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NE W BLOOMPIELD, 1J., TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1(3, I88O.
in Independent Family Newspaper,
F. MORTIMER & CO.
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THE SECRET MARRIAGE.
THE county of Kent lia9 many objects
of interest to one who will take the
trouble to look for them,aud nowhere In
England can a person pass a more agree
able time than in this fine old maritime
place. If I were asked the reason why
I preferred to loiter in Kent, I Bllould
And it difficult to answer, for there were
so many attractions there. The land
owners throughout the country are an
Independent race of people, more so
than I found anywhere else in England.
Perhaps the fact that the lands are
generally held by the tenure of gavelkind
may have something to do with the
character of the Kentish people.
In the southern part of the county
there is a flat woody tract of fertile land,
called the Weald. It abounds In fine
cherries, madder and an inexhaustible
supply of birch, which is manufactured
In passing through this Btrip of
country one's attention would have
been attracted by a quaint old brick
house with many gables rising above
the trees which surrounded it.
Squire Everleigh lived here, and so
had his ancestors for many generations.
Some of them had been saints and some
sinners. The saints had built churches,
endowed hospitals,and aided the worthy
poor; the sinners had ridden at a hard
pace the broad road that leads to ,
well, you know where. Many sturdy
yeomen had their hopes wrecked
when they looked upon the comely
lasses whom these wicked Everleigh's
of Everleigh Orange had wrought ill.
The present occupant of the mansion
was Miles Everleigh. It will be suffi
cient to say that he followed not after
the evil ways of his immediate prede
cessors, but he did that which was right
in the sight of all men. Therefore his
days had been lengthened (when I met
him) to three score and ten, and at that
time he could hold bis own with the
best of them when the hounds were in
But if Miles Everleigh was to be
found in his pew regularly each succeed
ing Sunday, his handsome son Boyce
was as true a scion of the sinners as his
father was of the saints. If he occasion,
ally showed bis face at the parish
church, it was more to keep up a feeble
attempt at respectability than aught
Miles Everleigh passed many anxious
days contemplating the characteristics
of his eldest hope. To be sure there was
some good qualities about him ; he was
brave, generous and not at all vindic
tive. He even at time declared himself
repentant for his bad works, and there
were some who thought the day ' of
regeneration had not passed away from
A couple of miles in a southeasterly
direction from Everleigh . Orange, In
a snugly built cottage dwelt David
Stracban, a broom-maker. A, daughter
of eighteen years, uncommonly pretty,
his wife and hlnfself .composed his
household. David was a Methodist of
the austere type, and his co-religlonlsts
made his cottage very frequently the
place to hold prayer and compare their
Bessie Straohan did not give her
father the satisfaction he desired in
regard to her religious duties. With
great difficulty she could be Induced to
attend the edifying exhortations at her
father's cot, and many were the domes
tic broils which followed therefrom.
Whether an adverse Influence had been
exerted over her mind by Boyce Ever
leigh, whom she met at the last Maying
party, or whether it was her own per
verse and obstinate will that rendered
her Intractable, I cannot say, but she
wag a thorn In the side of that Heaven
bound family, who endeavored to subdue
her flinty heart by every expedient save
that recommended by the Psalmist.
It was a clear, beautiful morning, and
Squire Everleigh sat In his breakfasts
room gazing out of the window at the
extent of country before him, when a
knock at the door admitted David
" Good morning, squire," he said, as
he cast his eyes quickly about the apart
ment; " I am glad to find you alone,
for I've made bold to call and speak
with you on a subject which presses
hard upon my mind."
"Sit down, David," said the squire,
"and let me hear what it Is which dis
turbs you. I hope that the fire has not
got among the birches again, eh ?"
" No, no it is nothing of that kind.
That's bad enough, I'll own, but there
may be matters worse ; and I've held
my peace so long, that I fear I have
wandered from the path of righteous
ness by yielding to the weakness that
sometimes will come over 1 my nature.
If Satan bufTets me, it is because my
loins are not always girded. We must
keep our armor bright, Squire Ever
leigh." " You have not come to convert me
to dissenting doctrines ?" said the squire
with a smile.
" It is not for the likes of me to say,"
replied Stracban, "whether the heart
shall worship in conformity with the
'thirty-nine articles,' or by the Scrip
tural rule of the simple doctrine of what
you term dissenters. But the peace, if
not the honor, of a man's household Is
something too serious for a gibe."
Squire Everleigh's face assumed a
grave expression as the Bhaft of the
broom-maker went home, and he Bald :
"Proceed at once to the subject,
David, and If I can serve you I will do
"Last May come a year," Bald the
man, "my daughter, Bessie, showed the
first symptoms of disobedience in her
life. I don't mind much these merry
makings, and yet I'm not prepared to
Bay there is evil in them. She attended
the May party, although I was strongly
opposed to her doing so. Your son
escorted her home. Bessie is counted a
pretty lass, and she Is a giddy one. I
fear her ears have heard too much
flattery for the good of her soul. I've
got good reason for believing that she
meets your son in her walks oftener
than is proper for a maiden who would
keep her name bright. Excuse me,
squire, I must speak plainly. Now, I
wish this intimacy stopped ; it bodes no
good. My daughter cannot be mistress
of Everleigh Orange, and before Bhe
shall be anything else I will slay her
with my own hand."
He paused; he had been speaking
under a great excitement, and though
be endeavored to appear calm, Miles
Everleigh saw In the fanatical gleam of
his eyes and stern words of his Hps that
he meant all he uttered, aye, and more
too. So he replied, " I will have a talk
with my son, this day, David. It grieves
me sore to hear this, especially from
your mouth, but I don't think the mat
ter is so bad that we "tan not find a
remedy for it. In the course of a day or
two I will come over to your place
myself, and perhaps I may be able to
make your mind easier, at least I hope
Squire Everleigh was for two good
hours that day closeted with his son.
What passed between them the world
never exactly knew, but it wa& bruited
about the house that the squire had
quarreled with his ton, and the latter
had gone to London with the intention
of entering the army. There' were not
wanting those who said Bessie Strachan
always knew where a letter would reach
Boyce Everleigh, but then it might
have been a slander, for rumor is some,
times a foul-mouthed Jade.
The day following Strachan's visit to
Everleigh Orange, the squire mounted
his horse and took his way to the broom
maker's cottage. He appeared to be
depressed in spirits, and more than once
heaved a long sigh, as if to ease his
troubled mind. He had passed over
more than half the distance he had to
riue, wnen ce came so auuueniy to a
sharp turn in the road that Bessie
Strachan, who was walking there In
tently occupied In reading a letter, had
not time to avoid him. Neither was
she quick enough in crushing the letter
Into her pocket without Miles Everleigh
observing the act. In her confusion she
forgot Bhe was sporting an expensive
ring upon her finger, and some uu pleas
ant thoughts passed through the squlre'6
mind as his eye fell upon the jewel. . In
her home Bessie Strachan would not
have ventured upon this temerity, and
It was only In her solitary walks she
dared bring forth the ring in the full
light of day.
"Good-day, Bessie," said the Bqulie,
dismounting and throwing the reins
over his arm as he commenced to walk
beside her. " I was Just on my way to
your father's cottage. I am glad to
have company, for I'm a very lonely
man to-day. My son has gone to Lon
don, and it will be longere he returns."
He watched her face to note the eftect
his words produced, but the features of
Bessie Strachan were as impassive as if
they had been cut in stone.
" You have an expensive ring upon
your hand," the Bqulre remarked.
A short quick gasp and a death-like
paleness overspread her face. She raised
her eyes with an Imploring appeal, and
Miles Everleigh could not help admit
ting she was superbly beautiful.
" Where did you obtain that ring ?"
eaid the squire, taking her by the hand
and closely examining the jewel, " I did
not suppose your father could make you
such expensive presents."
" Nor can he," returned the girl, "It
came from one whom my father does
not like, and I therefore will be obliged
to you if you do not mention seeing it
on my finger."
"Bessie," replied the squire gravely,
" I fear my poor girl, you are being
deceived by one very near connected
with me. In short, my child, I may as
well tell you that I am fully aware of
the attentions my son has been paying
you. Bessie, they tell me you are an
Intelligent girl, more so than is common
to find about these parts, therefore I
entreat you not to rely upon the fair
promises my son has made you ; take
my advice and return him every present
he has ever given you."
She shook her head, but vouchsafed
him no reply.
"Answer me one question, child, and
I will swear to you on the honor of a
Christian man, I will never repeat your
reply, s it too late ?" He gazed into
her eyes meaningly as he waited her
Springing a few paces from his side 88
if she had encountered a peril in her
path, she regarded him with distended
"Whoso accuses Boyoe Everleigh of
dishonor is a slanderer. What I am, I
am; but know you, Squire Everleigh,
that I am as worthy this day to sit at
your board as any of the gentry you so
frequently entertain. And perhaps I've
as good a right, too."
She spoke so quickly Bhe had not time
to arrest the last sentence, nor had she
tact enough to correct It. The squire
looked at her with a curious expression.
" What do you mean by 'as good a
right V " he asked.
"Suppose Boyce Everleigh makes me
his wife!" she said.
" Ob, is that it," replied the squire ;
"then all I have to say Is be would do a
very foolish thing for himself as well
By this time they had come within
sight of David Strachan's cottage, and
Bessie requested him to proceed alone
as she did not Intend going home just
Miles Everleigh had a long interview
with David Strachan, and when he
started on his return he remarked, "Deal
gently with the lass, David, and perhaps
all things will come right in the end
My son will probably be gone a long
time, and ere he returns, the matter will
have cooled down, and Bessie may have
an industrious husband."
Whatever the thoughts of Squire
Everleigh were on his homeward ride,
they certainly were of a nature to dis
turb his equanimity. He fldglted un
easily in the saddle, and otherwise be
trayed tokens or unrest. He was a
shrewd man, and, as the world went,
was just; but be could not divest him
self of a certain pride of life wherein bis
birth and station had cast his lot, and
those Incautious words of Bessie Strachan
gave him food for unpleasant reflection,
"and perhaps I have as good a right
too." He never would believe his son
would stoop to an unworthy connection,
and he was ready to quarrel with him
self for the thought. Neither did he
like to admit that Boyce had purposely
wrought shame to one who, if she was
beneath him in station, had been more
than his equal in honor until he had
met her. It was in no enviable state of
mind that Squire Everleigh alighted at
Boyce Everleigh reached London, and
with remarkable expedition purchased
his commission and joined his regiment.
England was then arming in hot haste
to defend the Sultan against the Czar.
Within two months Boyce Everleigh
had left England to join the army in the
Crimea; but before he departed he found
time to make a hurried visit to Kent,
and meet the broom-maker's daughter.
When he parted from her he placed a
letter lu her hand, saying :
" Bessie my own, if I should never
live to return, you will take this to my
father, and ask him to open It In your
presence. Now good-by, darling," and
he kissed her, and jumping upon his
horse, was gone.
"What ails the girl?" said David
Strachan one day to his wife, "she does
not mope, nor does she complain, but
she Is ready to attend prayer as the best
of us, and she seems so, earnest, too, 'tis
a strange thing for her who used to be
" Harken, husband," said his spouse,
"if she has found grace we ought rather
"And so we do," replied the broom
maker, "but yet I can't help feeling
surprise notwithstanding my gladness.
But the point which puzzles me is, if
she really has had a change of heart,
why don't she talk of religion ? That's
what I don't understand."
His wife did not or could not answer
his question, bo the conversation was
dropped. 'Tis true David did give up
the theme, and he endeavored from time
to time to engage his daughter in relig
ious conversation without any success.
She did not rudely repulse him, but she
evinced no inclination to listen to the
exhortations he profTed. She now rarely
left the house, and passed much of her
time in reading the newspapers and in
England and her allies were thunder
ing at the walls of Sebastopol, and
Bessie's heart beat painfully when she
ran her eyes over the list of casualties
which frequently appeared In the papers.
Thus time wore on, and many a heart
ached and sighed for the hour that
should restore the loved ones again to
their accustomed places. But there was
to be heavy and untold grief ere Eng
land's soldiers should march home
again, and Bessie was to have her hour
When the "Six Hundred" rode out
from under the Russian guns, Boyce
Everleigh's steed came back riderless,
and the newspapers, giving an account
of that mad charge, paid a glowing
tribute to Captain Everleigh, who was
numbered among the slain.
Before Boyce Everleigh left England
he provided Bessie with an ample sum
of money, and she had never used a
penny of It yet. Now she immediately
formed a resolution as daring as it was
perilous. She would not and could not
believe Boyce Everleigh dead. She
would proceed to the Crimea , herself,
and if her darling was really slain, she
would recover his body and bring it to
England, if prayers and supplication
and patient search could accomplish it,
Squire Everleigh had received the
news of his son's death with feelings of
the deepest anguish. His only child,
who had prattled so lovingly upon his
knee, was stricken down, and he was
left alone In his old age, with no heir to
his house. No wonder the poor old
squire wept. But when he saw the
broom-maker's daughter enter his house
habited in the deepest mourning, and
present him a package in the band
writing of the son whose death he
mourned, the scalding tears , coursed
down bis cheeks, and his grief was too
strong for silence.
, "And you, my child, what do you
here?" he eaid. "Do you come to
mingle your tears with a lonely old
There was a preternatural light in the
girl's eyes that rendered her strangely
" Bead," she said.
The old 'Squire with trembling hands,
tore open the letter and saw with un
feigned astonishment the marriage cer
tificate of Boyce Everleigh and Bessie
Strachan. It was duly authenticated,
and regular in all particulars.
" And so you were his wife ?" he said.
" I come to crave nothing at your
hands," replied Bessie, " save a small
boon. If my husband be really dead, all
I ask his father is to accompany me to
London and secure my passage to Se
bastopol." 'Squire Everleigh gazed at her with
surprised. " You surely do not mean
this?" he said.
"Be quick," she replied, "let me
have your answer. Will you go with
me or not ?"
"It is madness to attempt it; don't
think of such a thing," he said.
" It is enough," she replied hoarsely.
I will go alone. Olve me that certfl-
cate, and now good-by."
She was about turning away, when
'Squire Everleigh laid his hand upon
her shoulder. Her heroism so Increased
her beauty that he thought he had never
before gazed upon a woman so lovely.
" Forgive me," he said, " if I ask you
again if you have calculated the difficul
ties which will attend this journey ?"
"All all," she replied. "Do you ,
still hesitate ?"
" No," he answered ; I will go with
you. When shall we set out?"
" Now this moment," she replied.
, " Sit down, then," he said, as he left
the room. Directly he returned and
said, "The carriage will be ready in a
few moments ; have you money for your
" More than sufficient," she replied
" only let's be quick."
" Patience, patience, Bessie," he said
" this seems like a dream to me."
" Here they come," she said, and run
ning out she sprang into the carriage,
followed by the half bewildered old
'squire, and were soon rolling away to
It was a clear, cold day when Bessie
Everleigh landed In the Crimea. She
had been treated with marked courtesy
on board the steamer In which she had
taken passage, and she was properly
supplied with letters to certain British
officers who were expected to aid her in
her enterprise. But she found great dif
ficulty after her arrival, in obtaining in
formation of the whereabouts of those
she was seeking. The answers to her
inquiries were sometimes very contra
dictory. Some officers whom she ex
pected to Bee were reported to be at a dis
tance, while they were actually on the
spot ; others were said to be present who
were far away. In great perplexity
Bessie spent nearly two days of fruitless
inquiry. Everything appeared to be In
confusion, and her anxiety was great.
At last she found an officer to whom she
had a letter.
" Be calm, madam," he said, " when
you hear what I have to relate. Many
mistakes often occur in summing up a
list of killing and wounded, and I am
happy to be the medium of communica
ting to you that your husband is alive,
but he is badly wounded."
Poor Bessie until this moment had
acted the part of a heroic woman ; but
when she heard her husband was living
the fortitute that had hitherto sustained
her failed, and she wept frantically.
" When can I see him when can I
see him ?" she asked eagerly.
" Soon, very soon, my dear lady,"
was the reply ; " I will go to the hos
pital and you shall accompany roe. Of
course the surgeon's authority is neces
sary in this case ; but he is an old school
fellow of Captain Everleigh's, and you
will have no difficulty, I apprehend."
The meeting between Captain Ever
leigh and his wife was too sacred for pen
of mine to describe. There are some
things too holy for description. How
faithfully she nursed him many knew,
and when he was well enough to rise
from his bed, many of his fellow-sufferers
shared her ministering attentions.
Scores of brave fellows this day recall
the kind attentions of the splendid Mrs.
There are lights to-night in every
room at Everleigh Orange. There is
music too, and every face wears a smile
as the gallant Captain Everleigh is wel
comed home by the old 'Squire. There
are plenty of handsome women in the
old hails, and as the 'squire moves about
with his daughter-in-law upon his arm
he confesses with a conscious pride that,
the exceeding beauty and quiet dignity
of the broom-maker's daughter will not
suffer by comparison with the best-bora
of Kentish dames.
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