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[ALL lUOHTS RESERVED.] h OS AURA: A TALE OF LOVE AND TRAVEL BT LADY STELLA KIRKLAND, AUTHolt OF The Lilies of Helen," Ulric," <fc.,$e. CHAPTER IV. STRING deepened into summer; the flowers put on a richer hue, and the forest trees a nrve leafy foliage. The woods around Puerto were filled with the glad voices of birds, and the ripple of the woodland streams was delightful and refreshing during the warmth of the summer daya. Rosaura's wedding day was approaching already her modest trousseau was prepared, and many rare and valuable gifts had she received from the man who loved her so dearly. Once only had he made remark upon her coldness towards him. They had been watching the sun'. disc slope towards the western sky in clouds of brilliant hue, and Rosaura's face had looked full ot melancholy as her eyes had followed its downward course. Lord Somerville had been regarding hel with anxious tenderness, and at last he spoke. Why do you look so sad, my love ?" he asked, taking her hand in both his, and turning her towards him you are strangely cold to me at times. Tell me, darling, if there is anything on your mind. At periods I have thought there must he something which troubles you. Surely my great love for you could remove any secret grief you may have." And his Toi-e was so full of tenderness that she did not dare to raise her eyes to his, lest he might read hei secret thoughts in their depths. Forgive me if I seem cold," she murmured, in a low voice, "it is my manner only, and the time of sunset always fills me with a sweet melancholy. It was always so, even since the days of my childhood I could not see the afterglow fade and die away, with- out a feeling of sadness stealing over me. And when I see yonder bright orb sink down behind those grand old hills, my very heart seems to go out in wild vain longing—for something, I know not what. You will deem me foolish, I fear, but oh," clasping her hands passionately together, it seems to me as if there was no redt upon earth, or in the grave." He looked at her, startled by this sudden outburst; and then he took her hands again, and looking into her eyes, asked sorrowfully almost sternly, Eosaura, tell me honestly, do you love me, or have you been only acting a part with me ?" A slight tremour passed over her slender form, then raising her :face to his, she smiled the smile he so loved to see upon her lips, and asked, "Had I ra garded you with any other feeling, would I have con. 1 sented to become your wife?" Whilst she spoke a look of tenderness filled her beautiful eyes, and she clasped her hands upon his arm. He was deceived by her seeming affection, for she was a clever actress. After that he did not again express any doubt of her, and the days passed slowly by until the wedding morning arrived. The warm sun shone in through her narrow case- ment as she arose and donned her bridal attire. She cast aside with loathing the simple white robe her mother's careful hands had prepared for her, and taking from her wardrobe a plain black gown, she arrayed herself in its sombre folds. Her midnight hair was combed back from her pure white brow, and fastened by a high comb, from which her lace mantilla fell gracefully around her queenly form. As she was about to leave her room Donna Cousina entered, with a large passion-flower of scarlet hue, in her hand, which she gave to her reluctantly, saying, Lorenzo came here last night, and charged me to give you this. He said it would ipeak to you more plainly than any written words from him." Eosaura took the blossom, and pressing it to her heart cried, "Oh, Lorenzo, never shall a day pass but thy image shall be before mine eyes never shall I gaze upon a scarlet flower but I shall think of thee, and love thee, though the thought of thy dear name mayfill my soul with despair. Mother, I am ready now for the sacrifice; and when it is consummated, never again shall these lips smile until I have a full and complete vengeance upon the man who ruined my sister." Child," said the old woman, "words of mine are powerless to cool that fire of vengeance that burns in your breast; but oh, remember there is One above to right our wrongs. Even at this, the eleventh hour, take back your troth from the noble Englishman, and let him return to his own country, where a happy future may be his. You love Lorenzo, and he loves you, and will continue to love you, even until the hour of his death. Be warned in time, and wed the lover of your childhood. Wherefore wreck the happiness of two men's lives, and ruin your own soul as well ?" Ah, my mother," replied her daughter, with a bitter smile, your teaching comes too late. Here in my heart have I registered a vow night and morning for twelve long and weary years, to devote my life to Vengeance on Sir Dallas Moreton. Now, when the opportunity to fulfil my vow has come, do you think .1 will shirk the sacrifice? No, my mother, you forgot I am a Spaniard, and to us Spaniards revenge is dearer than love or even life. Come, my mother, let us to the church, for the bridegroom will be wait- ing, and the sun shines fair upon my weeding mom." And with a bitter, mocking laugh, that terrified her aged mother, she swept from the apartment. If In a small Spanish church the little group standi at the altar. The light falls in rosy rays from a window of stained glass at the far end, and lingers in shafts of light at the feet of the bride. She is pale, and the glad blushes that should adorn her face are absent. The solemn words are spoken that join these two in wedlock for good or ill, and at last the white- haired clergyman bestows his parting blessing on them, and they turn away andlgo slowly down the aisle of the church. There is a look of joy upon the face of the man, but as he gazes on the marble-like features of his Spanish bride a sudden dread enters his soul, for her eyes have an expression of loathing-nay, almost of hatred in them, and for the first time he sees that it is not for love this woman has become his wife, and he trembles for their future together. As he turns restlessly from her his eyes meet those of a man who glares upon him with envy and hatred from a dark corner of the church. The face seems atrangely familiar to him, but as he looks again he finds the man has vanished, and he is tempted to believe that his presence there was only caused by a freak of his own imagination. And now the wedding party has disappeared, and the little church is once more in gloom, save for the Nosy rays of light that fall at the altar steps. The clergyman has folded his vestments and gone away. But the church is not yet deserted, for a man comes forth from behind a marble pillar. Standing in the apot where Rosaura had knelt, he raised his hand to- wards heaven, and vowed to know no peace nor rest until he had divided those hands the white-haired clergyman had joined together, That man was Lorenzo Valongo- CHAPTER V. I FIVE years have passed since Lord Somerville took to his home and heart the wild Spanish girI, Rosaura. They were years of bitter awakening to the Englishman, as he discovered day after day how small was the place he occupied in his wife's heart. But heaven sent him one consolation at least. He had a little golden-haired daughter, now four years old, to gladden his lonely hours. Strange to say, the little Claire bore no resemblance whatsoever to her toother, but had all the fair Saxon beauty of her father's race. The haughty Lady Somerville took little or no notice of her lovely child, and the little one seemed aware that she possessed but a scanty ahare of her mother's affections, Her attachment for her father became all the deeper, as she clung to him with the loving trust of childhood. It was late in the autumn. The labourers had finished their work in the vineyards; the golden harvest had been reaped; and the earth, in its autumn mantle of golden brown, stood awaiting in sad stillness the first rude breath of the frost king. 9. Lord Somerville had taken his wife and baby-girl to spend a few months in that queen of gay cities, Paris. It was the day after their arrival, and they were spend- ing the evening in the spacious picture gallery of the chateau, for since they bad been last there, several rare and priceless gems of art had been added to the collection, which Lord Somerville was anxious to exhibit to his wife. They had examined the outer gallery, and at last turned into the portrait hall, where the stately lfldies of the house of Somerville seemed to look down in silent wonder at the haughty Spaniard who now reigned in their place. Eosaura had been wandering listlessly from picture to picture, when at last she paused before the portrait ot a man who bore a remarkable likeness to her husband, ex- cept that the mouth seemed harder and the chin weaker. Who is this portrait of ?" she asked carelessly. It resembles you, and yet you told me you had no relations." us 0 He came towards her with a serious expression upon his face, and taking her hand, said, I am sorry this picture has been returned to the gallery, for I had long ago given orders that it should be hidden out of sight. Rosaura, when I told you I bad no relations living I did not speak the truth, for yonder man is my half-brother, my mother having already had a son before her second marriage with my father. But her firstborn turned out to be a villain from his earliest years, was shunned by societv, and at last was banished from mv father's house, It grieves me to speak of him to you, and would not have told you of his existence but that you beheld his portrait." She shrugged her shoulders disdainfully, and was turning to leave the gallery, when a sudden impulse made her pause and regard once more the hard but handsome face of the portrait. What was his name?'' she asked, carelessly. Sir Dallas Moreton," replied her husband. Sir Dallas Moreton she exclaimed, in a tone of anguish, starting back and covering her face with her hands, as if to shut out the vision of the man who had brought so much trouble upon her family. Presently dropping her hands, she continued in a low, hoarse voice, At last, all my secret labours at AN end. I have discovered the betrayer and the murderer of my sister, and-oh, mockery!—finB Mm in the brother of my husband 1 Lord Somerville stood aghast, looking at her as she recoiled from him. He had never heard from her before the name of the man whom she so bitterly hated, and now the revelation came upon him like a thunderbolt. Rosaural" he said gently, trying to master his emotion, "it breaks my heart to hear this from your lips; and were this man other than my brother, his life should pay the forfeit for the dishonour he brought upon your dead sister. As it is," he continued sadly, if you desire it, I shall find a means of punishing him although he has now sunk so low, from gambling and debauchery, that he is more an object for pity than for hatred. Speak to me, Rosaura, for it wrings my heart to see that look of coldness and despair on your face. I know that you have no love for your husband, nor for your child but surely all these years of faithful love on my side should win some toleration from you at last." She turned from him with a low, bitter laugh; and then, as if moved by a sudden impulse, advanced to his side. Had you not always been so noble, patient, and generous towards me, I might have proved a better wife to you. We women are strange beings; but I have never cared for you and never will. Let that suffice. And now, please, tell me how Sir Dallas Moreton spends his life;" and her eyes Sashed with hatred.as she turned them once more upon the portrait. There is not much to tell," he replied, "for his is only the old, old story of depravity. He was but a youth when he took his first step upon that downward course that leads ever to ruin and disgrace, and he is now a hopeless wreck of what he once was, and spend his nights in a gambling- hell off the Eue St. Honors." '• I know the place." she answered, with assumed carelessness, I have heard of it before. Thank you, my Lord Somerville, for having gratified my curiosity about your brother. But I am weary now, and shall retire, for it is almost the dinner hour." He looked at her long and wistfully, for he loved her dearly still, and would have given half the years of his life to bring one look of affection for him into her eyes; but she turned from him with a gleam of triumph and mockery in her pale face, and without a word quitted fhe gallery. That night Rosaura retired early on the plea ot fatigue; and when once in the privacy of her boudoir, gave vent to emotions of passion and triumph which almost overpowered her. She clasped and unclasped her hands with a quick, nervous movement, and her lips parted in mocking smiles. At last standing before her mirror, in her robes of black lace and wreath of silver ivy, she cried bitterly—" His brother -iiis brother 1 Oh God, the mockery of it. Poor fool that I was, in those dead days, when I sacrificed my heart, and my soul, and my lover, to wed the broher of Sir Dallas Moreton 1 Oh just heaven! will this burning pain and misery never leave my breast," and flinging back her head with a weary gesture, she clasped her hands behind it in an attitude of despair. Then the look of triumph came into her eyes once more, and glancing round the apartment furtively, she continued, "But I shall go and see this man who betrayed my sister. I and I alone shall have revenge upon him—vengeance deep and bitter as my southern blood can desire." Even whilst she whispered the words to herself, she wrapped her regal form in a long dark mantle, the hood of which she drew over her head; and thus attired, opening a large window that overlooked a rose-garden, she descended the steps, and hurried across a wide lawn, until she reached a gate leading into a side street off the Rue de Rivoli. It was already near midnight, and the streets were partially deserted, as she hurried along. There were still lights in the Tulleries gardens, and now and again she could hear the merry ripple of a woman's laughter, blending with distant music in the gardens. At last she turned into the shadows of the Rue St. Honore, and glided past its quaint old cathedral, until a little way down the adjacent street she paused before a quiet-looking house, outside which a curi- ously shaped lamp was burning. "Yes she murmured, faintly, "this must be the house. At last I shall look upon his vile face, and plan my vengeance upon him. For some moments she stood under^the shadow of a neighbouring porch, watching the people go in and out. Those who entered were cool and collected- looking, but those who came out had either a look of frozen despair upon their faces, or the deep flush of excitement and triumph. At last she saw a man and woman enter, and followed them. They went along an ill-lighted corridor, and paused at length before a door upon which the man knocked with a peculiar signal. It was opened, and she glided in after them, placing herself unseen behind an im- mense curtain of crimson cloth that hung near the door. High stakes were evidently being played for, as no one raised their eyes from the tables to notice new-comers. Eosaura's eyes flashed over the numerous faces before her, and she could almost hear her heart throb, so still were the players-men and women-as they watched the cards with white faces, and longing, eager eyes. At last there was a loud exclamation in a man's voice, at the same time two figures arose, one at each side of a table, close to the curtain behind which Rosaura was concealed, and faced each other with fierce curses and threats. You mean hound—you are cheating me I" cried a voice in broken English, that caused the blood in Rosaura's veins to become frozen with terror, as she covered her face with her hands, and gasped beneath her breath, Lerenzo!—oh God, it is Lorenzo 1" But her horror was intensified, as, on looking again, she found his antagonist was none other than him she had come to seek-Sir Dallas Moreton! Hot and angry words were being exchanged between the men, whilst several of their companions endea- voured to make peace between them. Let go my hands," cried the Spaniard fiercely, as he endeavoured to reach his opponent, who < sat looking at him with a cold, mocking smile, and now and again hurling a sneering remark at him, as he struggled with his captors. With a sudden twist the Spaniard released him- self, and with a hoarse cry fell upon his opponent. "Sir Dallas Moreton," he cried, "have you for- gotten Theresa Cousina." Before anyone was aware of his intention, he had buried his stiletto in the gambler's heart, and fled from the place. Men and women crowded around aghast; even the cards were for the moment for- gotten. Many of their circle had committed suicide —that was nothing new to gamblers. This was a new species of crime, and would bring the blood- hounds of the law upon their track. Leaving them to lift up the dead body of the wretched man, and pfoce it upon the table where he had squandered'wealth and honour, we must return to Rosaura, as she cowers horrified and aghast behind the curtain, looking with fixed and awful gaze towards tho murdered man. At last she can bear it no longer, and with a deep groan she opens the door and hurries forth once more into the silent and deserted streets. As she hastens along, a thousand thoughts fill her brain, and she sees in imagination her lover, Lorenzo, condemned to die for the murder of Sir Dallas Moreton. Sud- denly a man hastily crosses the street and touching her arm, the stern voice of her husband asks. "Madam, nil ere have vou been?" lie had missed her, and had set forta ja do egog of fear and suspicion to look for her, half fearing that she had fled from him to find the betrayer of her sister. She turned from him passionately, and refused to answer. He could see that something had happened, and taking her hand forcibly, drew it on his arm, for she seemed scarcely able to walk; thea he asked once more, Have you been to the gambling house to see Sir Dallas Moreton?" She laughed a little wildly; then replied, IM you have guessed aright. I went to see your brother, my lord, and saw him stabbed to the heart before my eyes." He staggered back, and asked in a hoarse voice, Who is the murderer?" That my lips shall never reveal I" she answered, with a shudder. Very well," he replied sternly; I shall not press you for an answer, but to-morrow we shall return to England, and I hope we may never set foot in Paris again." "Take me where you willI" she said recklessly. All places are alike to me;" and then deep in her fceart she murmured, Oh, Lorenzo-Lorenzo, it was for love of me thou hast done this I Would that I might live over again the years that are gone I Would that I had wed thee, my Lorenzo, the lover of my youth!" Coldly and sternly her husband walked home beside her. When the door closed behind them, and they were in the dim and silent drawing-room, he S endeavoured to obtain from her a full confession of all that had happened; but she refused to speak, turning from him with bitter, taunting words, that almost maddened him. At last he left her and sought the solitude of his own apartments, where he gave way to the weariness and grief of his disappointed life. The next day the Paris papers gave a graphie account of the murder, but none of them were able to tell who the Spaniard was, as he had only been a few days at the gambling house, and had gone by the title of Count Enrico. On board the Calais vessel, Lord Somerville read the account, and sighed deeply as he thought of the sad ending to the life of his wretched half-brother. Eosaura's heart throbbed with passionate delight that. Lorenzo had escaped, and the last words he had said to her in the quaint old town of Puerte came back to her memory. She trembled as, in imagination, she heard once more that voice, so well remembered, almost h'ss with fierce earnestness, "Bosltura, you shall jet be mine!" He had not forgotten her," she thought. Now that he had avenged her sister, what would be his next undertaking 1" She ,-uul dared not ansive* even to her own hear! (To be continued.)





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