Hide Articles List

14 articles on this Page

-""""-----------FAREWELL TO…

A NIGHT OF HORRORS.

SEASON FOR WAITING.

[No title]

HORRIBLE DISCOVERY.

A SNAKE IN IA COWS EAR.

Advertising

A MW YEAR'S ERROR.

News
Cite
Share

A MW YEAR'S ERROR. "The beginning of the New Ye.-a?" Alger ilathvayne repeated with a short, sharp laugh. "Ah, it is rather the end of the world for me —the end cf life and of everything which makes life a sweet and precious possession. My I false adored, my traitress still beloved, why did you not thrust a dagger deep and sure in my heart with your own soft, cruel hands, rather than let me live to know your perfidy 1" Again lie took up the letter which a moment before lie had thrown down in anger. It is not like you to write such as this, my, false one. It is as if your own accusing con- science had made you careless of your wonted precision and daintiness," lie niuriiiure(L It was indeed an exceedingly curioag letter, almost insultingin its negligence and lack of form- ality, scrawled as it was on the blank, silver- gray page of some entertainment programme, without elate or address, and with the signature barely legible. Defective in form it was certainly, in sub- stance it was impressive enough. I do not wish to see you again, now or ever, If I have ever allowed you to suppose I carel for you, it was because my family for the time' had confused my reason and dulled my sensi- bility by their unceasing importunities. To convince you this is true, I will even confess without reserve that I most fervently and de- votedly love another." I The missive dropped from Rathvayne's un- steady hands, and he groaned aloud. She does not wish to see me again, now or ever," he quoted from Vanessa Craig's inexplic- able letter. "Great Heaven! how can I believe it, when but a brief day ago she smiled at my coming and sighed at my going, when by every sweet sign she seemed to assure me that my presence was a delight to her. She would pre- fer, that I should not present myself at the house again, even for her New Year's reception." Rathvayne arose from his chair as if uncon- scious of motion, and distractedly paced the length of the room. She desires me to understand that she loves another, fervently and devotedly," he con- tinued, between his fiercely set teeth. "She does not care for me. God t was there ever any woman before such a matchless expert in dissimulation, such an unequaled artist in de- ception as she ? She does not care for me! Then why did she blush divinely at my slightest tenderness, why pale piteously at what by chance might seem like coldness or displeasure in my manner ? I am amazed, I am utterly bewildered I could almost believe that my reason is unsettled, that this terrible thing is only an hallucination of my crazed brain." Half way down the room he passed a small, silver-f ramed mirror upon an enameled bracket and he paused to glance earnestly, almost fear- fully, at his reflection. His curly brown hair was tumbled and rough, there was a curious pallor upon his handsome face, and even his beautifully cut lipa were bloodless. bloodless. Who is this other whom my false one loves 1" lie resumed with increasing agony. "Is it Malmouth de Vere who has supplanted me in her affections-robbed me of my joy— who has cheated me of my most precious treasure ? And shall I tamely submit to such injury and affront? Well, I shall be present at her reception to-night, and if our happy idyl, our brief delicious dream, closes in tragedy, the blame and fault are not mine." It was rather late that evening when he was admitted into the elegant Craig mansion. At the moment of his entrance the charming drawing-rooms were quite empty, alike of callers and hostess, and the pretty girl-friend who was her assistant in receiving. An attendant conducted him to a pleasant nook, where he could enjoy the singing in the music-room if he did not care to join the group around the grand piano. But his unrest of spirit would not permit him to remain long in the luxurious seat. As he arose to his feet, a low tone-the eager, triumphant tones of Malmouth de Vere- sounded from the spacious conservatory just behind him. Rathvayne's pallid face suddenly flushed a dark, angry crimson. One hand was thrust inside his coat and nervously clinched some- thing hidden there. He moved a few paces along the corridor, his footsteps almost Inaudible upon the floor. Under a tall, blossoming orange-tree, so near that he could almost have touched her with an outstretched hand, stood his fair idolized Vanessa. She wore a rich gown of violet velvet, edged with snowy swan's-down about the trailing skirts, the graceful sleeves and lovely throat. Her only ornaments were heavy silver bands about her neck and wrists, and a large bunch of white camelias at her dainty waist. Her proud golden head was very erect at the instant, and her lmninous blue eyes were fixed with wonder upon the gentleman before her. Why do you pretend coy indifference, my queen ? Malmouth de Vere was saying. Alger Rathvayne, listening almost uncon- sciously in his great despair, set his white teeth so sharply upon his nether lip that a drop of warm red blood stained the tawny brown of his moustache. Ah, I could slay them both. I had rather lay her dead at my feet than let her live to belong to the brainless butterfly who has stolen her from me," Rathvayne murmured. And again one shapely hand was thrust within his coat to fumble the deadly thing there concealed. And then all at once his saner, nobler self asserted the supremacy. A shud- der shook his handsome figure from head to feet. Great Heaven, I have been mad—absolutely, mad!" he thought; "but I am myself again and I want no coward's vengeance. If she is indeed false, she is not worth the undoing of my honour." He stepped to a window opening from the corridor upon the lawn, flung apart the tapestry curtains, and rolled up the sash. He drew forth something from inside his coat. The moonshine flashed upon it for a second, and then it fell ringing upon the frozen snow far out upon the lawn. She is safe now," he said to himself. And during that singular digression he could still see the sheen of her violet gown, and hear her soft, low voice as if in remonstrance at some avowal from De Vere. "Thereis some absurd mistake. I do not care for you, and I never can care," Rathvayne heard her say. He paused despite his determination to with- draw, and to listen no longer. His gloomy eyes brightened, and the blood surged to his pallid face. "What did you intend me to think by your delightful little note, pet ?" -De: "V ere asked. "It was plain enough," Vanessa answered impatiently. "I meant you to understand that I wished to see you no more; that I had only beer kind to you because my family were always pleading for you, and that I loved another.'1 "But you didn't write that, said De Vere, producing a dainty note, fastidiously lettered upon the most delicate of violet-tinted paper. "Oh, that was not meant for you, but for another," she panted, her blue eyes brimming with tears. Oh, how could I be so careless How could I have done anything so ridiculous and so unfortunate ? How shall I manage to correct such a stupid blunder ? In the hurry of her many preparations for her grand New Year's reception, Vanessa had some- how contrived to change the envelopes. Slip dronned faintly unon the DIUSII-cushioned seat beneath the orange-tree, and wept* "Oh what will poor Algy think?" was her mental question. I I But Rathvayne was hastening toward her, knowing all, ready even to forgive the blunder which caused it. "But you will never know, my beloved dar- ling, what I suffered," he said to her, as he kissed the lovely quivering lips. And that fearful temptation, resulting from her New Year's error, he never confessed to her, even when she had become his adored bride.

Advertising

LITER All Y EXTRACTS. .I

[No title]

Advertising

TIT - B I T S,

Advertising