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home, you know, so I might as well be there as left. I do not think I meant to be hard-heartanywhere else.”
ed, but I really could not feel the repentance “Thrue enough; but they say it's a rough I suppose I ought. I cut the paragraph out, place. But so far as that goes I don't see but and put it away, then went calmly on with my what the wurrld's pretty much alike anny- packing, curiously wondering whether he had wheres. An' it wouldn't be so bad for ye neith- been very angry when he found me gone, and er, for yer youth an' appealin' eyes 'd help ye wishing he had not met his death in searching out mightily."
for me. “I wish you would let me stay and work for In the last of April there came one bright day you this winter, Mrs. Riley. I can work, for when we stored away in the big wagon our few all I look so small. And then in the spring I'd remaining necessaries, and, climbing in, started sell the things I've got for what they'd bring-forth on our long journey. We looked our last only a little, perhaps—but it would help, and I on the humble cottage with wet eyes, for it had would be so glad to go with you."
been a home for all of us. After a few days' Perha she saw the passionate eagerness in travel we found ourselves in line with a dozen my eyes; she reached her hand across the table other wagons, all journeying the same way, and and patted mine, with the cheery, half promise we settled down to make the best of our circumthat she would see John about it, and he could stances. I do not like to remember the latter tell me what to do. But my petition was not half of that journey. The hot, arid plains, denied, and from that time I was included in bounded only by the eternal expanse of sky, their calculations, and I helped Mrs. Riley with which grew brazen with heat at the horizon, the such grateful zeal that she declared I left her scarcity of water, and the plenitude of dust, are nothing to do. The winter passed very slowly a nightmare on my memory. When, at last, the to my impatient heart, but monotonous as some welcome mountains were reached, we revived, of the hours were they never carried one regret and took a new hold on life. We camped under for those that preceded them. I was happier the wind-rocked pines at night, and gathered than I had ever been since the time when my strength from the resinous balm of the pure girlhood had been so sadly merged into wife- atmosphere. By early winter we had reached hood.
a mining camp in the Sierra, where we decided With the first signs of opening spring the to make our home for a while. Mr. Riley Rileys began to make preparation for the event bought in with a hydraulic mining company, ful and hazardous journey. The bargain for the and his spare capital being thus invested, his farm was completed, and a white, canvas-cov- wife eked out their income by starting a boardered wagon, drawn by two stout yoke of oxen, ing-house. Of the two investments the latter was purchased. Into this wagon was stowed all threatened to pay the better, for “Mother Riour necessary equipments. One day, being em-ley," as the cheery old soul was called, was a ployed in rolling some small articles into a news- most indulgent landlady. I made it my busipaper, preparatory to packing them, my eyes ness to gather the few children of The Forks fell upon the following paragraph:
together in a deserted miner's cabin, made hab
itable by the disinterested efforts of Mother "By the collision on the Turin and Cairo Railroad Riley's boarders, and established a flourishing yesterday morning, our respected townsman, Ralph school. Miss Gray and her small flock were Harding, Esq., lost his life. He was returning home objects of eminent interest to the stalwart minfrom a trip to Cairo, whither he had been to make inquiries concerning his missing wife, whose mysterious
ers. Even to a person of my small consciousdisappearance several weeks ago has excited much com
ness, the curiosity with which I was regarded ment. The body will be brought home to-morrow, for was very apparent. There was not, at that interment."
time, another unmarried woman in the whole
settlement. Those who were willing to brave I looked at the heading of the paper. It was the hardships of a new country were women one published at my former home, and bore who had husbands and children, from whom date of November 20th. I really think my first they were not willing to be separated. But I conscious feeling was one of relief that I could was an anomaly, and to none, perhaps, more not be pursued and taken back by force. Ralph than to myself. I became used to the chivalHarding was dead. With the realization of that rous speeches of the red and blue-shirted minfact came also the thought that I was a widow, ers. They treated me very much as if I were and free to lead a new existence, if I chose. I a child, but with a protecting manliness which would not alter my plans--it was too late, and was far from being unpleasant. I felt an interI had no desire to do so. Neither would I fet- est in them all, for the type was of that rude ter my soul with one cent of the money he had l order of nobility with which new and dangerous countries are peopled. I was content, and, for exclamation, he came to my side, and put his the most part, tranquil, though called upon to arm around me hastily. pass through some strange experiences. I can- “Come, Helen. George is at rest." not tell why, but The Forks came to regard me It was true. His spirit had passed away so somewhat as grateful patients might a hospital quietly that I had not known it, and only the nurse, and many were the summonses I receiv- pale clay was before me. I withdrew my hand ed to visit the dying beds of those whose loved from his stiffening fingers, and Henry led me ones were so far away that only the touch of a into the next room, making a sign to the tall woman's hand could bring them nearer in im- miner standing at the window. agination. I never refused, and usually set off "There's lights a-comin," he said, moving toprovided with some delicacy from Mother Ri- ward the death chamber. ley's store of invalid comforts.
“Poor little girl, these scenes are too hard for One bleak afternoon in March there was a you to witness," murmured Henry, pityingly, knock at Mrs. Riley's sitting-room door. She standing beside my chair, and stroking my hair bustled to open it, and confronted a young man, with the gentlest of to hes. I choked back my whose anxiety was plainly evident in his face. sobs as steps sounded outside. He held his cap in his hand, and the boots into “It's Big Ben and Riley. You will go back which his trousers were tucked were splashed with him now, in time for a good night's rest.” with mud.
They came in silently, swinging their lanterns “I'm so sorry, Mrs. Riley, but I'm afraid ahead. Hamilton's going, and he wants Miss Helen to “Gone, is he? Poor boy!" come down. It's awful weather for a lady to "He was a good chap. The boys'll turn out be out in, though.”
well to his send-off to-morrow, storm or no storm. “That is nothing, Mr. Stuart," said I, coming He's always been a favorite o' the The Forks, forward. “I'll go willingly, if he wants to see an' we'll give him a first-class funeral,” said Big me. I can wrap up warmly, and wear over- Ben, solemnly, extinguishing his lantern. shoes. I'll be ready in a minute."
“I don't s'pose I can do anny good by stayin', Henry Stuart's brown eyes looked down at Stuart. There'll be more down presently. An', me encouragingly as I clung to his strong arm besides, my ould woman sent me afther the and toiled along. We soon reached the cabin. girl. Yer as well off widout her, now he's Hamilton lay the inner room, with his face gone.” turned to the door, and his hollow eyes bright- Together we started back through the storm ened visibly as we came in. A tall miner rose and darkness, but I was absorbed in my own up from the foot of the bed, and silently put thoughts, and did not find the way long, though another log on the fire. I sat down by the bed, glad when the light in the window shone across in a wooden chair of rude manufacture, and our watery path. I went to rest that night, but took one of Hamilton's wasted hands in mine. sleep would not come to me. I was beset by a
“What can I do for you, George? Mrs. Riley great temptation, and, alas! it gained the massent you down some of her precious blackberry tery over me. I knew I could not but know cordial. Will you try it?”
—that Henry Stuart loved me. And I? What “Good Mother Riley. I'm afraid it's too late. happiness had I known in my life that I should I thought I'd like to have you read and sing to throw that chance away? I had only to put out me. It's hard to die, Miss Helen, without some my hand and take it. My life needed the comgood Christian comfort.”
pleteness which his love would give. There “I'll do anything you wish, George.”
was one thing tempted me. Once, in some “Then read to me first, the old story, you light talk about futurity, he said a fortune-teller know."
had predicted that he would marry a widow, I turned the leaves of the pocket Bible to the and he had fought shy of widows ever since, divine chapters of the Crucifixion and the Res- for he had no mind that the prophecy should urrection. A peaceful smile hovered round his come true. The remark had recurred to me mouth when I had ended. Understanding the frequently, at different times, till it assumed faint pressure of his fingers against mine, I sang more significance than he ever intended. But some sacred songs for him. Henry Stuart sat I hesitated to tell him of my past history while silently at the window, and gazed out into the we were only friends, and I did not like to think gathering gloom, while the shadows of night and of the effect the revelation might have on him. of death folded the room in darkness, broken I could not bear that anything should come beonly by the fitful flickering of the fire. I do not tween us. He was so honorable and high-spirknow how long we sat thus. Henry rose at ited, could he love a woman who had left her length, and lit the lamp. Then, with a slight ' husband? There was no absolute necessity for his knowing. It was not in the remotest de- , clothes were a misfit. So was I, for the matter gree probable that he would ever find my secret of that, but, being a woman, had more adroit. out, and if I was not the innocent girl I seemed, ness in concealing it. He lounged about from God alone knows how passionately I wished I one window to another, displaying his six feet had been. It was my cruel fate to know more of superb manhood to the most unconscious of life than I seemed to know, and infinitely advantage. The first bell rang for supper. He more than I ever desired. How earnestly I gave a start, and turned his brown eyes on me longed to be pure, for the sake of his love; how appealingly. degraded I felt myself to be as the hated mem- “Helen," said he, helplessly drumming on ory of my husband rose up before me, brutal the window-pane with the fingers of his right even in my dreams; how I wished that I might hand. drink of the waters of Lethe, for my true love's “Well?" sake, no one but myself can ever know. Next “Come over here a minute, won't you?” to being pure was to be thought so, and so I I shook my head, with a mischievous smile. yielded to the tempter, and buried my secret in “Too proud, are you? Then I'll come to my own heart, resolving to keep it from Henry you.” Stuart forever. Having put the past out of my He crossed the room, and knelt by my chair, sight, my spirits rose perceptibly. By the be- putting both arms around me. ginning of April I was able to resume my school “Helen, I know I'm not half good enough, duties, which the inclemency of the weather but I love you very dearly. Could you ever had for a few weeks interrupted. As I came care for me, little girl-even a little?” home one evening, I heard Mrs. Riley's cheery “I'll try, Henry." laugh in the dining-room.
“My dearest! Will you be my wife—the only “What's the matter?” I asked, putting my woman I have ever asked, or ever loved ?” head in at the door. Henry Stuart, in his Even in that supreme moment a sharp pang sprucest attire, was standing by the window. darted through my heart, as Memory held her
“Is that you, Helen? I was just afther tellin' mirror before me. I put it aside, as he gathHenry here what throuble I've been havin' widered me in his arms and took his answer from them confounded grocery scales. I wint down my lips. to Bennet's two days ago, an' John persuaded To say that I was blessed beyond anticipame to git weighed. I knew he'd poke fun at tion in Henry's love would but faintly express me if I didn't, so I stheps on to the little table, the depth of my happiness. What if I did live an' brought the old thing down wid a whack. in a house with three rooms, and not a single I weighed wan hundred and eighty-six pounds, closet, and had my own work to do after we were if ye'll believe me! Well, I was jist mad, an' | married—was it not a home of love? We had that's the thruth. Says I, ‘Ye don't weigh fair, a general wedding-it could not very well be anyhow. I come home, an' the more I thought helped, Henry was so popular. Harmony and about it the madder I got. So this mornin' says jollity prevailed; toasts were drunk and speeches 1, ‘John, them scales lied. I don't weigh no made, the only flag in town was strung across sech amount. I'll not belave it till I go across the street, and an anvil did duty for cannon. to Gibson's an' thry his scales.' Well, John We were escorted to our domicile in triumph. went wid me, and, as thrue as I'm sthandin' It had been improved and enlarged since the here, I weighed wan hundred an’ ninety-seven! bachelor days of Stuart and Hamilton, and An' John, he says, 'Yer doin' well, Kate- nearly every miner in camp had contributed 'leven pounds in two days.' An' I come home some article of furnishing, which collectively madder nor I went away. Them grocers is made a creditable bric-d-brac. cheats, that's my belafe. What d'ye think, Five happy years rolled away, during which Helen?"
I had been steadily growing in womanly strength I could not speak for laughter, in which she and independence. I was my husband's helper, joined with hearty good will.
not his slave. In the third year of our mar“Ye wouldn't think it was so funny if 'twas riage our baby was born-a brown-eyed boy, yerself, now, I'll be bound. Come, take Henry | whom I named Henry, also. The last gift of intil the sitting-room. Yer in my way here, an' the God had come to make my life complete. them b’ys'll be chargin' in here fer their grub Our boy was the image of his handsome father, d'rectly.”
and his small graces brightened every hour for Shrewd Mother Riley. Did she divine any- us. We began to care more for riches—to lay thing unusual from Henry's spruce attire? I them by for the time when our boy would need led the way into the front room, shyly and education. The mine paid a comfortable insilently. Henry was as ill at ease as if his new come, and by and by would sell for enough to start in business somewhere. We sat talking “Yes!” I cried, desperately, turning on him over matters after supper one cool evening in at last; “I wished you were dead. I was glad October. Our baby was asleep in his crib on when I saw it in the paper. You have been the other side of the fire-place. Everything that the cause, of all the misery I ever experienced. occurred that evening is distinctly branded on I could endure your presence no longer, and I my memory. When I rose to clear away the left you. I wish to God you had died before table, Henry insisted on helping.
ever I saw you, Ralph Harding !” “I'm not so ignorant as you might suppose," His face was livid with rage. he said, looking at me across the dish-towel, “I don't understand, Helen. Were you ever with his head on one side; in proof of which married to this man?” cried Henry, sharply. he took up a cup, and proceeded to wipe it, “My aunt induced me to marry him when I cramming every inch of the dish-towel inside was only sixteen years old, and did not know it, and then triumphantly twisting the wad my own heart. Life with him was torture, and round and round, in genuine man- fashion. I when I was only twenty I left him, Henry.” had a hearty laugh at his performance. I have “But you knew he was ving !” said Henry, forgotten how to laugh since. In the midst of in a voice of agony which cut me to the heart. our mirth there came a rap at the door. Henry | He tried to put me away from him. sobered down, and went to open it. It was not “No, no! Oh, Henry, listen to me! I had usual for strangers to knock at the outside door not left him six months before I saw it in the of the kitchen, so I looked to see who entered. paper that he was killed in a railroad collision. A man, tall, black-bearded, and hard-featured, Oh, don't ever think I was so wicked as that. I with an exultant gleam in his wicked eyes, stood supposed I was a widow !" in the doorway.
“Why, in God's name, didn't you tell me this “I've found you at last, curse you !” he said; before we were married !” he groaned through and I knew Ralph Harding was before me. ashy lips. The blood froze in my veins.
“You said once you would never marry a “What do you mean, sir?" asked Henry, in- widow, and I loved you so, Henry,” I moaned, censed at the form of his expression.
clinging to him. “Not a soul knew my history. “Ask her—she knows !" pointing to me, with I never thought of claiming one cent of his a cruel laugh.
property even when I supposed I was his wid“O my God! my God!" I groaned. It was ow, I hated him so, Henry." too horrible! What had I done that I should “Oh, Helen, I never thought you were deceivbe so persecuted.
ing me all these years !” “She's very much surprised to see me, no It was the only reproach he used, and, God doubt. Why don't you explain, Salome? Shall knows, he had cause then. But I shrank away I do it for you?”
from him as if it had been a blow. With a sneer he turned toward Henry.
“See here, there's enough of this thing. You “This woman you have been living with for can't alter the facts of the case by talking. This the last five years is my wife, Mrs. Ralph Hard- woman is my wife. I have searched for her far ing?"
and wide, but she was so devilish sly I never “Liar!" exclaimed Henry, springing at him would have found her if I hadn't seen her in with intent to throttle him.
the street by accident. In spite of her kind They were powerful men, and well matched wishes I wasn't killed. I'll make it up to her, in strength. I threw my whole weight around never fear. Salome, you must go with me.” Henry's neck, clinging to him despairingly. I sprang forward, catching Henry's arm again
“Don't kill him, Henry. It's true—what he in terror. says! O God, help me!"
“Never! Never! I would sooner die than Henry relaxed his hold, and staggered back. live with you again! No power on earth shall Harding looked on with evident triumph at a make me. O God! Henry, save me from this scene none but the arch-fiend himself could man, or I will kill myself! I will! I will!" have enjoyed.
I was wild with agony. “Helen! Am-1-dreaming? Did-he- “Hush, Helen! You shall never go with him tell—the truth?"
if I have to kill him to prevent it.” “Oh, Henry, my darling ! don't look at me that “There's two can play at that game !" said way or you'll kill me. I never meant to de- Harding, threateningly, making a movement to ceive you-I thought he was dead. Oh, I draw a weapon. In an instant Henry was upon thought he was dead!”
him, and had thrown him down. Without “And you wished so, too, no doubt," said knowing what I did, I sprang to the cradle, Harding.
caught up the baby, and fled out into the dark
With the speed which only terror can “I like to hear you say that. Helen, I am give I flew up the pathway to Mother Riley's, going to leave you. You see it is, after all, the and burst in upon them with an ashen face and only thing I can do—for he is still alive. I streaming hair.
have charged our friends to protect you from “Holy mother! What has happened, Helen? him. And if he ever should molest you again Why are ye out wid that baby widout anything you have this safeguard-he is answerable for around him?"
my death. Do you understand me, darling?” She took the child from me to quiet it.
"Yes, I know, Henry.” “Oh, go down quick, for heaven's sake! He's “I will leave you property enough to make killing my husband !" I screamed, wringing my you comfortable, and to bring our little Henry hands.
up carefully He will be a comfort to you“Who's killing? Here, John! Ben! go down something for you to live for. This is not all an' see! The poor thing's wild wid fear. Go of life, dear love. If we were not to be reunited on, boys. There's something wrong at Stuart's hereafter, how would you be recompensed for --murther or robbery."
your cruel suffering here?” Something wrong! I wonder how I lived “But how shall I live without you?” I broke through that awful night. How much one can out into one despairing wail. endure and not die! Mrs. Riley hushed my “Don't, dear. Is it so hard? I wish I might boy to sleep, and put him to bed. A footstep have lived; but one of us had to die, and, persounded on the porch. I flew to the door. haps, I am better prepared than he is. I did
“There now, Helen, don't look so terrifyin'. not try to kill him; only to defend myself. You Henry's sent for ye. He was a bit hurted in will not let our boy forget me? I am tiredthe scuffle. The other feller got away; but the end is at hand. Kiss me, Helen. The we'll find 'im-we'll hunt 'im down like a dog in last! the last !” a ditch !"
I clung to him with kisses and despairing I don't know how I got down the hill again. prayers. In vain! I could not hold him back. But my darling lay on the bed waiting for me, They lifted me, at last, in merciful unconscious. with a smile of the old-time light and love. I ness from his side. knew he was wounded unto death-he, brave and unarmed, had been cruelly cut down by a How many years have passed since that knife in Harding's hands. The ebbing life-night? I do not know. I do not count life by blood had left him pale, but peaceful. I was the years any more. It will end some timetoo stricken to realize all that was passing. thank God for that! There is another Henry
“Come, darling, sit by me as you did by Stuart growing up beside me, brave and tender Hamilton. I thought that night that, if you as his father was. The memory of his father were only beside me when I came to die, I serves for his model, and a nobler one he could would not find it hard. I want you to tell me not have. He is like his father in looks, too, all your sad story, dear-won't you?”
just as tall and bonny. I am proud, with a lone “Yes, Harry," and I told him as collectedly mother's pride, of our son-Henry's and mine. as I could the secret which had lain between us I have never seen again the destroyer of my for so long
happiness. He has had years enough for re“My poor Helen! If I had only known. pentance and remorse, which, if it has been You have not had a very happy life, have bitter as my sorrow, is an atonement beyond you?"
any revenge I could desire. “I have been very happy with you, Henry.”
MAY N. HAWLEY.
JOHN A. SUTTER.
Captain Sutter was the California pioneer par | in 1841, and Commodore Jones in 1842; to fraexcellence; he led the way for all the others. ternize with Fremont in 1844, and anticipate He pushed his course over the plains and des- the deeds of Sloat and Kearney in 1846. Acerts in 1838, and after prospecting Oregon, the cording to the testimony of General Sherman, Sandwich Islands, and Alaska, settled in Cali- the United States are indebted to no man more fornia in 1839. He was here to welcome Wilkes than to Captain Sutter for the conquest of Cal