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(ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, J SAVED BY DEATH; OB, THE SECRET TREASURE OF GAYASE. By S. AUGUSTA SQUIRES. Author of "An Eviction and its Consequences A Brave Little Woman," "Marriage," the. dec. CHAPTER XVIII. THE SCULPTURE ROOM. "'WHO is that quaint old gentleman with white hair, wearing a dark cloak, that has just gone to ^ay Mr. Gavase a visit in his room?" enquired She was standing in the great entrance hall, -dressed in a tight-fitting costume of black velvet, which displayed the graceful lines of her figure to ,advantage; a large hat, with a drooping sable feather, framed her face, and threw into sharp relief the piquant features, with their clear and delicate colouring. "He is the Rev. John Ambrose; he has been travelling for the benefit of his health, and did not return to Stormcliffe until yesterday. He and Harold are close friends," said Gavase, who stood with a riding-whip in his hand. He had just returned from a gallop across the moors. When ,you come again, Mrs. Grenlow," he continued, "I I hope to be able to supply you with a good mount. Unfortunately, we have no horse suitable for a lady to ride my mother did not take equestrian exercise, and, as Harold was frequently away from .home, there was no occasion to keep the stables tenanted with animals which would be of no service to anyone." "But I may never repeat my visit," she said, -with a laugh "You will," he rejoined, decisively. "Perhaps next time you will come as the mistress of Rowen." "Oh, Sir Philip!" she cried, hastily. "You ,have not kept your word you promised to show me the North Wing." "I will do so now, if you will permit me," he said, putting his riding-whip aside. I shall be delighted." They passed through the hall, and along a narrow stone passage, which communicated with the servants' quarters, and soon reached a dark -oak door, studded with rusty nails; the frame- work was let into substantial, but discoloured -masonry. This leads to the North Wing that part of the Castle which has been uninhabited for genera- tions," remarked Gavase, with his hand on the massive antiquated latch. We are on the (threshold of wonderland." I love to go over old buildings, they are so full of curious surprises; one feels, while exploring them, that the unexpected is always about to happen." The door creaked on its hinges as Gavase, with difficulty, pushed it open, and held it back while Dolly passed through. They found themselves in a vaulted chamber, where a beam of light, blue and gleaming, pierced a high lancet opening, and cleft the gloom like a sword; the floor was of beaten earth; the air felt clammy; the silvery trail of snails was traced in fantastic patterns on the lichened walls. He conducted his companion up a flight of irregular stone steps, constructed in the thickness of the wall. They emerged upon a square open space, overrun with weeds, and surrounded on every side by high buildings. She gazed around in astonished admiration. I have seen many ancient structures, but not one so fine as this. Look at the carving on the captitals of these pillars, and the delicate stone tracery in those pointed, arched windows. Restored, it would be one of the finest places in the North. Why do you allow it to remain in this delapidated condition ? Because I am poor 1 She turned upon him with a look of surprise. It is true," he pursued, regarding her steadily. "I possess little more than my title and this crumbling structure." He wished to make her fully acquainted with his position before he put the all-important question which many times, during the last few days, had trembled on his lips. "I am very poor, Mrs. Grenlow do you think any lady would marry me ? "Many would be delighted to have the honour," she said, laughingly. For the sake of my title?" She gave him a shy, swift glance. "For yourself." Then she ran onward, and sped up a flight 01 stone steps, pausing at the top, and laughing down upon his animated upturned face, as he mounted swiftly after her. You are like a wild bird; when one seeks to catch you, you flee away." "Freedom is sweet. Now, do please open this door, I am dying to see what is on the other side." He put his strong shoulder against the decaying wood-work supported by iron bars it flew open. She sprang over the threshold, and waltzed across tlfte mosaic floor of a spacious chamber, with high stained glass windows; then paused, in sudden wonder, and looked around. She stood in the centre of a sanctuary or small chapel. The walls were adorned with marble tablets; a tomb, with a recumbent, alabaster figure, resting upon a pedestal •of red granite, stood on one side of the chancel; a piece of ancient tapestry covered the communion table, upon which stood four tall brass candle- sticks, and glasses containing faded flowers. A small organ, of primitive make, reputed to be several centuries old, displayed its dark, yellow keys, from which skilled fingers, that were now mouldered to dust, had drawn forth sweet music, which stirred to deep and reverent emotion, and turned the spirit heavenward. "Where am I?" queried Dolly, with an air of .surprise. "In the chapel of St. Cecilia. I believe my mother often came here, and kept the place in some sort of order. These dead flowers," he con- tinued, indicating some withered roses, whose petals scattered at his touch, I have no doubt she placed here, when they were fresh and blooming." Is service held in this chapel?" "Not now but for many generations the heir of Rowen has been married here. I should like the boy's nuptials to be solemnized in this place, it has many associations, and I wish to keep up the old customs of our house." She looked around, on the silent tombs, the dim pictured faces of praying saints, the faded tapestry, the crimson, orange, and purple lights from the stained windows, painting fantastic patterns on the inlaid floor, and cried, What a Sear, delightful, antiquated chapel; just the place to be married in After lingering for a short time, they passed through a door concealed by a thick hanging curtain, situated opposite to the one by which they had entered, into a long suite of rooms some were empty, others were partially furnished.. "What a splendid carved oak wardrobe!" exclaimed Dolly, pausing before an antique piece of furniture in one of the chambers, and casting a "quick, observant glance around. "Why, Sir Philip, you have art treasures innumerable. If I ] were the owner of Rowen, wouldn't I make the habitable part of the Castle perfectly charming with the lovely things that are stowed away here, and are allowed to moulder and decay for want of use. It is absolutely wicked to permit them to be seen by no creatures but the spiders and the mice. "No man has ever succeeded in making any house look like home. Some day I hope to be able to give you carte blanche to do as you like. When you reign here, the old place will wear a more I beautiful and congenial aspect." She perched her head on one side like a bird. Well, I really think I shall have to take you, or rather your place, m hand," she said, throwing open the wardrobe doors, which creaked on their rusty hinges. The shelves were strewn with strips of silk and satin, amidst which were scattered a silver buckle, a faded feather, an old hunting-horn, a gauntleted glove, and a jewel-mounted dagger in .a velvet sheath. "Curiosities everywhere it is hke a museum she cried, inspecting the ancient articles one by one. "I wonder who wore this? She slipped her little gloved hand into the gauntlet; her merry laugh rang out, and echoed through the her little gloved hand into the gauntlet; her merry laugh rang out, and echoed through the chamber. "The owner must have been a giant! I wonder whether he was one of your ancestors, Sir Philip, and went a hawking with a falcon on his wrist. What tales this old thing could tell if it had the power of speech She threw the glove back amongst the miscellaneous collection on the shelf, and tried to open a long, deep, drawer beneath, ornamented with brass handles. "Allow me," said her companion. At length the drawer yielded slightly to his superior strength, and as lie drew it forward, inch by inch, it gave forth, short sharp screams, shrill creaking sounds, and low groanings, as though protesting angrily against the violation of the seclusion in which it had rested for nearly a century. Is there anything here that will interest you ? he asked, when the drawer stood open its full width. She peered in. The dust lay thick on some brown wrappering which was spread over the whole extent. She turned one end of this loose covering back dantily with her thumb and fore-finger. He stood watching her expectant face with a look of amusement and tenderness in his dark eyes. The various objects which came under their review did not interest him; his thoughts were centred upon her. Oh, a treasure!" she exclaimed, going down upon her knees, and tossing out all the superin- cumbent strips of cloth. At the bottom of the drawer lay a dress of ivory satin, worked all over in a delicate lace-like pattern, with threads of gold. It is lovely lovely she exclaimed, hanging over the resplendent garment in a rapture. Would it do for a wedding dress ?" he asked, bending forward. "The very thing!" she cried, clapping her hands. It will suit you admirably it is yours." How generous How good you are, Sir Philip:" How can I thank you ? By wearing this gown upon a special occasion, when you and I shall be the principal actors." I will make no promises," she returned. Can you leave that antiquated piece of finery while we explore the remainder of the wing, or are you tired of wandering amongst the remnants of a dead past, and would prefer to take a walk ?" "Oh, do, please, let me see the whole of this enchanting place! I would not miss it for the world But will anyone come and steal the gown while we are away ? "No one enters these solitudes, except Harold, and he is at this moment, as you know, confined to his room." But Jeanie Owen has been here dozens of times, so she told Ida. What a noble creature she is Who—Miss Trevor ? "No, she is simple and artless, with few faults, I admit, but then she has no striking qualities-I mean Jeanie. She makes one think of a great spirit who would suffer death for a high ideal. She appears to be hard, a little cold, perhaps, but we never know what it going on under those reserved natures. Ida would love with feverish passion, but Jeanie—well, if I were a man who had gained her affection without returning it, it would give me a stab every time I thought of what 1 had caused her to suffer ? Gavase moved on a few paces, then returned to his companion's side. Why do you imagine that this girl has a great capacity for suffering ? "I do not imagine! I know, by a kind of intuition. She has struck the unobservant Ida as being an unique character; take nine hundred and ninety-nine women, Jeanie would be the thousandth-a creature standing apart from the rest." Yet she is a fisherman's daughter." You know there is a saying that 'poets are born, not made.' Well, Jeanie was born with qualities, which can never be taken from her-she is Nature's child, no training, no art could have formed her." They had crossed the room, slowly, while con- versing. Gavase threw open a door at the other end, which admitted them into a spacious chamber, scattered over with completed and half-finished statues in clay and marble. Various tools were lying about upon the tables and benches; an earthenware vessel, containing some clay, stood in one corner. Gavase uttered an exclamation. "Why, this is Harold's atelier I I remember that my mother mentioned in her letters that the boy had displayed considerable skill in the plastic art." That is Jeanie Owen cried Dolly, indicating a full length figure which stood upon a low pedestal at one end of the room. What a striking like- ness But why is she represented as a martyr t" The figure, clad in s'lo ose flowing ebbe, was chained to a cross; the hands were raised in an attitude of prayer; the head was thrown back, the eyes gazing skyward the hair flowed like a veil far below the waist. On the upturned face was? a look of rapture, as though the inner vision ,il t.,e,t(ly beheld the open gates of Paradise, through which the redeemed soul was soon to pass. "It is very well done," said Sir Philip, coldly. He was annoyed at this additional proof oi close companionship, the mutual aid, the artistic sympathy, which existed between "that girl and his only son. Was he to be reminded of her at every turn ? She was a dangerous creature, stand- ing between Harold and his wordly advancement, and must be removed at any cost. What an etherealized look the face is trams- formed into spiritual beauty. It is, as I said, one never knows the heights and depths of reserved natures." Then Dolly continued, musingly, Jeanie appears to have been Mr. Gavase's constant companion." Sir Philip threw down a small chisel he was inspecting, and said, hastily, "Lady Gavase sympathised greatly with Harold in all his artistic and scientific pursuits, the girl was frequently with my mother, so it was natural for her to take an interest in all that concerned her benefactor's grandson. Perhaps so, those who are thrown together in childnood rarely have any great affection for each other later on, I suppose it is because the closeness brings into prominence all defects of character and magnifies them to undue proportions. Familiarity destroys romance, robs it of that glamour which invests the imperfectly known. A comparative stranger is more likely to inspire love in the heart of a youth, than au intimate acquaintance." "I am no connoisseur; picture galleries and sculpture rooms have very little attraction for me, I must confess, but this hound appears to be an admirable piece of work. What do you think of it? he asked, referring to the form of a dog modelled in clay. "Perhaps it is, but-" she turned and looked again at the figure of the martyr, which was now illuminated with a ray of sunlight, there is genius in that; perhaps the inspired model caused the sculptor to surpass himself." Gavase made no comment, but he determined to use all his influence to bring about a marriage between Harold and Ida as soon as the latter was restored to health. CHAPTER XIX. I THE CURIOUS KEY. I PRESENTLY Gavase and Dolly found themselves in a large hall, which rose to a great height, with galleries running round the sides, on to which opened doors that led to various apartments. The walls were adornedwith stags' antlers, heads and tails of foxes, and other trophies of the chase. "What a curious suit of armour," remarked Dolly, intimating a figure in plaited mail with closed beaver, which stood on a low pedestal. She inspected the outstretched hand, stroked the metal breast, with the keen pleasure of a child who seeks, through the medium of touch, to assure himself of the actual existence of every object which attracts his attention. Her fingers pressed one of the bosses at the side of the leg, the knee-cap fell back upon its hinges, and revealed a box-like cavity. "We are in the region of mysteries she cried. Is this a secret hiding-place for valuables? She took off her glove, and, inserting her hand into the cavity, drew it forth with an air of triumph. She held a small object between her thumb and fore-finger. "A worthless thing; it is like my luck," she said, pouting, "a small key, that is all," and she threw her recently-acquired possession from her with contempt. Gavase picked the despised object from the floor, and examined it. "This appears to be what we have been searching for- the key to the old volume which contains an account of the hidden Treasure; it has been opened by means of unscrewing the sides of the lasp. but the lock is still intact." She took the strangely wrought instrument hastily from him, and inspected it. "Iam sure it is the key Come, let us take it to Harold at once Have you forgotten the silk dress?" Indeed, no; how could you imagine such a thing ?" she asked in amazement. But, there, you are a man, a woman would know better Then we will go back this way." They ascended a broad oak staircase, and stood on the balcony, looking down on the scene beneath. Dark shadows, alternated with bright patches of light, which glinted on coats of mail, painted shield, and huge crossbow, that hung upon the walls the figure of the armed knight stood like a sentinel guarding these relics of the dead. It seemed as though it needed but the waving of a wand to people the silent hall with haughty lords, and stately dames, and pages flitting to and fro. This is a far nobler entrance than the one you habitually use. If I were a fairy I would trans- form this dilapidated portion into a habitable abode, and—" "Live here?" I could not wish for a better home." Nor I for a more charming mistress." His hand closed over hers, which rested on the top of the balustrade. "Will you be my wife?" The question was asked abruptly, then he went on hurridly, I have loved you ever since we met in Egypt." She suddenly paled, then the colour-flushed back into her face. I-I-am not quite free she stammered. His fingers closed tighter over her hand. Not free ?" he echoed. I am half promised to my cousin, Geoffrey Montgomery; he is now on his way back from Australia, and—" You are pledged to marry him ?" No, not quite," she rejoined, with a little con- fused laugh "I asked for time to consider." Here were complications which Gavase had not anticipated. She had inspired him witla a deep and sincere affection, and he determined to win her at any cost. Dolly, look into my eyes." He compelled her gaze to rest upon him. Do you love me?" Yes." She saw a light of joy leap ito his face, which transformed it to gentle tenderness. Do you indeed care for me like that?" Care for you !—but words are feeble. You are mine a thousand lovers would not have power to take you from me." He held both her hands now. A little thrill of pleasure ran through her; she liked to feel that the strength and force of his love made him her master. But Geoffrey ? she asked, archly. "You can put it out of his power to'have any claim upon you by becoming my wife at once." She looked startled. "Well, why not? Have we not loved each other for years ? Harold's state will not permit oi my leaving him at present, and, if you go back to London, who knows what may happen to keep us apart; we could be married privately. What dc you say ? The same kind of impulse which had caused her to unite herself with Grenlow, regardlsss of con- sequences, controlled her actions at the present time, only the motives were different; in the past, pride and despair had led her blindly on, now love and inclination prompted her to accede to Gavase's request. She was always more or less swayed by the impulse of the passing moment; she was prompt to act and slow to reflect. She mistrusted her own powers of resistence if she were tc encounter Geoffrey Montgomery again, and to his importunities were joined the persuasions of hei friends, for he was very wealthy, and in every respect a most eligible parti. She lowered her eyes, and said, shyly, It shall be as you wish." Then we will go and consult the Rector, if he has not already left the Castle." Without another word, they returned to the room where the old oak wardrobe stood, and she took the satin dress and laid it across her arm, inspecting almonfc reverently, the costly lace which trimmed the bodice and draped the skirt; she refused, at Gavase's request, to entrust her treasure to his care, declaring that it was too precious to be touched by anyone except herself, or Hortense. In the meantime, the Rev. John Ambrose had repaired to #Harold's room. He had removed his soft felt hat and dark grey cloak; his massive head, covered with silvery white hair, was set upon broad, but stooping, shoulders; his fair com- plexioned face wore a benignant expression, and the pale-blue eyes, dreamy and serene, which appeared to be always looking at some scene in the distance, were those of a visionary. You are progressing favourably, my boy ?" enquired the Vicar, taking the invalid's worn hand in his. Yes, thank you. But it appears to me that one can sustain a severe illness with greater fortitude than convalesence. It is so tantalising to be on the verge of health, and yet not to be well; it is like being fastened to a pillar by a chain, which admits of going round and round in a circle, but never allows the prescribed line, which divides partial from perfect freedom, to be passed." "You always were an impetuous creature," said Ambrose, in a fond tone, "you never could endure restraint. How came you, of all men, to fall into the Devil's Cauldron? Harold laughed. He had been questioned before on the cause of his accident," and, learning, incidentally, that Fred Bruin had been missing since the night of their encounter on the cliffs, he had determined to repress the main facts, and to disclose only those which would account for his being found by the fishermen in so strange a place. "I went out for a stroll, and I suppose I approached too near the edge of the cliff; I felt the ground give way beneath my feet, and I remembered no more." "You were unconscious when Jeanie^ was here." "Jeanie!" he exclaimed. Why, of course, it was she, my brave, sensible Jeanie, who was with you at the first," rejoined the Vicar, enthusiastically. What did she do ? asked Harold, falling back on his pillow, and averting his head. Ambrose narrated to his eager listener the details of the scene which took place in the dining-room of the Castle on the night of his rescue He had received the information from Owen. Did they send her away after that ?" Harold asked, hoarsely. "No; she watched by you until the trained nurse arrived; when you became conscious, they would not permit her to enter your room. She left Rowen only a few days ago she had been nursing Miss Trevor, who was ill." "Jeanie here, and I did not know he mur- mured. At this juncture the door unclosed, and Sir Philip held the portiire on one side, to admit of Dolly passing into the room. After going through the ceremony of an introduction to the Rev, John Ambrose, she ensconced herself in a wicker-chair by the side of the invalid's bed. "I believe I have something here you have long wished to possess," she said holding up her closed hand. Guess what it is." I cannot," he responded languidly. All passion and animation had died out of his face he lay back, worn and listless. "Oh, but you must," she insisted. "Now I will help .you Sir Philip and I have been exploring the North Wing I found a tiny object concealed behind the knee-cap of a suit of armour. I imagine it will fit something in your possession-you have an old book—" "A book echoed Ambrose, waking from his abstraction. Have you found the key to that quaint volume?" asked Harold, excitedly. Dolly unclasped her fingers and disclosed, lying in her palm, a curiously wrought piece of metal, which she had lubricated and polished with a leatherin order to remove the rust. It looks very like what we have been search- ing for," remarked Harold, inspecting the key critically. Gavase re-entered the room at this moment, with the old manuscript volume under his arm, and placed it on a small table near to the bed. Ah Jeanie told me about this," said Ambrose, re-adjusting his spectacles. Harold bent eagerly forward, as Dolly put the key in the small aperture in the centre of the silver clasp, and turned the lock. "It is the key he cried, we have been able to open the book, because the rivets had fallen away from one side of the clasp, and as we have access to the contents the key is comparatively valueless, still it is a curiosity in itself, and its discovery gives me hopes that the Treasure may yet be found. The Treasure is chimerical," said Gavase, con- temptuously. He looked at his watch. It is luncheon time," he pursued. Dolly sprang to her feet. So it is, I will go and see whether Ida is ready." An intelligent glance passed between her and Sir Philip as she quitted the room. "Come, Ambrose," said Gavase. Don't take him away," interposed Harold. We are going to dive into this interesting book together; refreshments can be served here." I prefer to remain with Harold, if you do not object," said the old clergyman, laying his hand tenderly upon the brown pages of the ancient volume. It is so long since we met Ambrose, that I have many things to discuss with you," rejoined Gavase. I shall come in again after luncheon and carry you off to the library. You have no engagements for to-day, I hope ?" Oh, no. That is well. Then I will join the ladies, and return for you in about an hour's time." The invalid and his old friend eagerly discussed the contents of the ancient tome. At length Harold lay back on the pillows, his eyes brilliant with repressed excitement, as he murmured to himself. I must get better; I will get better J I will search for the Treasure until I find it. Stella, my beloved patience, the time is coming when nothing but death can separate you from me." (To be continued.)




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