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TJNDER SUSPICION: A TALE OF…

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Dyfynnu
Rhannu

TJNDER SUSPICION: A TALE OF DOMESTIC LIFE. CHAPTER XV. Ltgu father's good fortune removed the cmef obstacle in Margaret's way, and seemed to her excited imagi- nation a token for good in all that had befn.len her. j Her engagement was, of course, a nine days' wonder I to the town, even entire strangers to both parties j making it the topic of conversation, with marginal | notes and commentories on the little fortune which 1 had fallen to Mr. Grant, and. which, of ourse, was ^doubled and trebled as it passed from one to another, serving to explain matters, and to satisfy the wise researchee of public opinion. Prom the first moment that the warm folds of the plaid had been thrown around her, that d re. try stormy evening, she had rested in being cared for, as one who has buffeted long with angry waves enjoys doubly the stillness and security of some unlooked-for liaven, suddenly opening its clear, unruffled tide and sheltered shores. It was happiness enough—and so great, that it was sometimes shadowed by the fear of dIaog-to sit in the quiet of her own room, and think over all these things, as her needle flew, in the preparation of the ample, wardrobe her father had cnarged her to provide. The dread might have grown into morbid presentiment and apprehension, fead it not been for the added trust she had gained in tho wisdom and,goodness of the Providence. that had iSo far guided her life, and the strong faith—stronger than ever—that, when reverses came, she should still be helped t. rely on infinite wisdom, and lOok, be- yond all human loss or trial, to the life that is to come. Absorbed in such a reverie, her eyes dim with grateful tears, Margaret sat one morning quite alone. Xhe bad persuaded Mrs. Grant, whose disposition im- proved with her fortunes, to send the boys to school xegulariy; and Susie was gone to her morning lesson with her dear Miss Agnes—a happy.hour to the littlcj girl and her self-appointed teacher. From the brightness of the present and future, Margaret's thoughts had strayed back to the past winter, and rented on Addy Long's still unaccountable enmity towards her. She had scarcely thought of her of late, in the midst of her absorbing occupations; and as she said to herself, Poor girl! I wonder what Lewis has decided. I wish I could see her, and tell her how she has wronged herself," Mrs. Grant's maid- of-all-work, a tidy, decent girl, came up to announce a visitor. 44 Do you know the, lady, Joan ?" 44 No, mtatn; and she had a veil over her face; -nnd she said she wanted to see you very particular. She tould me to ask you if she can come up to your room. She wants tvsee you all alone. Oh, ma'am, here she is, now said the girl, with a start, flS a light step came close behind her. Margaret herself started, for it was Adelaide Long, who hwd followed r.he girl, and stood before her. Vcm wi let me come in, won't yru. Margaret? T) I IUlt ate you all alone. I w,)uld not see any rme for the world." The tone and manner were so ,o imploring, and the face, now that she -T aside li> ? Veil, looked so thin and haggard, t^at Margaret could scarcely believe it was Adelaide after ull, and when tho door was closed she sank down on t4w. nearest chair, and began sobbing hysterically. Oh, Margaret. don't tell him-Mr. Ch- Ask iiiiii not to expose me! Oh, it would kill me! You -t-uts do ani-th,ng with him, I know; ask him not to 4'3tpise it!' FWbat is it, Adelaide ? said Margaret, soothingly. | ?"ht" knew it i-ould he but one thing, yet greatly wondered tha t she should be appealed to as knowing the guilt already. I know you don't keep anything from each other, vnd rve just found out it was you was waiting at the dressmaker's that night. Oh, Margaret, I know I've fceen spiteful and wicked towards you, but don't teH, or, if you have, beg him to let me go won't you, Margaret? I felt so guilty that night, and I've ften worried about it, and wondered who it was sitting there so still. Mrs. Down said it was you; 1 asked her last night when I went to pay my bill. You've got everything in the world to make you fcappy; if you only knew how miserable I was and have been ever since it happened, you would promise me!" 44 Mr. Ch-- knows all about it, Adelaide." 44 And you will make him have the hw upon me You hate me for all I did why don't you s iy so Oh, no, Adelaide, I hate no one." ••But you must—you can't help it; I should, if I were in your placet I'vetried every way to injure you *nd hart your feelings—I know I have hut I was jealous of you, Margaret., and if you've ever felt that, you will know what made me so. It w is Albert Wood. I saw he began to talk t- you. and talk about you, and I wanted to get you out of the warehouse, out of his way; so I hid the robe first., and put the box under your counter. I did, Margaret, but I did not dream of stealing it then." Oh, how could you ?"—and Margaret Mt. grieved to the heart that any one could deliberately p'an and execute such a wrong towards another apart, from the injury to herself. Don't wring your hands so, Adelaide; try to talk quietly; I have never injured you in any way." 44 Oh, I know you never did! That was what made me bate you the more after I had done it; don't pay we back now. Oh, if you knew an 44 Tell me all then; you can trust me, Addy. I did wot even tell Mr. Ch Did not,? truly, NLtrgaret,?" And the storm of tears was stayed in wonder at suiih undreamed-of -torbearance. "Not even when they thought on to. ik it." chap 1 No, not even after I knew you had the r^be and •sad worn it. Will you not tell me now? But you vaii,ct not think that I did not. w-inf to or mean t, at first; it was a very hard strutrslo, and if I had liefli left to myself, I should have don* it." 441 don't, know why you didn't, but I will tell you.. M know you will not let Mr. Ch expose me. y you won't get down on my knees to you-111 do vmyt.hing r'pl.-R(]+-d Ad-laide. Margaret looked at her <j>rrow fully; she could not T to witness such humiliation. I can't promise for Mr. Ch-. but I know he <3oet not wish to injure you, any m' than I do. Be will do just wh-it he thinks best and right; I could ,set influeni-e I.im otherwise if f wished tn.' But, Margnret, sup(<ose that when ho was going to marry you, only he had not lOaid "0. but 1 :k,-d 31111 -8d.ed it, and waited on you. you should finfl he wnii thinking about someboilv and hesitating which to have? That was th* way of it, tn'! I knew Albert dfckrt love you, only ev,-ryhtwiy in the shop thought Sim must, have saved &Mat d.1 ")' "n..y, htwnti*e yw lived at (inmp and spent so little on yourself and I know that if 1 had had any money, he would not 3be*ttate a minute." It He did not lore you. then," said Margaret, llifcnantly. 44 You will be a great desil better tf without him. If he ha 1 loved you truly he never would h*ve thought of any one else." MI didn't care then, so I had hiin away from every ■•me else. I lo*-ed A m. Margaret; I l>»ve hi.n now Ye»,nothing hed.«s or can lit. -A-ill "¡'f>r it: but I lmow what, you mean. Never •bind, I would ikav" uiarred him, if f had felt it. "t then. 1 11" b#n taarrii d tw » nvinths, Margaret." The hitt,er:ess. the •sreenev. that paas»-d-ovw that chanjfd fa< e. told a wore piriful story than her wo'ds. She ux-ii dr^a<'y .pr. the w»«e* of wrong doi g hpr blind s If-witl and valliy had bound her, for lif. to a !ie*rt- A eq loan. Two months only. &.it] she was already a ne?Wted, suffering wife. 44 It must come out, SOOM-t witter." site said, more sullenly, when she fmiiid "mt. in her vt-f)pmpneR, riw had lietra\ ed 1-er secret "•tiie sof.ner the better; I am tired of it—tired of ewprvtljug 1 wish was d, I do!-d(mLd r' 41 You ntusi not t«'k <.<: you do not mean it; you angry at soireti "J. w. I hope you will fee liappy." Pikt a- .Marganft uttered the wish--nitil fc was said rni-^tely—she "t that there was littl* cbence of if. ful'i'inent. chap 15 Y nQ fen- w it, aH, now-j.t what, made me hatt ftm g, when lie tormented me by talking ab-iut you; <Md afterwards, I thought the dress would bo so be- Wiiiifc. I did not mean waily to take it at first, only fte make them think you had; and I waa beat 08 during him. I only wore H to make him tond of me. So kaear I was extravagant, and he did not think ol anything wrong; that was what kept him back, fee Muse I had nothing; I always spent overy shilling my dress. Ob, Margaret, if I had only knows if I had »aiy hvi son** «e to tell me, wbea ] younger, adti ittv-p we I\¡-. I never 1ms •<»ytMUi_' el 'e to du w,lh I %v. 1. ctwp 1,' fh»» utf i>fh.TS ha^ iUi.~i-.s4t tjkim If ,y.to ";1. lif. ,t. *-Iw. I It; r*- •• ng it iT cj b-ea \lJ t. bfhve 't 10-"1:1 r- jwrntliM't. "04 ,1. Slott n. t" c,. iOlr, wt 'i-i eipatli lit sj*'r/e. T,i, w tit*. j all- (lOUMi-fWMU'M- ior h c t. .s Ñ. I I know Mr. Ch only wishes your real good, Addy. He did not think it was right or-just to yfeu and to the others to let it go without any notice, and he has waited to see whether you were in fault again. He will understand it now and forgive you, if you ,will only try to do differently in all things. You will promise me to I will do anything, Margaret, I said I would; only it would kill me, don't you see, if he-Albert-should find it out. He would leave me in a minute I think I he means to sometimes, now. I did not yiean to say that, but ou don't know, you don't know P' And she wrung her hands again passionately. If Margaret had wished to see her enemy suffering double for all she had undergone, she could have had her revenge but she had tried to think gently and pity- ingly always. She had prayed many a day from an earnest soul, "Forgive our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers, and turn their hearts." This was her answer. Who could tell but that, from deeps sa broken up, true penitence might spring ? She hoped so, she prayed so silently, as she tried to soothe the miserable girl. You are an angel, Margaret," said Adelaide, sud- denly, lifting her face from her hands and pushing back the disordered hair from her hot, swollen eyes. "-How can you say such things to me when you know I tried my best to injure you ? What makes you torgive me, and promise to help me?" And, as she asked the question, a dim sense of the reality of the faith which could so bend the natural human impulse of retaliation, dawned on the shame and wretchedness of the hour. It was a painful scene from first to last; and after she was gone, Margaret felt as if a great weight had been suddenly laid upon her with every recollection of that wild, haggard face. She bore it where all her own g1"1^3 were laid, for she remembered the charge, 44 Love your enemies;" and yet again, 11 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." CHAPTER XVI. THE wedding-day had come. "At last!" said Lewis Ch-. So soon thought Margaret, as she tried to regain the calm happiness with which she had looked forward to it from the short winter days. It was difficult to do this in the unusual bustle of the household, and especially of her own room, where Kate Ch reigned supreme. They were to walk t. church, for it was but a stone's throw; and it suited the simplicity of the bride's fortunes better than the pomp and circumstance which Mrs. Ch tried to prove to her were quite indispensable. Agnes and Lewis were both on Margaret's side; and their mother was forced to content herself with the arrangement of the no longer vacant house next to Anne's in Ashburton- place. Here she toiled early and lare, with 44 Father for a busy and efficient aid, in the midst of up- holsterers and paperhangers, until she had the satis- faction of shutting the hall-door on the whole of tli- delaying, troublesome troop, and turning the key on a finished work. 44 You will at least take off your bonnet in the vestry," said Kate. Do, Margaret. I sliall not feel as if I am a bridesmaid at all." You are my first and last hairdresser, you know, Kate." I .f -.en let me do as I please. The bonnet com off-and here go these white rose-buds Ruth has brought, with all their foliage-it's just enough—and some of this trailing white vine, whatever it is-aa you won't have a wreath, and veil, and things." Margaret was content to submit to her authoritative dressing-maid. She was thinking neither of her wed- ding-dress, nor yet of Lewis, but of Susie, her child, her nursling—of her grey-haired father, who walked the rooms below with a restless, unquiet tread-and of her dead mother's charge. Susie wondered to see the long, yearning looks which followed her about the room. There was nothing that she could see to grieve about; they were not going to be separated; she had already been taken into Mrs. Ch 's confidence, and shown the dear little room Lewis had given especial charge to be fitted up for her. Her Utopiah had des- cended from the clouds; and she was to dwell in it securely, Margaret and herself really living together— not quite alone, but then she did not mind 44 brother Lewis," as she began to call him. He was an im- provement decidedly on her original scheme. A nnw life had lighted up Susie's l»rg", loving eyes, and tinged her cheek with a faint. r,e flush, the whole tace rounding and br giitening into something of the grace of childhood. Short,close "url. catching the sunlight, made up the picture anu Susie may be pardoned a little vanity in her first real white dress and blue ribbons, for she was to be second bridesmaid, and already felt quite as old as 44 Miss Ktte," who was to oiffciate, as principal attendnnt, and had drilled her thoroughly in the morning's duties, The same feeling of unreality which made her as one walking in a dream, that ChriM ir as Dav, haunted Margaret, as she ouce more entered the old church, and passed down the broad aisle towards the chancel. A glorious Easter sun had tlushed the great willwws and the churchyard with vivid green; and soft shadows came and went among the bridal party as they gathered about the rail. They were not alone. Friends and acquaintances stood up in the ample pews the old companions of Margaret's daily life. half-pleased, half envious at the prosperity which had come to her, leaned forward to catch a glimpse of her face in passing; and strangers, attracted only by the rumour of a church-wdditig, had turned aside with vague curiosity and aumiration of the queenly sim- plioitv and elegance of the bride. The rich light from the chancel window rested on her h- wed head as she knelt and strove to quell the tumu t of glad and pain- ful thought; for, though Lewis was twsiie her, she heard still her father's tremulous, parting l.Iessing, and knew how much of the brightness of his life he had cheerfully resigned. The heavy bridal corona!, the few white flowers, the full, (lowing folds of the dove- coloured silk, that i;w -pt around her to the marble pavement was all her 44 worldly arraying;" hut even Mrs. Ch-, looking on through her smiles and tenrs, was fully satisfied, and wondered she had never thought Margaret beautiful before. 44 And so endeth the wooing." with the few solemn words involving a lifetime happiness and often the des- tinies of the hereafter, with the blessing of their friend "and pwtor who knew all, and rejoiced with them—the kisses and congratulations of th se near at had, not forgetting Mrs. Grant, who, in a toilet of Margaret's choosing, sustained herself wonderfully, and controlled the hoys by manifold maternal gestures, better un- derstood th'm deqcrilwd -Kut.h'. proud, motlierly kiss, for Ruttt felt herself to be the ciiiof original cause of this fortunate climax, and certainly was confided in. and 44 made much of by them all. as if she had been—with the close pressure of the ai-m on which she leaned, and the thrilling whisner, 44 My ^if" nj they turned from the litlle crow J "Margaret" knowu henceforth as Mrs. Ch THK R, Y).

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