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NEW BLOOMFIELD,' PA., TUESDAY, APRIIj 111, 1880.
in Independent Family Newspaper,
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THE RIVAL COUSINS;
Frances Vaughan's Secret.
' A7E3," he replied, "you are some
X what changed." But these
bright eyes and this glow of Inter
est belong to Frances Vaughan as I
She glanced up at him. He was at
tractive to women in general from the
ready appreciation and kindly sympathy
one read in his face. But for that it
would have repelled, and even now he
could easily keep persons from trespass
ing upon his generosity. Not handsome
as the boyish face of Boss Stanhope,
but good and noble, and just now the
embodiment of friendship to her, for she
could not fancy a man of this stamp
entertaining any warmer feeling for
her. She did Edith full justice in rating
her charms so highly, and from what
she had remarked the previous evening,
she came to a sudden and positive con
clusion. Yet bte felt, in any event, sure
of her friend.
" Let us go down this path," he said,
presently, "and you shall tell me what
yom have been doing these three years."
It was easy to begin at that distant
period. How many kindly lessons he
had given her, heeded too little, alas, as
she realized now, but coming back fresh
and full of meaning. At 11 ret she had
tried to be patient and earnest, but
latterly the difference between herself
and Edith had become so marked. It
seemed as if every thing she did was
wrong in the sight of her cousin and
grandfather. She had allowed it to
make her reckless, indifferent, and,
worse than all, sway her into one fatal
step that she would have given worlds
to recall. But she thrust it out of sight
now, quieting her conscience with the
promise of confessing it to him at the
earliest opportunity. And as they near
ed the house again, the signs of awaken
ing on every hand were too plain to be
" Breakfast will soon be ready, and
our walk has been a long one," she said,
turning, and then bade him a graceful
He came up to the wide veranda Just
in time to greet Mr. Vaughan, and there
Edith found the two as Bhe crossed the
hall, like a fresh and cloudless dawn
Frances had ber morning's toilet to
re-arrange. The listless Angers had re
ceived some new impetus ; indeed the
whole face was transformed. It seemed
strange to her when two hours ago she
had been so miserable. . Was there any
stability to her character ? .
Edith noticed the difference, but made
no remark, for she was too much occu
pied in entertaining Mr. Murray. Some
better news from her secret correspon
dent, perhaps. And after breakfast,
when she would have carried him off,
he included Frances in the little party ;
bnt the brightness that had made her so
charming out there under the trees was
slowly dying away.
Evan Murray's quick brain penetrated
the lack of harmony between these two.
It was as he bad half feared years ago,,
and yet he believed, or desired to, that
Edith possessed too much nobleness of
soul than to indulge such petty resent
ments. He knew that Mr. Vaughan
designed VVoodlea for Edith's portion,
and that Frances' coming had never
Injured her prospects in the slightest
degree. There was sufficient for her
beside. He began to u nderstand that
Edith felt herself agrleved in . a finer
point also. She did not care to share
any of her possessions with her cousin,
not even the love that might have blest
them both. Bhe hnd never sought to
attract Frances and her grandfather
together, hut rather widened the breach.
Not that she was noticeably unjust or
unkind. Indeed, In some ways she
manifested a desire for the other's hap
piness, but it must be in a channel that
did not conflict with her own enjoy
ments. There she barred Frances out
Yet Mr.Murray's coming was destined
to work a change. He had the rare
faculty to bring forth the best in those
with whom be came In contact. Frances
feltjt, and though her wild dream had
been quenched before the first day end
ed, tho desire still remained. She did
not dare repeat her morning walk, for
she had a consciousness that Edith's
stricter sense would condemn such a
proceeding If she knew such rambles
were not solitary ones, aud she had no
desire to take upon herself any new
burthen of secrecy. And though Mr.
Murray managed sometimes of an even
ing to have a little unrestrained chat
with her, it could not have the freedom
of that first conversation. Ouce he had
" Have you given up your morning
walks t I seem to wait In vain for some
one to share mine."
It Is not a habit with me," she had
A man with an insight less keen
would have relinquished the idea of
bringing her to a more cheerful and open
life when she so resolutely lingered in
the shade. But some old dream urged
him on. Not that they were dull at
Woodlea. Mr. Vaughan was hospitable,
if rather exclusive, and the summer
season brought some delightful society
to the village. In company Frances
was sometimes gay to extravagance, but
It was something that pained rather
than pleased. Every day deepened the
curious interest he had taken in her,
which under some circumstances might
have been love.
" Ah," Mr. Murray said, coming upon
Frances Vaughan suddenly, one morn
ing in the library. " I have absolutely
found you disengaged for once, or are
you going to plead some Important busi
ness and run away ?"
She'looked as If she desired to, but
there was no reasonable excuse at hand.
He studied her face attentively until it
" You don't like your friend as well as
of old," he said, presently. "Have I
grown so grave that you are afraid of
She raised her eyes quickly, then, as
they drooped, gave a little embarrassed
laugh, and answered Indifferently.
" Do you know," he continued, "that
I think you have hardly any right to
treat me in this manner? Nearly a
fortnight ago we renewed our old bond,
and you have shunned the observance
of it In every respect. Am I to believe
that was only a girlish impulse? You
said then you needed a friend."
His voice was low and winning, one
of tho tones that appeal directly to the
" I told you the truth," she returned,
, " What Is the difficulty ? You are
not happy. I have learned that, and
though I can see that your life here has
been Id many respects unfortunate, the
shadow Is not bo dense but some ray can
" It is not that;" and now her cheek
paled as she made a long pause, glancing
away from him to the lawn beyond the
"What then? 1(11 so much to me
that I ask."
If she had turned, the look in his face
would have startled her, but she was too
deeply occupied with her own thoughts
to question his.
" Franoes," he began, " I have a story
to tell you. Years ago, when you first
came to Woodlea, you brought to me a
new and peculiar Interest. Your sunny
nature, your frankness, your high soul
that was honor Itself, awoke in me a
strong desire to watch the dawn of such
a womanhood. It should have been
developed by tenderest care and appreci
ation, and though when I left you I had
a half fear, still it was Impossible for me
to remain. And now I find you dwarfed
and repressed, cold where you should be
genial and charming. I should not
have spoken of my love bo soon, but"
"O, Mr. Murray!" and Frances
Vanglian sprang up suddenly, her faoe
full of terror. "You have no right to
say this of me, or rather I have no right
to liHten. I was not dreaming of such u
" I have the right a man always has
when he loves a woman, that of telling
her. And though I do not expect you
to answer me now, I did not want
any misunderstanding between us, or
any fooliBh scruple to keep yu from a
woman's natural heritage, love."
" I have shut myself out forever," she
said, in accents of passionate despair.
I have taken the dross when I might
have had the gold. I should have told
you all that morning would have If I
had imagined this ending. But I
thought you would love"
" Your cousin Edith. I have read you
rightly thus far. I guessed you shunned
me on this account."
"Not that aloue. I must brave your
displeasure, knowing that I have sinned
past forgiveness, and confess."
There was a slight rustle in the hall,
and Frances paused, trembling In every
limb. As Edith entered, she turned her
face away, and began searching for a
Edith Vaughan was as superbly calm
as if she did not suspect she had Inter
rupted an importantoonversatlon. "Not
a moment too soon," she thought
within herself, and a fierce pang swept
over her heart, followed by one of tri
umph at the consciousness, amounting
to belief, that Frances was. no longer
free. What could a man like Mr. Mur
ray see In such a child ?
When Frances could command her
self sufficiently, she left the room. Mr.
Murray was almost irritated at the
interruption, and studied some excuse
for a speedy departure,but Mr. Vaughan's
entrance put this resolve to flight. He
gave Edith a message for her cousin
concerning som h." angements for the
eveulng. Thus armed, she sought Fran
The young girl had yielded to htr first
Impulse of passionate tears. Like a
lightning flash the fatal mistake of her
life gleamed before her, half stunning
her with the kuowledge. The web she
had woven about herself In a moment
of girlish weakness how held her in
giant tolls. There was no escape. Now
only the truth was possible, and that
could not save her. And to have missed
such tenderness I
The cold, calm voice of Edith grated
harshly upon her shrinking nerves, and
she cowered beneath the pitiless look.
Edith came nearer.
" How long is this scheming and du
plicity to be carried on ?" she asked, at
"It was not my fault. O, Edith,
believe that I never sought him, that I
never dreamed of his caring for mel"
"What right have you to any man's
"None," the younger said, humbly.
"In another moment I would have told
" You had better put on your ring,
and show yourself in your true colors,"
Edith responded, bitterly.
"You know then ? O, Edith, have a
little pity on me. I was wild at the
time, hungering aud thirsting for love,
and I believed in Boss Stanhope. But I
have been so miserable since, that I
have prayed dally to die."
"You are his wife?" Edith asked,
hardly sure of her assertion, and yet
resolved to know.
"lam his wife."
"You chose your own destiny. I
warned you, and you must have known
Looking back, it .seemed as If some
strange fascination must have possessed
Frances Vaughan. She could not ac
count for It herself.
" The sooner this miserable work is
confessed the better. I have only sus
pected your secret, though I might have
assured myself of the truth long , ago.
You know that grandfather will be very
angry." . i
" If you would tell him, Edith "
"I? You should have thought of the
end before you took the step. I certain
ly shall decline having any thing to do
It was useless to urge. There was not
even sympathy In that proud face before
her. As Edith turned away, she made
no effort to detajn her.
Left to.herself, a dozen wild plans
flitted through Frances Vaughan's
brain. Once she rose, determined to
steal away unpercelved; then she asked
herself where she should go? Boss
Stanhope had promised to arrange a
home for her in the city and come for
her immediately, but since his departure
he had been constantly making excuses,
aud in his last letter said it would be
best for her to remain at Woodlea
through the summer, as he was likely
to be away on a business tour, very
important to him. Indeed, she did not
know but he had already gone. How
could she brave her grandfather's Indig
nation ? And yet there was no other
course possible. The consciousness of
being beloved would have Inspired her
with courage, but she had begun to
doubt this, for on the very day of their
marriage Mr. Stanhope had shown
some annoyance when he learned she
could not demand her own small for
tune until she was twenty-one, and that
Mr. Vaughan's displeasure was a thing
she dared nut encounter at present. He
had expressed much sorrow for his hasty
words, and she had forgiven them, but
notf' they returned with renewed force.
To thrust herself upon him, an unwel
come burthen, was not to be thought
of except in an extremity. If she could
tell Mr. Murray the particulars of this
miserable story, and ask his advice.
She made her headache sufficient
excuse for not appearing at dluner. It
was mid-afternoon when she crept down
stairs, pale and trembling, and found
the household assembled in the library,
her grandfather warmly discussing some
" He was no favorite of mine'," Edith
said, as she entered.
" We not Infrequently meet men of
that stamp in society," Mr. Murray
rejoined. "They are entertaining, and
In certain respects refined, while their
claim to genius attracts not a few real
friends. It is a source of regret to me
that they have not sufficient wisdom to
choose an honorable path, and do some
thing worthy of a man's ambition."
"We were speaking of Mr. Stanhope,"
Mr. Vaughan said, turning to Frances.
" Here is the end of his career at pres
ent," and ho pointed out a paragraph in
a paper. " I do regret that he should
have been tolerated at Woodlea, or that
either of you should have met him."
He looked sharply at Frances as he
uttered this. She ran her eyes over the
account, growing deathly pale. Boss
Stanhope had been arrested for forgery,
so clearly proven that his guilt did not
admit of a doubt. For a moment it
seemed as if she would faint, then her
grandfather's voice denouncing him,
demanded some attention on her part.
She gave one quick glance at Edith,
pure, proud and stately, and then caught
the look of anxious questioning in Mr.
"Iam his wife," she said, just above
her breath. " It matters lUtle now how
I came to yield to such an Infatuation ; I
can only confess the fact. I have for
feited all right to your care."
Even the presence of a visitor could
not restrain Mr. Vaughan, whose anger
now knew no bounds. He denounced
Frances as an ingrate, and accused her
of following the low tastes she had
inherited from her mother, declaring
that Woodlea was no home for her, and
never could be again.
" Hush," Edith said, at length. "You
excite yourself fearfully," for he was
trembling in every limb. " Frances,
leave me with him."
She had scarely crossed the hall when
Mr. Murray rejoined her. , He gave one
look at the strained, tearless eyes.
"O," she said, In a faint, broken
voice, "don't pity me. I deserve it all.
Grandfather was right I haven't .any
of the Vaughan pride. I . have never
been happy here. If any one had loved
me, perhaps I might not have cared so
much for Boss Stanhope. But he seem
ed so good, so aweet and tender. I can
never make you understand the tempta
tion it was. I thought he would take
me away from Woodlea; I dreamed of
being so happy, and this is the end."
If I had returned sooner if, Indeed,
I had never gone away 1"
" No," she said, putting away the
outstretched hands. "I never could
have been worthy. Do not think of
me. Edith is so much better and grand
er. And heaven knows how sorry I am .
to have caused you one pang. Cast me
out utterly, as they all will. I have
made my own misery."
She darted away and flew to her room.
Boss Stanhope in a felon's cell her
husband I He must, he would be glad
to see her now, and it was best to go at
once. His mother lived somewhere in
the city, and she would find her, share
the sorrow and the shame. The thought
gave her a BUdden courage. She made a
few preparations, and wrote a hasty
note explaining her resolve and giving
a few particulars of her marriage. Then
she stole softly down stairs to listen. A
servant was coming from her grand
"How Is he?" she asked, tremu
lously. " He has had a bad turn, but Is getting
better. Your cousin and Mr. Murray
are with him. They think he will not
need the doctor.
Much relieved at thls.Frances speedily
equipped herself, taking a few valuables
and the money with which she was
kept liberally supplied. In less than an
hour the train would leave, and she had
barely time to walk to the station. She
locked the door that they might not
suspect her so soon, and passed through
the servants' hall unobserved. No one
met her in the grounds, though she
scarcely drew a comfortable breath until
she found herself leaving Woodlea far
behind. She had bee a to the city on
little pleasure excursions with Edith,
when their grandfather was along to
care for them, but she felt helpless and
undecided new. It would be evening
when she reached her destination, and
nothing could be done until the next
morning. It would be wiser to go at
once to the hotel where they usually
stayed, instead of rambling about seek
ing some hiding-place. No one would
search for her thus early.
Frances Stanhope passed an almost
intolerable night. She made some in
quiries of a servant, and at the earliest
moment practicable started out to gain
an interview with her husband, veiled
herself closely, and shrinking from
every person with whom she came In
contact. At last she reached the gloomy
place, and found herself too soon. Sev
eral others were waiting, and Frances'
heart well nigh failed her. The rude
sights and sounds, the coarse faces and
loud tones, filled ber with dismay. She
cowered pitifully beside a woman closely
veiled like herself, but about whom
there was an unmistakable air of refine
ment. Her turn came first, and the
strained ears caught the sound Stan
hope. She grasped the woman's arm.
" You are his mother," she gasped,
"Boss Stanhope's mother 1"
"Yes, Iam his mother," and Mis.
Stanhope tried to loosen the clasp.
" Have pity upon me," Bhe Implored.
"I am his wife;" and throwing aside
her veil, Frances encountered a sorrow
ful face, but one sbe knew she need not
fear. For a moment the two studied
each other ; Frances would have clung
to almost any one who betrayed a kind
ly heart. Her youth and girlish loveli
ness touched Mrs. Stanhope deeply, yet
this was the first announcement of her
son's marriage, and she was silent from
surprise. She drew her one side, pres
ently, and began to question her. The
brief story was soon told.
" You had better see him first," Mrs.
Stanhope said. " I will relinquish my
right," and she requested the warden to
conduct the young girl to Mr.Stan hope's
cell, through the dismal corridor where
their steps woke echoes that fell strange
ly on her ears. Then the bolt In the
lock snapped with a sharp click, and
the-man motioned her to enter.
She was pale and trembling with
terror and a sense of shame of which she
could not divest herself. She stood quite
still, not daring to advance.
" Good Heavens ! What evil genius
sent you here?" Boss Stanhope said,
not unkindly, and yet in a tone that
brought the tears to ber eyes.
" To see you. O, Boss" and all her
firmness gave way.
" I wish you had not come ;" and
though he took ber in Lis arms, he gave
no other token of welcome. "Why
didn't you keep your secret? It can't
do me any good, all this fuss, unless