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Belle of Lynn

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Title:
Belle of Lynn
Creator:
Brame, Charlotte M., 1836-1884
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Hurst
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
292 pages : ; 19 cm

Subjects

Genre:
fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

General Note:
Colored illustration on cover.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Charlotte M. Braeme.

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Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
20031741 ( OCLC )
ocm20031741
Classification:
PR4161.B563 B44 ( lcc )

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Literature Collections

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< .y t <


Donated to the
Community College of Denuer
and the
Auraria Library
by the
Duane J. Beebe Estate
AURARIA LIBRARY


BELLE OF LYNN
BY
CHARLOTTE M. BRAEME
Author of Throwk on the World, Dora Thorne, The
Dukes Secr*.., Golden Dawn, Etc., Etc.
NEW YORK
HURST AND COMPANY
PUBLISHERS


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
CHAPTER I.
You are the Belle of Lynn, he said to her, with
a smile. I have heard of nothing else since I came
here. All the masters of that dull old grammar-school,
and half the pupils too
They are very kind, she replied, shyly, but I do
not know any of them, and I did not know that they had
given me that name.
They speak of you always as the Belle of Lynn, he
replied. (< Are you content to be the belle of a village ?
Lynn is not a village, she answered, gravely.
What is it, then he asked.
Lynn is a county town, quaint and old-fashioned
full of historical interest. It is of far more importance
than any village could be.
Then you are content to be the Belle of Lynn ? he
repeated ; and with a smile bright as the sunshine around
her the young girl answered:
Yes, I am quite content. I should be content to be
any one or anything if only for the happiness of living
in this beautiful world.
He looked around himon the green trees, the shining
waters, and the blue sky, thinking to himself that the
face before him was the most beautiful of all things upon
which he gazed.
I never thought, he said, when I took up my
abode at the Clover Farm that I should have the privi-
lege of being so near to you. What a fortunate thing it
is for me! You will say that I exaggerate, but it is true
that the very sight of you brings to my mind all that is


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
most fair and bright in creation. I think of the Tight of
the sun, the shining of the stars, the singing of the birds,
and the bloom of all lovely flowers, when 1 look at your
face.
She smiled, and her eyes drooped from his, but she
answered:
Mine must be an extraordinary kind of face to re-
mind you of all those things.
Though she smiled, he could see that she was pleased,
and that the eyes she hid from him were shining with
delight.
Why did you come to live at the farm ? she asked,
and he sighed before he answered her.
u It was so dark at the grammar-school, he answered ;
dark and gloomy; the building is old-fashioned, and so
completely surrounded by tall trees that in some of the
rooms it is hardly possible to read, and I I love sun-
shine, light, brightness and fresh air above all things. I
tried my best, but I could not live there.
She looked up into his face with wonder.
You are not English? she said.
No, he replied, I am not English. I belong to
the fairest land on which the sun shines, the land of tliq
lily and the violetbeautiful France.
You do not look like a Frenchman, she said; then
drooped her lovely eyes again, lest he should read in
them how well she had studied his face. a You are fair,
and tall, and strong, she continued; you have gray
eyes that grow black when you are much in earnest. You
are more like the typical Saxon than the typical French-
man.
I care little what I look like, provided I please you,
he said, quickly.
He did so; but she would not tell him how much.
I have heard your name, too, she said, but it was
from one of the farm-servants, who did not know how to
pronounce it.
My name is Leon de Soldana, he said, with a low
bow, and a hot flush which covered his face.
And you are then she stopped; but he took the
words from her.


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
7
I am a French refugee. I belong to one of the oldest
families in France. My ancestors were lords of a large
and fair domain, while I am friendless, homeless, penni-
less, but for the money I earn by teaching my native
language. It was musical enough once in my ears, before
these lads of Lynn tortured and twisted it out of all
sound and sense. I am that most despised of all mena
French refugee, a nobleman without a shilling, a man
with an ancient title and no home 1
What is your title? she asked, softly.
I am, or should be, if I had my rights, the Comte de
Soldana, he answered.
Is that known at the College? she asked.
Only to the principal, lie answered. I should
have a fine life with those boys if they knew I was
Comte de Soldana. It is hard enough now; it would be
worse then. Ho one knows but the principal and you,
he added, his voice softening. I try to forget all about
it, my beautiful France, and the honors that should be
mine. I try to remember that I am Leon de Soldana,
teacher of French at St. Edwards Grammar School,
Lynn.
I wish, she said gently, I could do something for
you.
You can! he cried, eagerly. You can brighten
my whole life, you can give me the great pleasure of see-
ing you sometimes, and of speaking to you; we shall be
near neighbors. I shall forget all trouble if I may look
at and speak to you why, I have been so lonely and so
friendless that it is like a vision of Paradise to me. Tell
me your name? You must have another besides the
Belle of Lynn.
My name is Lima Derwent, she answered.
Lima! he cried. Why, that is a Spanish word.
Ho. You would never guess why that name was
given to me. Have you ever met one of those calm,
gentle women who, without being what the world calls
clever and intellectual, have ideas and thoughts that are
all poetry ? My mother is one of them. She has no idea
of it herself; she has read no poetry; she has not even
been educated ; yet she speaks always as though she


8
THE BELLE OE LYNN.
knew what the birds sing to one another, and what mes-
sages the wind brings from over the sea. She knows the
secrets of all the flowers and trees that grow around ns;
she knows what blossoms the bees love best; she knows
where the birds love to build ; and what do you think my
mother loves best?
I cannot tell, he said, with an admiring glance at
the radiant face.
The lime-trees, she cried, those beautiful, shim-
mering, golden, green limes you see', they grow all round
the banks of the Allan Water. My mother loves them.
My father says she makes a kind of religion out of them;
she knows every branch; she knows where every birds
nest is built; she knows all the secrets that the wind
whispers to them. When she came here, a young bride,
fair and gentle, to Allan Water, she spent half her time
under the boughs of the lime-trees, and she named me
after them. I am really Lima of the lime-trees. Do you
know what else my mother says ?
No, he replied.
She says that ever since I have been born there has
. been a cadence of melancholy in the music that the wind
makes through the boughs. She says that it is a sign of
some unhappiness in the future for me, but I do not
believe that do you ? she asked, raising her radiant
face to his.
I believe in unhappiness for you he cried. I
should say it was almost impossible. If your fortunes are
but fair as your face, Miss Derwent, they will be bright
enough.
My father always reproves her, said the girl, grave-
ly, but for all that, when we walk together by the
limes, my mother and I, when the leaves rustle and the
boughs sway, her face grows troubled, and she says : Be
careful, Lima; ah, be very careful, Lima; the voice of
the wind bodes sorrow for you.
Are you frightened ? he asked.
No, not at all. In all this bright, wide world, I see
no shadow of coming sorrow for me, she answered.
I hope your life may be as smooth and bright as
your beautiful Allan Water, said Leon.


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
9
Ashe spoke he looked around him. He was no poet,
nor had he much of the artists soul, but he marvelled at
flhe beauty of the scene.
This beautiful Allan Water is known all over England
as one of the loveliest spots in it. Poets have sung of it,
and the artists have sketched it in all seasons and in all
lights a broad, beautiful stream, wide, deep, and long ;
on one side of it rose the old town and green woods of
Lynn, on the other stood the picturesque old mill known
as the Allan Water Mill. The great wheel was turned
by part of the stream where the water ran through a
deep valley, and then came foaming, rushing back into
the stream. When the great wheel of the mill was at
work, one could hear the foaming and dashing of the
waters at a great distance.
All along the banks of Allan WaW grew magnificent
lime-trees; graceful willows dipped their branches into
the stream; in some distant part, where the water was
shaded by trees, and the little pleasure-boats did not
venture, the water-lilies grew in great white clusters;
graceful sedges and green reeds, with blue forget-me-nots,
grew in the low grass that the water was always kissing
in slow, solemn fashion.
People came from far and near to sketch the pictur-
esque old mill and to row their boats on Allan Water
a broad, beautiful stretch of water; white swans sailed on
its breast, and wild fowl made it their home; the water-
martins haunted it; it was said even that the coot and
the heron had been seen there. At one part, near Lynn
Wood, it grew narrower, and the dwellers in Lynn had
thrown a bridge across itby no means the work of an
architect, who would have shuddered, while an artist re-
ioiced in it a quaint, irregular bridge, which was the
charm of the whole landscape. Old-fashioned stepping-
stones led to it, and the bridge itself seemed to have been
seized upon by the very goddess of flowers; thick, green
ivy clustered over the old wood-work, and every wild
flower, every creeper that could find a place grew there.
A great artist painted the bridge of Allan Water, the
quaint wooden pile with its wealth of twining foliage; the
grand stretch of water throbbing under the crimson rays


10
THE BELLE OF LYNN.
of the setting snn; the great green limes, the dark masses
of Lynn Woods ; the mill, with the great wheel; and all
England grew crazy with delight over the picture.
It was morning now, a morning in May, when the
miller's lovely daughter, crossing the bridge, met the
young stranger whom she had seen many times, but to
whom she had not spoken. There was a plank that had
become loosened, and a large bunch of crackling thorns
had been placed over it in primitive style, and these same
thorns had caught in Lima Derwents dress; she could
not extricate herself, but the young stranger came to her
rescue and released her. She thanked him, and then the
little conversation, which was to have great results, took
place.
A morning in May, with the sun shining, and the
beautiful wide water laughing in its rays. The birds were
singing, the golden green leaves of the limes rippled in
the sweet, soft air, the blue forget-me-nots looked up from
the green grass with wondering eyes; the sky was blue,
and the waters had caught a golden tinge; what wonder
if they found the world so fair, and Allan Water the
fairest spot in it ?
CHAPTER II.
A strangely assorted pair, the two who stood on Allan
Water Bridge, and after a time, a lingering touch of the
hand, and lingering glances of the eye, showed that part-
ing on that May morning was not pleasant. A strangely
assorted pair; for she, despite her dainty loveliness, her
grace, the musical ring and intonation of her voice, the
proud poise of her head, was only a millers daughter;
and he, homeless, friendless, almost penniless, was the
descendant of one of the oldest families of France.
Strangely assorted, yet they seemed to have a lingering
attraction for each other; for while Leon de Soldana
crossed the bridge and went through the narrow lane
which was a bower of woodbines and led to Clover Farm
his heart was full of her, and he turned many times to
watch the slender figure in the blue dress as it disappeared


THE BELLE OP LXNN. 11
between the trees. As she walked home by the tangling
outstretched water, her whole thoughts were of him.
A millers daughter! Yet, any one meeting her that
morning with the light of the dawn of love shining in
her eyes, and her fair face flushed with the fresh air, ner
hands filled with fresh dewy sprays of lilac just gathered,
might have believed her to be a young princess.
The miller at Allan Water Bridge held an exceptional
position, and he had given to his daughter an education
quite unusual for one of her class. The mill had de-
scended from father to son for many generations. The
Derwents of the mill were as proud in the way of their
descent as were the Howards or the Talbots. To the ndll
of Allan belonged all the fertile meadow land, the corn
fields, the huge stacks of hay, the cattle feeding in the
meadows, the sheep and lambs roaming amidst sweet
grasses and heather; the white swans that sailed so grace-
fully over the broad deep bosom of Allan Water; the
flights of blue pigeons that hovered over the old red roof,
the spacious garden with its treasures of old-fashioned
flowers; the orchards where the apple-blossoms were all
in bloom; for the mill of Allan was a prosperous place,
and the millers of Allan were reputed rich.
The present owner, John Derwent, had succeeded to
the mills and meadows and the wealth of the Derwents
when he was quite young, and he had married quite
young the prettiest and sweetest lassie, he was ac-
customed to say, in the three kingdoms. He loved her
all the better, perhaps, because he did not quite under-
stand her. She was gentle, kindly of heart, industrious,
fair and comely of face, but there were depths in her
character that the miller would never fathom if he lived,
with her forever.
An unconscious poetical train of thought and ideas.
She could hear voices and music where others heard
none; things seemed plain to her that others did not
think of or understand. She loved the beauties of nature
and listened to the wonders of her voice. There were
times when the miller looked in wonder at his wife;
there can be no mistake about this one fact, that whether
it be given in abundance or not, this gift of poetry raises


12
THE BELLE 0? LYNH.
its possessor above all others. The miller did not always
understand his wife, but lie revered and respected her.
They had been married many years before the little
daughter was born, who was afterward to be the sun-
shine of the house. From the first they marvelled at
her, she was so fair, so exquisite, so dainty; they wor-
shipped her with passionate love; the whole world to
them was centered in that one fair little child. There
was something almost fierce and vehement about the
millers love for bis little daughter. If her finger ached,
if her lovely face grew pale, if her blue eyes grew dim,
he was beside himself with fear. He had smiled at the
mothers fanciful name chosen for her. Yet he was not
ill-pleased, for he loved the green limes even as he loved
Allan Water. After the birth of the little Lima he be-
came a changed man; before that time he had been
recklessly generous, now he had but one idea, and that
was to savesave all for her.
When she was a tiny child of three, playing under
the shadow of the green leaves, the sunlight making gold
of her hair, he would watch her in solemn silence, men
call his wife to his side, and say:
That little lassie is a lady. She is only a millers
daughter, but nature has made her a lady, and we must
help nature. She shall be a lady. She shall learn all that
ladies learn; she shall have the gold that ladies like to
spend; we must not thwart nature, for nature has made
her a lady. Look at the graceful figure, light and well-
poised as a bird on its wing; look at the little white
hands, at the light-blue eyes; we must not thwart nature.
That lassie will never make hay in the meadows, or climb
the apple-trees, or milk the cows. She will be dainty,
delicate, and beautiful.
As the child grew, the passionate love of father and
mother grew with her; for her they worked, for her they
toiled and saved. They deprived themselves of many
well-earned comforts, of all the luxury and indulgence,
that the golden store might be increased which was to
make Lima a lady. Her fathers love for the golden-
haired girl was so great he would have given his life foe


THE BELLE OF LYNN*
13
her; he gave everything else his time, his labor, his
thoughts, his cares, his heart, and his love.
She must be a lady nothing mean or sordid must
come near her, nothing rough or rude must come in
contact with her. No hot-house flower was ever more
tenderly cherished, more daintily reared than the millers
daughter.
She must be a lady, and there was no one to teach her
at Allan Mill, so it was decided that she should go to
school. The best and most fashionable school in that
part of the county was kept by Mrs. Sutherland at Craig
House, Lynn. A school to quote from the circular
for the education of the daughters of the nobility
and gentry.' Nothing to do with trade. When the
miller first applied to Mrs. Sutherland she said most
decidedly that she could not take his daughter. It
would not do. It would lower the standard of the
school.
He did the wisest thing possible; he brought Lima
into the presence of tile school-mistress, and she, looking
at her with wondering eyes, said, She is a little lady.
The result was that Lima Derwent was admitted into
that most select assembly, and there she remained until
she was sixteen.
She came home to the mill of Allan, beautiful, accom-
plished, and a lady. She was not in the least degree
spoiled by this education so far above her class. She did
not look down with contempt on the miller and his home-
ly ways, or on her mother, whose English was not always
perfect, although her ideas were full of poetry. She did
not look down on her old home or her surroundings: she
loved them all as though she had never left them. Her
character was beautiful in its simplicity and tenderness.
Although she had received the education of a lady, she
knew that she was nothing more than a miller's daughter.
She brought back to her beautiful old home accomplish-
ments, education, graceful manners, but not one particle
of affectation or vanity. The miller was delighted. Some
little improvements were made in honor of her return.
The miller built a new roomlarge and loftyoverlook-
ing the broad, beautiful sheet of Allan Water; he fur-


14
THE BELLE OF LYNN.
nished it with imnsnal luxury; there was a piano, a few
tine engravings and water-colors, an easel, a book-case,
and pretty, fanciful chairs. This was Lima's room, and
to the miller, when she was in it, it seemed like an
earthly Paradise.
So for a year she lived in the midst of the sunshine-
the flowers and trees, the great, shining waters, her books
and her music. She was perhaps lonely, although she
never complained.
Her education had entirely unfitted her for any inti-
macy or companionship with those of her own class:
there was nothing in common between this girlrefined,
sensitive, delicate, with her spiritual, poetical mind, and
highly organized natureand the Misses Johnson, daugh-
ters of a neighboring farmer, hearty, healthy, buxom girls,
who quarrelled about sweethearts and bonnets, or between
the Misses Rudcorn, who were never so happy as when
they were riding across the country, at imminent danger
to their necks. And the class in which site had been
educated did not recognize her; she was never invited to
visit Lynn Rectory, or the Hall, or Allan House, so that
she was very lonely, and there were times when she
longed for young people, longed to talk and to laugh in
her own fashion : but she never expressed the wish, and
never complained. She w?as the sunshine of the house;
her beautiful face, the sheen of her golden hair, her
bright smile, the music of her voice, seemed to till the old
walls with warmth and sunshine. The miller had wor*
shipped her as a child, he loved her now with even a
greater and more passionate affection; she was the very
light of his eye,'the joy of his heart and the pride of his
life. He would look at her and watch her until the tears
dimmed his eyes.
Then came the second part of the drama; the first had
been that nature must not be thwarted she must be a
lady; the second was that, being a lady, she must of
necessity marry a gentleman. There was no help for if.
The florid, good-natured farmers of the neighborhood
would not do for this dainty, beautiful girl, and the
miller was often perplexed as to how lie should find a
husband for her. His wife laughed at the notion.


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
15
There is plenty of time yet, she would answer;
Lima is not quite seventeen ; you need not think of a
husband for her for some years yet.
No, perhaps not; but my lady lass must marry a
gentleman when the time to marry comes, said the
miller.
John, said his wife, Yon seem to forget one thing
marriages are made in heaven. It is not for us to find
a husband for Lima. She will do that, guided by her
own love and instinct.
Iam not so sure whether love and instinct are safe
guides, said the miller; and in the after-time he often
thought of his own words, and said to himself that pru-
dence should lead love and instinct. But, alas! it never
did yet, and it never will!
Calm, bright, and clear as the shining water around
her, was the life of Lima Derwent, until she reached her
seventeenth year, then the calm was broken never to
return.
CHAPTER III.
The famous grammar-school of St. Edwards made the
town of Lynn famous. It had been founded many hun-
dred years ago by one of the kings of that name, who
endowed it with immense wealth. Through all the
storms and tempests that troubled the state this school
steered safely ; years added but to its wealth and reputa-
tion.
It was thought something of an innovation at first
when foreign masters were asked to reside there. The
Freneh of Stratford-le-Bow had been sufficient, but
the managers were growing more particular as the school
grew in repute. They had a French master to teach
French and a German master for German. It was to
take the situation of French teacher in St. Edwards
Grammar-school that Leon de Soldana came to Lynn.
The old master, who bad been taken ill suddenly, died
in the midst of a busy term, and there was no resource
but for the managers to advertise. They did so, and the


16
THE BELLE OF LYNN.
young Comte de Soldana, who was passing through Lon-
don, happened quite by accident to see that advertise-
ment. He did not wait, but went at once to the college.
He laid his whole story before the principal; he had
none or few friends in England ; he was homeless, almost
penniless, and he was the last of the once grand and pros-
perous race of the Soldanas. The principal listened, and
was touched.
Still, he said, looking at the handsome, eager face
of the young man, it is not a question of family, or
even of ancient descent, but whether you can teach
French well.
Try me, cried the young man, eagerly, and the
principal agreed to do so.
We had better not say anything about race or title,
he said to the young comte. My boys are sturdy
Britons; they look upon all Frenchmen as their natural
enemies. What they would say. to a French nobleman,
without one shilling to keep up his title, I cannot say.
I strongly advise you not to try.
So never a word was said, and the Comte de Soldana
was only known as a very young teacher, but of brilliant
and varied attainments. That his physique resembled
that of a sturdy Saxon rather than the Norman was
greatly in his favor. His strong, well-built figure, his
broad shoulders and magnificent chest, his handsome face
and fair hair were all unlike their notions of a French-
manthey did not even caricature him.
Still, take the life at its best, despite the hearty liking
of the boys and of the masters, it was but a dull existence
for one who had the blood of a grand old race flushing
and thrilling through his veins for one who had every
aristocratic instinct. The dark, gloomy rooms were hate-
ful to him ; if he could but see the sunshine! But the
tall trees that seemed to shut the college in kept out the
bright sunlight.
He asked if he could take lodgings near, and attend
the college during lesson-hours, and, as a great privilege,
permission was granted him.
Was it fate, fortune, or Providence that led him to
ieek a home in the beautiful place called Clover Farm,


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
IT
standing at very little distance from the Mill of Allan ?
He had heard, as every one did, of the Belle of Lynn,
the millers lovely daughter, who was so fair to see, and
as modest as she was fair. Every one spoke of her beau-
tiful face, but it was with respect and reverence; all the
young men sighed for her, but no one could boast of a
word or smile, and they admired her all the more for it
all the more because she was just a little proud, this
Belle of Lynn. She sought no admiration, she never laid
herself out to draw attention. Leon de Soldana heard her
name very often, but he had not thought much of her,
every town had its reigning belle; besides, what was the
beauty or love of women to do with him, the last of a
ruined race ?
But leaving Clover Farm one day, he saw her, and
after that he was indifferenUto hernever more.
He stood watching her as she walked along the path
that led to the mill-stream, drinking in deep draughts of
delight; never in his life had he seen anything like her
face and figure. She was unconscious of his watching,
and passed out of sight, but his heart was on fire. The
old race of Soldanas had been remarkable for their great
personal beauty and for their ardent love. It was in him,
this penniless French teacher, to love as the other nobles
of his race had done, with fervor, eloquence and passion.
He said to himself that he would wait his time; he
would not startle her by speaking suddenly to her. This
beautiful Belle of Lynn was a lady, they all agreed, but
he would wait his opportunity, and he found it that
morning when he met her on the bridge that spanned the
narrowest part of Allan Water.
He went home with a glow in his heart such as had
never warmed it before. His life had been lonely enough,
nd without comfort. For what political wrong-doing his
grandfather had been banished from France matters little
to this story. He was deprived of all his possessions
the grand old chateau of Soldana with its large domain,
his property in Normandy called Belle dOr, and his
magnificent home in Paris, LHotel dOr; he was de-
prived of his revenue ; everything belonging to him was
confiscated, and he was sent out to exile. He was but a


18
THE BELLE OF LYNN.
young man then. He brought his wife and son to Eng-
land. How he lived was only known to Heaven and him-
self. At times he received help from old friends, but
many of his friends were in exile like himself. He spent
his whole time petitioning for his restoration; the peti-
tions were never even read; therefore, he spent his life
in vain.
He died, and his son succeeded to the same poverty,
the same round of petitions, then married a girl as nobly
born and poor as himself, the daughter of an illustrious
exile, who, in his turn, had no hope of ever seeing Fair
France again. He lived but five yearspoverty and
exile killed him who should have been Comte de Soldana,
and lord of the great domain in Normandy he died,
leaving his wife and one child, Leon.
For some years after his death Mme. de Soldana had
struggled on ; she taught French and music, and so earned
enough to keep her little son and herself, but after a time
her health and courage failed. Then an old friend, also
an exile, came to the rescue; he offered to educate Leon,
and he offered to help Mme. de Soldana to return in dis-
guise to France, where she lived on a miserable pittance
for some years. During that time mother and son never
met, although they corresponded continually, and the
greatest affection existed between them. Mme. de Sol-
dana, even in her poverty, was as proud as an empress ;
she never abandoned her dignity even when, as it hap-
pened at times, she had not bread to eat.
Slie had good reason to love her son : small as was the
sum he received for his teaching, he sent the greater part
of it to his mother. He was lonely and desolate enough,
this handsome young prince of a banished race, and the
first light that brightened his life was the kindly smiles
of the Belle of Lynn. He thought more as he walked
home than he had ever done before; young as he was,
his life had been such a struggle with poverty, he bad
not felt the bitterness of exile so keenly until now. He
stopped at the little white gate which led into the rich
clover meadows. If he were but lord of Soldana, with the
magnificent ancestral home of his of which he had heard
so much, but which he could not hope to sec, he might


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
19
perhaps win the love of some girl as fair as this. Lord
of Soldana! His soul seemed to wake up within him
when he uttered the words aloud, just as his ancestors
had answered to the battle call. Lord of Soldana, with
men to command and money to spend, a large domain to
rule over ; and then he burst into cruel, pitiful laughter.
Lord of Soldana! when only a few shillings stood be-
tween him and absolute poverty.
Long live the white lilies of France! he said to him-
self. My grandfather must have done some good to his
country or he would never have been banished from it
as a rule the man who is an enemy to his own nation
is feted and made much of - Long live the white lilies
of France.
Then, from the far distance, came the sonnd of the
bells of Lynn, and he knew that he must go to work
again. The lordship of Soldana, the white lilies of
France, the beautiful face of the girl he had just lefit,
must all pass away now like a dream : he must face row
after bow of sturdy British boys, each one of whom seem-
ed to have a more horrible pronunciation than the others.
Sturdy British boys who looked down with infinite
contempt on all attempts to teach them French, asking
each other, with true British indignation, of what use it
was; while the Comte de Soldana forgot his dreams in
the very practical work before him.
Allah Water shone bright and clear in the morning
sunlight, and Lima Derwent stood at the window watch-
ing the sunlight that lay upon it.
It had been the millers fancy that this window of the
new room which he had built exclusively for his daugh-
ters use should look right over the broad, shining water
and the stream itself washed up against the newly built
wall. Any one rowing in a boat past that window could
almost have touched it, and could easily converse with
any one standing there, as Lima was doing now.
She was thinking of the first time she had heard the
young French refugee spoken about, an evening some
five weeks ago, when one of her fathers friends had
called at the Mill of Allan, and, speaking of the grammar*


20
THE BELLE OB LYNN.
school, said they had a new French master there, and
what a fine handsome young man he was.
The miller growled out that he hated Frenchmen, and
that if they were as handsome as Cupid it would make
no difference to him.
The second time was when Mrs. Grey, of the Clover
Farm, came over to consult her mother as to the prudence
of taking him in as a lodger.
I tell you quite frankly, Mrs. Derwent, said the
mistress of Clover Farm, that if I had young daughters
about the house I would not do it, for a handsomer, more
kindly young gentleman never lived. He is like a young
prince in his mannernot that I have seen a prince, but
he is what I should think they are.
And Lima had pondered deeply over her words; she
was thinking, of them now as she watched the sunlight
deepening on the calm breast of Allan "Water.
CHAPTEE IT.
There came a moonlight night in May, when the lilacs
were so fully in bloom that their pale, soft petals fell on
the grass, and the white syringa flowers drooped with the
weight of their own perfume a night so still, so sweet,
that it might have been borrowed from Heaven.
Allan Water had not a ripple on its deep bosom the
white lily buds were sleeping, the swans had gone to rest,
the forget-me-nots had shut their blue eyes, the wind
stirred the green leaves so faintly it seemed to sigh over
them, and Leon de Soldana stood on the rustic bridge
watching the lights that shone from the Mill of Allan.
It was more than ten days since he had met Lima, and
he had seen her every day since. Once he had over-
taken her in the green, shady lane that led to the farm,
and two whole hours had passed before they even realized
that they had met and it was time to part. There came
a morning when he could not sleep for thinking of her;
her eyes, her face, her voice haunted him, and he rose
quite early while the dew lay on the ground, and went


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
21
out into the clover meadows. The loveliness of the
bright, fair morning led him on until he came to the
fields near the Allan Water; and there, shining between
the great lime-trees, lie saw the folds of a bine dress; he
saw Lima standing gathering the thick dew-drops from
the blades of grass. Will he ever forget the beauty of
that blushing face, as she told him with smiles and utter
confusion why she was in the fields so early?
She had read in some old-fashioned book that if any
maiden washed her face for nine mornings together in
May-dew it was a charm that would give her a com-
plexion like lilies and roses forevermore. He laughed,
too, as he heard it, thinking to himself surely never was a
picture so fair as that of this tall, slender English girl,
whose feet scarce brushed the daisies as she stepped
lightly over the grass, her beautiful face blooming with
health and radiant with happiness. How lovely she
looked with the dew on her face, hanging on the long
dark lashes, fringing the golden hair.
I wish every lady in the land used your cosmetique,
he said; and she answered carelessly that it was in the
power of all. Even afterward that picture returned to
him a girl standing in the long green grass, her hands
filled with morning dew, and her face blooming with the
richest hues of health.
They had lingered until the sun rose high in the
heavens, and then the sole remaining descendant of the
Soldanas suddenly remembered that the sturdy British
boys would be waiting for him.
They met again when Leon was crossing the Lynn
Woods, and Lima sat sketching a giant oak. That day
the girl went home with such a heaven of delight in her
face, such a light in her eyes, that her mother looked at
her in wonder. What was coining over the child that
her face should be so dazzling and bright? Then came
the moonlight when Leon, haunted still by dreams and
memories of her, unable to sleep or to rest, came out to
look at the house where she livedthe casket which held
his jewel. He could see so plainly the lights in her
window, which reflected straight and clear in the deep
waters. Then, an unutterable longing seized him to be


22
THE BELLE OF LYNN.
nearer her. A boat was lightly fastened to the branches
of an alder-tree, lie unknotted the cords, and the next
minute was rowing quickly toward her window. He
knew how to use the oars, this man, whose ancestors had
fought in the Crusades.
He was soon underneath her window. It was a picture
in itself to see the boat in the moonlight skimming the
deep, bright waters, just as it was a poem in itself listen-
ing to the sweeping strokes of the oars.
There, under her window, he rests at last, and listens,
for she is singing, and he thinks to himself never was
music so sweet. The window is closed and the lace blinds
drawn; the boat rests motionless just where the shadow
of the great trees fall; but he can hear plainly the
sound floats down to him through the clear air and the
white moonlight. He can even hear the words, each one
clear and distinct. It is the old-fashioned ballad that
will be sweet until the world ends
44 On the banks of Allan Water,
Where the sweet spring tide did fall,
Was the miller s lovely daughter,
Fairest of them all.
41 For a bride a soldier sought her,
And a winning tongue had he;
On the banks of Allan Water,
None so gay as she.
44 On the banks of Allan Water,
When brown autumn spreads its store,
There I saw the millers daughter,
Butshe smiled no more.
44 For the summer grief had brought her,
And the soldier false was be;
On the banks of Allan Water,
None was sad as she.
44 On the banks of Allan Water,
When the winter snow fell fast,
Still was seen the millers daughter;
Chilling blew the blast.
44 But the millers lovely daughter,
Both from cold and care was free;
On the banks of Allan Water
There a corpse lay she.
The soft, sad refrain floated down to him, and seemed
to mingle with the sigh of the wind and the wash of the


THE BELLE OF LYNH.
23
waters, until it formed a dirge a sweet, sad dirge; lm
wondered just a little who this miller's lovely daughter
was; he resolved that when lie saw her next he would
ask her all about the ballad. Then, again, falling as it
were from the window, in a soft, sweet shower of notes
came the words:
On the banks ot Allan Water
There a corpse lay she.
He wished that the wind did not sigli through the
trees, and the water would not seem to sob as it washed
round the little boat. He wished she had not sung so
sad a song, but had sung of love, of hope, of happiness.
He must tell her when he saw her next; those beauti-
ful young lips of hers must not sing of sorrow or of death.
Surely the sweet-scented wind must blow chill from the
great mere; he found himself trembling without at all
knowing why.
Then tlie song changed, the sigh of the wind and the
sobbing of the water grew fainter, the moonlight grew
brighter, all the heart and soul there was in him awoke
to its full extent as he listened. He forgot his poverty
and his exile, he forgot the bright beauty of his native
land, he forgot the grand old castle and the waving
woods, the banners of his ancestors, and the white lilies
of fair France; even the present sordid miseries of his
lifethe rows of sturdy British boyswere all forgotten
as he listened to the bright song which told of hope and
love that should never, never die.
The words floated away over Allan Water, and there
was silence; the light died from that window, and came
from an upper casement; he heard her open it and knew
that she was looking at the moonlight beauty of Allan
Water. He remained quite silent; no stir of the water,
of the oars, or of the boat told of his presence; he would
not have her know that he was watching and waiting
under her window; she might not be pleased, and a
frown on her fair face would darken even the sunshine
for him.
When the window was fastened and the light gone, he


24
THE BELLE OF LYNN.
rowed back again over Allan "Water, and went borne to
dream of her.
It was evening when he saw her next; he had been
waiting some hours then to see her, and just at sunset he
caught sight of the blue gown down by the banks of the
great wide mere.
I heard you singing last night, he said. I listened
to yon, and I want yon to tell me is it of this Allan
Water that you sung?
No, she answered. The ballad called On the
Banks of Allan Water is one of the oldest we have.
This beautiful stream here is named after the Allans of
Allan, who lived here many hundred years ago. I have
always loved it, because, you see, she added, with a deep
blush, it is all about a millers lovely daughter.
But it is such a mournful song, he cried. I can-
not bear to hear you sing it.
She looked at him with wistful eyes.
It is like life, she answered ; first she was gay and
fair, then she loved, then she died.
Surely you do not think that love ends in death ?
he cried.
Death is the end of all things, she said. From
cold and care was free. Is not that the end of all lives ?
He spoke so vehemently that she could hardly under-
stand him :
Noa thousand times no! Who could have be-
lieved that you, so young, so bright, so fair, could have
such gloomy thoughts ? It is wonderful to me how sad-
ness lies underneath the character of all English people.
I am not sad, she answered, raising her beautiful
eyes to his, but I cannot help seeing, truths. I am not
given to sadness. I may say of myself
On the hanks of Allan Water
None so gay as she.
I shall love that ballad, and yet I shall hate it, cried
Leon. Sing it to me again.
Once more she sung it, and the clear, sad notes floated
over the water.


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
25
It gives me a strange, uncanny feeling, lie said;
but Lima let me call you Lima you need not sing
sad ballads; you will bave a bright fate, bright love,
bright fortune, bright life awaits you; sing no more of
sorrow or death ; no false lover will win your heart only
to throw it away.
He had grown to love her so deeply, so dearly, so well,
that he could not bear to think of a shadow falling over
her life.
Love of her had taken possession of him ; love ot her
brightened the whole world for him; love of her had
changed the land of exile into earthly paradise; love of
her made him believe that it was oetter to have poverty,
hard work, exile and obscurity with her than honor,
glory, title and fortune without her.
He said to himself that if the grand old castle and the
ancient domain, the large revenue and the family honors
were his, he would lay them all at her feet he would
crown her with the white lilies of France. But he was
pour, and an exile "Would it be fair to ask this fresh,
beautiful young girl to share his lot? and if he asked
her would she say yes ? Should he woo her and win
her, this fair-haired girl who had brightened the world
for him ?
He did not hear the answer that wailed through the
trees, any more than he saw the tragical future that lay
before him.
CHAPTER Y.
There is nothing in life so sweet as loves young
dream; the wealth and the honors that come afterward,
the fullness of gratified ambition, the knowledge of the
worlds respect, are all nothing compared to the beauty
and sweetness of loves young dream when the sun
shines and the skies are blue for us; when the birds sing
and the flowers bloom for us; when love is heaven, and
heaven is love. It comes but once in life; other loves
may succeed it, only one has the sweetness, the passion,
the beauty, and the poetry of loves young dream.


26
THB BELLE OF LYNN.
It was July now; the languor of summer heat had set-
tled over the land; even the red roses yielded to the
warmth, and the water-lilies on the great wide mere
seemed to be sleeping in the sun. Not many weeks since
the last of the Soldanas had met the millers daughter,
and already he had forgotten everything else in the wide
world. There were times even when he forgot the sturdy
British boys and their lessons, until a sharp note or mes-
sage from the principal brought him back to his senses.
He seemed only to live in the time he spent with her;
she was the whole world to him. To meet her in the
early morning, to see her at noon, to find her down by
the water-side on the lovely summer evenings, had be-
come the end and aim of his life. To watch the loveli-
ness of her face, to catch the varying tones of her voice,
to tell her over and over again how dearly he loved her,
to kiss the white hands that he clasped in his own, were
the delights of his life. He did not know that any one
had ever loved in the same fashion before; he thought
it was to them alone this new revelation of life had come.
He laughed when he remembered that he had once found
- exile and poverty hard to bear; exile had brought him
to her presence; poverty had led him to find her; wel-
come both with her. He had intended to keep his secret
for a time, she was so young, but there came a day when
it escaped him.
A beautiful day in June, when the great sheaves of
white lilies that grew in the gardens of Allan Mill were
all in bloom, and Lima, passing them by, gathered two
or three lovingly, and with them she placed some rich
red roses. A beautiful silent June afternoon, and she
was going down to the waters edge. As a matter of
course she met Leon. How he contrived to give to all
these meetings the appearance of being accidental it was
impossible to say, but he did so. Equally, as a matter of
course, he sat down by her side, and his attention was
caught by the sunlight on the white shining petals of the
lily.
How many countries have floral emblems! he said.
The lilies of France, the roses of England, the sham-


THE BELLE OF LYHN.
27
rook of Ireland, the thistle of Scotland. There are non#
that I love like the regal white lilies.
He took one from her hand as he spoke.
The lilies of France and the roses of Englandwhich
will you have, Lima?
Both, she replied.
Both! he repeated, slowly, placing two of the beau-
tiful flowers close together. Do you know what that
implies ?
Ho, she anwered, with a hot flush, I do not.
The golden haze of the afternoon dropped over them ;
the faint washing of the waters as it rippled through the
green grass; the faint song of the birds, who had sought
shelter from the heat, were the only sounds that broke a
silence half divine.
The lily is beautiful alone, he said, though the
sweet leaves are weak; put lily and rose together, they
improve and strengthen each other. Lima, look at me
and not at Allan Water. Do you see no allegory in
that?
She would not say so,
My dear, 1 have loved you, he said, from the first
moment I saw you. If I tried forever I could not tell
you how much I love yon. If every leaf on every tree,
if every blade of grass in the meadows, if every single
' drop in the great sheet of Allan Water could speak, and
they spoke forever, still they could not tell how much I
love you, and I want yon, my love, to bo my wife.
Your wife ? she repeated; I have never thought
of such a thing!
But marriage is the end of all true love, he cried.
And you, oh, Lima, if there be any truth in womens
eyes, you love me.
The beautiful eyes drooped from his, the coy, sweet
face turned now so that he should not see it.
In spite of all my troubles, said Leon, I esteem
myself the most fortunate of men. To know you and to
love you would compensate me for the loss of a crown or
a kingdom. Oh, Lima, say yon love me a little; I will
be my wife.


28
THE BELLE OF LYNN.
But the shy, sweet lips uttered no word a very
paroxysm of shyness seemed to have come over her.
Lima, say one word to me, he pleaded.
But Lima had no word. He placed both lily and rose
in her hand:
If you will not speak to me, Lima, settle my fate for
me; every moment of suspense is an hour of torture to
me. If you love me, if you will be my wife, give the
English rose to me and keep the French lily yourself.
Ifbut I will not utter the words. I have faith in you ;
you will try to love me ; and a few minutes afterward
the English rose fresh, red, and bloomingwas laid in
his hands.
How he kissed her, thanked her, blessed her, words
could not tell. It was the brief, sweet madness of loves
young dream an hour never to he forgotten by either;
perhaps, the most perfectly happy one in eithers life.
Until the day she died Lima Derwent preserved that
lily, even though it was faded, withered and dead. It
was an hour snatched from life, bright with brightness
and love, sent straight from Heaven.
I can hardly believe my own good fortune, said
Leon, after a time; to think that I, a poor, friendless
exile, should win you. Why, Lima, you might be a
queen.
I do not think many kings would come wooing me,
she said, laughingly; but he cried :
You are one of natures queens, Lima, and now that
I have won your sweet love, and won you, tell me wheD
you will marry me ?
She shrunk back, scared and frightened.
That will not be for a long time yet, she said a
long time, Leon.
Ah, no, Lima! We love each other, why should we
spend the youngest, brightest, and best years of our life
apart? I nave always heard that early marriages are
best. Let me go now to your parents and ask them ?
Then the beautiful face grew pale and scared.
Oh, Leon, she cried, I forgot!
Forgot wliat, my darling? he asked.
They will never give me to you, she said. I for-


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
29
got, my father has other plans for me; he does not like
Frenchmen, and she clung to him with tears in her
eyes.
He laughed merrily. To youth and love what matters
fear? what the opposition of parents? what anything
except their love ?
Never mind, my darling, I will soon win the liking
of father and motheranything to gain you.
You must make them like you, before you ask them
about me, she said, shyly.
I will I will be patient, indeed, cried the last of
the Soldanas, to whom patience was an unknown virtue.
I will do all I can to make them like me; I will go
this evening on some pretext or other I know, I will
ask your father if I may sketch the waters from the
garden; he will give me permission.
That he will, said Lima, and he will give you
some of his sparkling cider! He will be very kind and
civil to you, unless he should happen to think that you
want me, and then the story will be different.
But why different, Lima ? I love yon with all the
strength and fervor of my heart; I will work for you; I
will make you happy.
It is not that, she answered ; my father has made
up his mind exactly what kind of a husband I shall have.
I am to marry what lie calls a gentleman farmer, and it
will take some time to turn him from his idea.
Then, Lima, said her handsome young lover, I
will tell you what our wisest plan will be; we will keep
our own secret; we will say nothing of love or marriage
until your parents have learned to like me.
He never for one moment doubted that they would so
learn. He could see no reason why he should not be
liked. He was accustomed, after all, to think more of
himself as the last of the Soldanas, the last of a gallant
race, the representative of one of the oldest families of
France ; he knew that side of his life best; that any one
should dislike him, or look down upon him because he
was a penniless French teacher, did not seem so natural
to him. It never once occurred to him that Limas
parents would object to him. On the contraiy, the idea


30
THE BELLE OF LYNN.
had crossed his mind that it was a great match for a
simple country girl.
After all, he was the Comte de Soldana. He would
have laughed at the notion of the miller despising his
birth, his descent, his title, his nation, and everything
belonging to him.
He would have laughed such a notion to scorn.
Still he was so deeply in love with Lima, and so anx-
ious to win her for his wife that he became diplomatic;
he saw that he must make his advances gently.
Before they parted they had made all arrangements;
Leon was to make the acquaintance of the miller and his
wife; ho was to call continually at the mill, on one pre-
text or the other, until they would understand, and then
he would ask them for Lima.
How shall I live through all those weeks of sus-
pense he cried. Swear to me, Lima, that nothing
shall change you, that nothing shall take you from me,
nothing shall induce you to give me up. Promise me
that you will love me truly and faithfully, and that you
will love me alone so long as we both live.
And she promised. How the promise was kept on her
part and on his is what our story has to tell.
Bemember, he said to her, that a promise made
over running water is doubly binding.
I shall remember, she replied, and she did so.


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
31
CHAPTER VI.
I cannot quite understand it, said the miller. I
hate all Frenchmen with a true British hatred. I should
not mind if there was a Waterloo every day.
But, interrupted his wife, you must admit that
there have been grand and noble men in France.
I admit nothing of the kind, he replied. I con-
sider hatred of the French as one of the upholders of the
British constitution. Yon say that Napoleon called us a
nation of shop-keepers ; I should call the French a nation
of dancing-masters.
That is not fair, said his wife, quickly; they are
more like a nation of soldiers.
The miller laughed good-naturedly.
We will not quarrel about it, he said. The whole
French nation may do as it .likes; the thing which puz-
zles me is why this young man comes here so often. He
comes one day with a present for me, a dog a real St.
Bernard. What do I want with a Mount St. Bernard
dog? Then he brings a canary, and yesterday I saw him
with a great bunch of daphnes. What does it mean ?
But gentle Mrs. Derwent made no answer; she had
her own fears as to what it meant; fears for the young
Frenchman, who was so handsome, so gallant, so kind, so
chivalrous, that she could not help liking him, himself.
Despite the millers wonder at such a state of things,
Leon had made his way. It was no unusual thing for
him in the early morning to be seen in the meadows
round the Mill of Allan, or rowing on the bright, deep
waters; then would come a cheery greeting to the miller,
a greeting so warm, so genial, so kindly, that, despite his
hatred of the French, he was compelled to return it. An
invitation to join the breakfast would at times follow,
always a keen source of delight to the young lover, for


32
THE BELLE OF LYNN.
Lima presided, looking as beautiful, fresb, and blooming
as a newly blown rose.
Again at noon, when the college morning hours were
over, Leon would find some pretext for calling at the
mill. But noon was a busy hour, the miller was away
with his men, and Mrs. Derwent was engaged in houses
hold duties; neither of them knew how often the little
boat was moored under the big bay-window of Limas
room.
During the long, beautiful summer evenings, when the
sweet-scented hay lay in the meadows, and the hedges
were a mass of brilliant bloom, how could one be surly ?
When the miller met the handsome, gallant young
fellow in the hay-fields or the lanes, or lingering by
Allan Water, he could not decline speaking to him ; and
so great was the frank charm of his manner, that even
when the miller had resolved that he would not exchange
twenty words with him, it would end in an invitation to
supper and a glass of cider. That was before he began
to understand matters, or entertain even so faint an idea
as to why he came there.
During those few weeks the lovers were on their guard.
The mother saw more than the father did; she saw the
beautiful girls face flush and pale; she saw the trem-
bling hands, she heeded the faltering voice, while the
miller was blind and deaf to these signs.
Is that young man going to live here altogether??
he cried out one Sunday afternoon, when Leon had con-
trived to elicit an invitation for tea from Mrs. Derwent.
I should think not, his wife answered, with a smile,
but there was a sense of deadly fear at her heart. What
could he, young, brave, and handsome, want there? She
knew, but she dreaded to own the truth even to herself.
It was a beautiful love story; old as love stories are
there was something fresh and novel about this. The
surroundings were so beautiful, so fnll of poetry; the
young lover himself was so handsome and so princely;
the girl he loved was so fair and graceful, and the love
between them was deep and tender.


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
S3
"Were ever nights so fair as these on which he per-
suaded her to go with him round the wear while the
moon shone on the waters; and the boat would seem to
stop of its own accord near the water-lilies; and there
was no one to overhear the passion of his words, no one
to see the loving caresses that he lavished upon her?
The Soldanas had always been proficient in the art of
love-making. Were ever mornings so bright as these on
which he met her at sunrise, and they spent long bright
hours amongst the flowers ?
Do you think I may speak now ? was the young
lovers constant cry. Oh, Lima, I am so tired of wait-
ing! Your mother likes me, I know she does, and your
father will like me in time, Lima; I am sure he will.
Oh, let me speak to him. You do not know what I
sufferyou do not know what a torture suspense is to
me! I sit in the same room with you, and I dare not
come near you your beautiful face comes near me and
1 dare not kiss it! Do you know how often I stretch
out my hands with an unutterable longing to take you
to my heart, and there is only the cold empty air. Oh,
Lima, Lima! let me speak
But she always made the same answer:
u Not yet, Leon not just yet; let my father grow
more accustomed to you.
But, he would remonstrate, unless I tell your
father soon, he will find it out for himself; he will begin
to ask himself why I am always at the mill; besides, if
I do not tell him others will.
What others ? she asked.
He laughed a proud, happy laugh."
My darling Lima, he said, there are very few
people who do not know how I worship the Belle of
Lynn, and I am proud of it. Let me speak, Lima.
Your father cannot say nay to me; tell me why you are
so afraid.
I do not like to tell you, she answered. I am
sure it will hurt you.
I am sure it will not, Lima ; tell me.
My father cannot endure Frenchmen. He will never
let me marry you, Leon, because of that.


34
THE BELLE OF LYNN.
I am English enough, sweet Lima, in my love for
you, he said. It is a prejudice on his part, and I shall
be able to overcome it.
He flung back his head with the air of a victorious
young prince. What did the opinion and the prejudice
of this English miller matter to the last of the Soldanas ?
If he were in his own land, on his own domain, this man
would be so greatly his inferior that there would be no
communication between them.
We are so happy as we are, sighed the girl. Do
you know, Leon, that even the golden beauty of the
summer seems to be part of our love? Why should we
seek for a change ?
Because, my darling, the change will come whether
we seek it or not. Let us be ready for it.
A few days, she pleaded; only a few days more,
Leon
And then you will consent, Lima; you will make no
more objections ?
No, she replied, faintly; but, Leon, I am sore
afraid!
You need not be; you would not be if you knew how
much I would dare to win you. I would swim over an
ocean, I would cross a desert of sand, 1 would walk over
read-hot plow-shares to reach you. Why need you fear?
He drew her, with a passionate gesture, to his heart;
he kissed the beautiful face, on which a faint shadow of
pain lay; and Lima laid her arms round his neck.
Tell me why you fear so much, my Lima ? I fear
nothing.
We are so happy now, she whispered; and what
should we do if my father refused his consent?
He would never do anything of the kind, cried the
ardent young lover. Why should he ? Why should he
refuse to give you to me because I am a Frenchman ?
Ah, Lima, there is no need to fear.
There is, and I do fear; we are so happy now, Leon;
I see you every day, sometimes more often than that
evenlet us be content.
But, my darling, he cried, passionately, this state
of things cannot last! It is not only that I love you, but


THE BELLE OF LYHH.
35
I want to marry you I want you for my own! I want
a home, Lima, and you for its mistress. Do you not see
and understand ?
Yes, she whispered.
The end of all love is marriage, he continued. I
want you in my own home. I want you for my own. I
cannot live without you.
We are so much together, Leon, she said.
But it is not the same thing. We will have a home
in the trees, just as the birds build their nests. Oh, Lima,
my heart grows warm when I think of it. A home, all
our own, where you shall be mistress and queen, and I
your loving lover. He thought but little of the ways
and means, she even less; it was all love love. I shall
always be your lover, Lima. I shall always love you just
as I do nowmore, even, as the years pass on, but never
less.
She looked up into his face, a mist of tears dimming
her lovely eyes.
I am so happy, Leon ; but if my father refused, what
should we do ?
He will not refuse, my darling.
But, she persisted, what shall we doif he does ?
Time enough to think of that emergency when it
comes, he replied. Let me ask him, I am quite sure
all will come right.
I am quite as sure it will not, she said, sadly. I
have a presentiment over it.
Let me drive the presentiment away, he cried, kiss-
ing the beautiful face until the smiles and the color came
back to it. That is a proper way to treat a presenti-
ment. Have another, Lima, which requires the same
treatment.
She laughed.
But, Leon, she said, if my father says no, then we
shall not be able to see each other.
He laughed.
My darling, if a line of burning mountains parted us
I should scale them. Nothing will ever keep me from
you nothing could. Do you remember the lines yon


36
THE BELLE OF LYNN.
sung the other night, and they came floating across Allan
Water?
I do not remember, she said.
I do; and I thought at the time how well they
applied to you and to me, if there should be opposition.
My father he has locked the door,
My mother keeps the key,
But neither holtsnorbars shall keep
My own true love from me.
Let me speak to him, Lima, and have no fear. There
is no spot upon earth where you could be hidden that I
could not find you, and there is no power on earth that
shall keep me from you.
So the words stand as he uttered themto this day.
CHAPTER VII.
Neves had the meadows yielded so much hay; never
had the corn stood so tall, straight, and golden; never
had the free and happy barley laughed more gayly in the
sunshine; never had the gardens bloomed with fairer
flowers; never had the orchards borne richer fruit. The
miller, as he looked round him, felt his heart grow elated;
here was plenty. Plenty of golden grain, plenty of rich
promise; there would be more gold in the coffers he was
filling for her, the daughter who was to him the very
pride of his life: coffers that were filling fast, and all for
her.
This summer was so fine and so fair, it seemed as
though every blade of grass must yield good profit.
The miller was well content; the sun shone on his
huge hay-stacks, on the rich harvest, on the mill that
never rested, day or night, on the mill-stream, always
flowing, and on Allan Water, stretching out far and
wide; he was well content.
The days work was over, the men had gone home, the
birds were going to rest, the blue pigeons had gone to
their cote, the sun was setting, and the rose-lights from


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
37
the clouds lingered on tlie waters; the air was soft and
balmy. I will not go in-doors, said the miller to his
wife; I will have my glass of cider out here.
Out here, meant a beautiful little arbor covered
with a wealth of climbing roses, standing under the
shadow of the great limes, and looking over the broad
expanse of Allan Water. An arbor that had been made
purposely for the miller, where he could enjoy his pipe
and his glass while he looked round on his possessions.
Here on this sweet July night he went to sit and enjoy
the sunset, to enjoy the sparkling cider and his own
thoughts. They were proud and happy ones. He had
been a fortunate man; no one but himself knew the
amount that was daily increasing for the dowery of his
beautiful daughter. He was well content over her; she
was beautiful by nature; he had given her the education
of a lady, and he held a fortune in his hand for her.
The very joy of his heart! He meant her to marry an
English gentleman. He was delighted to remember that
Squire Leslie, of the Grange, had met him yesterday, and
had spent fully five minutes in praising her, and had said
there was not a more beautiful girl in England, and had
very broadly hinted that he should be well pleased to
visit the Mill of Allan.
That is what will happen, the miller said to him-
self ; some one worthy the name of an English gentle-
man will see her, love her, and marry her. It may be
the squire himself, and I could not wish any brighter lot
for my darling than that. To be the wife of a man like
the squire, and mistress of a home like the Grange! She
would not go to him empty-handed either, my beautiful
Lima!
A shadow fell where the rays of the setting sun had
been shining brightly; a fair, handsome head looked in
through the treliis-work; two eager, gray eyes scanned
the millers face.
May I come in ? said Leon de Soldana. I want
to speak to you, Mr. Derwent, very particularly.
This descendant of a fine old race had a deep, musical
voice of his own, and there was in it a tone of command


38
THE BELLE OF LYNN.
which came from the ancestors who had led troops to
battle, and whose word had been law with men.
The millers ear was quick and keen enough to detect
it, and his first impulse was to say:
No, I would rather be alone ; but the face was so
handsome and the manner so courtly they proved irre-
sistible.
Yes, come in, said the miller, and the tall, shapely
figure of the young Frenchman came out of the shadows
the lime-trees cast, and stood by liis side. There was a
flush on the handsome face, and a light in the keen eyes
that told a story.
There was an expression of something like impatience
on the fine features, and a nervous quiver on the mouth
that had all a womens tenderness with a mans pride.
He had said to himself, as he drew near the rose-covered
arbor, that it was not in this fashion the lords of Soldana
had been accustomed to woo; they had not gone humbly
cap in hand, to ask the gift of a daughters hand. But
he he would do anything to win this beautiful Lima
for his own. He stood by the millers side, not in the
least degree afraid, but wondering how he could tell this
practical, matter-of-fact looking man of the deep worship
and love that filled his heart for his daughter. He would
not have hesitated or quailed for one second before a
regiment of foes with drawn swords; he would have
remembered the battle-cry of the Soldanas, and would
have dashed ahead. But before the sturdy matter-of-fact
British miller he sat silent, not knowing how to begin his
story.
Well, said the miller, you have something to say
to me ?
I ha vie, and I find myself a coward for the first time
in my life, answered Leon; and the miller looked curi-
ously at him.
I am sorry to hear that it does not look well for
what you are going to say. Conscience makes cowards
of ns all.
It is not conscience in my case, but love, he replied,
hotly. I will tell you in a few words: 1 love your
daughter1 love her with all the force and passion of


THE BELLE OF LYNN. 3t>
my heart, and I want you to give her to me to be my
wife.
Profound silence. The words on his lips seemed to
die away. The only change in the miller was that his
comely, ruddy face grew white and livid.
I iove her, the young man went on, as no one else
ever could. She is the very sunlight of Heaven to me.
He might have been warned by the tremor of passion
that passed over the millers face; but he did not notice
it; he was intent on what he had to say.
Give her to me, he pleaded, and I will love and
serve her all my life. I will work for her, and make
her the happiest wife in the world.
Still silence that was more terrible than words, and
the millers anger gathered force as the moments rolled
on.
I know, continued the young love'- that I am ask-
ing much. I am asking you for t-ht greatest treasure
you have in the world.
Brave as he was, he started back in wondering terror
when the miller turned his white, angry face to him, and
cried, in a voice of thunder:
Hush 1 If you value your life, do not say another
word! II am not master of myself when I am angry 1
I might commit murder.
Murder 1 cried the astonished young lover. Surely
you do not understand.
I understand only too well, he cried, hoarsely.
You dare ask me for my daughter!
I dare, he replied, by right of my love for her.
I love her; my love is my excuse, if I need one.
The great veins stood out red and swelled on the
miller's forehead and on his clinched hands.
I am trying hard to control myself, he said, but
I am afraid.
Speak fairly to me 1 the young lover cried. I have
done you no harm, no injury; I have brought an honest,
loving heart, and laid it at your daughters feet; surely
that is no wrong.
Ho, it is no wrong, replied the miller, his voice
trembling with passion no wrong* except that you


40
THE BELLE OF LYNN.
ought never to have dared to raise your eyes to her.
Still, as you say you have done no wrong, I will be
patient. You ask for my daughter; I answer £no, a
thousand times no; my daughter shall never be a wife
of yours. No need to prolong the discussion, there is not
another word to say. No. You hear my answer. Go
I have a right to hear more, said the young lover.
Why do you send me away; why do you refuse to give
me the girl I love, and who loves me ?
Who what f cried the miller.
Who loves me, repeated Leon. That is my claim
to your hearing: your daughter loves me as I love her.
The very calm of passion, the white heat of anger
came over the millers face.
My daughter loves you f he cried. I refuse to
believe it! It is utterly impossible!
It is most perfectly true. I love her, and she love*
me. Why will you not give her to me ?
Give her to a penniless Frenchman ? No, I have not
brought her up as a lady for such a fate as that. I love
her: she is the very core of my heart; but I would rather
see her dead ah! drowned and dead there in Allan
Waterthan give her to you.
Why ? he asks, briefly.
First, because you are a Frenchman, and my daughter
shall marry no dancing-master, no foreigner; if she mar-
ries at all, her husband shall be a stalwart Englishman.
I am as strong and fearless as any Englishman, said
Leon de Soldana.
Your strength has nothing to do with the matter.
My daughter shall have an honest English gentleman for
her husband, not a Frenchman; no, not even if he were
a king.
I am not a king, said Leon gravely, but I am as
well-born as many a monarch who has sat upon a throne.
What ? cried the miller, and it is no exaggeration to
say that he roared rather than shouted.
It is true, said the young man, my family is one
of the oldest in France. My ancestors feught like heroes
in the Crusades; many a king has reigned less nobly bom


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
41
than I. Poor as I am, much as you despise me, I wlio
stand a suppliant before you am Leon, Count de Soldana.
A penniless count! cried the miller; you could
not have said more to ruin yourself in iny esteem. I hate
all foreigners, I hate all aristocrats: a man with a title is
odious in my sight. If any man can be more than a radi-
cal, I am that man. And you think the paltry, empty title
of count will please me. Let that pass; count or no count,
yon are a Frenchman that is reason enough for me. I
would rather give my daughter in marriage to Hodge, the
plowman, than to you. You are poor, and my beautiful
Lima is not, you understand, to marry a poor man. I have
brought her up as a lady those little white hands of
hers shall never be stained with toil as her motners have
been. She shall marry a gentleman. I have saved a
fortune for her. She is not for you. Go!
But Leon de Soldana stood motionless, while the pas-
sionate torrent of words ran on.
CHAPTER VIII.
Finding that his words produced no effect, the miller
repeated them, but the young lover held his ground.
You have no right to let prejudice guide you, he
said. You are not just.
I am more than just, if that be possible, cried John
Derwent. Do you think I have educated my daughter
and worked hard to save a fortune for her in order that
she may marry a man who has no home, no money, no
prospects ?
I shall make a home, and I have prospects, he an-
swered, gravely. Do listen to me in patience, even if
only for a few minutes. If you will give her to me, I
will make, a pretty home for her. There is a beautiful
little cottage near Lynn, just what she likes, lying in the
midst of the trees. I wiil take that and furnish it; I can
save money for that; and then I will double my income
by teaching French in the town of Lynn. I will work as
man never worked before, if only you will give her to


42
THE BELLE OF LYNN.
me; and we should be rich, because we should be
happy.
The scorn that deepened on the millers face was
wonderful to see.
No, he replied; there is no prayer you could
make, there is nothing you could say or do which could
for one moment induce me to consent. My daughter
shall never be your wife do not let me hear another
word of it. It can never be!
The young lover raised his head gallantly.
I do not see that you have the right to make your
own daughter miserable for life just because she is your
daughter!
I have a right to do what 1 like with my own, said
the miller, doggedly.
You have no right to make any one miserable,
whether they belong to yon or not, said Leon.
Now, said the miller, I have heard enough. From
this moment you may give up all thoughts of my daugh-
ter, and you must not come near my house again
You seem to think little enough of the pain you will
give your daughter, said Leon, bitterly.
She will not suffer much pain if she has the spirit I
give her credit for. Does she know the foolish errand
on which you have sought me
Yes, was the brief reply.
I do not believe it! cried the miller, fiercely.
She knows me and my opinions too well to think that I
should give my consent to her marriage with a penniless
foreigner, a man with an empty title, forsooth! She
knows me too well for that. Now, you go; keep to
your teaching, and leave love-making alone. Since you
do not seem inclined to leave me, I will go into the
house, where I do not ask you to follow me. Good-
aight.
Without another word the miller went away, leaving
the young lover with bitter desolation in his heart, bitter
anger against this homely matter-of-fact man who had
scoffed at his ancestors, laughed at his title, and refused
him his daughter. It was not thus that the Soldanas had
been treated when they went forth to woo.


THE BELLE OF LYNN. 43
I will have her, he said to himself; she loves me,
and I will have her, in spite of all.
And he sung the lines:
1 My father he has locked the door,
My mother keeps the key;
But neither boltsnorlocks shall keep
My own true love from me.
Nothing shall keep me from her I shall win her in
spite of all opposition, in spite of all obstacles. I would
win her from the very arms of death.
But it was in vain that evening that he lingered round
the banks of Allan Water ; there was no gleam of a blue
dress, no bright sheen of golden hair, no lovely young
face flushed with delight at meeting him.
When night fell he unfastened the boat and rowed
across Allan Water; but there was no light in the win-
dow, no sound of sweet music floating over the waters.
All was silent; even the very winds were cold and still.
There was, for the first time, the sound of angry words
in the Mill of Allan. The miller had gone home angry
and ill-content; nothing could have been more annoying,
more irritating to him than this. If one of his own plow-
men had fallen in love with his daughter, and had asked
her hand in marriage, he would not have been one half
so angry. A penniless Frenchman, a teacher in a school,
a man with a title that was not worth a shillingnothing
could have been worse! And for him to say that his
beautiful Lima loved him! More and more angry grew
the miller. Why, what would Squire Leslie say if he
heard this ? The Belle of Lynn to marry a poor teacher,
who had neither home nor money!she who had been
brought up a lady, and was to have a fortune.
He went into the pretty parlor that night with a frown
on his face for the first time. The windows of the room
did not look over Allan Water, but on to the beautiful
flower-garden. There, in the garden, he saw his wife,
who was busy tying up some, carnations, and his daugh-
ter, who was standing with her face turned to the west,
wondering why her lover had not returned to her, and
why there was no sign of him near Allan Mill. That


44
THE BELLE OF LTKH.
beautiful girl to marry a penniless Frenchman! Never
while the sun shone, and he lived to prevent it 1
He opened the glass door that led to the garden.
Helen, he cried to his wife, I want to speak to
yon!
He saw his daughter start at the unusual sound of
anger in his voice. She came forward with rapid steps.
I want you both, said the miller. I have been
vexed and angry ; but I will try to be calm while I tell
you. HelenLima, my darling, that young Frenchman
has been here, and has dared to ask me if he may marry
you!
Oh, father! cried the girl, hiding her blushing face
in her hands.
Can you believe it ? cried the miller, fuming with
rage a teacher, a Frenchman, a man without a shilling,
and boasting of an empty title to boot! Oh,my darling,
he added, with a sudden outburst of tenderness, as he
clasped her to his breast my darling, I did not make
you a lady for this! I have sent him away, and told
him that he is never to come here again.
A low wail of pain came from the girls lips; but he
was too excited to hear it.
There will be no repetition of the nonsense, for I
have told him he is never to cross the threshold of my
door again.
Then the pale face looked wistfully at him, and a voice
from which all the music had died, said :
Father, do not say that; you will kill me if you say
thatfor I love him.
He clasped her with fierce passion to his breast.
Nay, my darling, you will not die; you will soon for-
get him; he is not half good enough for you. We will
find an English husband for my Lima.
She shrunk from him, pale and scared.
I do not want any one else. Ah, father! do you not
understand ? I love him; and I love him all the more
because he is very poor and friendless, and is an exile
from his own land!
Nonsense. said the miller, brusquely. It shows


THE BELLE OF LYHH. 45
what his native land thinks of him when he is sent away
from it.
Nay, father, that is not like you it is not just!
cried the girl. His poverty and exile are his misfor-
tune, not his fault.
All right, my dear, said the miller, impatiently, we
need not say any more about him; we have done with
him now.
Father, she interrupted, you cannot put out all
the sunshine of my life in this fashion you cannot
mean what you say! You have always been so kind to
me no father was ever so kind to a daughter as you
have been to meyou will not break my heart or make
me miserable for life. Do you remember, when I was
quite a little girl and wanted anything you taught me
always to come to you! You have never refused me one
wish you have never been unkind to me in all my life;
surely you will not begin now
I would not hurt one hair of your dear head, my lady
lassie, said the miller. You are young and have no
experience. I shall prevent you from throwing yourself
away on a young fellow who has nothing to recommend
him except a handsome face. You must not do that.
You have been brought up a lady, and you will have a
good fortune; I have worked hard for it, and I have saved
it for you. You must marry an English gentleman.
Father, said the girl, while the tears ran down her
face, do not break my heart. Let me marry the man I
love.
You will be all right, my dear; you need not break
your heart, he went on, with rough tenderness; your
mother must take you out a little. You shall go to the
sea-side anything to cheer you. I could curse the
man, he cried, with sudden ferocity, when I see the
tears on your face.
She shrunk from him, more pale and scared than
before.
Do not say such terrible things, she cried ; but an
expression of great resolution had come over the millers
face.
Let us make an end of this, Lima, he said. I


£6
THE BISlLE OF LTaiu
would not refuse you anything else in the wide world,
*nd I will make your life as happy as life can be, but we
must have no more of this. Listen to me: I will never
five my consent to this marriagenever, and I have for-
idden the young man ever to come here again. Take
care, yon, Helen, my wife, and you, Lima, my daughter,
that he is never seen here.
Oh, father, be pitiful to me, she cried. 6i I cannot
bear it.
You must choose, my darling, between him and me,
said the miller, and his voice was hoarse with emotion;
between him and me, my lady lassie. I am the father
who loves you, nursed you, guided your little footsteps,
taught your little lips to pray, who lias worked for you.
I went without many a thing that the money might be
put aside for you. You have only known this young man
a few weeks; will you give me up for him Vy
No, she cried, clinging to him, with sobs and tears.
You know I could never give you up, father.
But, my darling, it lies between us; you must give
up your father, or the man whom you consider your
lover.
How can I tear my heart in twain ? she cried.
Better to cry a little now than to cry much more in
the years to come, said the miller. Here, wife, come
and console her; but remember there is to be no more of
thisthe young man is never to be seen here again.
And the girl flung herself, "weeping, on her mothers
breast, while the miller left the room without another
word.
i


TIE BELLE 07 LTXJT.
47
CHAPTER IX.
During the first few minutes that the mother was left
with her child she said nothing, but smoothed the golden
hair with a loving hand, then she kissed the beautiful,
tear-stained face.
Do not cry so bitterly, Lima tell me about it; I
wish I had known, I should have warned you; yet I had
my fears. Do you love him so very much, child ?
I love him with all my heart, mother, was the an
swer given, with bitter sighs and tears.
But, my dear, you know so little of himhe is a
stranger to you.
Ah, no; he has never seemed like a stranger. You
will not be angry with me. mother, if I tell you
I could not be angry with you, mv dear, for this,
said the gentle mother, with a loving memory of the
days when the miller had wooed her, and she had though*
herself the happiest girl in the wide world.
Do you remember, mother, she said, that after-
noon when Mrs. Grey came over to talk to you about
him about his coming to the farm ? I had never seen
him then, but I thought so much of him, and I heard
how handsome and kind and brave he was. It seemed
to me that he was quite different from other men. I
thought so much about him and I had not seen him
then.
The beautiful face grew crimson, and the fair head
drooped.
I know I ought to be ashamed of it, she said, but
I could not help it; after I had seen him and spoken to
him, I am afraid I thought of nothing else. I loved him
so much. I wonder if the same thing comes to other
girls. After 1 had spoken to him he seemed to be part
of myselfpart of my life and I could not tell how it
was. I saw his face everywhere ; whether I was walking
or sleeping, thinking or dreaming, there it was, the beau-
tiful gray eyes looking into mine. I cannot describe it,


18
THE BELLE OE LYNN.
but love of him seemed to enter into everything; it ws
in the sunshine, in the bloom and perfume of the flowers,
it was even in the shining light that lies on Allan Water.
All my life that lay behind me seemed to be nothing ;
there was nothing in it. Oh, I know it was all wrong or
strange, but I seemed only to have begun life from the
hour in which I first saw him. Ton see, mother, she
added, with the calm of desperation, I could not give
him up. It would be like tearing my very heart in
twain. I could not do it.
But, my dear, if your father wills that it shall be so,
you must.
Ah, no no. I did not make the love to live in my
heart, nor can I drive it away. I cannot kill it. I want-
ed to tell you, mother, but I was afraid. I thought it
would be better to wait until you knew more of him. It
is for that reason he has been here so often, that you
might learn to love him. Toil cannot help it, mother
It seems to me that every creature who looks upon his
face must love him.
My dear Lima, if it were so, your father would like
him, said the kindly woman.
Hothing could take him from my life, she con-
tinued, stretching out her tender, white arms. If he is
many hours away, the light goes from the sun I count
the minutes ; I say to myself, He will be here at noon,
I wait until noon comes; but if the noon stretched out
into weeks, and he never came, I should dieI should
die of the blank cold and desolation. When night falls
I say to myself, He will come with the morning light.
When morning has been and gone, I long for the setting
of the sun ; I know he will come then. Why, mother,
she continued, raising her fair face, all flushed and tear-
stained, what should I do with my life if he went out
of it ? What could I do but die ?
Tou should not have let yourself love him so much,
Lima.
How could I help it ? The love came to me unasked,
unawares. I loved him before I knew his name, or any-
thing much about him, and I shall love him until I die!
Mother, you understand you loved my father. Tou


THE BELLE OF LYJNN.
49
understand my heart beats when I hear his name; my
hands tremble, and my face burns when he speaks to
me! Oh, mother! she continued, with a passionate
burst of tears, do you not see that my heart has gone
from me, and clings to him? You must not let him be
sent from me. I shall droop and die. Speak for me and
plead for me
But the millers wife knew him better than his daugh-
ter did. She knew that if his mind was once made up
to any course of action nothing ever moved or changed
him, nothing altered his opinion; he was firm as a rock;
and she knew perfectly Well that he would never consent
to his daughters marriage with the Frenchman; dearly
as he loved her, he would not give his consent to save
her life.
What could she do or say to this fair young daughter
of hers, whose whole heart had gone out to the stranger?
How could she comfort or console her?
You must plead for me, the girl continued. I
am young, I know, and you may think that in time I
could forget him. Ah, no! If I live to be ever so
old I should never love or care for any one else! He
is my firsthe will be my last and only love! Oh,
mother, make my father understand that make him
see it!
I will do my best, said Mrs. Derwent. Now go
to rest, my dear.
Have you nothing to say to comfort me ? she cried.
Have you no word ? What shall I do when the dark
to-morrow dawns, and does not bring him to me ? What
shall I do?
Have patience, my dear; patience conquers all
things.
Patience will not give me back my love, if my father
will not let him come, she cried. Oh, mother, I have
never lain awake and cried all night before, but I shall
to-night; last night I dreamed that I was with him, and
we were rowing on Allan Water; how will the long dark
hours pass? And to-morrow he will not come. I did
not know that my father could be so cruel.


50
TBS BELLE OF LYNN.
He means it all in kindness, said the anxions
mother.
He will break my heart; how can that be true kind-
ness to me ? My father thinks more of money than
moneys worth. My lover is a gentleman a nobleman,
but because he has no money, my father, does not like
him. Money cannot buy happinessor love.
It is not altogether a question of money, interrupted
Mrs. Derwent; you know how much your father has
always disliked foreigners, above all, Frenchmen. You
know how he has lived for you, Lima; he would have
you educated, he has deprived himself of everything he
liked best, in order that you might have a fortune, and
his very heart is fixed on marrying you to an English
gentleman. Do you not see what a terrible disappoint-
ment it would be to him ?
But liow much worse, oh, mother, think how much
worse for me. My father would soon forget, and when
he saw me happy, ho would be happy, while Ioh, how
can he be so cruel to me? She fell on her knees in a
passion of tears, so bitter, so unavailing, that the mothers
heart ached.
Do be patient my dear! she said.
Oh, mother, cried the girl, you may as well take
the sunshine from the flowers and bid them live.
Long after the busy mill had ceased, and the water lay
still; long after the moon had risen and the stars were
shining bright, the millers wife lay wide awake listening
to that faint sobbing, which was the most terrible sound
she had ever heard. Laughter and smiles, bright words,
the gleam of happiness, had always been associated in
her mind with her daughter; she could not endure this
sound of bitter wailing and tears.
Once the miller woke when the sound of that bitter
weeping and bitter sighs seemed to pervade the quiet
house; and when his wife told him the sound he heard
was his daughter weeping, he grew angry and denied it.
It was the wind wailing over the water, he said. And
when she begged him not to be hard on this their only
child, for that she was fragile and tender of heart, he
laughed hoarsely and answered that he knew what was


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
51
best for ber; bis beantiful Lima should never be given
to a penniless Frenchman; lie would see the whole
French nation sunk under the Red Sea first; his beauti-
ful Lima should marry an English gentleman ; a few
tears would not kill her. And when the mother, weep-
ing, said:
She has never had to weep before, he answered,
that it was the law of nature that women should weep.
What does her own song say ? he quoted ; Men
must work and women must weep. If she weeps now,
wife, she will shed no tears afterward. If I let her marry
this Frenchman, her tears will never stop. I know what
is best for her, Helen. She will be all .right in a few
days, and then you will be glad that I did as I am doing.
All the same he did not like to hear the sound of
weeping and wailing, and the next morning Lima was-
ill. There was a dreadful blank at the usually cheerful
breakfast-table. No beautiful face, no bright eyes, no
sweet voice; the sunlight itself was not more missed
than she was, but the miller would not yield one inch.
Headache ? It would be far better for her to get up
and go out into the fresh air.
But wheh, some hours afterwards, he met her as she
was walking down to Allan Water, he saw that even the
fresh morning air had brought no color to her pale face,
no light to her dim eyes. How little he understood the
desolation that filled her heart. There was Allan Water
laughing in the sunlight, but where was he, the hand-
some young lover, with the loving eyes and sweet, caress-
ing words? What was all the lovelines on earth without
him? The miller went to her and kissed her. He
found her hands and face cold as death.
Have a good, brisk walk, my darling, he said: it
will bring the roses back to your face.
But she sighed as she went along the well-known ways
without him. Alas! without him there was no beauty
even on the banks of Allan Water.


52
THE BELLE OF LYNN.
CHAPTER X.
A quiet shadow seemed to have fallen over the mill;
the light seemed to have passed from life ; there was no
sound of music or laughter, no bright voices, no songs;
all seemed quiet, grave, and strange. Lima made no
complaint; she looked tired, pale, and languid, but after
a few days she fell into the usual routine; she helped
her mother, wrote her fathers. letters, she took up her
books, and more than once in the evening, when the
miller asked her for music, she sung, but never the favor-
ite ballad of Allan "Water. The spirit and life seemed
to have left her; she cared no more for the rambles in
the woods, she went no more in the clover meadows and
freen lanes, she never sought the banks of Allan Water.
t seemed to her that if she went out and met him sud-
denly she should fall down dead. In vain the sunshine
wooed her, in vain the beautiful water rippled and gleam-
ed, in vain did rose and lily bloom and birds sing; she
shut herself in her room and tried hard to obey her
father she tried to forget Leon. She might as well
have tried to stem the mountain torrents when the wind
forces them ; the more she tried to forget him the more
deeply she loved him. She grew more and more miser-
able, the color faded from her beautiful face, and her
eyes grew dim. Mrs. Derwent was very unhappy over
her; more than once she drew the millers attention to
his daughter.
The girl is fading, she said. Oh, John, relent or
we may lose her, and then!
It would be better to lose her by death, said John
Derwent, than to give her to that Frenchman; besides,
she will not die. Do you remember the old lines:
Men have died, and worms have eaten them,
But not for love.
She will not die; many a girl loses the color and light


THE BELLE OF LYNN. 53
from her face, but they come back again. It is better
for her to suffer a little now than more later on.
But the time came when he himself felt anxious about
her. She had only been three weeks parted from her
lover, and she was already but the shadow of her former
self.
Never was struggle more desperate in the heart of any
girl. She loved her fathershe bad no wish to disobey
him; she was grateful to him, and wished to please him ;
she could not endure to pain or vex him; she could not
bear even to see the brightness of his face dimmed. On
the other hand, she loved her young lover with all her
heart; she had given to him the love of her life her
heart had gone from her and clung to him. She did not
care to live unless her life were spent with him. She
knew that if she sent one line to him, if she met him, if
she exchanged one word with him, it would be all over
with her; while she remained shut away from him she
could obey her father; once with him, she did not think
it possible. So the struggle in her mind was a terrible
one.
It was the old story of duty and love. There were
times when duty seemed to win the daywhen she tried
her best to forget the sweetness of her love story, when
she prayed Heaven to help her to forget her lover, when
she clung to her father with fondest affection, and the
millers face would brighten, and he would congratulate
himself that all had succeeded as he prophesied. Then
the reaction would come, and love would overpower
duty ; there would be days of bitter tears and sighs,
nights without sleep, hours that seemed like endless days,
and days that seemed like endless weekswhen she
could not bear the light of the sun, the song of the birds,
or the fragrance of the flowerswhen she could not bear
that her eyes should rest on the beautiful stretch of
waters, and she longed for nothing but the rest and the
silence of death.
For love is the strongest and most terrible passion that
ever takes hold of the human heart the most powerful,
the most to be dreaded, yet the most to be desired and
love had taken full possession of the girls heart.


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
Yet she fought her fight. There came a night when
the August moon shone brightly on Allan Water, and she
heard so plainly the dipping of the oars in the stream,
and she knew, as though she had seen him, that her lover
was under the window, waiting and longing to see her.
She had but to draw aside the hangings, to open the
window, and then all the bliss of a regained ^Paradise
would be hers.
She knew how the handsome face would be raised to
the window; how the longing, wistful eyes would watch
for her shadow; how he would listen to the faintest sound
that gave token of her presence; how great the temptation
washow great the struggle. At one moment she felt
that she must go; she must open the window and spring
down to him, and he could row her over the water, away
where the water lilies slept, away in fairy-land. Nothing
stood between her and that glimpse of intense happiness,
seeing and speaking to her lover, but her sense of duty
and her conscience.
Conscience forbade her to draw up the blinds and open
the window, to look down on the upraised face of her
lover, beautiful as a dream in the moonlight, to spend a
few moments with the young lover who loved her so
dearly. Conscience was the winner. She would not go
because her father had forbidden her to see him again.
Conscience was the winner; but at what a price! A
night of bitter regret and passionate tears a day of
languor and misery.
She looked out on the broad sheet of water when
morning rose, and she saw that her lover had left a great
heap of floating water-lilies under her window, so at least
she might know he had been there.
The passionate regret seized her; how cruel she had
been not to go near him, not to look at him, not to speak
to him ; a passionate cry of sorrow broke from her. It
was hard for any one to live in such a struggle.
She made one last and desperate appeal to her father,
but he W'ould not listen.
A little more patience, he said, and you will have
forgotten him. You will see the truth of my words some
day. If I were willingif I gave my consent to your


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
55
marriage to-morrow, you would repent it with your whole
heart ill a few months. When you grow older and know
more, you will know that no English father would care
to give his beloved child to a French noble if he be a
noblewhich I doubt very much, after all. You will
find out later on how true my words are.
No prayer that she could pray, no tears, no passion or
grief or pain could move him, no words soften him, no
persuasions induce him to change his opinions. It was
banishment from her lover and life without him. She
made no more appeals, she saw and understood that her
father would be firm at any cost.
She marvelled much, poor child, that life should have
taken so strange a turn for her; that all its freshness,
brightness, and hope should have died so suddenly; why
that ons dream of beauty and sweetness, almost divine,
should 'have been given her to die in such a short time.
Hundreds of girls before her, and hundreds since have
had the same struggle between duty and love, between
father and lover; perhaps none have felt it more keenly
or suffered so much from it.
By this time Limas sad, sweet love story was known ;
the sympathy of the young was with the girl and her
lover, the sympathy of the old with the miller. The
story was discussed in many of the humble households
around Lynn, and there was much wonder how it would
end whether the miller would yield, whether the young
Frenchman would grow tired of his ardent pursuit and go
away, or whether time would lessen the girls love and
another lover prevail.
There came a calm, bright Sunday morning when the
warm languor of heat seemed to lie over the land,
throbbed in the blue ether, and trembled in the golden
haze on the banks of Allan Water, and even by the mill,
the sound of the chiming of the church bells at Lynn was
heard.
The miller listened attentively.
That is a sure sign of settled fair weather, he said,
when we can hear the bells from Lynn.
He would have obeyed their summons and have gone
to church but that some of the machinery of the mill had


56
THE BELLE OF LYNH.
gone wrong, and he was afraid to leave it. Mrs. Derwent
was not well, and when the Lynn bells rang ont. their
solemn peal there was no one at the mill to respond to it
hut Lima.
Go to church, Lima, said the miller, looking at the
girls pale face; the walk over the fields will do yon
good.
She had just been wondering what she should do dur-
ing the whole of that long, golden day ; how she should
get through the hours that would not be brightened by
one glimpse of her loverlong hours, while the sun w'ould
ride high in the heavens, and the earth droop under its
burning rays.
I will go to church, father, she said ; and then one
of the prettiest sights seen that summer was the millers
lovely daughter as she tripped through the green mead-
ows, prayer-book in hand. The light footsteps that did
not crush the flowers in the grass; the beantiful face,
almost more lovely in its pallor and sadness than in the
flush of health ; the slender, girlish figure in the dress of
pure white. No fairer picture could be seen.
Perhaps the birds of the air hastened to tell her lover
that she was there; no sooner had she crossed the clover
meadow and gone into the green lane that led to Lynn
than a sudden burst of glorious sunshine came over her,
and she was looking once more into the face she loved so
well.


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
57
CHAPTER XI.
She had no time to think whether it was right or wrong,
no time to listen to the voice of conscience or duty. She
remembered in that moment nothing in the wide world
except that he was there, his handsome face smiling into
her own, his eyes so frank and fearless looking into hers.
He had clasped her hands in his, and the whole earth was
brightened and gladdened by his presence.
My darling, he cried, in a rapture of delightnever
mind that it was Sunday, when every one is expected to
behave with extra decorum; never mind that, although it
was a deep shady lane, other people might see themhe
drew her to his heart and kissed her in a passion of love
and pain; my darling, my eyes were growing blind
from want of seeing you. Now that I have you I cannot
let you go! Speak one word to me say that you are
pleased to see me.
There was no need for words, as he saw when she
looked at him; and then he was struck by the change in
her; her face seemed to him lovelier than ever; there
was a pathos in its beauty which was perhaps even more
attractive than its brightness had been.
"Why, Lima, he cried, how ill you look; how thin
and pale you are 1 What has stolen the roses from your
face and the light from your eyes 2
He kissed the pale face and the white eyelids; he
seemed beside himself in this great joy of meeting her,
while she stood pale and silent.
I am so glad so delighted! he cried, almost inco-
herently. I thought the time never would come. I
have longed to see you. Providence or fate which is
it, Lima?is kinder than your father. There has been
some little pity for us. Oh, Lima, do not leave me
again!
The soft chiming of the bells at Lynn came to them
with the sweet song of the birds, and the sweet odor of
the flowers; a soft, sweet chime that floated over the trees.


58
THE BELLE OF LYNN.
It seemed to the girl that a sudden burst of golden sun-
light had fallen over her, and she was dazed by its
brightness. It was like going from darkness and cold
into sunshine and warmth, and in the bewilderment of
her happiness she forgot all about the wrong. Slowly
the color was returning to her beautiful face, slowly the
light of love and happiness was coming back to her eyes.
With a 6igh of unutterable content she seemed to
recognize the fact that she was with him ; with a low cry
that was half love, half pain, she laid her arms round his
neck and hid her face on his breast.
Oh, Leon, she said, gently, I should like to die
here. I would rather a hundred times over die here with
your arms round me, than go back to the life which is so
terrible without you. I have not complained; I have
said nothing; but my heart is breaking.
You need never go back to it, Lima, he said.
Why should we both be miserable ? I have been
thinking it over, and it seems to ine unreasonable ; why
should both our lives be spoiled because your father does
not like Frenchmen ? It is absurd. You love me, and
I love you; I want you to be my wife, and you are quite
willing; why should we both be made miserable for
life ?,P
My father has the power to forbid our marriage,
she said.
Nothing of the kind. I know that parents have cer-
tain rights over their children, but they cannot be pushed
too far. No father has a right to say to his daughter
that she shall marry this one and shall not marry another
But she interrupted him.
Oh, yes, Leon, a father has that right, she said.
I do not believe it, he cried. No one has, or
ought to have, the power of forbidding those who love,
to marry.
He uttered the words clearly and distinctly; in the
after-days they returned as so many stabs from a sharp
sword, and wounded him.
This is my belief, he said, that while children are
children they owe implicit obedience to their parents,


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
59
and ought to render it it is the law of Heaven and of
man but when the child is grown into man or woman,
and wishes to marry the object beloved, then do I not
acknowledge the right of parents to interfere.
Lima was silent for a few minutes, little dreaming how
in the after years these words would be recalled to her.
Then she said, slowly:
I cannot think that, Leon. I should not like to marry
unless my father gave his consent. I do not think I
would dare marry if he actually forbade me to do so. It
seems to me that such a marriage would never carry with
it a blessing.
Sweetly, softly, over the trees came the chiming of the
bells at Lynn ; the birds sung sweetly under the shelter
of green boughs. Suddenly Lima looked up at him.
Leon, I must go, she said. My father sent me to
church, and the bells will soon cease ringing. I must go.
But he drew her nearer to him.
Not while I have arms to hold you, sweetheart.
That would be flying in the very face of fate. Here we
are in the midst of the bright sunshine, brought together
after dreary weeks of absence and misery brought to-
gether by fate and most happy fortune and then you
want to go 1 Ah, no, sweetheart! let the bells chime and
the birds sing, but you will stay here. I shall make a
prison of my arms, and keep you in it.
But, she cried, in deep distress, it would not be
right, Leon; my mother told me to go to church, and I
must go. It would be wrong for me to spend this morn-
ing here with you.
Just a little wrong, but think how very delightful.
Be fair, Lima. You have given how many weeks to
your father, and you must not refuse two hours to me
two hours out here in the .sunlight ? We will go to the
clover meadow, and sit under the shade of the lime-trees,
where we can see Allan Water. Oh, my sweetheart, my
love, give me this gleam of happiness!
But, Leon, she said, half yielding the while, the
very bells seem to be chiming Come to church come
to church
'And the birds are singing Stay hero stay here!


60
THE BELLE OF LTHH.
Come, Lima, my sweetheart. Fate has been kind to us
this morning; do not let ns fly in her face, or she may
never be so kind again.
Still she drew back, and did not touch the hand he
extended to her.
Leon, she said, gravely, if I do this if I stay
away from church and spend the morning out in the
fields with you, it will be the first time in my life that I
have deliberately and wilfully done wrong.
As I said, darling, it will be just a little wrong, but
most delightful, he replied. Ve will not stop to talk
about it; let us take the goods that fortune has offered
us. I want to talk to you ; I want to persuade you to do
something that will make me very happy.
The woman who hesitates is lost. Lima hesitated.
The bells chimed Come ; the birds sang Stay;
duty said Go; love said No ; but Leon settled the
matter when he said:
If you will be cruel if you will leave me, there is
but one alternative, I shall go with you, a.nd then then
you will see. Come with me, sweet; let us enjoy the
hour that fortune has given us.
The next minute she had turned her beautiful face to
the clover meadows; a green bank ran under the tall
lime-trees, a bank that was covered with wild flowers and
meadow-sweet; the broad, beautiful stretch of Allan
Water lay before them; but they could not see the mill,
it was hidden from them by the great green trees. He
found the prettiest nook for her, and she sat down
amongst the tall blossoms of the meadow-sweet; he flung
himself by her side, while the sun shone on and the
waters rippled slowly by.
How I can understand, he said to her, what the
Garden of Paradise was like. Oh, Lima, you must not
leave me again. I feel like one who has been dead, and
has come back to life. Ho one has the power to part us;
no one can, for love has the strongest chain, and the
strongest rights, and I want you, my beautiful sweetheart,
to listen to me; why need we be miserable any longer;
why should we not be married and happy? My days


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
61
are one longing for you, and you are nO less miserable
yourself. Why should it be ?
An old saying is that a little chink lets in great
light; it is equally true that the least deviation from
the strict path of duty entails the gravest consequences.
If beautiful Lima Derwent had obeyed the voice of her
conscience, had obeyed the voice of the bells that rang
out Come to church, in all probability the great
tragedy of her life would have been averted. She might
in time have forgotten this ardent, passionate love of her
youth; but she was deaf to those two voices, and heard
only that of her lover, which said Come.
Lima, he pleaded, and every sweet voice in nature
pleaded with him Lima, do not let us sacrifice our
youthour loveour happiness! We have but one life;
let us enjoy it, and we cannot enjoy it apart. Be my
wife at once! If we wait until your father consents, we
may wait until our hair turns gray. Be my wife! I
would not persuade you to do anything wrong, sweet
Lima; but why should we spend our fives in misery
when we might be so happy \ Look at the birds, how
happy they are look at the flowers, how happy they
are, too! In this world so full of brightness, and beauty,
and love, why should we two sit apart, wretched and
forlorn, parted in eternal sorrow and in eternal tears?
Why should we %
And she listened to him, her beautiful face drooping
shyly from him, but gradually believing all he said to be
true.
My darling, he said at last, let me plead to you in
the old lines we both love so well; they might have
been written for us :
1 Mv father he has locked the door,
My mother keeps the key;
But neither bolts or locks shall keep
My own true love from me.
Oh! my true love and dear love, listen to me, and to mo
only; let nothing part us but death, and may Heaven,
keep death far from us. Say you will be my wife ?
There was a word whispered over the meadow-sweet,
and then the tragedy of a fife began.


62
THE BELLE OF LYNN.
CHAPTER XII.
One oclock at the mill, and no Lima appeared. The
dinner-table was set. The miller went restlessly from
room to room; his wife sat at the window watching with
anxious eyes the fields through which she should pass.
The bells of Lynn had long ceased chiming, the air was
warm and still, the flowers bent their heads as though
heavy with the heat, the birds were silent in the sultry
languor of the mid-day sun. No Lima. The shadows
were lengthening, and the mothers watching grew more
and more unhappy. "Where was she, and what had
happened? Was she ill and unable to come home?
Should she go in search of her ?
Ah! there, where the sunbeams fall brightly, was the
gleam of a white dress between the trees; that was Lima,
and a sensation of relief came to the mothers heart at
the sight of her. She hastened to the garden to meet
her, to ask her why she had been so long absent where
she had wandered. But when she gazed into her daugh-
ters face she saw that all was changed ; this was quite
another girl than the one who had left home a few houra
ago. This girl had a light in her eyes which seemed as
though it could never fade. There was a lovely flush 01*
her face, and her lips were like crimson flowers; she was
transfigured, and the mother thought nothing more beau-
tiful had ever been seen than this radiant maiden with
the love-lit eyes.
Mother, she said, gently, and her voice had in it a
faint ring of music and gladness mother, she repeat-
ed, am I late ?
Very late, my darling, and we have been very anx-
ious over you. tiThere have you been ?
In one moment all flashed before her. Where had she
been ? Her hands were still warm with her lovers clasp,
her heart was still beating with the sound of her lovers


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
63
words, her pulse throbbing with the delight of his pres-
ence ; and suddenly she remembered allthat this was
the lover whom she had been forbidden to see. Deeper
and deeper grew the crimson on the beautiful face, and
then the miller joined the little group. They were stand-
ing outside the porch, where the white, starry jasmine
was all in bloom a group that contained in itself all the
elements of a simple tragedy. The father stern and un-
flinching, the mother tearful and suppliant, the daughter
blushing, half trembling with fear, yet strong in her
determination to be true to her lover and to her love.
You are late, Lima, said her father.
Do what she could, she could not throw off those signs
of delight that she had seen him, spoken to him, that he
had caressed her and worshipped her, and asked her over
and over again to be his wife. It was all told, all written
in the face that only a few hours since was pale with
misery and shadowed with grief.
Father and daughter stood face to face the father
who had loved his child so well, and the child who, until
mow, had known no wish but his.
The father, stern and unyielding; the daughter, ready
to encounter anything now for her lovers sake.
Yes, said the miller, looking fixedly at her. Yes,
you are late, and you have not been to church. Mrs.
Grey went home an hour ago ; she had been there, but
she told me she had not seen you. Where have you
heen ? His eyes, bright with anger, were fixed on her
face, and seemed to read her very soul. Where have
you been? You left homo pale, sorrowful, your head
bent; I watched you walking through the fields; you
come back bright, erect, radiant, your own old self. What
has changed.you? Where have you been?
She must either tell the truth or a direct lie, and she,
sweet, simple, loving soul, had never told a wilful lie in
her whole life; she shrunk from it now, she could not do
it. It might have saved her; but she would not he saved
at the price ; she could not stoop to a lie.
Yet a spasm of fear came over her when she saw the
millers angry eyes; never had they looked at her with
that expression before.


64
THE BELLE OF LYNN*
Where have you been ? he repeated, in a voice of
thunder; then her natural courage came to the rescue.
Do not ask me, father, she answered. I do not
want to tell you; you will only be angry and vexed.
I will know, he cried. Tell me at once. Where
have you been, and with whom have you been ?
I have been on the banks of the water, she answer-
ed, slowly.
With whom ? he cried, and his voice rang out full
of anger and wrath.
With Leon, father, she replied, and then a blank
terrible silence fell over them. It seemed to the kindly
mother that life itself must fall now that these two so
dearly beloved were at variance.
And you dare to tell me that! cried the miller.
I forbade you to see him againI forbade you to speak
to him. I said that he was never to cross this threshold
again, and yet you have spent more than two hours with
him when you ought to have been at church. What have
you to say for yourself ?
That I could not help myself, fatherthat I did not
go out to meet him ; it was quite by accident. And you
you could not be cross with me if you knew. It
seemed to me that the very gates of Heaven opened to
me when I saw his face. He asked me to go down to
Allan Water with him. I forgot everything in the wide
world except the delight of being with him, and I went.
She loves him so dearly, John, murmured the anx-
ious mother ; but the miller turned quickly to her.
Do not interrupt me, he said, angrily. I have a
right to expect and extort obedience from my own child.
I give it to yon, father, she cried, lovingly, will-
ingly, in every instance except this. Do not stand
between me and the sunshine of my life. Oh, father,
father! she cried, breaking into passionate tears and
sobs, kill me rather than take me from him.
Tou have but to choose between him and me, said
the miller. Give up your lover or give up your father.
There is no alternative.
I cannot! she cried, for I love both. Oh, mother,
speak for mespeak!


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
65
Do not interfere, said the miller, turning to his
rife. Let me manage this thing in my own fashion,
f repeat that she shall not marry this beggarly French-
mam, He turned almost fiercely to his daughter.
You disobeyed me, and you defy me. You shall not
leave the house again until you are to be trusted! I for-
bid you to go to the meadows, or the woods, or the banks
of Allan Water! You shall not leave the house again
unless I give you permission! I thought I could have
trusted you!
The sound of her bitter, passionate sobbing, as she
passed through the porch and went to her room, struck
him with dismay.
There was no dinner on that day at the mill, no beau-
tiful brooding Sabbath calm; no rest, no peace. The
miller himself was too angry to remain in the house; he
wandered to and fro in the meadows and the corn-fields;
he cursed in his heart the young Frenchman who had
brought this dark shadow over his once happy home.
How the next few days passed none could tell. Father
and mother tried to distract their thoughts by hard work,
while Lima wept herself ill with love, regret and pain.
She realized it now ; there was no comparison between
love of him and love of others, even the parents who had
been so kind to her; she knew at last that she was ready
*nd willing to give up all the world for him.
A week passed and she had never offered to go out-of-
doors, nor had her father relented in his severity, and
again there came a moonlight night when she heard the
sound of oars beneath her window, and she knew her
lover was there. There was no struggle this time with
conscience or dutylove was lord of all; she went to the
window and opened it. She saw plainly, by the light of
the moon, her lovers boat underneath the window, and
his face upraised to her. She told him all that had
happened, and he was hotly indignant.
It is persecution, tyrrany, injustice! he cried.
You belong to me, Lima, and not to any one else in the
world. No one shall part us 1 As your father will not
give his consent to our marriage, we will marry without
it


66
THE BELLE OF LYNN.
He prayed and he pleaded until she consented. It
could not be just at present, for he must give notice at
the church and at the registrars office.
Hot the church at Lynn, but at Haslingdene, some few
miles distant, where neither his name or hers would
excite much interest; and if they did so, if the worst
happened, and the miller heard of it, they could find
some other plan. The only thing was if she would
consent. '
She did not refuse; she told him quite frankly that if
she must make a choice between her father and himself,
that it must be him; and the words spoken under the
solemn light of moon and stars were to her sacred as an
oath.
He could not tell when he should come for her; a
certain number of days must pass in order that all legal
formalities might be complied with.
1 shall come some morning, love, he said to her. I
shall come to your window here, as I have done to-night.
It will be quite early in the morning, and a glow of
golden light from the rising sun will lie on Allan Water.
I shall throw up to the window here a great bunch of red
roses, and when you see that signal you will know the
hour has come. Then you will hasten out to me, and I
will row you across the Allan Water. It will be so early
that the birds will hardly have begun to sing so early
that the flowers will be still asleep. And then we will
go to Haslingdene Church. When you leave that church
you will be my wife, and nothing but death can part us.
Oh, sweet, vain, empty words.


THE BELIE OF LY1TO.
67
CHAPTER XIII.
Thebe came a morning at the end of August, when
quite in the early dawn Lima heard the soft splashing of
the oars beneath her windowand she knew the hour
had comethat this was her wedding-day, and that never
again between herself and her lover would the shadow of
parting fall. That day would give them to each other
while they lived, and in the depths of her loving heart
she blessed it.
She heard what seemed to her the music of the oars
then came the soft thud of the great bunch of roses at
the windowher heart beat, and her face flushedit was
he!
When she drew aside the hangings the picture that
met her eyes was a most beautiful one the sun was ris-
ing in all its pomp of rose, purple and gold, and a great
glow of golden light lay over the broad, beautiful stretch
of Allan Water; there was the boat just under her
window, and there was her lover, his handsome face all
bright with love raised to her. He stretched out his arm
to her.
Make haste, my love, he cried ; each moment that
I wait for you here seems an hour.
She had written no letters, as most girls do who run
away from home, she had left no farewell messages it
was all useless, she said to herself. Yet she did not leave
her old home without passionate regret; but the love of
youth is strong, and the passion of youth knows little
control. She stopped for some few minutes outside the
door of her mothers room longing with the whole
force of her heart to cry out that she was goingwould
they bless her and forgive her? She was going with her
young lover, who was waiting for her on Allan Water,
with whom she was about to begin a new, beautiful life,
but which would lose half its beauty without them. The
words rose in a burning torrent from her heart to her
lips, but she stifled them there.


68
THE BELLE OF LYHH.
It would be of no use, If her father knew he would
lock her in her rooms, and her lover must go away weary
at heart again. She kissed the door of the room where
those who loved her so well slept. Her feet lingered
over the threshold of the dear old home. She saw her-
self a little fair-haired child, the very pride of the millers
heart; she could see herself growing a maiden, fair and
tall, like the white lilies in the garden, even more beloved
and more passionately worshipped than when she was a
child, and now she was flying from them. Was what her
father said true that the young Frenchmans love had
brought a curse upon their home ? Could love ever
bring a curse ?
As she passed forever from the threshold the safe
shelter, the sure refuge of home she thanked them in
her heart for all that they had done for her, for the love,
the patience, the self-denial.
They will forgive me, she said, when we are
married, and Leon and I come home togetherthey will
forgive us; they cannot refuse.
She opened the door that led from the porch to the
garden, and such a rush of sunlight came in, such a burst
of fragrance, it seemed to greet her like a blessing and an
omen of good.
Leon rowed up to the green bank, and the next minute
she was with him in the boat on Allan Water.
Forever and forever! he said solemnly, to her.
We shall part no more after to-day.
Oh, Leon, I am so frightened, she cried, and her
beautiful face grew pale in the rosy light. I am sorely
afraid.
Courage, my darling, my beautifnl sweetheart, cour-
age. It is only the first step that costs. How good of
you to come, and was ever wedding-day heralded by such
a rosy dawn ?
But she shuddered violently.
Oh, Leon, she said, the wind is cold, and the
water is cold. I am afraid.
There is nothing to fear, he said. See, I will row
you over Allan Water as softly as a swan floats.
It is not the water I fear. Oh, Leon, Leon, I am


THE BELLE OP LYNN. 69
doing wrong. I should not be here: I should not have
left home.
It is too late, my darling, he cried, with a victorious
smile. It is too late, my darling, to row you back again.
Be happy, Lima, this is our wedding-day. Do not trem-
ble, do not weep : the life that lies before you is as bright
as the sky or the broad waters. Why should you fear ?
I am by your side, your lover, soon to be your husband.
Hark! the birds are beginning to sing. Ours is a golden
wedding-day, Lima.
He kissed the beautiful face and quivering lips. He
talked to her until the color came back to her face and
the smiles to her lips.
It was natural, Leon, that I should feel leaving them,
they have been so kind to me. They love me. They
have never refused me anything until now.
I will be kind to you, I will love you, I will never
refuse you anything, he said, half jealously.
They were half-way across the water now, and Leon
ceased rowing.
Look round, Lima, he said. Was ever anything
so fair 1
The golden shafts of light were falling everywhere;
the leaves stirred in the fresh morning breeze; there was
a slight ripple on the surface of Allan Water; and thte
water-lilies seemed all at once to grow wide awake. She
forgot her trouble in the fairy-like beauty of the scene
around her. When they reached the green shore opposite
to the mill, she could see the red' roof and the blue
pigeons flying.
Good-bye to my dear old home, she said good-
bye.
You will have another home you will love better,
said her lover, still half jealous of the love she was
leaving behind her. How Lima, take your last look at
it; when we turn down the high-road you will see it no
more.
She stood looking, at it for some time, then she held
out her hand to him with a sudden, graceful gesture.
Leon in the sight of my old home, which is a sanctu-


70
THE BELLE OF LYNN.
ary to me, promise me that you will always be true and
faithful to me.
I do promise. I could never be anything else, he
said.
Promise that you will always love me as you do now,
better than any one else. Promise that your truth, your
patience, your love and kindness shall never fail.
I promise, he said; and then, with a long-drawn,
bitter sigh, she turned away, and saw the old home no
more.
******
The miller was down early that morning, it was so fine
and fair, and there was so much work to be done. He
said that he would go out at once, and return to breakfast
in two or three hours.
As he passed by Allan Water, he saw that the boat had
gone from the place where it was usually moored. He
looked to see where it was, and saw that it was on the
opposite side of the stream. He wondered who had taken
it there, but no suspicion, however faint, of the truth
occurred to him.
His wife had spoken a few words to him about Lima
before he left the house. The miller fancied that he saw
some slight improvement in her health and spirits. His
wife thought just the contrary.
I have had a strange feeling over her during the last
few days, said Mrs. Derwent to her husband. How I
wish that either the young Frenchman had never come
to this house, or that you could make up your mind to
like him.
John Derwent turned round and looked at his wife.
Do you mean to say, he cried, that you like
him ?
I think Itxjuld like any one whom Lima loved.
You would not like him long, said the miller. Do
not say that before her, or she will think you are on her
side, and that will do her more harm than good; it will
make her independent of me.
I shall say nothing to her that you would not approve
of, John ; you may he quite sure of that, said Mrs. Der-
went, but all the same her heart was full of loving, kindly


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
71
sympathy with her daughter. She would have done any-
thing to have restored peace and harmony to those two
whom she loved so well. The miller went to his work,
and though he would not have owned it, his heart was hot
and heavy within him when he thought of his beloved
daughter.
The mother, too, went about her daily duties sadly and
slowly, her heart yearning over the girl she knew to be in
sore distress. She thought to herself that she would make
her some nice tea: to women of Mrs. Derwents stamp,
a cup of tea is a salve for any evil that can befall human
nature. She busied herself over it; she brought rich,
6weet cream from the dairy she prepared a little tray
dainty enough for a queen.
She took it up stairs, thinking how the beautiful face
would smile and brighten, but when she cried out Lima,
good-morning ; I have brought you some tea, there was
no answer.
She went into the room, and there was no Lima. At
first she did not feel uneasy, did not suspect anything,
but fancied her daughter had gone down without her
knowing it. She carried the dainty little tray down-stairs
again.
Then, with growing fear and growing sorrow, she
began to search for her, but there was no lima; neither
in the house, the gardens, the orchard, the clover mead-
ows, nor on the banks of Allan Water was there any
Lima! And when the miller returned, two hours after-
ward, his wife met him at the threshold with a white,
scared face.
John, she said, Lima is gone!
Gone, he repeated. Gone where ?
He evidently did not understand.
I cannot find her, said the trembling woman.
Her room is empty, and she is nowhere to be found.
The millers ruddy, comely face grew ghastly white.
Do you mean, he said, that she has run away?
I do not know, cried the unhappy mother. Only
Heaven knows. I cannot find her. Oh, John, I am
afraid you have been to hard on her, and that she has
gone away.


72
THE BELLE OF LYNN.
If she has gone alone, said John Derwent, I will
find her, forgive her, and bring her back again, but if she
has gone with him may the curse of the disobedient follow
her and cling to her, her whole life long.
He did not heed the cry of distress that came from his
wife, but went out of the house in search of her.
CHAPTER XIV.
It was long past noon when the miller returned, and
then he was a changed man; he looked twenty years
older ; his face was haggard and worn ; great lines were
drawn round the lips and across the brow that had not
been there yesterday; the ruddy, comely face was livid
with passion and pain.
He walked into the kitchen, where his wife was busy;
she looked up in alarm when she saw his face.
"Wife, he said, slowly, go and bring me the Bible.
Wondering, afraid to ask any questions, afraid to linger,
she hastened to obey him, and bringing the Bible, she
placed it on the table before him. He turned over page
after page of the written register; she heard him mur-
muring the names of the dead ; she heard him murmur
his own name'John Derwent, married to Helen Grey.
Then he was silent for some few minutes. His face
gave evidence of the terrible struggle in his soul.
Listen, he said. Lima Derwent, daughter of the
above, born May 18th. You hear that, my wife?
Yes, she answered.
Give me pen and ink, he said.
She gave it to him. He wrote a fewr words rapidly.
Listen again, he said. Lima Derwent, born May
18th, died August 22d. You hear ?
Oh, Heaven! cried the unhappy mother, she is
not dead, my beautiful Lima, surely she is not dead
She is more than dead to me, said the miller. If
I had seen her eyes shut, and folded her hands in death,
it would have been better for her better for me. She


THE BELLE OE LYNN. 73
is more than dead. She has left ns to marry the man
whom I forbade her to see again.
Married cried the mother, with some feeling of
relief, Lima married 2
Yes, married ; and dead to us for all time. She had
to choose between us, and she has chosen. She has given
us up for him. We have loved her, cherished her,
worked for her, and she has gone from us, with a smile
on her face, without one word of farewellthink of that!
after all these years; gone, without a touch of her
fathers hand or a kiss on her mothers face You need
not cry so bitterly, wife; it has not hurt her. Do not let
it hurt you.
My only child cried the unhappy mother. My
dear and only child Oh, John, I cannot bear it.
You will have to bear it, he said, grimly. She has
left you no choice. She went away this morning, wife,
while you and I slept dreaming of her. John Dalton
met her with her lover on the high-road to Haslingdene,
and Mrs. Roberts, the postmistress at Haslingdene, saw
them married. There is no errorno mistake; that
is the child we have loved, reared, and cherished. A stran-
ger came with a handsome face and a winning tongue-
all the love and care of years are forgottenhe raises his
hand, and she leaves us to go with him. You need not
weep for her, if she can forget you so soon.
Oh, John, you are so hard upon her! cried the
weeping mother.
Hard upon her he said with grim irony. You
call me hard. I would have given her the last drop of
blood in my heart, I would, indeed ; but she will be child
of mine no more!
You will forgive heryou must forgive her, John!
cried his wife.
I forgive her! said the miller, his face working
with emotion. Ino, never! While sun and moon
shine, I shut my heart against her, forever and forever
it will hold her no more! And you, listenfor I
shall never changeyou must cast her out of your heart
as 1 do out of mine. I forbid you to see her or speak to
her. I forbid you to go near her. H you meet her, turn


74
THE BELLE OF LYNN.
away your head. If she cries out to you, be deaf and do
not listen to her voice.
My only child! wailed the unhappy mother; how
can I do it ?
It is not a question of how you can do it, said the
miller; it must be done. We have been husband and
wife for more than twenty years; never an angry word
has passed between us; we have never had a hard thought
of each other; we have never quarrelled, and, my dear,
we have been true to each other. On your love and your
truth, I charge you to obey me.
My only child! she cried. Oh, John, do not be
so hard upon me.
His face darkened.
I have never said a rough word to you in my life,
he said ; but do not trifle with me; do not try me too
far. I will be obeyed. I told my daughter to choose
between me and a man I hated she chose him ; I will
tell you, my wife, to choose between the child who has
been false to us bothand me.
She clung to him, weeping.
You, John, she said, you against all the world,
though it will break my heart.
You promise to obey me implicitly, he said. You
will not see her, or speak to her ?
Not against your will, she said; but I pray
Heaven to soften your heart to your only child.
My only child forsook me for a stanger, he cried,
and there was exceeding bitterness in his voice. We
are childless now, wife, childless you and I.
And the strong man broke down, sobbing like a child.
Then he told his wife all that he had heard ; busy
neighbors had been to tell him; no detail had been spared
to him. They could tell him, now that it was too late,
how, for many long weeks, the attention and interest of
all the neighborhood had been aroused and centered in
this love aflair.
One had seen the lovers together quite early in the
morning on Allan Water; another had seen them m
church; another had witnessed the marriage; a fourth


TH1 BELLE 01 LTHN.
75
had seen them at Haslingdene Railway Station; a fifth
had always been sure that they would be married; a sixth
had heard what the young Frenchman had said. There
was a chorus of sympathy and interest, but the general
feeling was for the lovers and against the parents.
Never was a day more miserable than that at Allan
Mill. The miller could not work; the mill stood still.
His wife could do nothing but weep. It was worse
than loss by death, for there was no comfort in the
desolation. A long weary day and a long weary night,
when the mother could not rest in her room, hut
wandered about weeping and wailing, calling on the
daughter she loved, and who had forsaken hercollect-
ing with loving hands all that belonged to her, kissing
the things that her hands had touched lasther simple,
tender heart breaking with grief that she had lost her.
Then came morning lightthe night had seemed
endless. "Where was she, the beautiful and beloved, who
had slept last night under the safe shelter of the old home
where was she now ?
Morning brought a letter, addressed to the miller, in
Limas own writing. It lay for some time on the table
untouched. The millers face had grown so dark when
he saw it that his wife had not dared to speak of it.
Then suddenly he took it up and opened it. Surely,
a more pathetic little letter was never penned, but it did
not touch him.
She told him how she had struggled between love and
duty; how unhappy she had been; how dearly she loved
him ; but that love for her lover had been stronger than
anything else, and she had given up everything to go
with him, but not without pain. Ah! no, a thousand
times no, not without painl Her heart had ached at
leaving the old home at leaving them but she could:
no longer bear life without her lover.
She was married, and her husband was so good to her,
she loved him so much ; but the shadow to her sunshine,
the clouds in her sky, the drawback to her otherwise
perfect happiness, washaving left them.
If they would forgive her, if they would receive her


76
THE BELLE OP LYNN.
and her husband, if they would send a few words of
loving pardon, she should be happy as woman never had
been happy before.
The miller read on, his anger growing at every word.
They were so happy Leon had three days holiday
from the college, and he had taken such a lovely little
cottage for her at Lynn; he would get some pretty furni-
ture, but home would be no home for her unless they
came to it and forgave her.
A loving appeal that would have touched most men;
it only angered the miller more deeply.
She will see what my answer is, he cried. I told
her to choose between him and Trie / she chose him
now she must do without me.
He went out that morning and found the cottage taken
at Lynn, then he hastened home, and collected every-
thing that had been hers the pictures, the books, the
pretty furniture that he had bought with so much pride
for her room, the pianoall her little ornaments, presents
from him her wardrobe, everything in this world that
had ever belonged to herthe very toys that her mother
had treasured from the time of her childhood, were sent
to the cottage.
I will keep nothing in the house belonging to her,
he cried, in his anger, nothing.
But the weeping mother concealed one thing that he
in his haste and anger had forgotten that was her
portrait, painted by an artist who had stayed some time
at Lynn. That the mother cautiously concealed.
The time may come, she said to herself, when he
will notice it.
When that pretty room looking over Allan Water was
dismantled and laid bare, it seemed to the miller and his
wife as though some one lay dead there, and at last he
vowed to himself that he would close it, and that while
he lived it should never be opened again. Who can tell
what the strong man suffered as he looked round the
room; he locked the door, and taking the key he flung
it into the depths of Allan Water.
With all that he sent to the cottage there were but


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
77
these few lines: You have made your choice and you
must abide by it. May the curse of the disobedient
follow you and cling to you so long as you shall live 1
CHAPTER XV.
Winter had come, crowned with snow and frost; all
the glories of the summer were things of the past. The
flowers were dead, the birds had gone in search of sun-
light, the winds were cold, the meadows brown and bare;
notwithstanding that winter has a charm of its own, a
beauty peculiar to itself, there was a sense of desolation in
the absence of sunshine and flowers.
Nowhere was this desolation felt more than at the mill;
the sunlight had gone from there even as it had gone
from the landscape ; she who had been the light of the
home was there no longer.
The great, broad sheet of Allan Water stretched out,
darkling and drear, without the light of the sun on its
surface, but nothing was so much changed as the interior
of that house, which had once been the happiest home in
England.
Not many months had passed since his daughter had
left him, but already the millers crisp, curly locks were
turning gray, his ruddy, cheery face had grown pale, and
the deep lines that pain had drawn there never lessened.
He was a changed man. He went out to his work, but
his manner was moody and silent; no one ever heard
him laugh or sing; all his honest, cheery jests were
ended. It was a broken-down, haggard man who brood-
ed by the mill-stream and on the banks of Allan Water;
he had lost that which was dearer to him than life itself,
and life held nothing for him which could in any way
compensate for the loss. His neighbors talked about
him, and said what a pity it was that he made such a
trouble of his daughters marriage. One or two, in kindly
fashion, tried to speak to him about it, but he would
never listen to one word; he held up his hand with a


78
THE BELLE OF LYNN.
gesture for silence, a gesture which no one ever ventured
to disobey.
At first those who knew both father and daughter
would try to make peace between them, would speak to
the miller of his beloved child how beautiful she look-
ed, and how happy she seemed; no one ever ventured so
to speak a second time.
After he had sent away everything belonging to her,
had locked up her empty room and thrown the key into
the depths of Allan Water, he never mentioned his
daughters name; but he could not hide the ravages that
pain and sorrow had made upon him. The mill had
ceased to interest him; the magnificent harvest that his
fields had yielded, the corn stored in his granaries, the
fruit that had filled his orchards, the ever-increasing
account at the bank, gave him no pleasure. He had
worked for his daughter all his life, but he would never
so work again. Not one of the golden sovereigns he had
hoarded with such loving care should ever go to enrich
the Frenchman whom he hated with intense hatred,
because he had stolen his daughter from him. Time hac
been when the miller was the cheeriest, the blithest, th
happiest of men ; there was no trace of him in the sullen,
brooding man whom people began to avoid, because they
began to dread him.
His friends and neighbors thought him hard. After
all, it was a love-match, and every one sympathizes with
a love-match. Every one liked and admired the hand-
some young husband who had been so determined to
win the millers lovely daughter; every one loved and
admired the beautiful young wife who had given up
everything to marry the man she loved; and everyone
hoped that in time the breach would be healed. It was
useless to do or say anything assuredly the millers
anger would wear itself out in time. Meanwhile the sym-
pathy of the people was certainly with the young pair.
The principal, of the college had been very angry over
the marriage, and had half threatened that Leon de Sol-
dana must find employment elsewhere. He had gone to
Sweetbrier Cottage to say so, but the sight of that lovely
young face disarmed him.


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
79
You have done wrong, he said to Lima. You
have helped to mar your husbands whole career by
marrying so young.
But she raised her lovely eyes to his.
Do not be angry with me, she said; we loved each
other so much, and the principal being a kind-hearted
man, was not angry. He made some little increase in the
young counts salary, and recommended to him several
private pupils from the town of Lynn.
So that during that first year there was no pressure of
poverty at the pretty little cottage ; nothing to mar the
perfect beauty and perfect poetry of one of the sweetest
love stories ever told.
No one could see the young husband and his wife to-
gether without warmest sympathy; they loved each other
so dearly, were so entirely the whole world to each other.
It was only the old people who looked at each other so
sadly, and said that it was too bright and too beautiful to
last; only the old who knew, by most bitter experience,
the strength and the worth of human love.
The little cottage, framed in flowers and foliage, was
earthly Paradise, the prettiest little home in Lynn, even
as its mistress was always and ever the Belle of Lynn;
the simple dwellers in Lynn were proud of her, and fond
of her; the only drawback to what otherwise would have
been perfect happiness for Lima was the separation from
her parents; but that could not last, she argued within
herself; her father must yield, and then then would
come perfect bliss.
It had been a terrible trouble to her when, on reaching
home, she read those lines written by her father. The
words never left her mind:
The curse of the disobedient.
To her infinite distress, Leon had laughed at them, said
they were melodramatic, and seemed to ridicule them,
until he saw how much they afiected his wife.
You do not know your English proverbs, my dar-
ling, said the young count. There is one that runs
in this fashion Curses, like chickens, come home to
roo^t.
She looked at him with half-frighteued eyes: that he


80
THE BELLE OF LYNN.
should speak lightly or think lightly of anything so terri.
ble as her fathers curse, seemed dreadful to her. She
did not understand how light and mercurial is the French
temperament, how laughter and tears lie close together
in those laughter-loving natures.
If that means that my fathers curse would recoil
upon himself, I would far rather that it fell upon me,
she cried.
The probability is, my darling, that it will not fall
upon either, but will remain quite harmless, just as it is,
said the young count, with a smile.
But she could not forget the wordsthey were always
ringing through her heart and brain, and when she was
alone she found herself continually wondering how they
could come true.
The curse of the disobedient!
What curse could happen to her? A curse meant
some terrible evil. What evil could possibly befall her ?
Nothing while she had the love of her husband; she
could not know other evil than the loss of that. Poverty
would be perhaps hard to bear, but by his side it would
matter so little. Sickness would be bad, but nothing if
he were at hand to console and comfort her.
She could imagine no evil that could befall her while
she had her husbands love, and she could never lose
that; nothing was safe on earth but that; as the stars
were fixed in the heavens, as the seasons were fixed to
time, as day followed night, as the sun rose and set, so
fixed, so sure, so unchangeable, was her husbands love
for her. Nothing could rob her of that, nothing could
take it from her, no curse could touch it. While that
was hers, she felt that she could defy the whole world.
Her happiness, her love, and her beauty grew with the
days; never had husband been so devoted as hers; never
love so true or so chivalrous never girl so beloved.
There was but the one cloud in her sky her separation
from her parents. At first, after her return home, she
had made great efforts. She had written many times,
but the letters had been returned unopened and unread.
Once, and this had been the hardest to bear, when she
was walking in the streets of Lynn and in the distance


THE BELIE OE LYNN.
81
she saw her father. Her heart beat fast at the sight of
the well-known figure and the changed but familiar face.
She would have hastened to him, but he turned away
he would not meet her or look at her. Again, when she
had wandered near the banks of Allan Water, she saw
her mother crossing the clover meadows, and the girls
heart went out to her with a great passionate cry.
But her mother did not wait for her; perhaps the
miller was in sight, perhaps she remembered too vividly
his threats and menaces. She did not stop, but as she
hurried back to Allan Mill, one heard on the soft summer
wind the sound of a womans bitter wailing and passion-
ate sob.
A year had passed, the beautiful golden summer with
its wealth of fruit and flowers had come again.
The tide of prosperity seemed to have set in at the
little cottage. It was wonderful what an ardor for learn-
ing French had seized upon the inhabitants of Lynn.
The young teacher had more pupils than he could
manage, and tin lovely summer days, as they glided by,
found him as busy as he was happy. He spent the even-
ings in the beautiful little garden, where Lima brought
him coffee and cigarettes.
I am the happiest of all the long line of the Sol-
danas, he said to her one evening, when the sun was
setting and the happy birds were singing themselves to
sleep; I am the happiest and most fortunate of all the
Soldanas, although I have never worn a title or seen
even the shadow of the home of my ancestors. I have a
dear and beautiful wife who makes up for all.
She looked at him with such an expression of delight
on her face it was almost pitiful to see.
Do 1 really make up to you for everything you have
lost ? she asked.
He threw his arms around her and drew her to his
heart; he kissed her with passionate affection.
I declare, he said, solemnly, that I would rather
have you for my wife, and have your love, than be the
Emperor of France, or the richest man in the world 1
You mean that, Leon ? she said, her lovely face all
flushed with delight


82
THE BELLE OF LYNH.
Of course I mean it, he replied. "Why, Lima, I
do more than mean it; if I had been reigning lord of the
whole domain of Soldana I would have given up all to
have married you!
He spoke the words and she listened to them; the
time came when both remembered them with bitterness
and pain.
CHAPTER XVI.
The course of true love never did run smooth, says
the poet; but at Sweetbrier Cottage the course was
smooth enough.
I shall always live in hope, said the beautiful young
wife. I am sure the day will come when my father will
find that he cannot do without me any longer, and will
come in search of me, and then, Leon, I shall be the very
happiest woman who has ever lived; and it will all come
right, will it not, Leon ?
He answered, laughingly, Yes, but he did not really
care much about the matter, only so far as his beautiful
young wifes happiness was concerned. The miller had
never been particularly civil to him. He had hated him
with relentless hatred from the moment he found out that
he wanted his daughter. He cared very little whether
the miller came near or not, and he wondered greatly that
his wife should attach so much importance to it.
If the plain truth had been tola, he preferred matters
as they were. His beautiful Lima was more his own
than if her time and attention had been divided between
him and her parents.
There are few people in this life who can boast of one
year of entire happiness. Lima did, and in the after
years she could never remember the first warning of the
shadow that was to fall.
He talked much to her ot France, and of the ancient
glories of his race. He liked to sit out with her in the
cottage garden, near where the great sheaves of white
lilies grew, and tell her all the stories of his ancestors:
bow they had fought in the Crusades, .'tow they had


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
8
served king and country, how they had been worshipped
by those who lived on their domain they had done
great deeds, of which all France had been proud.
And now, he added, as he watched the rays of tb )
sunset on the white lilies, now I am the last of what
was once one of the most powerful families in France.
When I die the name of Soldana will be extinct. If ever
the history of our family is written, it will be told how I
was born and lived and died in exile.
But you are not unhappy, because you have me,
she said, laying her loving arms round his neck.
That is true, Lima, he answered. I would rather
have you than all France put together.
Shall you never go back to France ? she asked,
wistfully.
I have never been there, he replied. I was born
in England. No, I do not suppose that I shall ever see
my beautiful France.
Could you not go there in disguise ? she asked.
Should you be discovered, what would be done to
you 2
He laughed bitterly.
I should be sent away, or put into prison, he re-
plied. I am not quite sure which. My mother lives
in France, hidden in some out-of-the-world nook. I wish
she could see you, Lima. My poor, proud, loving mother!
her very heart craves and yearns for me, yet I shall never
see her! I cannot go to her, and she cannot leave
France.
Is your mother proud ? she asked, wonderingly.
I should think that she was the poorest and the
proudest woman in the whole wide world. She looks
upon me as a disinherited young prince, and herself as a
kind of displaced queen, he replied. I think myself
there is no pride so grim, so terrible, so unrelenting, as
the pride of a person who has lost all that the world
holds dear. I have thought at times that if my mother
had been rich, and had her proper position in tne world,
she might have been an amiable woman.
Is she not amiable ? asked Lima; and her husband
laughed


84
THE BELLE OF LYNli.
No, my darling. It is some years since I have seen
her, and then she was as imperious as any empress.
In the after-years she remembered this conversation,
and wondered why she had not thought more about this
mother, so poor, so proud, so haughty.
As there are links in a chain, and each link is of para-
mount importance, so when she came to look back on
her life, she found the links that, when connected, made
the fatal chain.
The first link. She went into the pretty little parlor
one summer afternoon when the room looked like a
bower of roses, and found her husband -sitting near the
window with an engraving in his hand. He was study-
ing it earnestly, his eyes riveted on the pictured face.
He was so completely engrossed in contemplation that he
did not hear her enter the room, and for the first time
she came into his presence without any sign of delight or
welcome from him, and for that reason she remembered
it. She went up to him and laid her hand on his shoulder.
What are you looking at, Leon ? she asked ; and
there was just a tinge of jealously in the loving heart,
that he should look so long and so lovingly at anything
but herself.
He held out the picture to her.
Do you know who it is ? he asked.
The Emperor Napoleon, she cried. Why, Leon,
what are you looking at him for ?
I am studying his face, Lima, he answered.
His face, she cried again. What for?
I am trying to find out what he is like; what qualities
he has. Can you help me ?
But why do you want to know that ? she asked, still
wondering.
It is a fancy of mine, he replied. Now, Lima,
look well at the emperors face, and tell me what you
think of it.
She took the picture from his hand, and held it where
the light fell full upon it. She looked at it very earnestly.
It is a noble face, she said, but inscrutable. I
cannot read it; and the first thing that strikes me is its
profound sadness.


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
85
Sadness! he cried; then he went up to her, and
threw his arms around her in a careless fashion, while he
looked at the portrait with her.
Yes, he said, thoughtfully, there is a great shadow
on it; the eyes are sad, and the lips are sad. It is a good
face, Lima; it is the face of a man to be trusted. Is it a
kindly face ?
It might only be her fancy, but it seemed to her that
he asked the question with bated breath.
Yes, I should think so, she replied. It looks to
me a very kindly face.
Then he was silent for a few minutes.
Lima, he said, suddenly, judging from his face,
should you take the emperor to be a man who would do a
generous deed ?
And this time she was not mistaken. He looked at her
as he spoke with eager anxiety, and waited her answer in
breathless suspense.
Yes, she replied ; judging from his face, I should
say that the Emperor Napoleon is capable of most gener-
ous deeds. But why do you ask me \ How strange that
this fancy should come to you now, Leon.
No man is master of his own fancies, said the young
husband, lightly.
He took tlie picture from her hand, and wrapped it
carefully in paper, and tied it with a string.
Where did it come from? asked Lima, with a sud-
den outburst of curiosity.
I borrowed it from the principals room, he replied;
and the beautiful blue eyes opened more widely' still.
Did you really, Leon, borrow it bring it all the
way home on purpose to study it ? she asked.
I did, was the brief answer. Then he changed the
subject altogether.
Let us go down to Allan Water, he said; we need
not go near the mill. I have a thirst and a fever on me
to-night, which nothing but the sight of the clear, deep
water and the foaming mill-stream will dispel.
They watched the sun set over the shining water, and
Leon said little, but he


86
THE BELLE OF LYNN.
I am afraid, my darling, he said, that I am bnt a
dull companion for you. The sight of the beautiful water
has set me dreaming. How little I thought, when I first
saw it, that on its green banks I should find the one dear
love of my life.
Dream, think, speak, do anything you will, she
said, only love me love me always.
It would be very difficult to do anything else, he
said.
They walked through the dewy meadows home, but
that night, when the moon shone in at the casement
window, and fell on her husbands sleeping face, she saw
something new and strange in the expression of it; and
as she watched him she saw his lips move he was
talking in his sleep, but so gently that she could not dis-
tinguish the words he murmured, only that ever and anon
he sighed, La Belle France! La Belle France 1 That
was the first link in the long and fatal chain.
The second was, that it struck her one afternoon her
husband wished her to go out. He had returned from the
college earlier than usual, and almost the first desire he
expressed was for something that it was impossible to get,
unless she went to the town of Lynn. She did not feel
inclined for a long, solatary walk, so she sent the little
maid-servant, and Hie fancied, when she returned to the
room, that he looked somewhat disappointed.
I thought you would have gone yourself, he said,
slowly.
No, I am rather too tired for a walk to-day, she
replied.
Then he asked for something else, and the finding of
which would necessitate her absence for some time. She
looked at him, half puzzled ; as a rule, if she left the room
while he was in it, he would ask her where she was going,
why she could not remain ? She could hardly realize that
he wished to be alone. She rose, half sadly, to comply
with his request; it was such a novelty for her to feel
that she was in the way. She left him, and remained
absent much longer than she need have done, hoping
every moment to hear him call her in his eager voice,
but there came no sound from the room where she had


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
87
left Mm. What could he be doing that he had so evi-
dently desired her absence ? Besting ? Ah, no! he could
never rest without her. Not feeling quite happy or light
of heart, she wandered into the garden, listening every
moment for the voice which after all, never sounded.
She took a sudden resolution, she hastened back to the
room and opened the door; he was busily engaged in
writing, writing, with his face flushed and his eyes all
aflame, so engrossed that he did not see her enter, did
not seem to remember her, but threw sheet after sheet of
closely written paper from his desk to the floor. She
withdrew gently, and for some short time the world
seemed empty and blank; it was the first time that he
had forgotten her.
CHAPTEK XVII.
The next link in the chain was but a slight one, yet, in
the after-years when she placed them together so as to
form one great chain, it was not an unimportant one.
When they were first married, such a thing as a letter or
a newspaper never came near the house. The postman
on his rounds would smile as he passed the garden gate,
but he never left a letter there. Now they came in un-
usual numbers, but all from France. Some were large
and weighty letters, some in great blue envelopes, others
were smaller and thin.
One morningit was just the beginning of September
then, and the lovely autumn flowers were all in bloom
she went out to gather some fresh and sweet flowers for
the breakfast-table, and when her hands were filled with
the loveliest blooms, the postman appeared.
He gave her four letters, all from France, two large
and heavy, two others smaller. She took them in with
the flowers, and laid them by her husbands plate. How
eagerly he raised them how eagerly he tore open the
envelopes and devoured the contents.
Your letters are all in French, Leon she said.
Yes; and all from France, he replied ; they would
not interest you; they all refer to the same business.


88
THE BLLE OF LYNN.
I thought you had nothing to do with Prance now,
she said; and, quite unconsciously to herself, there was
some little pique in her voice.
I half believe, he said, that you are jealous of la
belle France.
I am jealous of anything and everything that takes
one of your thoughts from me, she said, and I begin
to think that la belle France takes many.
Not one that ought to be yours, he said, gallantly;
but she noticed after that morning how frequently he
would walk out alone in the garden before breakfast and
take the letters from the postmans hands.
He did not ask her to go out with him in the lovely
autumn evenings; he did not care to see the sun set over
the banks of Allan "Water; he was always writing.
Those hours which had been so precious and so few, and
which had always beer devoted to walking out with her,
were now occupied entirely in writing.
So winter came, and if the young wifes face was not
quite so bright, she was still as happy as it was possible to
be. The chill winds were blowing; King Frost had taken
possession of the whole country round; there was ice on
the bosom of Allan Water; cold, yet as beautiful in its
way as summer; and the winter brought with it Christ-
mas, Christmas brought holidays for Leon de Soldana.
Lima, he said, one morning, is there any place
where you would like to go for these holidays % and 6he
answered, No, there is no place I love like home.
Do you never wish for what people call change ?
he asked.
Change from home and you / she cried. Why,
Leon, yon are jesting.
He threw back his handsome head with a careless laugh,
half impatient, half amused.
I do not see any jest, he said; I enjoy change.
She interrupted him eagerly.
Do not say that, Leon. It is not true! I will not
believe it! You do not love change. See how well you
love Allan Water, and see how true you are to me.
Still, I like change of air and scene, he said, and I
was merely offering to you what I like myself.


THE BELLE OE LYNN.
89
But, Leon, why at Christmas ? Christmas is a home
festival: why should we go away ?
We have a whole month before us, he said.
But his wife was anxious; it seemed to her that he
was withholding something from her. She noticed that
he spoke but little of what would happen after Christ-
mas ; that he never alluded to what they should do when
the great festival came round. There were times when
she fancied that he looked anxious. Surely he could not
be keeping anything from her there was nothing to
keep; he could not have any money troubles; he had
been so wonderfully successful in his teaching.
A new anxiety came to her. She fancied that he had
something to say to her, and could not make up his mind
to speak. They were talking one winters evening, when
the fire burned brightly and the lamps were lighted,
speaking of one of the pupils of the college, who had
died recently after a painful illness. Leon looked at his
wife, whose beautiful face shone brightly in the fire-light.
Lima, he said, what is the greatest pain in the
world, should you think ?
The greatest and most bitter ? she asked.
Yes the one that hurts those who suffer from it
most.
I should think, she replied, it is the pain of
finding that you loved one who was unworthy of love.
You are right, he said. But do you think it
often happens that people find out the beloved one is
worthless l Love is blind, and does not see the faults of
the beloved.
I should say love sees every fault, she said, slowly,
but loves on, in spite of all. Leon, she added, sud-
denly, if I saw in you every fault that man can have, I
should love you in spite of them it would not lessen or
change my love.
He looked at her with laughter in his eyes.
There is one fault you would never forgive in me,
he said; and that is, if I found any face fairer, any
eyes brighter than your own.
I should never forgive you if you loved any one


0
THE BELLE OF LYNN.
else, she said, gravely; but that you will never do,
Leon.
Never, my darling, he said, kissing the beautifnl
young face.
Then it seemed as though the subject had a weird fas-
cination for him.
Lima, he said, of course such a thing never could
be; it is neither in the bounds of possibility nor proba-
bility but suppose that I did forget you and care for
some one elsewhat should you do ?
I should die, Leon, she answered, gently.
But no one can die when they like, he said.
I do not think I should wait for death to come for
me; I should seek it but such a thing could never be,
could it, Leon ?
No, my darling never, and every word of this
kind that he spoke she gathered in her heart and she
never forgot one.
Still the idea haunted her and pursued her that he had
something to say to her.
Lima, he would begin, then pause abruptly, and
when she raised an expectant face to his he would ask
some trivial question. At last she went up to him.
Leon, she said, I have a fancy over you.
He looked startled and conscious.
Do not indulge it, he said. We have agreed that
fancies are all nonense.
This is a grave one, she answered. I am haunted
by a conviction that you have something to say to me
which you do not like sayingis it so ?
You must be a witch, Lima. It is so. How did you
find it out ?
It is not very difficult to discover, she replied.
Now tell me what it is.
I do not like telling you, he said. I have de-
ferred it from day to day, until I am ashamed of not
having told you. It will pain you and hurt you, I
know.
What is it? she asked, with quivering lips. You
frighten me, Leon.
Nay, darling, there is nothing to fear. It is this.


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
81
We have not been parted since our marriage, and now I
find it absolutely imperative that I should go to France
at Christmas.
To France! she said, and her face grew colorless.
But, Leon, you will take me with you you could not
leave me here ?
Unfortunately, there is no alternative, he replied.
I would most gladly take you, but that is utterly
impossible. I must seek some disguise myself. I could
not take you.
But why are you going ? she cried, in an agony of
fear and misery. Why need you go ?
I must go on business that I can not explain to you
now. Hereafter, when it is all over, I will tell you, but
now you would not understand.
She went up to him and knelt down by his side.
My darling, she said, do not go. I have a fore-
boding, a terrible fear over this journey.
I must go, he said, firmly; there is no help for
it.
She slid from his arms to the ground with a passionate
cry, and she lay like a wounded bird. He tried to raise
her and to cheer her. But the dawn of the tragedy had
begun, and she seemed by instinct to know it.


92
THE BELLE OF LYNN.
CHAPTER XVIII.
The twentieth of December came, a day that was
always to be remembered in Limas life, the day on
which the young husband she loved so well was to leave
her for the first time since their marriage. Since he had
told her, the thought of this parting had been on her
heart like a weight of lead; it was her one dread, the
one idea that never left her. She could not realize to
herself the time when he would be gone, what she should
do, what would become of her; how she should fill the
long hours. She had lived so entirely for him, that she
could not understand what her life would be without
him, and now the day had come when he was to leave
her.
A cold, bright day: the snow on the ground was
frozen hard, the hoar frost shone on the bare branches of
the trees, on the hedges and the meadows. The ice lay
thick on the bosom of Allan "Water; perhaps the pretti-
est sight of all was the number of robin-redbreasts flying
about in the snow,
Neither sight nor sound could cheer the desolate heart
of the young wife. In vain she had prayed and pleaded
that either she might go with him, or that he would stay
with her.
It seemed to her that the only important thing in this
world was that they should be together. There was
nothing of sufficient interest, in her estimation, to part
them,
I would not leave you for a whole week to be made
Queen of Spain, she said.
I shall not be made King of Spain, he replied,
laughingly, and Lima, I would not go unless it was
imperative.
I should feel so much easier and so much happier if
I knew what you were going for, she said.
And that I will tell you when I return, he replied.


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
93
He could not understand why he should feel this part-
ing so acutely.
I shall soon be back, he said to her frequently. I
shall only be away for a few weeks.
But I shall have to live through every separate mo-
ment without you, she sighed.
Yet his heart was touched when he saw her packing
his portmanteau. He was' busy writing, and she had
brought all that he would require into the room, solely
and simply that she might have the happiness of looking
at him wliile she was at work. He saw how lovingly she
prepared everything; her fingers seemed to caress each
different article belonging to him; more than once he
saw her stoop down and kiss something before placing it
in his portmanteau, and he thought to himself how much
and how dearly she must love him ; and then he seemed
to understand better how she should miss him. That
was the eve of his departure; he remembered every
detail how, more than once, she had thrown down her
work and hastily crossed the room to go to him; how
she had thrown her loving arms round his neck and
kissed his face ; how she had cried to him not to go, not
to leave her, for she could not live without him.
And now the morning had come shining, bright,
clear and cold. Lima rose early, and her husband re-
membered for long afterward how the beautiful face lost
its color, and the sweet lips quivered when she tried to
smile. She made him some coffee and some toast, but
she could not take anything herself.
Leon, she said, will you let me walk to the station
with you ?
Certainly, my darling, if yon wish it, he replied.
I do wish it. I could not bear to say good-bye to
you here, where we have been so happy together. I
should like my farewell to be associated with a strange
place, not with home. I should not like to look around
me every hour and say that is where I stood when he
kissed me for the last time; that is where he said good-
bye. I could not bear it. I shall say good-bye to you
at the station, and I shall not see it again until you come
home; then I shall go to meet you. When you have


94
THE BELLE OF LYNN.
gone away, every time I look at that chair where you are
Bitting now, 1 shall see you and go over again all that we
have said, and I have thought, Leon, she added, her
eyes filling with tears, kiss me here; that will be a
pleasant memory for me when I look at the little table
with the flowering Christmas rose upon it. I shall say to
myself, It was there he kissed me, and said that he
would love me forever and ever.
Of course I will, he said, hastening to her, and
taking her in his arms. He kissed her face with passion-
ate affection, but even as he did so he gave one glance at
the clock, as though he felt anxious about the time.
I do not think dying could be worse than this,
Lima said to herself, as she put on her bonnet and cloak.
Leon, she cried, do you know that I shall come back
to this house and find it empty; do you know all that
means for me?
It is only for a time, darling, he said, but her pas-
sion of grief affected him; his face grew white, and the
hands which tried to soothe and caress her trembled.
They stood together at the threshold of the little home
where they had been so happy; they gave one long
lingering glance at the pretty porch, the snow-covered
garden.
I shall be back before the snow melts, said Leon,
and they walked down the frosty road together.
Some who met her, as she walked home alone after her
husband had started, hardly recognized her. Her face
was white and set; it was more like the face of a dead
than a living woman. The day passed for her in a
trance of grief; she neither eat, drank, slept, nor rested,
until at last the little maid grew alarmed, and asked if
ehe should fetch any one.
Ah! if she could have had the comfort of the loving
mothers kindly words if she could have laid her head
on some faithful, loving breast and wept out all her sor-
row, it would have been well for her; but there was no
one ; her young husband had been all the world to her;
she had not cared to make friends while she had him.
So that now, in her sorrow and desolation, she was
more alone than any one else could have been.


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
95
She never forgot the first day; the blank, chill desola-
tion, the despair. The greatest pain was when her eyes
gazed on anything that had belonged to him, that he had
recently used, or that he had touched before his depar-
ture. If every day is to be like this, she said to
herself, in a passion of regret, I shall not live until he
comes back. There was no comfort anywhere.
A scene that had in it some pathos was passing at the
mill that same afternoon. The miller came in from
work rather earlier than usual. No longer the cheerful,
genial, kindly man who had a kind word for every one,
a smile and a jest, but a morose man brooding always
over a hidden sorrow; angry, disappointed in his best
hopes.
He took his pipe and his book; he did not notice that
his wife continually threw at him imploring glances.
She did not see anything in his face which gave her any
help or hope. At last she spoke.
Have you heard any news in Lynn to-day ? she
asked.
No, he replied, briefly.
I have, she said, tremblingly, but he did not ask
her what it was, or invite her to continue the conversa-
tion. I have heard some news, John, she continued,
trembling violently, yet determined to succeed in making
him listen to her. News that seems to me so strange
it has frightened me.
He would not ask her what it was, he would not seem
to take any interest in it, but there was a nervous, almost
excited expression in his eyes that told her what was
coming.
I went to Lynn this morning, she said. Oh,
John, do not be angry with me; I wonder why I am so
frightened to speak to you, so frightened that I tremble,
and my breath comes in hot, thick gasps. I heard some-
thing that I must tell you, even if you should kill me for
it.
I am not very likely to kill you, he answered,
grimly.
I heard, she continued, that the young Frenchman


96
THE BELLE OF LYNtf.
has gone back to France, and that she she dare not
say the name Lima, she is quite alone.
The millers face grew livid, but he uttered no words.
Quite alone, dear, said the trembling woman, laying
her hands on his shoulders, and my heart aches for her,
it yearns over her. It is drawn toward her as though
some one pulled the strings. Oh, JohnJohn, my
hearts love, my dear husband, let me go to her. They
say he has gone for a holiday, that he will come back
when Christmas is all over, but I do not know; my heart
is heavy. Some one who saw her at the station told me
that there never was so sorrowful a face, that no one
ever shed more bitter tears, and I cannot bear to think
that she is alone and desolate; let me go to her, John.
He did not utter one word.
I would not vex you, I would not tease you for the
whole wide world, John, pleaded the faithful creature,
but she is mine; I nursed her; she is my very own.
Let me go to her ?
She clasped her hands round his neck. He unclasped
them.
I am not angry with you, he said. You are a
woman and weak. Wait one moment.
He crossed the room and took the big Bible from its
shelf. He laid it open before her.
Bead that, he said, sternly.
She read:
Lima Derwent, born May ISth. Died August 22d.
You see that word dead, he cried. How can
you ask me if you may go to see a person after whose
name I have written the word dead ? That is my
answer.
She fell into a passion of tears, she clung to him, and
he put her away.
You have my answer, he said, and if you leave
the house on such an errand you never re-enter it.
You are hard and cruel, she sobbed; how can
yon be so hard ?
That answer would have been, had he spoken, because
he loved her so much.


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
CHAPTEE XIX.
A lady at that time the most beautiful, and with
one exception the most powerful woman in Europesat
alone in one of the most magnificent salons in the palace
of Versailles a lady whose diadem has been washed in
tears, whose throne has been a terror, whose life has been
the most romantic, the most brilliant, the most sorrowful
ever known whose loveliness, whose imperial grace was
once the light of Europewhose sadness and sorrow have
been shared by all who know and revere herEugenie,
the Empress of the French.
She was then in the pride of her wonderful beauty,
wife of a man before whom the whole world bowed
empress of a proud, bright nation; adored by those who
knew her, admired and esteemed even by those who did
not; leader of the most gay and brilliant court in Europe
mother of the young heir who in those days was
known to the people as Dieu donne, or God given
a lady of imperial grace and beauty, and of a kindly,
gentle heart. She sat alone in the brilliant sal on; the
ladies of her suite were in attendance, but she had slowly
wandered away from them, and stood at one of the
large windows that looked over the splendid gardens of
Versailles.
Her beautiful face was grave, her eyes full of shadows.
Was it possible that some presentiment of the time when
exile and sorrow, sickness and death, would take the place
of royalty and magnificence; of the time when Fair
France would be her home no more; when her imperial
husband would find his sepulcher on the sea-washed shores
of the country which had once been his home; when her
son, the most gallant of young princes, would be slain in
a foreign land s
There was no sign of these horrors coming then: the
brilliant sun was shining, the skies were blue, the flowers
all in bloom, the birds singing, the purple vines drooping


98
THE BELLE 07 LYNN.
in great bunches, the golden oranges shone in the midst
of green leaves, the fountains were playing, the whole
world seemed to be laughing and bright.
Did she see in the far distance the shores of the land
that was to be her home ? Did she see herself discrowned
and reviled ? Did she wonder even then that the hands
and the swords of all men were not raised to defend her?
A superb piece of cloth of gold, richly embroidered in
violets, lay near her ; she raised it, and sighed as her eyes
fell on the violets; then one of her ladies came to her,
saying that the person to whom she had promised an
audience was waiting.
I will see her here, said the empress; and in a few
minutes a stranger was ushered into the room a lady,
tall and stately, dressed in deep mourning, with a face
that was most peculiar and striking ; it could never have
been beautiful, but it was aristocratic and intensely proud.
She bowed in graceful respect to the beautiful em-
press, who looked at her with kindly attention.
You are Madame de Soldana? she said, in a gentle
voice.
I am the most unhappy and most injured of women
your imperial majesty; was madames answer.
You think it is in my power to help you, said the
em press. "W ill you tell me how ?
It lies within your majestys power to help me
greatly, said the suppliant. With your majestys gra-
cious permission, I will explain how.
The empress slightly bent her beautiful head, then,
thinking it would be better to speak, she added:
I shall be pleased to listen to anything you have to
say.
Then Mme. de Soldana began her storygently at
first, but as the memory of her wrongs came before her,
she grew excited and animated. Then it became a mag-
nificent piece of declamation, one that on the stage would
literally have brought down the house. Her proud face
quivered with emotion, her fierce eyes literally flashed
fire. She told what the Soldanas had 'been, of their
ancient honor and glories, of their brave deeds; how
they had fought in the Crusades, and on the battle-fields


THE BELLE OF LYNN.
99
of Prance; of their honor, courage, and renown. She
told of the wealth that had been theirs, of the beauty of
the Ch&teau de Soldana, the grand domain of Belle
dOr; of the large revenue that had been theirs; how
they were on the full tide of prosperity, and suddenly the
sky darkened and a tempest raged over the land, one
of those terrible waves of revolution that seem to touch
no other land, swept over France.
Everything was overthrown; amongst hundreds of
other noble and wealthy families whose estates were
confiscated, and who were driven into exile, were the
Soldanas; why it was so does not matter to this story.
They were driven ruthlessly from the country, forbidden
to return under pain of imprisonment, sent penniless into
a strange land. Mme. la Comtesse told the whole story;
how they had struggled through long years of most
bitter poverty; how she, forbidden as she was to enter
the kingdom, had returned in disguise, for she would far
rather have died than have lived on in that state; and
how her only son Leon de Soldanawas living in an
English country town getting his living by teaching
French. And he was graceful, handsome, clever, brave,
gallant as a young prince; and he, with all the gifts and
graces of his family upon him, with a heart full of
passionate pride and ambition, longing to serve France,
longing to live as his ancestors had done before him
there he was eating his heart away in the far-off
hen madames fine, fierce declamation died away and
tears of emotion rained down her face. In the eyes of
the empress tears were shining too. Did she see a time
when a brave and gallant young prince should live in
exile while his heart was consumed with a passionate
desire to serve France ?
And I, she said, gently, what can I do for you,
Madame de Soldana ?
Your majesty could do everything, she replied.
It was well known that when my Leons grandfather
was banished from France, he had done no wrong it
was party persecution. A petition was made to King
Louis Philippe to restore the estate of which he had been
rlish town.


100
THE BELLE OF LYNN.
bo unjustly deprived: but from reasons I know not of,
that petition failed. Once more, continued the mad-
ame, the friends of my family have taken up what
seems to be almost a lost cause. Once more a petition is
to be laid before the emperor, begging that, in his justice
and his generosity, he will restore to the ancient family
of the De Soldanas the estates that were so unjustly
taken from them.
I am delighted to hear it, said the empress, kindly.
Ah 1 your majesty, cried madam, it will rest with
you It is for that I am here.
How can it rest with me ? said the empress. I
will do anything that lies in my power.
The dark, proud eyes were fixed on that beautiful face.
Forgive me, your majesty, she continued, if I pre-
sume ; but they say here in France that that your
majesty has great influence with the emperor. Will your
majesty use it for me? for my son? for the last of a
grand old race pining in exile ? You will speak for me ?
The empress smiled.
If you think it will be of any use, I will do so with
pleasure, madam, she said. But are not these matters
generally left to the ministers of the emperor ?
I believe they are, your majesty, replied the quick-
witted woman, and that is why they so frequently fail.
I have travelled far to lay my petition before your majes-
ty. A few words from yon will make it safequite safe.'
I will speak those words, said the empress, kindly,
and I will add to them what I think will be useful.J
I pray Heaven to bless your majesty, and send you
prosperity to the end of your days! cried Mme. de
Soldana.
With the tact and kindness always to be observed in
her, the empress asked many questions about this son. It
was a topic she enjoyed and the greatful, happy mother
was only too well pleased to speak of him.
If my son should return to France, said Mme. de
Soldana, your majesty will have no more faithful
subject.
I need them, said the beautiful empress, with a


THE BELLE OF LYNN. 101
smile. Of course, madarne, she continued, as your
son is so young, he is not married 1
Mme. de Soldana answered:
No, your majesty, he is not married.
A few more kindly words, and the proudest woman in
France passed from the presence of the most beautiful
and gentle.
The empress remained alone for some few minutes,
thinking of the widows son who was in exile, her heart
warm with love of her own boy, who bore his fathers
name; and then she rejoined the little group of ladies.
She spoke' to them of the Soldana family. They were
enthusiastic in their favor. A noble family, A grand
old race, Every one would be glad to see them re-
stored ; and the empress began to think in what words
she should best influence her imperial husband.
While Mme. de Soldana, her proud face flushed with
emotion, hastened to where she could be alone.
Oh, Heaven, she cried, with upraised face and up-
raised hands, give back to us our rightsthat which
wicked men have stolen from us give back to us our
rights. I dare not think of it, she cried to herself
to see my son at Soldana, at Belle dOr. My son,
than whom no prince is more brave and true. My son
my son Comte de Soldana. Then, by the mercy of
Heaven, he will not be the last of the Soldanas; the
old race will live on. Such fierce exultation, such
triumph, were never surely seen on any human face. My
son shall marry the noblest ladv in the land, he shall
reach higher than any Soldana before him has done. My
son! My son
Then she tried to calm her vehement emotion. It
could not be just yet she must wait some short time, at
least. So great a work could not be done in a day, but
she had the empress promise, and on that she would rest
her heartrest her heart.