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[COPYRIGHT.] A DAUGHTER OF THE TROPICS. BY FLORENCE MARRY AT, ■Author of "Love's Conflict," "Vémnique," etc. CHAPTER XXVI. AN UNEXPECTED LETTEB, MRS. ARLINGTON'S evasive answer to his proposal, which meant nothing, threw the simple CoioneJ into a fever of delight. He thought of it long aftei they had parted for the night, and went back to his chambers to dream how they would look if such a glorious presence ao that of Lola Arlington ever came to beautify them for him. He could almost have prayed that she and Lily Kerrison might fight like cat and dog, if he might only see the fruition of his desire. Looking at her from Mrs. Arlington's point of view, he felt all his admiration for his friend's wife vanish into air. There was a time when poor Helen Glamoye had looked up into his face with the same sad, serious eyes as Lily, and he had been ready to declare they were the sweetest ever seen; but his opinions had changsd Lola's rich, tropical charms and im- passioned speech overpowered more delicate beauty and thrust it in the shade. The Colonel found, like Guinivere, that he wanted warmth and colour." He had begun to think Mrs. Kerrison almost plain, and decidedly sickly in appearance. As for the other woman, he never thought of her at all; she had faded into his past, like a bad photograph, and the outlines of that portion of his life had become blurred and indistinct. If it ever flashed on his memory at all, ilJ was only to bestow a half-contemptuous smile of pity on himself for having been so easily contented. Mrs. Arlington was his beau ideal now. In mind, and form, and feature, he thought he had never met a woman so calculated to make him happy. And he more than half believed that she would consent to make him so. Could he but have read her heart! She had no more idea of becoming Mrs. Escott than she had of becoming the Princess of Wales. She would not have married the man under any circumstances. She laughed at the notion, as some- thing too ridiculous to be entertained; for whatever she might say in her hot haste and indignation, Lola Arlington knew that she would stay in the service of Mark Kerrison, and that the more she was insulted by his wife the more it behoved her to remain by her side, else what would become of her revenge. She held a two-edged sword over this girl. She had received Mrs. Fielding's testimony as to her character, and she had overheard what ■■VRzm&n. had told Esme concerning her and himself. bne had probably but to bring these two young people together, in order to create a scandal that should dear the path before her. Or, if that plan failed, she could always go to Lily with her secret in her hand and make her pay for her silence; or, little by little, she could raise the veil that hung over Mark Kerrison's eyes, until he saw the woman he believed in, in her real colours. But Lola foresaw the necessity of caution, lest, if she gave his love too rude a shock, she might be overwhelmed herself by the catastrophe that should ensue. A few hours' reflection before she went to her Might's rest made Mrs. Arlington see all these things in a clear light, and she rose well satisfied with her prospects in the morning. The primmest of quakers could not have found fault with her dress at the breakfast-table. She wore a plain black gown, with a simple frill of lace about the throat; and she addressed Mr. Kerrison with so much deference, and waited on Mrs. Kerri- son with so much alacrity, that Lily observed the difference at once, and was glad she had had the courage to speak to her the night before. All would go smoothly now, she thought, and she felt that she had been right in putting matters or: a proper footing between them from the begin- 6 ning. But she rejoiced a little too soon. As break- fast waa concluded Mark Kerrison rose from his .eat. I shall give you half an hour for your domestic arraysgements, Lola-I mean Mrs. Arlington-and then I shall expect to see you in the library. I have terrible arrears of work to make up, and we ;,mustrii;ive a good long day of it. The name of the unanswered letters is legion. Lily, my darling, you will iuofc mind my leaving you alone during the mornings; you know how important my labours ".are." Of course not, Mark I expected no less, and can amuse myself perfectly well until you rejoin me." "Perhaps Mrs. Kerrison would like to have the earriage and go and see some of her own friends," suggested Lola, sweetly. Mark Kerrison frowned. He had introduced the subject more than once of Lily's relations, and her answers had been so unsatistaetory that he had resolved not to raise it again. After all, he had married her for herself, and not for her family. But on Mrs. Arlington's remark he looked at his wife. Would you like it, Lily ? "No, thank you," she answered, curtly. Well, make yourself happy, my dear," he said, as be left the room. Mrs. Arlington fidgeted with the tea-chest and household keys. She wanted to-find an opening to let Mrs. Kerrison know that she could not insult her with impunity. "Perhaps," she said as they found themselves ;alone-" perhaps some one may call to keep you company. Mr. Esme Fielding was here twice dur- ing your stay at Glencara." 1,1 Mr. Esme Ffielding "repeated Lily, colouring. What is Mr. Esme Fielding to me 1" Mrs. Arlington tittered. I don't think he would like to hear you say that, Mrs. Kerrison. He talks of you an immense deal. I tell him he must have been quite smitten the night you dined here together." Lily glanced timidly at the shut door. The -action did not escape Mrs. Arlington. "Please don't talk such nonsense," she said, coldly, "I much dislike it. And from what I saw of the gentleman you mention, I don't like him much either and I should not dream of admitting visitors in the mornings. I wish to keep them for myself. Will you tell the servants so ? Certainly, since you wish it. But I think you might make some exceptions. In the case of old friends, for instance." I have no old friends in London," said Lily. "No?" replied Mrs. Arlington, with that peculiar intonation which says so plainly, I do not believe you." And you will be good enough to give the order I mentioned," went on Mrs. Kerrison, in a voice which slightly trembled. \vf Was ,|3eS'-nn^ng to feel a little fear. Vv hy had Esme Fielding been so unfortunately rPWn again across her path of life ? What could an *v? confided to this woman, who spoke in such S?ant.tone of voice about him- .and if U P°,Ssible she knew they had met before ? Lily o'Whe £ e it not end ? The verVf^ u anc* co^ as she thought of, it. again, if only0]1 would force her to see Esme honour. g £ e ? rc'ast herself on his generosity and Mrs. Arlinotov,1^ inten<*ed to say something to dining alone fo» ^er husband and herself not. future, but now she dared Those few eenf i •, and Lola Arlington saw afrai4 of her, she left her to join her i,anu r^01ce(* over it before An hour afterward! Mark^rr" • his wife's room, like a^^emson ™shed into kiss in the midst of his in K er' J0 snatch a could do. anything ,ask moments m conversation 'before, 4. a again. he went away Lily," he said, shall I speak to Mrs. Arlins ton about her dining in her own rnr>m „ i? to do—for the future! She'STta'^ excellent humour, and to have taken your little hints in good part; so I think perhaps I had better strike whilst the iron is hot, and then it 'Will be one trouble instead of two." But Mrs. Kerrison shrank from the idea. "I would rather you said nothing to her about it, Mark. I have been thinking it over, and it would be scarcely fair, in my opinion, to send her < back to a solitary dinner after she has been ] accustomed to dine with the family. I was hasty last night, and mistook what \HJ,S perhaps only meant for cordiality for presumption. Don't make any alterations for me. Mrs. Arlington j appears well-intentioned, and I know she is most useful to you. Please let all things go on as they j did before." Mark Kerrison was pleased at this admission— Mark Kerrison was pleased at this admission— more so than he would have acknowledged to him- ..1 self. I really think you only do her justice, Lily. I daresay I spoilt her a little to save myself trouble, but I am sure she has our interest at heart. She is an invaluable housekeeper, and if you do not let her became too familiar you will find her a very pleasant companion. Well then, dear, I am to bold my tongue upon the subject 1 All right. Give me another kiss, and that must last me till luncheon." As she found herself alone again, Lily laid her fair head back upon her chair and closed her eyes, as she tried to think of some way of escape out of j the net that seemed to be closing round her. j Colonel Escott would have felt as if cold water had been dashed upon his hopes could he have I witnessed the apparent amiability with which the trio met at luncheon after that. But he knew nothing ot it. He strolled down to his club that afternoon with his mind filled with one object- with two dark glowing eyes set in the scene around him; with two creamy-white shoulders gleaming from every shop-front, and blinding his sight for everything but themselves. When Colonel Escott entered his club, and mechanically asked for his letters-mechanically, because he so seldom received any that held any interest for him—he had an envelope put into his hand that flushed his, pale cheek with crimson. He had not seen the writing for years, but he knew it again directly. Those firm characters, with just sufficient roundness about them to render them feminine, how often they had aroused his love, his ardour, his tears In them he had read the first trembling confession of interest, in them the last agonising farewell-in the characters of Helen Glamoye But what could have induced her to address him again. That was what puzzled the Colonel. He examined the envelope. It bore a penny stamp, with the post-mark of Cheltenham. She was in England then. He could contain his curiosity no longer, but tore the letter open, and read the following lines 1 MY DEAR COLONEL ESCOTT, If you have not already heard of my husband's sudden death in Rmgoon, you will be very much surprised to receive these lines frcm me. But it is true. Colonel Glamoye was killed by dacolts while with a skirmishing party at Thyet- Mou. A> soon as I was assured of it I brought my children home. There are live of them now. Emmie and ROKO (whom you must remember) are living with their grandmother. The three little ones are with me. My means are naturally limited, and I have decided to settle in Cheltenham, where I have many old irioiicU. I hope that you are well, and enjoying your linglish life. It is so long since we communicated, that you may even be married by this time, and have a family around you. If so, no one will be better pleased to hear of your complete happiness than myself. Captain Carboys (who is staying here) gave me your club address, and I have lost no time in taking advantage of it. To hear that you are well and happy would be a great pleasure to me. Pray write and tell me all your news, and believe me to be your sincere friend. "HELEN GLAMOYE." "Jlelen Glctmoye! How that name used to thrill him in days gone by Helen Glamoyt! -His! Helen, as he used audaciously to call her in the time when she could not be his, and had no pros- pecb of ever becoming so And now Robert Glamoye—the man who used to kick her and abuse her, and make her life a torment with his violence and his abuse was dead-gone out of her < way for ever-left her free to live her own life in peace and quietness j Oh, in those days, the memory of which was ] nearly swept from his mind, how joyful this news would have made him How he would have sunk j on his knees and thanked Heaven for removing j the barrier from his path, and leaving him at > liberty to offer the devotion of a lifetime to the woman lie so much loved But now he shrank from the idea as if it had been a cup of poison | held to his lips. He—on whom Lola Arlington had smiled—to go back to that pallid, washed-out, tear-stained creature, Helen Glamoye, who must be forty now if she was a day. It was impossible Surely no one could require such a sacrifice from him A widow with five children It were better a millstone were hanged about his neck and j he were drowned in the depths of the sea. I No thought of her pale, passion-tossed face, as it 5 was lifted to his for the last time in the moonlight, jj troubled him now. That had all happened long ago—ten years at the very least-and the Colonel was but mortal. He had offered to take her then. To carry her away from her brutal husband, and her little children, to a life of love for evermore with himself, and she had refused it. She had | utterly refused to violate her duties as a wife and mother and make her lover happy, and she must take the consequences now. He would have given up the whole world for the sake of Helen then. He would have sacrified his profession, and his honour, and his friends, and have devoted the remainder of his life to her but she would not accept it. She preferred to part with him, and make both their lives miserable, to flying in the face of her conscience. And now, of course, it was too late Colonel Escott recognised the delicacy which prevented her making any allusion to their past affection; but he was almost ready to resent her having recalled herself to his recollection. But when he had read the letter a second time he saw that Helen alluded to the possibility of his being i married. He was not married it is true, but he was as good as engaged, and it would be an excellent excuse for answering the epistle, for if poor Helen continued to cherish any hopes j concerning him it was better they should be quenched at once. And so he sat down and wrote to her as follows CHAPTER XXVII. POOR HELEN. MY IUBAR MRS. GLAMOYE, The receipt of your letter was indeed a surprise to me. You will realize how completely I am losing sight of the old landmarks when I tell you that, though I generally skim through the service papers, I had never heard of your bereavement until you sent me the intelligence. Need I say how much I sympathise with you in your loss ? I am very glad to hear you are pleasantly settled amongst your friends, and that your little family is likely to prove a comfort to you. You ask if am married, Not yet. But more unlikely things have happened, and I promise you shall have the first notice of the event. It is only due to you, as one of my best and oldest friends, to receive the earliest news of my happiness, j Believe me, dear Mrs. Glamoye, with best wishes for your own health and well-being, "Yours, most truly, "JAMES ESCOTT. The Colonel felt very mean as he posted this letter. He had destroyed several sheets of paper in its' composition; but write it as he would, he could not make it read more satisfactorily. Mrs. Glamoye had placed him in an awkward position, To have his old love, to whom he had made a thousand protestations of fidelity, come to the front again, free to claim the fulfilment of his promises, just as he had fallen in love with another woman, was, to say the least of it, awkward. He sat, wrapt in thought, and pulling his moustaches, for a long time before he could decide on his line of action. But, finally, he came to the conclusion that he had the right to please himself. It was ten years since he had had any communi- cation with Mrs. Glamoye. Had she accepted his offer then she would have been his wife long a.go, and his fidelity would have been hers to his life's end. But Helen had elected otherwise. She had chosen that they should go their different ways, and try to forget their unfortunate attachment in the pursuance of their duty. So he did not consider she had any claim on him now. Possibly she had for- gotten all about him by this time, and would not marry him if she were asked. And, anyway, he was not ready to marry her. The Colonel felt quite sure of that. With the glowing charms of Lola Arlington fresh in his mind's eye, he had no memory even for Helen's quieter attractions. So he sent off his letter-not without a guilty qualm or two-but still with the conviction that he was performing an unpleasant duty, which must be gone through with at any cost. When Mrs. Glamoye received his epistle the following morning, and recognised his handwriting, the colour surged up into her face as it had been wont to do on hearing from him ten years before. ',She, had told herself that she had no hope in Writing to him, and no wish except to greet him as a friend. She quite realised the likelihood that ten years of silence and separation had obliterated J | her image from his mind, and that he might have formed other and dearer ties in the interim. Helen had whispered all this to her own heart over and over again, but she did not believe it. She had been two months in England, and every day-every hour almost-she had hoped Jem would write to her. And then, after some battling with her pride, she came to the conclusion that she was foolish not to tell him of her advent, and that there could be no harm in letting him know that she had come home. So she wrote the letter that has been quoted, and when, by return of post, the answer came, her fingers trembled so much she could not open it. The rapidity of the reply seemed like an ans wer to her unconscious prayer-an earnest that he had not forgotten her. She ran away from the breakfast-table and iocked the door of her own room before she could trust herself to read it. And when she did so it was an awful shock to her-a terrible uprooting of all her cherished hopes and longings. A burning shame took possession of her as she became conscious of the gulf that lay between them, which was followed by a deep despair almost as deep as that which she had experienced when they parted (as they believed) for ever. And I have loved him so—I have loved him BO wept poor Helen, as the cruel truth broke in upon her mind. She thought her suffering and her disappointment I ] must exceed that of all other women but she was only passing through the valley of the shadow ol death, as thousands of her sex had done before her. Shehad cherished with unswerving fidelity the imaga of this man in her heart for ten bitter, weary years, stamping down all her troubles and refreshing her | fainting soul with the distant, infinitesimal hope of some day meeting him again. And now the day had dawned; the barrier was broken down, to give place to a still worse sorrow—-the sorrow of finding herself forgotten. But though the shock was bitter, it was brief. After an hour of unmitigated weep- ing over Colonel Escott's cool reply, Helen Glamoye rose up and contemplated her tear-stained visage in the mirror. It was well, perhaps, they had not met again, she thought, for Jem would scarcely have recognised her. She had been a passably pretty woman in the days when he cared for her but ten years of an Indian climate, added to the burden of unkindness, and children, and domestic cares, do not improve a woman's appearance. She looked fifty instead of forty (she thought), as she gazed at her faded face and figure with contempt, and she might have re-abandoned herself to weep- ing over this fresh calamity, had not she been in- terrupted by the rapping of dimpled hands upon the bedroom door. "Mamma! mamma!" shouted the childish voices of Katie, and Lulu, and baby Fred, let us in. We want to come to you, mamma-we want to come to you Of blessed healing touch of infant fingers What mother, weeping over the inevitable change that comes with years in the affections of men, does not know what it is to feel their influence ? Helen Glasnoye started up like a new woman at the recol- lection that flowed in upon her at the sound of her children's voices. She was ashamed of the emotion she had given way to-ashamed that for one moment she could have permitted anything to make her so unhappy whilst they remained to her. She threw open the chamber door, and kneeling on the t floor received all three of her little ones in her maternal arms. "Mamma's babies," she kept on repeating, as she kissed each curly head, "mamma's dear—dear babies! Is there anyone in this wide world for whose sake I would give up the least portion of love for me ?" She gained strength from the contact with these innocent ones to rise up and bathe her swollen fea- tures and calm her perturbed spirit, and go about her domestic duties. But she kept them very close to her all day, as though she feared to trust herself alone and if, long after they had gone to rest, she dropped asleep with a sob in her throat and the name of Jem upon her lips, no one was the wiser for it but herself. But she never wrote to Colonel Escott again. For many days he expected an answer to his letter, with some comment on the hint he had given her, but it did not come. This omission made the Colonel somewhat uneasy, and he was concerned to find how often his thoughts roved towards Cheltenham. He became curious to know how Helen had taken his letter, and it the news contained in it had interested her or other- wise. Whilst he believed her to be on the other side of the globe he had not often troubled himself to think of her at all. But it seemed strange that she should be in England, close at hand, and they had not met. He wondered if she was much changed, or if he should recognise her if they encountered each other out walking. Also, if she was likely to marry again. Cheltenham was a great place for retired officers like himself, and Helen had been a very pretty woman in the days gone by. So it came to pass that whilst Colonel Escott believed himself to be 1' in love, and was in fact, completely fascinated by | Mrs. Arlington, his mind was continually reverting I in his calmer moments to his old sweetheart, and the scenes which had-almost faded from his memory stood out in stronger colours every day; but he did not write to Helen again, and he thought, | perhaps, all the more deeply because he did not write. j One circumstance that made him brood more frequently on the past and present than he would otherwise have done, was the fact that Mark Kerrison's marriage (as his friend had always } anticipated) made a great difference in their j familiar intercourse. Not but what the Colonel was constantly and warmly pressed to join the family circle in Hyde Park Gardens. Mark had never forgiven him for leaving his ) house, and could not mention the chambers without | an execration. But Escott no longer felt at home there. There was something in Mrs. Kerrison's manner towards him which he felt, though he could not divine, that was not encouraging. She always smiled, and | seconded her husband's invitations, but she shrank from becoming familiar with him, and especially j avoided being left alone in his presence. The mention of his godson, Esme Fielding, seemed to freeze her into stone and, strange to say, Kerrison appeared also to have cooled towards the » young man whom he had once made so welcome to his house. The Colonel asked Esme once if he had done ) anything to offend his friends; but though the boy The Colonel asked Esme once if he had done ) anything to offend his friends; but though the boy | stammered, in reply, he emphatically denied it. I But there were several things that seemed | mysterious to the Colonel in the household now. He felt sure there was a silent feud between the i new mistress and Mrs. Arlington; yet Lola de- I clared he was mistaken, and he felt bound to be- lieve her. On the contrary, she averred that things were going on more smoothly than she ¡ could have thought possible, and that Mrs. Ker- rison and she were on the best of terms with one another. And since Colonel Escott had met his friend's wife driving in the park with Lola Arling- ton seated by her side in the carriage, he concluded that Lily Kerrison had fallen a victim to her fas- cinations as well as other people. ¡ But the summit of the Colonel's surprise was I reached when, one dark and misty evening in November, as he was going home through Picca- dilly through the park, he almost ran into the arms of Mrs. Arlington and Esme Fielding. They were walking so close together, and talking so earnestly that he did not recognize them until he had nearly upset them, and then they looked as annoyed as he did. "iBIess my soul—Mrs. Arlington exclaimed the Colonel, as she raised her head. "What are you doing out in the park on such a foggy evening ? And Esme too I didn't know you were intimate enough with each other for a confidential tite-a- tete." What nonsense you are talking, Colonel re- plied Mrs. Arlington, sharply. "Mr. Fieldiqg and I met by accident, and he was kind enough to offer to see me home." You should get a. better guide," said Escott, irritably. Esme is taking you down to Piccadilly instead of back to Hyde Park Gardens." Oh that is only because we became interested in what we were talking about, and agreed to take another turn. But I suppose it is about time to be going home to dinner now." You must have got hold of a very interesting subject indeed," said the Colonel, jealously, "to keep you out of doors in a fog like this. Why, you are both wet through And, if we are, it is no one's business but our own," retorted Mrs. Arlington. I suppose we are free to do as we like ? I am not so sure of that replied the Colonel, significantly. "But if Esme elects to bore you with his twaddle, he might at least take care not to injure your health in the process." Really, sir, you speak as if we were doing something wrong interposed the young man. If Mrs. Arlington is kind enough to accept my escort, I am surely not responsible to anyone else ? "Certainly not!" chimed in Mrs. Arlington. "Well, well, never mind!" said the Colonel, a little ashamed of his ill-humour. I conclude, at any rate, that you are going home now, and that I may have the pleasure of walking by your side." Are you coming to dinner with us to-night ? demanded Lola, as a sudden thought struck her. "I don't know," replied Escott. "I had no intention of doing so; but should Kerrison ask me Do come she pleaded, with a slight pressure on his arm. It had the desired effect. The two men walked home with her-one, at least, determined to spend the evening in her presence. (To be continued.)







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