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[ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.] NO INTRODUCTION. BY MRS. LOVETT CAMERON. Author of "Deceivers Ever" "Bitter Fr&it" Midsummer Madness," &c. When Lady Augusta Marsh undertook the charge of her dead sister's three orphan daughters, she honestly determined to do her duty by them. Her duty, as she conceived it to be, consisted in providing them with elig- ible husbands, 'j ie poor lady was not especi- ally mercenary o. worldly minded-she would indeed have been extremely distressed to have been thought so—but from a business point of view, there appeared to her to be no other possible course to adopt with regard to the future of these girls. The plan of marrying them speedily and satisfactorily presented to her mind no in- I superable difficulties, for although they were penniless, they were nil of them of attractive appearance, and one of them was actually beautiful. Her own social standing was of the best, but her income, although amply sufficient for her own modest requirements as an elderly spinster residing in the country, would be wholly inadequate to the extra strain upon it, ir, the persons of three tall and healthy young women to feed and to clothe, should that strain have to be continued for an inde- finite period. If at the back of Lady Augusta's mind there lingered a selfish desire to be quit of her new duties and responsibilities as soon as pos- sible in order to return to the pleasant and I peaceful avocations of her own maiden exis- tence, who could reasonably blame her for such a desire. Upon the death of her widowed sister she courageously gave up all the tranquil joys of her life with hardly a sigh- her country cottage, her pigs and her poultry, her dogs and her pony and cart, the little bridge afternoons in the winter, and many a pleasant summer function in the shape of gar- Gen and croquet party which had hitherto ful- filled all the mild social cravings of her nature. All these she resigned cheerfully, for how were husbands to be found at Mellow- < field? So Lady Augusta took a furnished house in London and devoted herself to the due introduction into society of her sister's three girls. The least she expected in repayment of her sacrifices was that they should be grateful to- her, and fall dutifully into her plans and views. In the case of Florence, the eldest, and Dollie, the youngest, she had in this respect I 110 reason to complain. Both were triumph- antly conducted to the Hymeneal altar at the conclusion of their first season. Florence married an American millionaire old enough to be her father, and Dollie became the bride I of a fairly well off baronet of ancient lineage, whose estates were not too heavily encum- bered. The sisters were married on the same I day in a large West-end church, and Lady I Augusta, as she received the congratulations of her many friends, felt herself to be indeed a proud and happy woman. But at the close, of her third season in town, she was scarcely so well pleased. I Jane, another sister, who was by far the I best looking of the three, was Jane Bateman still, and there seemed no present prospect of I her becoming anything else. It was all her own obstinacy, too, as Lady j Augusta angrily told her. Offer after offer— of tlje most unexceptional kind—had that tiresome girl refused Jane Bateman had t beautiful dark eyes, a brilliant complexion, and abundant wavy auburn hair; she was regally tali, and carried her head in such a fashion that as she entered a ballroom every man turned to look at her. There was no denying her beauty—it was absolutely mag- netic—but having said that, there was nothing more to be said. Impossible to call her dull or stupid, because she cpuld talk well and i cleverly on almost any subject, but her j jspeech and manner were absolutely repellingw It was as though she resented the admiration of men. She was cold and disdainful to them all, and many of them called her heartless. Yet those who had seen her amongst little children, or with a sick anrimal, or sitting by the arm chair of her grandmother, a half- paralysed old lady o¥ eighty-five, would never have called her by these hard names. Jane, to those who really understood her, had an infinite capacity for love and tenderness. She would not do as her sisters had done, and marry to order the first man to whom her Aunt desired to hand her over. "Do you mean to be an old maid and live with me all your life!" cried Lady Augusta despairingly, on the last morning of the third London season, when Jane had just admitted that she had finally rejected the best match of the year on the previous evening. I, ".No, Aunt, I certainly can't say I want to live with you for life," was the perfectly can- did reply. "Although really I have no in- superable objection to becoming an old maid." "Let me tell you from experience that a spinster's life is by no means a desirable one, especially if the cares, of an aggravating" family are unexpectedly thrust upon her," snapped Lady Augusta. Jane laughed a little; "Come, come, Aunt r I am sure Flo and Dollie gave you no trouble "No, they did as I wished, and they are flow perfectly happy. Why can't you do as they did, Jenny?" "Because, dear Aunt, I happen to have a high ideal of a husband. I mean to marry a cian, not a puppet" "Why couldn't Lord Avery have suited Jou?"—Lord Avery being the desirable young sobleman whom Jane had flatly and some- what ungraciously refused to marry the pre- vious evening—"rich, handsome, and young. I should have thought any girl would have jumped at such a husbaud Why wouldn't Tou have him, pray?" "Ile has no brains and no talents, he would %ave bored me to death!" Ii "Jane you positively shock me, if those are your sentiments, you had better perhaps re- -vauin unmarried. I "Perhaps I had," replied Jane smilingly. next day the two ladies went down to *he little sea-side village of Sandy cliff. Lady Augusta, owing to her niece's obstinacy had! ■een compelled to take on the hoijse in Stsutli Kensington for another year, and to continue the letting, of her beloved cottage at Mellow- field.for the same period. "n n°^ ^nek there till I can do so *} a clear conscience," she said, to herself •*hich meant until the last of. her nieees was her hands. So she took Seaview Cottage at SaudyelifF for two months, as she had done for the last wo summers, just for peace and sea air until j. Could decently go back to London and tfeJ- j the weary hunt for a husband Sox Jane. Seaview Cottage stood high up on the top of the cliff amongst a wide parterre of poppies. There was corn also amongst the poppies, but it may be safely averred that the poppies were in the preponderance. The little town lay hidden in a cleft in the cliffs. When Jane came forth from the gate of the cottage in the morning sun, her red sunshade matched the poppies, her white dress matched the sails of the boats out at sea, and the blue of the skies reflected itself in her upturned eyes, so that they took on a beautiful violet colour quite charming to behold. Someone did behold them; thought he had never seen quite such an entrancingly beautiful woman before in his life. For on that morning of fresh breezes and blue cloudless skies Jane looked-what she very seldom looked under the glare of the electric lights of a London ballroom—sweet and lovable. For Jane had no idea that there was a specimen of that much-suspected and detested portion of the human race—a man under sixty, sitting upon the edge of the pub- lic path, and looking at her. Of course she had not taken fcrar steps along the path before she did see him, and simultaneously with the sight of him the beautiful radiant smile of sheer delight in .-a sun and the sea and the lovely world about her disappeared, her eyes dropped and were hidden from him, though he still had the op- portunity of admiring their long fringe of dark lashes, and her lips closed into their habitual rather cold and disdainful curves. It was as if a cloud had passed over the face of tll) Imn, but that young man was not discour- aged, for he had seen the sun before the cloud had descended, and he was a 'cute" young man. "You look cold as ice and proud as Lucifer now," he thought, "but that is just put on. You are neither one nor the other." I Then he rose to his feet, and as Jane passed e, se by him on the narrow path, he doffed his soft felt wide-awake, and stood bare- headed as she went bv. It was the natural homage to beauty offered by one who was an artist down to his finger tips. The action was so absolutely impersonal that it would have been impossible to take offence at it; added to which the path was so narrow that it have been scarcely possible for Jane to brush by him had he not risen to his. feet. She never knew why she did it, but as she passed him she looked up at him, and their eves met. His were grey and clear and some- what keen and piercing, and Jane's head dropped into a little silent bow. The bright blood mantled in her cheeks, and her Ipa lost that hard Set line of cold pride, and trembled suddenly into a timid smile. After that she passed on quickly and shamefacedly, feeling strangely guilty and ill at ease. Shortly after- wards she descended some steps that went down the face of the cliff to the beach and disappeared from his sight. For a few minutes Hugh Weston stood quite still look- ing fixedly at the head of the stairway where j she had vanished. Then after a few minutes he drew a long indrawn breath of rapture. "I have seen her!" he niiirni-urod, ''the | one woman on earth for me!" Then after j another moment he put on his hat and fol- lowed her. Every morning for the next ten days whilst Lady Augusta wrote her letters indoors did Jane Bateman come out of the gate of Sen View Cottage and proceed down the cliff hewn steps to the sands below. In the after- noons an iopon fly struggled up the Cliff-road at the back of the cottage and Jane went out for a decorous drive of two hours with her aunt, and then the ladies had tea together. Sometimes during the last few days, Jane had gone out again after tea, and once she had wrapped a thick shawl about her head and had stolen out by moonlight on to the cliff-but for that rash act she had been very much scolded by her aunt. "Most imprudent, my dear, the night air is so likely to give you cold." The moon was so lovely, aunt." But there might be tramps about in my day girls did not go out alone in the daytime even, and though I know things are much altered since I was young, I do most strongly disapprove of your going out at night by yourself." I Very well, aunt, I won't do it again." Even Lady Augusta could not help notic- ing how more than usually lovely the girl looked in these days; her eyes seemed to glow with a deeper warmth—her smile was more radiantly full, her cheeks were of a redder glow. Well, I must say, Jane, Sandycliff seems to agree with you!" Lady Augusta could not help exclaiming one day. "I never saw you look so well in your life, you look-well as if something wonderfully good had happened to you The girl laughed aloud in sheer gladness. Perhaps it has she answered gaily— and! then by way of explanation she added, You see, I have escaped Lord 'Avery!" Naughty child and Lady Augusta shook her head at her. • Well, at the end of ten days the climax came. Jane stayed out longer than usual, that morning—-and she was late for Innch. Such a thing had never happened before. Lady Augusta was a positive martinet with regard to punctuality, and her nieces had al- ways been careful to comply with her wishes in this respect. Ten minutes after lunch was on the table Jane was still not in sight. Something must have happened," said Lady Augusta to the landlady. I shall go out and look for my niece, Mrs. Brown." "Oh, I wouldn't, my lady/ not if I was you! Miss Bateman have forgotten the time I daresay. Young folks will be young folks, my lady, and when a 'ansom young lady meets a 'arcsom young gent—why no wonder as they fox-get meal times a bit! I'll keep fhetB chops 'ot im the oven," and Mrs. Brown actually winked as she lifted the dish off the table. Lady Augusta gasped, Mrs. Brown, you forget yotirself-what can you possibly mean I—you have made the most extraordi- nary and I may say improper insinuations concerning my niece." "Oh, no, my lady—sweet'earting's only 'timan nachur, and there ain't notliiiig extra- ordinary nor improper about it. My boy loej he seed Miss Jane and 'er young man yesterday mornin' with his wery own eyes- and oh! 'ere she comes runnin' hard—and you can hask 'er yourself, my lady." Jane; came in breathless and rosy and more radiantly beautiful than ever. Ob, aunt, I'm afraid I am late. I am so sorry——" And then she stopped—appalled at the anger in her aunt's eyes. "Where have you been, Jane? Who has been with you? Speak the truth at once, you unhappy girl." Jane, who had never told a lie in her life, did not hesitate for half a second. "I have been on the sands with Ifr; Hugrb Weston." "Who is Mr. Hugh Weston, pray?" He is an artist." Who introduced him to you.P" c "Nobody. He introduced himself." -Do you mean—he spoke to you—without SM introduction?" JaM nodded. If Miss Bateman had confessed to a theft the look of unutterable horror in Ladv .Augusta's face could not have been more iu- tense. "I am ashamed of you, Jane Bateman!" But Jane did not look in the least ashamed of herself. "When did this—disgraceful episode hap- pen, pray?" continued her aunt with a trem- bling voice. "The day after we came here." And—since then?" "Since then I have met Mr. Weston every morning. He asked me to come, and we have talked and walked together on the sands. Wait aunt, I have more to tell you. This morning he has asked me to be his wife—and he is coming to call on you after luncH." "I never heard of such insolence in my life! I shall refuse to see him!" But dearest aunt, you have always urged me to marry, and now I want to do so •" "You want to marry a low artist?" The scorn with which Lady Augusta enunciated every syllable of this scathing re- mark is impossible to describe. Jane's tem- per rose. She drew up her head. "Mr. Weston is an artist, certainly, but 'low' is not a fitting word to apply to him." Have you actually accepted this this man?" "Certainly I have." 1f, Is he aware that you are the grand- daughter of an earl?" I have not informed him of the fact." There was a lihtle silence, then Ladv Augusta inquired drily: "On what do you propose to live?" "That is Hugh's affair," said Jane with a laugh, he says he can afford to keep me." "Where does he live?" "In St, John's Wood." "Great heavens! You can't live in St. John's Wood!" Oh dear, yes I can—perfectly." Do you know you ungrateful girl that you can't marry without my consent? I am your legal guardian." "Dearest aunt," and Jane fell on her knees beside her aunt's chair—" you will not refuse your consent, I know. Surely you wish me to be happy." "Such a marriage cannot possibly bring you happiness, Jane. You must give this man up." "Never, never!" she cried, rising from her lowly attitude in a passion of determination. I will never give him up! I have never even liked any man till now-and now—this one has my whole heart." Why? why? a man, not your own class, who by your own admission addressed you with- out a proper introduction—whom you have only known for ten days! How can you pos- sibly love such a one 'with your whole heart' as you say!" "I don't care how long I have known him, or who he is, or how he came to speak to me. I only know that he is my king and my ideal, and that I will marry him, and I will never marry anybody else." But if Jane Bateman was obstinate, Lady Augusta could be obstinate too. Lady Augusta flatly refused to see Mr. Weston when he called, and the very next day she packed up her boxes and carried her niece away from Sandvcliff. And by the morning post Hugh Weston re- ceived his love's first letter. Dearest,—My aunt is very angry, and is taking me away-we are going to travel about—but in October we shall be in London again. I shall never,, give you up or marry anyone else, but there is a certain amount of reason on her side, and she is my dead mother's sister and my guardian. She has given me a home and treated me as a daugh- ter, and I cannot altogether disregard her wishes. I must at any rate give her time to get accustomed to the idea of you. We have come to a compromise. I have promised not to make any attempt to see you for a year (although I have stipulated that we may write to each other), and at the end of the year, if I am still of the same mind,' she says (and, of course, my dear one, I shall be !) then she will agree to see you and that means, I think, that she will give us her con- sent. I ewe it to my dead mother not to marry against my aunt's wishes if I can pos- ( sibly help it—of course, if she really won't listen tq, me at the end of a year-then, well ¡ then-! But do you love me well enough to wait a year for me? Am I worth it! Write and tell me!" And of course he wrote and told her he would wait for her for a dozen years if needs be—and then he went straight back to his studio in St. John's Wood and set to work at his great picture—the picture which was to lift him to fame and prosperity in the days ,i that were to come. A picture of wide blue sky and sea-of a yellow cornfield strewn with scarlet poppies, r and of a woman, beautiful as a goddess, with the sun on her auburn hair and the light of I unutterable love in her glorious eyes. But hard as Hugh Weston worked during the next few months, he scarcely worked so hard as did Lady Augusta Marsh. Lady Augusta was determined to knock "the low artist" out of her niece's mind, and to accomplish this end she endeavoured to knock some other man into it. In further- ance of this design she dragged Jane about from one end of England to the other, from I country house to country house. When at last they returned to the house in South Ken- sington she plunged recklessly into every sort of. dissipation. Weekly dances, weekly bridge parties, weekly dinner parties. Her bills became enormous. The poor lady even sold out some of her capital in order to de- fray expenses—it was her idea of doing her duty by Jane—but all was in vain! Jane did not fret in the let, she looked perfectly happy and entered into everything with the utmost enjoyment—but one "good match" after the other was refused by her, and those who came to woo—and they were many- were sent discomfited away! There came a day early in the month of May. It was Lady Augusta's afternoon At Home, and there were a great many callers; and as each group of people came crowding into the room, there seemed to be but one subject, question in the mouth of every- body. The wonderful picture at the Academy! have you seen it?" they all asked of each other, and of Lady Augusta. No, Lady Augusta had not seen it. You ought to go! it is so extraordinarily like Miss Bateman-everybody is remarking it." — Lady Augusta stiffened herself into buck- ram. "Indeed?" the said, frigidly, "and who has painted this remarkable picture?" A Mr. Hugh Weston—he is the coming man. Indeed, one may say he has come, fox he is certain to be the new Academician; y6it know the death of poor Mcwhurst has made a vacancy. He is really a genius, have you not heard of him, Miag Bateman?" turning to 111&0. "Yes, I have heard of him," answered Jane, demurely, and she flashed a look of mingled mischief and triumph at her aunt. "What sort of a person is he?" inquired Lady Augusta, disregarding Jane's signals. "Very second-rate, I suppose?" "Oh dear no, he is quite a gentleman. His mother is a cousin of Lord Woolters, and a very sweet woman. His father, who is dead,, was a barrister, I believe. Mr. Weston is quite a well-connected man." Oddly enough Jane was sorry to hear it. This perverse young woman would rather her artist had been of lowly birth! Not so Lady Augusta. "Put on your hat, my dear," she said to her miece the next morning. "Let us go to the Academy and have a look at this won- derful picture." And when they had struggled through the crowd in front of Hugh Weston's masterpiece and were near enough to see it, Lady Augusta recognised without much effort of imagination the poppy-sprinkled cornfields of Sandycliff—and Jane! That same evening she said suddenly to her niece; "Jane, you can write and invite your ideal to dinner next Wednesday if you lik" mean Mr. Weston." "My dearest auntie!" "Don't thank me, my dear," aa Jane fell upon her and kissed her with rapturous gratitude—"of course, if he hadn't been a decent sort of person, and well-connected, and successful in his own way, I wouldn't have had anything to say to him but as things are—well, I can't very well refuse my consent to your marrying a man whom every- body is talking about, and so I suppose I had better make his acquaintance. But all the same, I shall always maintain that it was most improper of him to speak to you—he ought to have waited for an introduction." "He might have waited for ever, aunt! aifd I should have lost my ideal!" laughed Jane. So Hugh Weston came to dinner on the Wednesday, and managed in that one even- So Hugh Weston came to dinner on the Wednesday, and managed in that one even- ing to win Lady Augusta's entire approba- tion, and the engagement was duly an- j nounced in the Morning Post" a few days later. Jane was married on the first of June, and after a very brief honeymoon went to- live quite happily in St. John's Wood at her husband's little villa with the big studio, whilst Lady Augusta went back to her cot- I tage at Mellowfield. Thank God," she said to herself as she took up the broken threads of her old life, "I have nothing on my conscience now! I have done my duty to all poor Ellen's girls!" But Jane would be on her hands to this day, if she had not found her ideal.

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