company, he had had no idea he was invited to meet them, and Lily Power's unexpected pi c- sence acted on him like a spell. He ate and drank mechanically. The voices of the assembled guests seemed to him fsraway as the voices in a dream, whilst his thoughts flew back into the past, and reviewed the happy hours which he had spent by this woman's side before the world and Mammon had combined to separate them. Mrs. Arlington noted his confusion and Miss Power's pallid silence, and put her own interpretation on them. The secret which had upset his life was the same secret that had made her thin, and pale, and uncom- municative. It lay between those two. She was certain they had met before. Fielding, my dear fellow, you are not enjoy- ing your dinner," rang out the host's cheery voice. Edward, champagne to Mr. Fielding. Will you take champagne, my dear bov, or moselle? Why, what's come to you? Have you lost money, or got a new pair of boots on ? If it were not so late in the season I should certainly say you had backed the loser. I never saw you so glum." "I have backed the winner and lost upon it before now, Mr. Kerrison," replied the young man. "But it was an old loss that was pres- sing on my mind just then, not a new one." "Well, my boy, whichever it is you must drop it for this evening, for it is an insult to Miss Credo.' You were there on our first night, &nd I am sure you will join me in a bumper to her continued success, and that of all the talented ladies and gentlemen who have made her what she is." Hear, hear cried Captain Riley. I drink to the health of .NLii.98 Credo,' and the lilies and roses that made her," said Fielding, raising the wine to his lips. "And to Miss Lily Power, queen lily and rose in one, quoted Kerrison, with more enthusiasm than prudence, as he followed his example. The names of the various artists were men- tioned one after the other, and congratulations and compliments accompanied each toast. Only one woman at the table was left out —Mrs. Arlington. Colonel Escott fancied ahe looked hurt at the omission and he could not bear that she should feel herself slighted. He waited till the cheering and enthusiasm had died away, and then be said, bashfully "I would like to give you one more to st, Mark, if you have no objection. There is a 1 idy present who interests herself keenly in your work, and rejoices unreservedly in your success. From a dramatic point of view she is not per- haps the rose, but she has been near it. And in herself she is rose enough to attract the notice of any nightingale. You must know I allude to Mrs. Arlington, and I ain sure the gentlemen will join me in drinking her health, and wishing her all prosperity for the zeal she displays in carrying out your wishes." Mark Kerrison did not quite like this little speeeh. Ifc looked as though he had forgotten his duty to one of his guests. But he tore his eyes away for the moment from Lily Power, and murmuring "Yes yes of course <fuiccT' ¥ Jem. Your very good health, Mrs. Arlington," drank the toast in a hurried, indiffcienl mauner, and immediately recommenced his attentions to his fair neighbour. Lola sat, dark and glowering with indigna- tion, at the head of the table. What avail to her were Colonel Escott's honied speeches and pretty flatteries, whilst Mark Kerrison was engrossed by Lily Pcvtu ? It was no palliation in hereyes that Miss Power sat silent and reserved by his side, And did not seem to be paying heecrto a single word he uttered. She would have liked to strike that pale, indifferent girl dead at her feet, for having the power to engross his thoughts to the exclusion of everyone else. But she thought she saw an opening for her revenge, though as yet in a glass darkly, and she knew where the infor- mation was to be acquired which should make the rough places plain. She made the signal for the ladies to retire, with a malicious anticipation of the moment when she would be able to give her rival one gr two sword-thrusts to carry home with her, but Miss Power did not afford her an opportun. ity to carry out her benevolent intentions. By an almost supernatural effort of will she had passed through the cruel ordeal of dinner with- out displaying one sign of distress; bat as soon as the immediate necessity for self-con- trol was over she broke down like a frightened child. I am ill, Mrs. Arlington," she exclaimed, as soon as the women found themselves alone I have hardly been able to sit through my dinner. I must ask you to let me return home at once." uItt! dear?" echoed Miss Hartlebury; "why, what's the matter? You don't look any paler than usual; you never have any colour, you know." "Nevertheless, I am not well enough to remain here any longer," rejoined Miss Power, coldly, If and I must beg Mrs. Arlington to let one of the servants call me a cab." "But you had better try some remedy first. Let me send for Mr. Kerrison," suggeste a Mrs. Arlington, with a sneer; he is sure to do you good." Lily Power sank down into a chair, appar- ently overwhelmed by their opposition; and the housekeeper began to consider what the consequences might be, if she were really taken ill in the house, and established there as Mr. Kerrison's guest. "I must go home," murmured the girl, faintly; I cannot hold up my head. lam I unfit for anything but solitude and rest," "Well, of course, if you must, you must," acquiesced Mrs. Arlington, as she rang the bell, and gave the servant orders to call a cab for Miss Power, "but I am afraid Mr. Ker- rison Will be very much vexed with me for let- ting you go." I cannot help it. Please make my excuses, I shall be better to-morrow," said the girl, in broken sentences, as she hurried through the hall. But Lola Arlington took care to accompany her to the vehicle, and listen to the given address. What number did you say, Miss Power ? she inquired, sweetly, after Lily had spoken to the driver through the trap he can't hear you." And the girl, who suspected no collusion, and had but one prominent desire-to get away before Esm6 Fielding should enter the draw- ing-room—answered, deliberately gt Three hundred and twenty-eight, Waterloo- road, and please tell him to drive as quiokly *s he can." (To be continued.)
Important to All.
Important to All. Every person's future is, to a certain extent, in his own hand. Many a future which might have been brilliant has been darkened by lack of self-help. Many a home which might have been gladdened by life and health and comfort has been Maddened by poverty, illness, and death, in many cases wholly preventible. The spring and early summer months are from a sanitary point of view among the most import. )ant of the year. Due care now may mean a healthy and happy summer and autumn and a robust constitution to meet the trials of next winter. Neglect now may mean a joyless sum- mer, ja trying and a broken constitution to succumb under the attacks of any exceptional trial. There are indeed few who do not feel the system needs recruiting after the trying winter they have passed through. With some it is only a little cough," with others "a ten- dency to Bronchitis," with others "not quite up to the mark," a "a sort of all over-sinking feel- ing," "too weak to do anything about the house,' "these recurring headaches," "no appetite for my food," &c. What a change of air can do for you in a few month's time, if you are no worse than you are now, a course of some good tonic mix- ture, a reliable medicine of established reputa- tion and of proved virtue, will do now. There are several tonic mixtures to be had, but none which have been so uniformly successful as GWILYM EVANS' QUININE BITTERS: it has never been known to fail. Sold in bottles, 2s 9d and 4s 6d each, by all chemists and patent medicine vendors, or direct from the proprietors: The Quinine Bitters Manu facturing Company Limited, Llanelly, South Wales, carriage free by parcel post. Beware of imitations. See the name of "Gwilym Evans" on label, stamp, and bottle, and refuse any pre- paration offered as a substitute for it. 247i
TREFOHEST CYCLING CLUB.I -1
TREFOHEST CYCLING CLUB. Annual Races. On Saturday the Treforest Cycling Club ran off their championships at the Iraff Vale Park, Pontypridd, in magnificent weather. Up to the present year the 25 miW raee has been held on the road in the early morning, but with a laudable desire to keep within the pale of fcbo [ law, the club this year decided to hold it on the Taff Park the use of which was kindly granted by Councillor James Roberts, J.P. Much inter- est was centred in the events, which consisted of a three and 25 mites' handicap; and, not- withstanding tiie fact that the races had not been extensively advertised, a large crowd as- sembled to witness the racing. It was thought by some that the track was unsafe for fast rid- ing, but not a single accident occurred through that cause. Although several of the competi- tors fell, in every case it was due to a puncture, or an accident to the machine. The riding ot young Bob Francis in the 25 miles' race was worth going a long way to see, and he won warm enconiums from the crowd for his plucky and brilliant riding. The officials were: Handi- CttpptMH; Mown Willi«Hi -H- 4).. Brant, and William May; judges, Messrs T. S. Judd (official judge, N.C.U.), S. Lane, T. Powell, J. F. Griffiths, Arthur James, and I., Q. Mor. gan; starter, Mr J. G. Roberts; time-keeper,1 Mr David Williams; treasurer, Mr E. S. Hunt; secretary, Mr J. G. Morgan. Results Three Miles Bicycle Handicap.—First prize, value £ 3 3s; second prize, value, £ 1 Is; third prize, value 10s 6d. First Heat: 1. J. R. Evans, 25 yards; 2, Hopkin Davies, scratch; 3, David Davies (Llan- twit), 50 yards. Time, 9 min. 27 sees. A fine race, Evans winning easily. In this beat, Osman fell. Second heat: 1, J. Evans, scratch; 2, W. J. Evans, 30 yards; 3, David Morgan, 100 yards. The limit men were quickly caught up, and up to the last couple of laps all the riders rode in a bunch, when Evans sprinted and won, closely followed by W. J. Evans. Time, 9 min. 40 sees. Final: 1, David Davies; 2, J. R. Evans; 3, Hopkin Davies. Davies, who had only got into th efinal by virtue of his being fast- est third, cut out the pace, closely attended by the rest. This was the order until the last lap, when Davies, maintaining his position, won a closely contested race by a couple of yards, third close up. J. R. Evans, who came in second would undoubtedly have done better but for his saddle pillar breaking in the last lap. The 25 miles' race was considered the chief event, and for this the following nine competi- tors turned out: J. Evans, scratch; T. Lewis, 10 sees; Hopkin Davies, 10 sees; W. J. Evans, 25 sees; Tom Osman, 25 sees.; David Davies, 30 sees.; David Morgan, 1 min.; Robert Fran- cis, 1 min. 45 sees.; and J. Preece, 1 min. 45 sees. Preece and Francis started off at a rare bat, and had placed nearly four laps to theit credit by the time the scratch men had started. The back-markera made several game attempts to reduce the distance between them and the leaders, but neither Francis nor Preece was to be shaken off. At five miles the position stood: 1, Preece; 2, Francis (a few yards behind); 3, W. J. Evans; 4, W. J. Evans; 5, T. Osman; 6, David Davies (the three latter in a bunch two laps behind the leaders): 7, H. Davies; 8, T. Lewis (three laps behind), and 9, J. Evans (four laps to the bad) David Morgan had fallen out shortly after the completion of the first mile owing to a puncture. In tue, seventh mile J. Preece punctured and fell, and was forced to retire. The other riders had a miraculous es. cape from being thrown, Lewis being sent across the enclosure, and only avoiding- running into th lap-scorers' table by a few inches. In the fourteenth mile Lewis gave up, and soon after- wards Jim Evans' saddle pillar broke, losing him a couple of laps. In the seventeenth mile Osman retired, and Jim Evans followed suit in the twentieth. Francis was now rillmg brilliantly, and would not be left. The back- markers occasionally sprinted away from him only again to be caught by the youngster. Some time later W. J. Evans punctured, and in changing machines lost a considerable amount of ground. The new machine not suiting him h. again dismounted, and on finding a cyle more to his liking started in hot pursuit of the leaders David Davies was all the time riding very con- sistently and strongly, and barring accidents ho was certain of taking second place. The positions now were: 1, R. Francis; 2, David Davies (two laps behind); 3. Hopkin Davies (three laps), 4, W. J. Evans (five laps). These positions were maintained to the end, Francis running out a winner by two laps, David Davies being second, and Hopkin Davies third. W. J. Evans, who came in fourth, was given a gold medal by Mr T. S. Judd for his plucky riding under adverse circumstances. The win of Francis was evidently a popular one, and he received quite an ovation from the spectators. The timo of the winner was 1 hour, 23 minutes, 25 seconds, not bad travelling by any means v hen the nature of the track is considered.
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Houses Unfit for Human Habitation.
Houses Unfit for Human Habitation. ORDERED TO BE CLOSED. Alderman W. H. Morgan, solicitor, Ponty- pridd, applied, before the Porth magistrates on Thursday, on behalf of the Rhondda Urban Dis- trict Council, for a closing order in respect of houses Nos. 9, 10, 11, and 12, Bedw Street, Cymmer. Evidence was given by Dr Herbert Jones (medical officer to the Council), who declared the houses to be totally unfit for human habi- tation. Dr Lewis, J.P., said that he quite agreed with Dr Jones, that the houses were in a filthy state. The orders were then given.
A Refreshing Assault.
A Refreshing Assault. A PORTH LADY GETS A COLD BATH FOR NOTHING. NEIGHBOURLY ATTENTIONS. Before Dr Ivor Lewis and Messrs T. Grif- fith: and W. Davies on Thursday, a respectably dressed woman named Mrs Stephens, residing at Perth, was summoned for assaulting another Porth woman named Mrs Pearson. The evidence showed that on the 10th iast., the defendant went to complainant's house iwi* asked for the loan of the key of the clock. Mrs Stephens went to the parlour ,and as she was coming out the defendant threw a bucket of water over her. Mrs Stephens added she was sure that the defendant was the person that did it, as there was no one else present. Corroborative evidence was given by a lodger named Frank Rennell. P.C. Thompson said that he apprehended the defendant. At the kouse of the complainant the passage was covered with water. On being charged the defendant pleaded not guilty. The Bench imposed a fine of jEl.
Sweethearts' Quarrel at Ynyshir.
Sweethearts' Quarrel at Ynyshir. A CONTRACT FOR "THE NEW YOUNG MAN." It appears that Miss Ann Williams and Mr Thomas Williams, Ynyshir, had for the last few months been courting, and had even ar- rived at the "engaged" stage. la fact, it was no secret that they were about to get married. According to the tale told by the male lover, they were going to be wed in August next. But there appe to have cornea turn in the tide of the woman's affection; her tote towards him grew considerably colder, and she was very anxious to have the engagement broken, so that sho might transfer her love to another quarter. This was the essence of the tale told by Miss Williams at the Porth Poliee Court on Thursday to Messrs T. Griffiths, Dr I. A. Lewis, and D. W. Davies. She said, furtiier, that on the night of July 5th, she met the defendant, who asked her to come for a walk. This 3he, refused to do, whereupon the defendant endeavoured to persuade her by striking her with ins fist on the face. Dr Lewis told the defendant that the case was a serious one, and that he (the defendant) had no right to prevent the girl from transfer- ring her affections. The defendant was ordered to pay the costs of the case. Complainant: I want some protective from him, Dr Lewis: Get your aew youiig than to pro tect you. (Laughter).
RHONDDA URBAN DISTRICT COUNCIL.
RHONDDA URBAN DISTRICT COUNCIL. The Change of Name Sanctioned. ELECTRIC LIGHT AT MAERDY. Mr T. Griffiths, M.E., presided at the bi- monthly meeting of the Rhondda Council held on Friday. There were also present Council- lors Rhys Griffiths (vice-chairman), W. Jenkins. J.P., J. D. Williams, J.P., W. Morgan. I.P., D, Evans, D, Williams, W. Jones, Dr W. E. Thomas, W. D. Wight, M. Llewelyn, J. Thomas and L. P. Griffiths; with the clerk (Alderman W. H. Morgan), the medical officer (Dr Her. bert Jones), and the surveyor (Mr W. J. Jones). FERNDALE FAIRS. A leiuer was received from the showmen against whom complaints were made at the last meeting for causing obstruction on the highway during the fair, stating that they had done so unaware of the fact that. they were committing an offence. Dr Thomas gave notice of motion to rescind the resolution of the Council, and in the mean- time the Clerk write to the police on the matter. JEHUS IN TROUBLE. Joseph Weeks and George Thomas, brakes drivers, Pontypridd, were reported to have plied I for hire after 11.30 p.m., which was a breach of the bye-laws. William Maddocks. an Ystrad brake-driver, was reported to W> pliro. hire without being on the cabstand Edwin Wynne, a Pontygwaith brake-driver, was re- ported to have overloaded his brake. At Ty- lorstown, Thomas Jones, brake-driver, Treorky" was reported to have committed a offence. It was decided to prosecute in all cases. CHANGE IN NAME OF .COUNCIL. A communication was read from the County Council, sanctioning the change of the name of the Council from Ystradyfodwg to the Rhon- dda District Council. POWERS OF THE VESRY. A communication from the Local Government Board was received with reference to the trans- fer of some of the powers of the vestry. It was decided that the Clerk be instructed to write to the Local Government Board accept ing the powers granted by the Board. MAERDY ELECTRIC LIGHT COMPANY. A letter from the secretary of the Maerdy Electric Light Company was read stating that they would be able to light the road by Octo- ber next. It was decided that the clerk write asking them to state definitely when they will be pre- pared to light the roads, assuming the Council oome to terms. ADDRESS TO THE QUEEN. Sir Mathew White Ridley wrote stating that the Council's address to the Queen had ween presented to Her Majesty, who was pleased to receive it. ASSISTANT OVERSEER'S SALARY. Mr D. Jones, assistant overseer, in acknow- ledging the receipts of the resolution with re- gard to the increase of his salary, stated: "let, I beg to state and maintain that the object has only been partly attained in my case, and that the salary is still too low when you take into consideration the fact that I have to pay three clerks out of the same. However, I am willing to give another twelve months' trial, and win then make known to your Council the result." PORTH TOWN HALL. The surveyor (Mr W. J. Jones) reported that the committee appointed to inspect the Hall at Porth had visited the Hall. The company had improved the exits, but the committee recom- mended that an additional staircase be construc- ted leading from the lower gallery to Hannah street. If the company would submit plans for this suggested exit, he (the surveyor) suggested that the plans be adopted. MISSION ROOM, DINAS. Complaints having been made at a previous" meeting of the Council, that a Mission room at Dinas had been erected without plans having first been submitted, the Rev J. Pritchard Hughes wrote stating that the Mission room was purchased from special makers of iron buildings, no architect being employed. He (the writer) was quite unaware of the necessity of submitting plans of this building. He had no intention whatever of committing a breach of the Council's bye-laws. Dr Thomas proposed that the Rev Pritchanl Hughes be prosecuted for building a Mission room without having first submitted plans. He (the doctor) thought all should be treated alike.. The Council had decided to prosecute braim drivers who were unaware that they were com- mitting breaches, of the bye-laws, and yet it was proposed to leave this gentleman scot freo. Mr W. Jenkins seconded the motion. Five voted for the motion, and there beinj* no amendment the motion was agreed to. CLERK OF WORKS. For the post of Clerk of the Works for tb44 Porth Bridges, there were fourteen applications Mr Evan Parry, Llwynypia, was appointed toi). the post at a salary of £2 2s per week.
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THE FIRST FLOOR LODGER.
THE FIRST FLOOR LODGER. By SAFADDAN, Tom Morgan and his wife Priscilia seemed to be the most unfortunate people alive. Every- thing they touched seemed doomed to failure. They had seen their little ones die, one by one, of fever or accident, or, worse still, by the slow waste of the "decline," as folks called consump- tion in those days. Yet Tom had deserved happiness and success, if ever a man had done so. He had tried every. thing, and had borne disappointment bravely. Now, at last, he found himself out of work, and dependent upon Priscilla. And Priscilla. did not forget to let him know it. Poverty and the petty worries of life had sharpened her tongue as well as her features, but Tom forgave a great deal for the sake of the happy old days of the country, before he had been compelled to migrate to the dusty town, and live in the company of thousands as poor and miserable as himself. This last trial of enforced idleness took all heart out of him. He looked only for death to end it all. Priscilla. in her little shop, serving small articles of household use to people even pcorer than themselves, might live somehow, and she would do better without him. He slow- ly rose, put on his hat, and left the house by the back-door. He was filled with a feeling of rest- lessness aad despair, and knew not what to do. He wandered along the riverside; so far that he found by and bye he had left the town behind him, and was once again in the sweet pure air of the country. Again he heard the lark sing- ing somewhere in the sunshine above him, a Way landrail rattled now and again in the country. Again he heard the lark singing some meadow, and a cuckoo questioned the world per. sistently as he wandered along the edge of a plantation. It was paradise regained to Tom. How he longed once more for the dear old life of the country, from which he was exiled for ever. The sun sank lower and lower, and lit up the west with ereat splashes of gold and crimson. Tom looked OH delighted. Slowly the glory fadea, and with it drooped Tom's spirit. He must return to Priscilla, whose last cruel taunt still stung him. Never! he would end it all here, in the quiet country, in the oaJm river that swept majestically seaward before him. He sat down on a bank and buried his face in his hands. "Friend," said a voice near him, "what's the matter? Nothing much, I hope." Tom looked up at him keenly, but said nothing.The stranper seemed affable enough, with an easy, happy ex- passion, and a merry twinkle in his eye. He was fairly well dressed in black cloth of fault- less fit, and his features were almost classic in regularity of outline. It would have been im- possible to tell his age precisely. To Tom he looked like a man of fifty, A good-natured old fellow, with the heart and spirits of a boy-a. typical .'old boy' in fact. Tom, naturally communicative and sociable, was soon chatting amiably with the stranger as they walked slowly townwards. The stranger wanted quiet and cheap lodgings, and Tom had thought of Priscilla's desire to let their first- floor to a suitable gentleman—of the respectable clerk family—just like the lodgers of her neigh- bours. As they entered, Priscilla's voice ran" harshly, "Where can you say you've been wasting your time?" But before Tom could reply, Priscilla had divined the presence of the stranger, for she could scarecely see him in the dimly lighted kitchen. Tom introduced her to Mr Smith, an actor, who desired to see her first floor before going elsewhere. Priscilla received him graciously, and, in the fashion of house-proud womanhood all the world over, apologised to him for every real speck of dust and a hundred imaginary ones, which she flecked off the furniture of the first floor room. "Madame," said Mr Smith with a sweet smile, and a courtly, deferential air, which at once won her soul, "it is perfection. The ivy round this window is Nature, dear old Nature, defyir- the smoke and dust of Commerce. It will be an in- spiration for me!" And soon the matter was settled, and Mr Smith deposited his little black bag, his only luggage, ia his room, and stood at the window cheerfully humming an operatic air. • • • • *«% With the advent of the first-floor lodger, pro- perity had certainly come to the Morgans. Mr Smith came and went,and was always so sociable and pleasant that his hosts grew quite attached to him. He must have been a retired actor, for he seemed not to work at all; life was a joy to him He could afford to smoke cigars-and good ones too—an extravagance at which Tom and Pris- cilia marvelled. His distinguished manner and easy circumstances made many friends for him amonst the neighbours; and when he left the house of a morning he distributed his smiles and cheery remarks 'like a prince," as Priscilla put 1-1 One day Tom ventured to sound him on the question of employment. "I am willing to work," said Tom, shamefully, "but I have really tried everything and failed." Mr Smith smiled good-humouredly. "A man willing to work and unable to get work even as a favour! My dear Tom, work is a delusion. You know the old saying, "Only fools and don. keys work.' Who ever made money by work? Nobody! The true way to get rich is to set other fellows working and charge them for the privilege, so to speak. The blessedness of labour is all nonsense. Those who talk most about it work least the world over. I may help you a little perhaps. As he spoke he observed a look of utter sur- prise on Tom's face at this new philosophy of life. The result was that Tom took Mr Smith's card with him to the City and got employment, not receiving any salary, but working on the profit- sharing system. Sometimes there were no pro- fits to share; for things went up and down in a strange manner. Now Tom had two pounds a week, and now fifty, whilst occasionally his colleagues made a call upon him for some un- expected deficiency. Tom soon found that whilst his partners were straightforward enough with each other, they were relentless in their doings with outsiders. There are many things in Tom's business that he disliked, some that he almost abhorred, but the thought of his former poverty silenced any murmur in his mind. It was all business, honest enough as far as the law was concerned, though it often savoured of smartness. It was always sanctified by the name of business. There were many smart strokes of business-too man, for Tom to be perfectly happy. Bv and bye Tom, too, caught the infection completely. One doee not like to be considered a. fool in any path of life, and Tom soon proved himself as "smart" and successful as his colleagues, to their no small surprise; for they had, long arro, set him down as an ass, the strangely honest ass, whose open face and pleasant, unworldly smile, was a treasure to them in their business ,though it made their own faces appear more hungry and cunning by contrast. Gradually Tom's eyes, too, grew redrimmed and anxious, and his face as- sumed the eager, alert look of the business man. Prosperity had not spoiled him, he flattered himself. He threw his earnings into Priscilla's lap, just as he had always done. and Priscilla shed tears over them. So he always proceeded, until at length the gold coins became banknotes. How Priscilla gloated over them and revelled in their crisp rustle. She still kept on her little shop, and Mr Smith still held possession of the first-floor, chatting with them now and again with the easy familiarity of an old friend. It was surprising what a world of wisdom emanated from him. He was their confidant and adviser always—really and truly, a guide, philosopher, and friend. He would sometimes rally Priscilia on her property. She affected to resent this frivolity; but, it was an open secret that the Morgans had bought the ol dshop and a cottage adjoining, and some malicious persons did not hesitate to say Priscilla. meant to acquire the whole street—if she lived long enough. There were some grounds for this charge, of course, just as there are for every exaggeration. Priscilla, always careful of money, was growing penurious and miserly. Tom's attention was called to this infirmity in a rather unpleasant manner. He wanted some ready cash, and asked Priscilia for it. She declined to part with it, and nothing could induce her to relax her -rip upon it. Tom looked at her and sighed. He was morti- fied beyond measure, and from that day he seemed to possess new energy. He toogreater interest than ever in his business, but he kept some money for himself. When it reached a certain sum he had mentally fixed upon, some, thing would happen. Success still flowed on like a steady stream, until at length he saw before him the quay where he would land and live the life of his choice. He astonished his partners by severing his connection with them, demanding even that the firm of Sykes, Morgan, and Whin- stone should no longer contain his name. As he walked homeward tliat evening, full of pleasant thoughts and dreams for the future, he casually met Mr Smith, his first-floor lodger. That gentleman smiled as graciously as ever, but somehow Tom would have been flad to avoid him. The truth was he had grown almost to hate him. Had it not been for the fact that he knew him to be the founder of his fortunes he would long since have compelled him to quit the first floor apartments; but a sense of gratitude, joined to Priscilla's upbraid in?s. had kent him silent. Sc 1..(:£;)-1; up & peer iJ1; ol eivilitj w- wards Mr Smith, however, as they walked to- gether through the gloomy street which led to the little shop. There was a crowd in the street when they arrived, and a cry of "Fire! Fire!" thrilled Tom's heart. The little shop was on fire! Tom rushed onwards, anxious for Priscilla. When he reached the door, he was thrust back rather unceremo- niously by some firemen. They had just rescued Priscilla from the flames, and were about to convey her away o nan ambulance covered with rugs. She had been badly burned. Tom forced his way to her, and took her hand It was charred and shrivelled. "I went back for my money," she said, hoarsely. She had lost her life for it! Strangely enough, Mr Smith disappeared from that day. What became of him was a mystery. When calmness returned to Tom, he sought first of all the de cottage of his childhood, where the same familiar cherry tree still grew in the centre of the garden. Then he supplied the village with pure water, and smiled with pleasure to think for how small a sum such a priceless boon could be bestowed. Then he busied himself with providing a village library and news-room and purchasing a large, flat meadow for allotments. He became, in fact, a little Providence in the place. Many an invalid blessed him for seaside sojourns, and many a young man ought to have thanked him for timely assistance. In the end he died a comparatively poor man. "Never mind," said Tom to his old friend the minister, "I think my money is all well invested, as the first-floor lodger used to say.