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THE MINIATURE.

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fALL RIGHTS BESERVBD.] THE MINIATURE. £ y the Author of Sydney Fielding.- CHAPTER I-(Continued.) I still did what I could' to induce the wanderer to return to his home, but without avail: he was fixedly intent upon traversing the world in quest of her beauty. Though the young lady had been prudent enough to take herself off, the poor, impassioned lover would not hear of letting her go her own ways. I myself went back to town very speedily, to report the otter failure of my mission. But before Coleraine could take himself away from H-, he went once more to the theatre, as if fascinated thither by (he strength of late associations. In a dreamy, unheeding mood, his thoughts chiefly busied over past acts and scenes, he sat through the Comedy, and then wandered behind the scenes. There he happened to meet Craven, on his way to his dres- sing-room. The actor was in a violent passsion, and was complaining with bitter sarcasm of the performance of the principal actress declar- ing that such acting would not go down at a child's Christmas party; that it was a degradation to be cast with such an automaton that that sort of thing would not do for him and so on. Scowling Coleraine, he strode on, entered his room, and slammed the door. A pretty fellow for a lady to be coupled with, at .»nyrate!" thought Charley. Stepping slowly and saunteringly on, much like, a Drifting lover, he came presently to the little chamber where Beatrice had been wont to attire herself for those charming personations which turned the heads »f half the folks at H-. The door was open, and Seeing that the room was unoccupied, he went in and Set down by the table. Here was the full-length flressing-glass, and there the smaller toilet mirror, that had so often reflected that lovely and brilliant I face. Can you not show me her features for one moment!" he murmured, with the lovery proverbial Irrationality, as he looked into these unconscious pieces of furnitnre. You are very much unlike the World, inasmuch as you never make reflections of the absent." Such wise thoughts passing through his mind, he drew out the miniature, and began to regard it with the accustomed tenderness. S.uddenly be discovered that the chain was broken-one of the links having become split. He laid it on the table, and disengaged the chain from his neck, and then, taking some thread from his pocket-book, proceeded to attach the several portions together. While he was thus occu- pied, his ears were suddenly assailed by the noise of &violent altercation without, and almost immediately the young lady who had been engaged as leading •ctress entered the room, followed by the manager and Mr. Craven. The lady was in teare, and evi- dently greatly excited, and the two ,'gentlemen were beated with passion. Coleraine instantly divined what might be the cause of all this excitement. The r young actress, it seemed, had gone to the manager immediately the first play was concluded, to complain, of the great rudeness with which she bad been treated throughout the evening by Mr. Craven, and of the wounding and contemptuous language he had ad- dressed to her, in the hearing of several members of the company between the acts and deqlarcd that she could not submit to such behaviour, and that, if it was to ,be permitted, she must throw up her engager ■teat. Upon this the manager had instantly sum- moned Mr. Craven to his presence, reproached him for his ungentlemanly conduct, and warned him that there must be no repetition of it. Mr. Craven, fcoweyer, was not the man to take a scolding from any one. He answered with scornful insolence. He didn't know what the world, was comirg to. Managers didn't seem to think it. worth, while to study their interests, nor actresses their parts, and a man of talent found himself lost between them. If managers knew their business, they wouldn't cramp 8Dd foil their best performers by pairing them with dolls and sticks, who rendered every point a fail- ure. The manager, greatly incensed, rejoined Warmly, and the young lady, somewhat alarmed, re- treated towards her dressing-room, the manager leading Craven after her, and insisting that he shopld make her an immediate apology. This was contemptuously refused, the comedian still exclaim-, ing that the manager did not know his dut-y-thatit was for the interest of the theatre and for the pro-' lection of talent that he had expressed his opinion, and that the idea of an apology was preposterous. Beeing Coleraine, the manager eagerly appealed to1 him as to the character of Mr. Craven's behaviour, and as to the lady's right to an instant apology—for he knew Coleraine to be every inch a gentleman, and one who would know no hesitation in speaking his mind. Our friend, much moved by the distress of the poor young lady, and by the insolence of Craven, Started from his seat, and warmly seconded the manager's side of the question. Craven resented this. interference, declaring that the affair was purely pro- fessional, and one with which strangers had nothing to do and, directing a sarcasm at Coleraine and the ectress together, uttered a wish that he had never come near the place, since it seemed to have been banded over to amateurs and sticks." The man lladconsiderable talking powers of that sort which, in a lower order of life and education, generally ap- pertains to bullies, and he continued to scold, sneer, and complain, walking to and fro in the little room, and working up his passion. Meanwhile, Coleraine addressed himself to the manager and the actress, and told them fearlessly and plainly what sort of course be should take with a man who took it into his head to behave in such a manner. Suddenly Craven cried oat, "Hark ye, Mr. Manager! my mind is made up. I quit your theatre this instant. I throw up the {engagement, and forfeit what is due, rather than experience another hour's indignity in such associations. You hear me; I throw up the engage- ment I" So saying he left the room, and, asi it appeared, Slurried from the theatre. Coleraine then addressed himself to the young lady, making a kindly attempt to encourage and reassure her; and presently several ladies engaged in • the establishment came in, anxious to know the cause of the disturbance and the angry voices they had beard, There was considerable bustle in the little room all at once; many voices, moving figures, eager, Curious faces. Then the manager reminded Cole- raine that it was a lady s apartment, and they with- drew together. Shortly, however, when the excitement of the moment wM over, Coleraine remembfei-ed that he had left the precious miniature upon the table,, ifor he had but just completed the joining of the chain when the disputants suddenly broke in upon him. He went back, tapped at the door, and begged that one of the ladies would hand it out to him. They answered presently, as if after a search, that there was nothing of the sort on the table, or in the room The pocket- book was lying open there, and that they delivered to him, bat as fbr the miniature, they could not see it BDywbere Coleraine, in great ihdignation and distress, com- ynunicated his loss to the already ^sufficiently vexed foanager; and soon there ensued another scene" In the house. But nothing came of either quelltlOna IX an-swers-the miniature was gone, and the ex- I 0sperated loser knew not whom he could accuse of lIle theft. To the manager it was a most disagreeable pjffair, as well as to all the ladies who had been in the mdom-for Coleraine, greatly enraged at a loss to 18m so serious, looked around him with angry and gaspicious glances. t The only other person who came into the room pas Mr. Craven; however, it isn't likely he would go such a thing as that ¡" exclaimed the perplexed manager. i The remark gave a new direction bo Coieraine's Suspicions, and he was by no means so confident as tÐ the unlikelihood of such a trick on the part of the Individual me- tioned. He now remembered the look o) the man when he had first shown 111m the miniatv,e, and the several indications of a tsooked natur that had come under his observation lance. An immediate conviction struck him that jfcaven was the thief. Apart from circumstantial toosiderattons, who else in the world was likely to ■wet the portrait so much? But what could be ■Mie? Several persons besides Craven had been in lie room before the loss was discovered, and it would fee folly and rashness to accuae him without some on uable clue to his guilt. The affair altogether belonged to that extremely awkward class, in which nam be. people are unpleasantly involved, and ia which no one can take any decided steps for a folution, without bringing annoyance and trouble IIpOn all the rest. Coleraine was obliged, as yet, to Bear hi8 loss in silence. In the morning he called upon Mrs. Duke, and ggfced to see Craven, intending cautiously to probe jthetman, with a view to test the correctness of his ■wpicions. He was informed, however, that Mr. feraven had left by the six o'clock mail for town, as be said bis coming to H was a de&d loss, and bp must. aecure an engagement aa speedily as pos- jWe. The old lady spoke in a somewhat sharp and taevieh manner, as if she wished to be rid of her Sector. Coleraine supposed she was In tfread of Kther inquiries after her niece but this was a mis- e, it seemed, for, as he was turning coldly on his Bed, she produced a little note, and handed itto him, ^claiming, "Tberel you've got it nowl It was against my will-I said I wouldn't countenance it." And with these flurried and half-passionate wordt., Ae closed the door upon him. half a glance he saw that the direction was in feftiukodwritiiig of Beatrice. He went to open the |^tf fiMb envelope, but suddenly put it in his pocket, and walked briskly on-presently stopped again, and proceeded to open it, and again denied himself; and so on, many times, until he took to his heels, to satisfy his impatience to reach the seclusion of his own apartments. It was very brief—this little note: "DEAR SIR,-Beatrice knows not what may be your opinion of the step she has taken, in abruptly and secretly leaving H- but she can assure you, that she was prompted by a sincere sense of duty. You may be assured also, if you will, that the separa- tion has cost Beatrice much. It is her hope and ambi- tion that she may attain a different, and a better position in society. May she ask if you have enough regard for her to allow her to go her own ways for a year or two, until she has either accomplished her design, or discovered its impossibility ? Have you sufficient love for Beatrice to return to your home at her de- sire, and not to think of her, until she may:enter that home, without bringing discord with her. Can you wait for her all that while ?" Such was Beatrice Jervan's curious little note. Coleraine wrote in reply: My DARLING BEATRICE,—Your note is just like you. Wherefore are you so diffident ? Where is the ne- cessity of your striving to attain a different, and, a better position in society ?' Can I wait ? No, I can- not wait, my dearest; and it is my present intention to go a-hunting for you—east, west, north, and south -until I find you. CHARLES." This note he left with Mrs. Duke, but received no answer to it, though he remained in H- several days, wearily hoping for one. He then took his de- parture, and commenced that search which he had promised to make-seeking out every person, and journeying to every place, that he had ever heard Miss Jervan mention as being associated with her career or friendships. But not an inkling did he get as to the direction of her retreat. Poor, wild Cole- raine after some three months of bootless roving to and fro, and countless disappointments, he came home—a thin, restless, dejected Werther The poor fellow was, indeed, very deeply in love the passion possessed him to the very core. I remember well how his parents grieved over the state he was in, and with what tender solicitude they strove to bring him to himself again. All this had gone past some twelve months, during which time our Wertherremained athome; a steady, serious, but lethargic young man-like one, indeed, for whom life has lost its grand, savouring impetus,- when, at the instance of my own stupid self, ja turn was given to affairs, and a catastrophe-terrible, awful-brought about. Business had called me to the west of England, where a banking-house in connection with our own was suffering some difficulties, which necessitated a strict examination of its affairs by one of our firm. Luckily, matters were shortly put straight, and all apprehensions of further embarrassment quieted. This successful termination of a very trying piece of busi- ness elated me very much, so that, on my way to town, I stopped for a day or two to amuse and re- create myself in the fashionable and beautiful city of B-. I went to the theatre, thereto pass an even- ing. I entered the house carelessly enough, po expecting to be much interested, further than by a sight of the interior, and of the fashionable people assembled; but from the moment the red curtain Was drawn up, to the moment of its descent, my attention was riveted, with wondering emotions, to the proceedings on the stage. The principal parts in the drama were sustained by a Mr. and Mrs. Houghton and in those person- ages I recognised the ci-devant Mr. Craven and Miss Beatrice Jervan! In spite of theatric smiles and tints, the -young lady was but a poor likeness of the beauty of other days. She was thin and careworn; her bright eyes were dimmed, and her light steps had lost their graceful, happy spring. She played well, however; like a woman of intellect, and one naturally gifted with unusual dramatic powers. Craven, or Houghton —the latter, as was discovered, being his real name —also played his part very fairly with a certain decision and professional finish and I rioted that. in theccenes where he was brought in direct histrionic contact and relationship to his fair partner, he seemed to observe towards her much admiration and tender- ness, and the genuine regard which it becomes a husband to evince towards his wife. I was greatly amazed at this discovery—and indeed when.:I first saw them before me could hardly believe my senses; but there was no gainsaying the identification of eyes, ears, and memory. After the performance bad come to a conclusion, I went to the manager, and, as a friend of the drama and general habitue, of theatres, I delicately gained as much: information as I could about his leading players. It was very slight, however, though all that I required. Mr. and Mrs. Houghton had been playing in his theatre, he said; ever since the com- mencement of the season, and enjoyed much pnblic favour. Were they married ? Oh, dear, yes and were living in great respectability and decorum. The discovery of this extraordinary state of affairs astonished me beyond measure. I had been the almost daily companion of Coleraine-the reprover and consoler of his perpetual sorrows and this eclair- cissemcnt came like a thunder-clap upon me. And then, in my excitement, I sent my friend that deplorable, ill-advised letter—that letter that brought about a wilder catastrophe than ever romancist dreamed of. In my innocence, I hoped that r "should be able to cure him for ever of the mania that was wasting his life. I [addressed him at great length, and with earnest solemnity, upon the chances of fate-upon the futility of basing our hopes of happi- ness upon the fancies and dreams of this life-upon the frailty of love and friendship—upon the incon- Stapcy of woman—upon the duty incumbent upon us to maintain the mastery of our feelings and passions amidst the viccissitudes-—of rationally pre- serving our hearts and :ininds amidst all trials and sorrows and then I bade him free himself from the thraldom he had known so long-I bade him have done with that languishing business: Plough not the seas, sow not the sands, Give o'er your idle pain; Seek other mistress for your mind, Love's service is in vain In fine, I warned him to forget Miss. Jervan, for. that all his love had been thrown away—not one jot returned or respected; since I had seen at B——. not only the lady herslf--but her husband also I CHAPTER II. My communication, instead of inducing Charley to throw off his dreams and pinings in quiet and proud disgust, brought, him immediately down to B, in hot hasted He looked pale, and greatly wrought UPI but assured me that he was quite calm about the affair, and had only come down to see them with his own eyes." Hitherto it had not been re- vealed to him who the husband was, but now, of course, concealment was out of the question. He was quite aghast when he heard that Houghton, or Craven, as he had called himself, and gained pos- session of the young lady; and, grasping my arm with intense excitement, he declared that the man must have been guilty of some diabolical perfidy before he could have turned her heart from him. Her heart could not be that wretch's—no, no !-he must have exercised some subtle villany to have gained her hand. Didn't I remember the losing of the miniature ? Depend upon it Houghton was the thief, and that he had turned his possession of that trinket to villanous account. Nothing could keep him from the theatre in the evening. Afraid, however, of any show of excite- ment, or any direct observation from the stage, I persuaded him to accompany me to the gallery, rather than go to more conspicuous seats in the boxes or pit. The play this evening was a curious sort of melo- drama—something after the dreary fashion of Kotzebue's Stranger "-forlorit and tragic, with little action, but incessant emotion. As before, Mr. and I Mrs. Houghton sustained the principal characters. My poor friend buried his face in his hands, and ground his teeth, as his one-time charmer came on, pale, thin, and worn, but speaking with her old sweet voice. His agitation throughout thej evening was, indeed, a source tof constant apprehension to rue but, after all, there was no loud outbreak. There I was a moment of peril, however, in the last act. By that time the action of the piece had plunged the hero (Houghton) into all sorts of misery, separating,, him from the object of his affection (only to be re- joined to her in the very last scene), and piling an Olympus of woe upon his head ;rand in the midst of his extremities had to produce from his breast the likeness of the loved one, and pronounce an im- passioned soliloquy over it. As the actor performed this passage, Coleraine pressed my arm sharply. His face was white with the excitement of many passions —white even his compressed lips. Do you recog- nise the setting?" he asked, in a hissing whisper. I knew from the first that fellow was the thief but mlio could have imagined such audacity of im- pudence He must be mad to parade the stolen goods before the world like that All the while the player was speaking his soliloquy, holding his breast, raving at the top of his voice, or lamenting, in the low choked whisper of grief, and still keeping his bright, flashing eyes fastened upon the miniature, my poor friend was almost beside himself. Rage and despair-furious indignation and bitter disappointment, swayed him with cruel severity —with exquisite suffering. The performance over, in spite of all expostulation, he went directly round to the stage-door, and hand- somely bribing the too-acquiescent porter, made his way behind the scenes. I followed on his heels, feeling as if I must keep near him, though I might j just as well hare taken myself home, and sat myself .nr, down to-supper in quiet, for not a eautionofentreatv. that I utteredjwas listened to. As it happened, we met Mr. and Mrs. Ilousrhton face to face, as we were hurrying along the pa-sanga that led by the green-room towards the stage. To this moment I can remember the wild start and jzrasp the poor young lady gave as she first perceived her former lover advancing directly on her pain, and the strong effort with which she strove to disguise her agitation in proud and cold indifference, dtricning her husband's arm, and turning to him her pallid face. But Houghton himself, when hs «TW;jtjrho was approaching, turned white, and topped short, as it seemed to me, with a mean and guilty fear., He re- covered himself in some measure, however, as it were, with a jerk, and evidently intended to brush quickly past us, dragging his wife with him. Byt Coleraine planted himself directly in their way, took off his hat with a sardonic smile, and compelled recognition. I will thank you to inform me, Mr. Craven, or Mr. Houghton, whichever you please to call your- self," said my poor friend, with a determined air- "I will thank you to inform me how you obtained possession of that miniature which I observed in your hands this evening ?" What r exclaimed Houghton, looking all round as if in search of some one to appeal to-some one to bear witness in what an extraordinary manner he was being insulted. What! do you know whom you are addressing ? Have you lost your memory, or your reason, sir?" "The miniature!" exclaimed Coleraine, stamping with impatience how came it into your hands ? It was stolen from me some twelve months since, and I desire to learn bow it came into your possession and surely you will tell me, for it cannot be your wish to conceal and screen the thief ? Never mind my memory or reason, but give me an answer to my plain ques- tion." Your plain question, my friend, puzzles me ex- ceedingly Let me ask you again, have you lost your memory or reason ?" returned Houghton, looking fiercely and pointedly in Coleraine's face, but giving evidence of great agitation and wild perplexity. Come, sir I" cried Coleraine, stamping again your answer, or I shall be forced to consider thtt you are the thief—that it was you yourself who stole that miniature!" Oh 1 what means this ?" cried Beatrice, shrinking back, and clasping her hands in a strange, sickened, and affrighted manner; and looking from the hus- band to the lover, from the lover to the hnsband, as if she feared some blasting revelation. What does the man mean by crossing my path and assailing me thus ?" cried Houghton, drawing his wife towards him again, and preparing, with flurried precipitation, to resume his way. If you are his friend, sir, why do you not take care of him, and check his vagaries ?-why do you let him run into danger thus, insulting people with his outrageous accusations ?" Do not think that you will escape me," said Coleraine. If you refuse to answer the question here, I will taka care that you shall have to answer it elsewhere and at a tribunal before which refusals and evasions will be in vain." Out of the way with yon we have had enough of this "But why does he&ccHse you, and why do you de- cline to answer him ? What does this meanAI say ?" cried Beatrice, refusing to pass on, though her hus- band urged her forward violently; and looking at him and at Coleridge with the despairing suspicion of one who swddenly-finds that a whole life's peace and happiness has been sacrificed through a decep- tion. Stuff'.—he is mad! Come along this moment returned Houghton, with a furious scowl. Perhaps, at any rate, you will give me your ad- dress ?" said Coleraine. Anything to be rid of you," exclaimed Houghton; throwing him a card. Take that." But," cried Beatrice, still holding back, and look- ing at Coleraine, while her voice seemed like a sup- pressed soream, did you not give him the miniature, saying that you prized it no longer?'' Certainly not, said Coleraine, turning still paler at the comprehension of the villainy this innocent question betrayed. The miniature was stolen from me, and all that I wish is to trace the thief. And wherefore should your—your—husband refuse to aid me ?" What! and you never gave it to him repeated poor Beatrice. Certainly not," said Coleraine again; I could; not have given it to any man; I would not have parted with it for all the treasures in the world "Oh God!" cried Beatrice, hiding her face in her hands, in an overwhelming ecstacy of grief and horror. "Come, I say?" exclaimed Houghton. "Oh! how can I go with you ?-how can I ever' think of you again? What have you done, sir?— what have you done?" gasped the Spoor young lady,; absolutely beside herself. Come I think—I think I shall be angry pre- sently," said the actor to her, in a low murmur, that' had a threatening and ominous sound. I will wait upon you to-morrow," said Coleraine, "Yes, yes, to-morrow," returned Houghton, "And take care that you are not forestalled—take care that I do not wait upon you Come t" He gasped the arm of his wife, and hurried her unwilling, uncertain steps away. As they retreated, we heard her still repeating, in the same bewildered voice, "What have you done?—what have you done ?" At that moment a troupe of ladies, and two or three gentlemen connected with the theatre, came along the passage, and Coleraine drew my arm within his, and we strode away out of the building. Did I not say to ?" be asked. Did I not guess at once that he inust have played some villainous trick upon her? Do you not see how he won her ? —that ne showed her the miniature, saying that I gave it to him, not wishing to keep it, as I loved her no longer? Her very words I-'Did you not give him the ininiatum" said she, 'saffhig that you prized it no longer?' ? 1 will be even with htm! If he will not answer-to me, he shall to the law. The thief shall be ooftvicted But you forget," I remonstrated, yoti would en- tirely rmii3: thw wan for life; and though, perhaps, he may deserve it, still married; think of his wife. Coleraine topped short^startled andnbaahed. ob -PRetrice! I have been forgetting you all this time he exclaimed, with sudden remorsè. Ned I what mischief may I not already have d&he her! God forgivft me !-I could not thinkof hei- as his wife It was, indeed, a grave thought! What mischief might not already have been effectedl-tbe utter alienation of the wife from the husband—the conver- sion of a bearable marriage state into an intolerable one—the thorough ruin of the peace, comfort, and perhaps Safety, of the woman's life—if, howfevWr,_ h«f nuptial days had known such. The more he reflected upon this phase of the affair, the more Coleraine repented what he bad done; and, in his changed htomonr, entirely gave up the thought of forcing the matter to the termination he had in- tended—indeed, resolved to return home immedi- ately, bear his griefs as he could, and strive to forget both the original and the history of the miniature. There was nothing to be done, he said. Fate had wrought the mischief, and it could not be undone. And that was the truth of the whole miserable piece of work. (To be continua)

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