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--------__n__--1 A MAD BETROTHAL;…


__n_ 1 A MAD BETROTHAL; l OR, NADINE'S VOW. BY LAURA JEAN LIBBEY, Author of Parted by Fate," Florabel'a Lover, "lone," etc. CHAPTER XXXIII. THE HASTY TRIP TO EUROPE. IT was a beautiful day on which the Corinthia set sail; the sky was blue overhead, and the waves were dimpling and smiling under the beams of the were dimpling and smiling under the beams of the golden sunshine. Mr. Renwick, the artist, was in a fever of excitement to hurry his friend Wetherell aboard, and, once there, to watch on deck for the arrival of his inamorata. I will leave you to your reflections for a little i while," said Wetherell. I am going to the other end of the deck to smoke a cigar. If I see them coming, I will call you." When the steamer was under full headway the young artist came anxiously to Wetherell, saying Early as we were here, they must have reached the steamer in advance of us. I did not see them come on." Perhaps they were left. Such mishaps have occurred often enough," said Wetherell; but he rather repented the words when he saw the ex- pression of his friend's face, and he thought of the words, "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick." "Cheer up my dear fellow. That was merely a surmise of mine," he added. Ten to one you will come face to face with the young lady in the cabin or on deck before we are three hours out oi port." Renwick's gloomy face brightened. I can but hope so," he replied but even as he spoke an exclamation of exultation broke from his lips" Ah he said, in a low, ex- cited undertone, I caught a glimpse, of tb- dragon of a duenna. MJ- lllU!r .e *,u,^tt.grouna. bhe caught just one glimpse of me, and I could have sworn that she turned white with amazement and indignation. But I shall not care for her espionage if I am living in the same atmosphere with that charm- ing girl. I hope I do not bore you with this love affair of mine," he added, quickly. "A thou- sand pardons if I do, old fellow." "By no means," returned Wetherell. "On the contrary, I cannot help feeling interested, as I told you before." "By the by," said Renwick, thoughtfully what became of that young girl that you used to be always talking about in the old college days? Being out of New York so long I have lost the run of affairs. You know it is nearly three years since we parted, Wetherell." Will you feel offended if I say I would rather not speak of that matter? I will give confidence for confidence a little later on, but not now." Forgive me if I have opened an old wound. Try and forget." Try — and — forget," murmured Wetherell, as he walked slowly to the other end of the deck, and paced' up and down. "Would to Heaven I could-but I cannot waking or sleeping the face of Nadine is ever before Hie." It was some diversion from his own sorrow to watch the progress of his friend's love affair, and he certainly hoped most sincerely that it would not have as disastrous a finale as his own. The sunlit day passed, and the gloaming, which falls early on the water, soon deepened into night. The stars came out one by one and fixed themselves in the heavens, mirroring them- selves in the dancing waves below. The words occurred to Wetherell as he paced the deck: Ten thousand stars were in the sky, Ten thousand in the sea." He was startled from his reverie by the rapid approach of his friend Renwick. There was a broad smile on his friend's face, and the light in his eyes betokened the best of humour. "Fortune has favoured me," he cried. "I have seen that charming girl and spoken to her. The ice is broken at last. Would it in- terest you to know how it came about ? "Certainly," said Wetherell, good-naturedly. "I was walking through the ladies' cabin, thinking of her, when suddenly she appealed before me. It was a case of 'Think of angels and you will hear the rustle of their wings.' And, at that propitious moment, the vessel gave a lurch lur-vaid, precipitating the young lady directly into my arms. I beg your pardon,' she said, simply; this is the first time I have been on the ocean. .1 have not gotten used yet to the swaying motion of the vessel.' "Without waiting for a reply she went ou: I am in search of the stewardess. My aunt is very ill. I fear she will be obliged to keep in her state-room the entire trip.' "If she bad glanced up she would have seen the delight in my face which I auxi- ously strove to conceal not delight that the lynx-eyed duenna was sea-sick, of course, but enraptured over the prospect that she would be kept, in her room during the trip. Here was my op; 01 tiuiitj'. Surely fate had had a hand in thid. I offered my services at once to fetch the stewardess to her, if she would but take a seat just where she was, and she gladly consented, thanking me for my trouble, as she called it, in the prettiest and most unaffected way imagina- ble. She little dreamed what a pleasure it was to me to aid her in any possible way. Why, Wetherell, a man could die for such a divine girl as that, I assure you. There is one thing that makes me a trifle disheartened," he went on, "and that is, she does not seem to be in the slightest degree attracted toward me. I met her on the deck since that, and her eyes and manner gave me no encouragement to stop and talk, and with a bow I passed on. It is clear to me that love at first sight is not bound to be reciprocal; she will not be easily won." Faint heart ne'er won fair lady," quoted Wetherell.You will have plenty of time to see the young lady during the next eight or nine days we are out." But this assurance did not prove correct. A week passed, and much to Renwick's discomfiture, the young, lady did not put in an appear- ance. He bribed the stewardess and one of the waiters to find out if she, too, were ill, and if so, to convey his most profound sympathy. But no, she was perfectly well, he learned, and she was keeping her aunt company, having their meals served together in her aunt's state-room. It is evident I must commence the siege by making friends with the aunt," he told Wetherell, ruefully, one day. "Because she cannot get out she keeps the girl a close prisoner too." As often as courtesy and decorum would per- mit, he sent most solicitous messages to the aunt, until at last Hester Burns became somewhat curious. "It is the young artist, you say, Nadine?" she inquired, curiously. "Now what interest can he have in my welfare, to send three times a day to inquire if I am better or not ? I tell you, Nadine, the man is in love, and with you. Do not look so shocked, my dear. Is there any- thing so surprising in that ? You are young, fair, clever—what more natural than that you should have captured this young man's susceptible heart ? Do not talk about it, aunt; I-I cannot bear it. It seems dreadful to mention any other man except Gilbert in the same breath with love and myself." "As for Gilbert, the sooner you cease think- ing of him in connection with love, the better," retorted her aunt slowly. "He is like all men false and fickle." Nadine looked at her curiously. You used to like Gilbert, aunt," she said. How strange it seems that in the last ten days your opinion of him has changed so mate- rially. Aunt Hester turned away from those keen, young, scrutinising eyes, and flushed a dull red. She meant to keep her own counsel. Nadine's pride should never be humbled, and her heart bled afresh by the knowledge that she had written to Gilbert Wetherell, admitting that her niece still loved him, and urging him to come on to Glen Farm, where Nadine was, and that he had ignored her letter completely. What she does know won't hurt her," she had told herself. It was great grief to her to see Nadine droop and fade day by day before her very eyes. "The girl is breaking her heart over him, and I can do nothing," she sighed, bitterly. Then came the thought of taking Nadine abroad. Nothing assuages the grief of disappointed love like time and absence," she thought. The appearance of the handsome young artist at Glen Farm, and his open glance of admira- tion as he looked at Nadine, annoyed her. She was glad Nadine did not perceive his admira- tion. His face was the first one she had encountered on stepping on board the steamer. Now, is this purely accidental," thought Hester, angrily, "or has that man followed Nadine, having heard that we were to sail on this steamer ? When she heard of Nadine's encounter with him in the cabin, she had broached the subject of his having fallen in love with her to Nadine in a roundabout manner, ending by warning her to have as little to say to him as possible. But this injunction was scarcely needed. Nadine had no desire to encourage ever so slightly the attentions of this handsome, young stranger. It was quite as much for this reason as any other that she kept her aunt company, refraining from appearing on deck. At length Renwick could endure this state of affairs no longer. "I must see her!" he declared to himself, "I shall see her before another day_r— P,ilt- I- —-— no to accomplish it when she shut herself up in the state-room with a grim, old aunt, never appearing on either deck, or in the cabin ? It was certainly a difficult problem to solve. He had concluded to write her a polite little note, begging her to come on deck a few moments that afternoon, and criticise a sketch he was making from memory, of the old farm- house and the shady porch, on which a young girl sat, that young girl being herself. Of course, natural curiosity would be sure to bring her from her state-room to look at the picture.













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