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[ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.] SAVED BY DEATH; OB, THE SECRET TREASURE OF GAV ASE. By S. AUGUSTA SQUIRES. -Av,thor of "An Eviction and its Consequences" A Brave Little Woman," Marriage," dec. die. CHAPTER XX. THE SECRET MARRIAGW. 'WHEN Gavase had prevailed upon Dolly to accede to his request for an early marriage, he decided to make her Lady Gavase as soon as practicable. This Was not a sudden resolution on his part, for some time he had determined, that if he could gain her consent to become his wife, he would try to induce her to marry him at a very early date. The one dark trouble which had clouded his life had caused him to go doggedly and hopelessly forward, doing his duty and seeking no reward the future loomed before him as blank and cheerless as the past had been, and now that happiness seemed so near of attainment, he had a superstitious dread, that, at the last moment, something would come from out the unseen, and snatch it from his grasp. Though his manner was stern and cold, even at times forbidding, yet he was capable of tenderness, and had felt keenly the terrible loneliness to which a hard fate had doomed him. This bright winsome creature had stirred anew that deep and suscep- tible part of his nature, which, he had imagined could never again respond to the call of human affection. For several reasons, they each desired that their marriage should be a private and secret one. Harold's state of health varied from day to day sometimes he appeared to be stronger, and at others, weak and feverish, so that it was imperative to keep from him all cause of excitement. Then Gavase could not foresee the effect the announce- ment of his alliance with a lady of considerable means might have upon the numerous creditors who were demanding the payment of the late baronet's debts. He wished to gain time, hoping that Harold, upon his restoration to health, would 110 longer put any obstacle in the way of his engage- Silent to Ida, and that her fortune would relieve them from all pecuniary embarrassments. it One cold cloudy morning, when the dew lay thick upon leaf and flower, Sir Philip Marchmont Gavase and Dorothy Grenlow were married in the village church, by the Rev. John Ambrose; Johnson, Gavase's faithful ex-soldier servant, and Mrs. Marshall, the housekeeper, were present at the ceremony. Dolly was not arrayed in the gold •embroidered satin gown, but reserved the costly garment for an occasion of greater state and grandeur-her presentation at Court, when Sir jPhilip assured her, she would have the pleasure of wearing the family jewels, which were some of the finest in the kingdom. ■■ Several weeks passed, and the day arrived pre- ceding the one fixed for Dolly and Ida's departure, lor Doctor Dawson had insisted upon the latter seeking a warmer climate, and Dolly found that she could no longer delay her return to London, where several important things required her personal supervision. It was arranged that she and Ida should subsequently proceed to Bournemouth, and that Sir Philip and Harold should join them there, as soon as the invalid was able to endure the fatigue p of the long journey. It was late one afternoon when Gavase and his wife set out for a walk. The air was keen and exhilarating. In the far west were streaks of colour, dim purple clouds, flushed at their edges with vivid crimson, floating in a sea of pale green light. A robin was perched on one of the top-most spikes of a spreading yew his gorgeous breast showed red as iruddy flame against the sombre foliage. f An eagle, a stray visitant from a more distant northern waste, mounted higher, and higher, until it seemed like a dark speck melting in the blue. The pedestrians left the Castle grounds behind, and entered upon the bleak moor, with its gorse-bushes and tufts of withered fern. "So you leave by the first train in the morning, Dolly?" remarked Gavase. It is unfortunate that I cannot he your escort, but I should not feel at ease to be away from Harold in his present condition; his progress towards recovery is slow, and not altogether satisfactory." Under the circumstances, I think it is better ,that you should not go to London with us. When we meet at Bournemouth, it will be necessary to announce publicly that our marriage has taken place." It shall be as yon wish; and in the meantime, I will break the news to Harold. Our honeymoon is drawing to a close. Have you been happy. D,)Ily ? "Very happy." As he looked down into her shining eyes, he knew that they were no mere conventional words she uttered, but that they expressed the sentiments of her heart. I have hidden nothing from you. You know that I am poor, for your sake I wish I were rich but it is vain to desire the unattainable. Now that j our interests are one, you will aid me to bring about the marriage between Harold and Ida, will you not ? I have told you that my father was reckless and extravagant, and once, when he was In exceptionally pecuniary difficulties-it was just after my unfortunate marriage-he prevailed upon me to consent to an agreement which would cut off the entail, in the event of his not being able to meet his liabilities. In six months' time, unless something happens to avert it, Rowen will pass from the Gavase's for ever. I have robbed Harold of his birthright, and I would make almost any sacrifice to be able to place him in that position to which he is justly entitled." "His marriage with Ida will set all right," she said, cheerfully. She loves him, she has confessed as much to me. What is there to prevent the en- gagement ?" That may be brought about during our visit to Bournemouth," said Gavase, avoiding a direct answer to her question, for he was anxious to keep from her the knowledge of Harold's state of feelings in relation to Jeanie. For the last few minutes, Dolly had been sensible of a woman keeping a short distance from them, oa the moor walking slowly, or quickening her pace, sometimes drawing near, as though seeking to over- hear their conversation, or to scrutinize their features. She was now a few paces in advance with her back towards them. Her figure was tall and slim she wore a black velvet bonnet adorned ■with blue feathers, a plaid cloak, and a bright green dress. She turned suddenly, and confronted the advancing pedestrians. She had raised her thick, black veil, which formed a dark line across her forehead, revealing only part of the face. Her cheeks were white with powder and red with rouge. The brilliance of her bold, black eyes, appeared to be caused by a restless excitement, which also revealed itself in the nervous gestures of her hands, playing with her flowing ribbons, and the twitching of thick, red lips. She advanced unhesitatingly to Gavase, fixing her keen, eagle-like eyes upon his face. "Pardon me, sir," she began, "but can you direct me to some inn, or other place, where I can get lodgings ? I am a stranger in these parts." i. He regarded her with surprise, until she accosted him he had been unconscious of the presence of anyone, except their two selves, upon the moor. "There is the 'Flying Fish' at the village; tfou may find accommodation there." But I do not know the way," she rejoined, Siever taking her eyes from his face, and drawing c Ins gaze to her's by a kind of magnetism. If you follow that path," he said, indicating a narrow track ruiming between the bracken, it Will conduct you to Stormcliffe, where you can jnake further enquiries." Thank you, sir, I've been living in London, and ,JI,m not used to country roads." With another keen, searching look into the fcaronot's face, she took her departure. Gavase consulted his watch. We had better return, it is getting late," ha Remarked to his companion. > They began to retrace their steps. "Did you ever see such a fright!" exclaimed JDoUy. „, I beg your pardon, he returned, abstractedly. Some women never know how to dress they lack the colour-sense, and have no conception of just proportion. That creature is in some respects like a peacock, she has imitated its gorgeous hues, but lacks the harmonious blending of tints which Mature has given to that bird." Where had he seen the stranger before? Hei presence had produced a disturbing sensation, a Wajgue, perplexing memory of the past, wmcu refused to take definite shape. They reached a little latticed gate, which led into the grounds. As he held the wicket open for Dolly to pass through, a sudden revelation came to him—he remembered, now, the face appeared before him, younger and prettier, but wearing the same bold aspect. His hand tightened on the iron latch, his brow contracted, then quickly relaxed, and his companion, looking up and uttering a gay remark, observed no change in his countenance. Arriving at the hall door, he held her hand for a moment, and pressed it. Will you excuse my coming in, Dolly, I want to run round to the stable? I gave Joyce some instructions this morning, but he is a lazy dog, and may not have carried them into ex&eution." Certainly; and I must look after Hortense. She cannot always be trusted with the packing." As soon as the door closed upon Dolly, Gavase passed quickly along the path, and sought the shelter of the shrubbery. Here he paused, and drew a deep breath, throwing a keen, hunted glance around. Then he set off at a swift, swing- ing pace, and, emerging upon the moor, followed the path he and Dolly had lately quitted. There was a dangerous fire in his eyes; he held his head high, and looked in every direction as he advanced. Presently he came in sight of three upright stones, with a fourth shorter one partially buried in the moss at their base. Because of some tradition connected with the pillars, they bore the appella- tion of the Witch's Arm-chair. On this rude seat sat the object of his quest, with a leer upon her face, as she closed her bright green sunshade, and laid it across her knee. A blind terror, a vague, torturing dread urged him forward. He drew nearer and nearer to that grotesquely- attired figure seated on the stone. At length he paused, erect and commanding, a few paces from her. The woman looked up, their eyes met; her's quailed for an instant, but she assumed a certain defiant boldness, and regarded him a second time with an unflinching stare. You are Sir Philip Gavase ? she queried. I am." "I am glad you have the sense to meet me here I was about to call at the Castle, and that might have been awkward for you." You use strange language, madam t "Well, now, I suppose you would not care foi that lady you were walking with to know all about the past, would you ? He remained silent; his thoughts were in a whirl, but he maintained a stern and uncom- promising demeanour. "She might turn you over, you know." What are my affairs to you ? "A good deal, as you will learn presentl What do you want ? Money." That you shall never have from me." She laughed maliciously, and regarded him covertly, seeking, in vain, for some indication of fear in the hard set face that was as impenetrable as a mask. "You were always passionate, but you had to give in at last. Suppose I go and tell her." She is a lady you dare not accost her." "Dare not!" she shrieked; "you don't know what I dare do." Your language is insupportable. We are play- ing at cross purposes you have evidently mistaken me for some other person." She unfastened her veil, and threw it on the ground. "Look Can you say you do not know me ?" "I fail to recognise you," he answered, calmly but a cold thrill passed through his veins. You do know me she cried, in a sudden burst of rage, springing to her feet, and confronting him. "You do know me, but you will not own me you go gadding about with fine ladies, while I am left to starve "Who are you, woman-answer me 1" he cried in a passion as fiery, but far more deep and dangerous, than her's, as he caught the stranger's wrists with so iron-like a grip, that she gave a sharp cry. Release me Not until you have answered my question," he said, between his teeth. Then she turned her face upon him with a diabolical look, and, laughing harshly, cried, "I am your wife CHAPTER XXI. 1. I TWO WIVES. I WHEN she uttered the fateful words, Gavase dropped the woman's wrists, and staggered, as though a bullet had struck him; but he quickly regained command over himself, and confronted her unflinchingly. I thought you were dead." Did you but you see I'm not; I'm very much alive," she declared, in a sarcastic tone, re-seating herself in the Witches' Chair. "I received information-it was reported that you had drowned yourself." I know all ),botit that story. The woman who committed suicide bore a strong resemblance to me, and, strange enough, her name was Gavase. I knew the tale had got about that the drowned woman was your wife, and I didn't contradict it." "Why not?" She laughed harshly. "Because, if you believed your wife to be dead, I thought you would return to England, and I wanted to see you." "For what purpose?" "I want money." You drew your annuity regularly; why have you not applied for it recently ? That would have spoiled my plans; you'd have known that I was living, and then you wouldn't have come home." Well, you had better tell me your business at once I have no time to waste." I suppose you're anxious to get back to that fine lady. I want ten thousand pounds down, ther I'll not trouble you again." Woman, are you mad?" How's Harold she asked, abruptly. He turned hot and cold, but not a muscle of hit face relaxed its stern rigidity. At all cost he must not let his son see this depraved creature, who called herself his mother. "You, who neglected him when an infant, car have no interest in him now," he said, in a tone ol repressed passion. I made a mistake in parting with the child. If I had kept him, I should have more power over you," she returned, with a sudden knitting of hei black brows. It is time this interview drew to a close." 4 6 With all my heart! I'll return with you tc the Castle; I'll go to your home, and take mj place there as its mistress." "Woman!" he cried, fiercely, "if you dare tc set foot within my doors, I will have you turnee out." She quailed beneath his glance, but said, sullenly, "If you'll give me ten thousand pounds I tell you that I'll go away, and you shall nevei see me again." Then she continued in a rapid tone, "I'll not deceive you; I'll tell you what 1 require it for. There's a man as wants to marr] me; you give me the money, and we'll be ot to Australia. Everybody thinks as your wifi drowned herself; well, I ain't a-going to contradici the story. When I'm out of the country, you car marry that fine lady you've just been making lov< to." He made a step forward, as though he woulc strike her to the earth, but restrained the impulse "Nobody need know, but ourselves. I'll giv< you my word I'll never split on you." "Your word!" he cried, contemptuously. "G< back to your QÍ debauchery, aui leave me it Deace." I will, when you've given me the money." You shall not extort anything from me." Very well; then I'll publish in all the papers of the kingdom that Lady Gavase did not commit suicide, as reported, but is living, and is about to take up her residence at Rowen Castle with her fond and devoted husband, who has returned from India for the express purpose of spending the remainder of his days in happiness with the wife of his bosom, from whom he has been so long parted. I've got it all written out ready," she said, with a malignant look at her silent victim. I You dare not!" he cried, with flashing eyes. Dare not I dare do anything. Kill you, even, if you drive me to it I must confess that, believing you to be dead, your sudden presence has been somewhat of a shock to me. I will take a few days to think over your proposal. In the meantime, you will probably find accommodation somewhere in the village. Remember, you are Mrs. Bower, of Bristol; if you reveal your true name, or intimate that you are connected with my family in any way, I will not give you a penny; do you hear-not a penny I understand," she said, nodding her head. "Don't you trouble; your interest happens to be mine in this case, and I know how to take care of myself." He turned and left her, and walked over the moor at a swift pace. The sun had set; there was a deep hush over the land, into which stole the beat and throb of the sounding waves long shadowy beams lay upon the face of the sea, and all around grew the dark. He hurried forwards his brain was on fire, his mind seething in a giddy whirl, where there seemed to be no stay or anchor, but a series of confused visions, amidst which darted wild thoughts and horrible suggestions. He did not wake up to the consciousness of outer things, until he found him- self in the entrance hall of the Castle, and dis- covered that it wanted only ten minutes to the dinner hour. Dolly was more than usually vivacious that evening. She rallied Ida on her depression, caused by the impending separation from Harold, and .v Gavase, in a sudden revulsion of feeling, and partly affected by her spirits, had never been gayer, or displayed more geniality and brilliant conversa- tional powers. Yet there was ever present with him the vision of that solitary figure on the wild moor, sitting in the Witches' Chair, and he was possessed by a secret rage when he gazed upon the enchanting creature by his side, and thought of what was, and what might have been. He would have suffered death rather than have brought her to shame. Should he tell her, or should he pay that woman to keep the secret ? Pay her ?-he had not ten thousand pounds, and no means of raising it. So the dark thoughts wove in and out amidst the sparkle, wit, and brilliance of gay speech, like a sombre thread twined amongst strands of gleaming gold. The ladies went to pay Harold a farewell visit in his room. Ida was flushed and excited, and the invalid was slightly agitated. He and Ida had passed through scenes of trial together; their common sorrow-the tragic death of his grandmother and of her father, by the same calamity-had created a bond between them, which was stronger and more enduring than that of ordinary friendship. "Good-bye," said Ida, holding out a trembling hand to Harold. He raised it to his lips. Not good-bye, but au revoir." She drew her fingers hastily from his clasp, there was a sob in her throat, and the tears flowed down her cheeks as she quitted the room. Harold put his hand over his eyes. If there were no Jeanie he murmured. But there was a Jeanie, and he knew that she was the one and only woman in the world for him. Gavase met Dolly in the hall. "Can you come to the Grey Parlour? I have something to say to you." I will be with you in a very few minutes," she replied, struck by the gravity of his manner, as she followed Ida to her chamber. As Gavase paced the floor awaiting. Dolly's arrival, he could not forsee what the issue of the interview would be whether he should tell her all, or keep the terrible secret. He had no definite plan of action, he was a straw tossed on the surface of a strong current, which bore him whither it would. The door unclosed; Dolly entered, he advanced to meet her. She was dressed in a long flowing robe of pale lilac her neck and arms were bare, save for a necklace and bracelet of pearls; a string of the same glistening beads was entwined in her hair. She approached him with a shy, winsome grace, in- voluntarily holding out her hands, which he took, and drew her to the hearth, where they stood for a few moments in silence. "I hope it will be fine for your journey to. morrow." he began. Shall you miss me ? Miss you The vibrating pain in his voice thrilled her with a strange sense of pleasure. Our desires and our duties sometimes clash. There is no greater happiness for me than to be in your presence, and "—he leaned over her as she stood there with bent head, his breath playing upon her hair-" there could be no misery devised for me greater than to be separated from you for ever." "Nothing but death can part ns now," she- said, softly. "Would to God it were so! "was his inward ejaculation. Her whole nature seemed expanded and intensified, she was swayed by a tremulous emotion. Previous to their marriage she had caught up his tender words on some bright winged arrow of speech, and tossed them aside, wilfully misinterpreting his meaning, and retreating play- fully from before his advances; but now she was penetrated by a new phase of feeling, and exhibited a submissive softness which was enchanting. She stood there, in the soft sweeping gown, with slightly heaving breast, the thick-fringed lids drooping, and he, as a lightning flash of pain crossed his sight, looked down upon her with con- tending passions raging in his heart. Only a few hours ago, he believed her to be his, but now—a sudden fury and anguish possessed him, he could scarcely restrain the impulse to take her in his arms, and defy all the powers of heaven and hell to wrest her from him. There was the one maddening thought that he had wronged her cruelly-that he had placed her in a position of pain and humilia- tion. "There are many things I wish to tell you," he began, my past She raised her hand. "No confessions let us put everything behind as, and begm life again as if we were children-or- first lovers." You are my first love." "Surely you cared for someone before you met me?" "You forget that I was not a free man. That woman, who called herself my wife "—there was a sudden passionate anger in his voice-" won my boyish fancy, but afterwards merited my hatred and contempt." She put her hand gently upon his arm. Let us piece together the broken threads of our lives, dear, and make each other happy. I did not care for the man I married— He waited for her to proceed; his heart was hungry for the words that lingered on her lips- "you were, and you are. the only one I have ever loved." "1 am not worthy," he said, in a low voice. "Indeed, you must not disparage yourself; a woman likes to look up to her husband, to feel that he is her superior." He was not her husband, but that other woman's. Could he tell her, kill the light of love in her eyes, and see a great horror grow there ? If he withheld the knowledge which he had lately acquired-that she was not his wife--until after her departure, would he ever obtain her forgiveness ? would she not despise him for the selfish weakness which had allowed her to remain in a false relation to him and yet, if he did not speak, could he treat her with studied coolness on this, the last night of her stay under his roof ? These thoughts were passing swiftly through his mind, when the door opened, and Johnson appeared with a message from old Mary, Gavase's nurse, who had been taken ill suddenly, and had expressed an anxious desire to see him. Such a request could not be refused. Gavase bade Dolly a tender good-night," and, putting on his great coat, went out into the dark. He found Mary even worse than he had anticipated. The old woman begged the master" to write a "little bit of a will" and make it in favour of her only daughter, Jane, to whom she wished to leave the whole of her small savings, disinheriting her only son, who for many years had been a source of sorrow to her. Gavase complied with her request, then walked up and down outside the cottage for long hours, when the stars shone overhead, and the voice of the sea came through the dark, like the voice of the great Eternal speaking from the unknown. As the grey dawn broke, he lifted up his face. He looked ten years older; it seemed as though the light had gone out of his life for ever. He entered the cottage, and sat by the bedside until Mary's spirit had passed away. Then, he went back to Rowen, and met the look of mute reproach in Dolly's dark eyes. (To be continued.)