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The masked bridal


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Title:TheMaskedBridal
Author:Mrs.GeorgieSheldon
ReleaseDate:July27,2009[EBook#29524]
Language:English

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THEMASKED
BRIDAL



ByMRS.GEORGIESHELDON
AUTHOROF
"Edrie'sLegacy,""Max,""FaithfulShirley,"
"MargueritesHeritage,""ATrue
Aristocrat,"etc.


Seal



A.L.BURTCOMPANY
PUBLISHERSNEWYORK



Copyright1894,1895,1900
BYSTREET&SMITH


Contents



PAGE
PROLOGUE.
3
I TWOUNEXPECTEDVISITORS.
5
II ASTANCHFRIENDMAKESAVAINAPPEAL.
11
III THEYOUNGLAWYEREXPERIENCESTWO



EXTRAORDINARYSURPRISES.
16
IV AMYSTERYEXPLAINED.
20
V AMOTHER'SLASTREQUEST.
26
VI AHERITAGEOFSHAME.
30
VII TWONEWACQUAINTANCES.
36
VIII THEVENOMOFJEALOUSY.
43
IX THEHOUSEKEEPERATWYOMING.
50
X "THEGIRLISDOOMED!SHEHASSEALEDHEROWN

FATE!"
58
XI "NOWMYVINDICATIONANDTRIUMPHWILLBE

COMPLETE!"
65
XII THEMASKEDBRIDAL.
71
XIII THEDASTARDLYPLOTISREVEALED.
79
XIV "YOURFAITHLESSNESSTURNEDMEINTOADEMON." 88
XV "OH,GOD!IKNEWIT!YOUAREISABEL!"
95
XVI "YOUSHALLNEVERWANTFORAFRIEND."
104
XVII "WOULDYOUDAREBEFALSETOME,AFTERALL

THESEYEARS?"
111
XVIII "ISHALLNEVERFORGIVEEITHEROFYOUFORYOUR

SINAGAINSTME."
119
XIX "IWILLNEVERBREAKBREADWITHYOU,ATANY

TABLE."
128
XX EDITHRESOLVESTOMEETHERENEMIESWITHTHEIR
OWNWEAPONS.
137


XXI AMYSTERIOUSSTRANGERPAYSEDITHAN



UNEXPECTEDVISIT.

XXII "IWILLRISEABOVEMYSINANDSHAME!"
XXIII ASURPRISEATTHEGRANDCENTRALSTATION.
XXIV ASADSTORYDISCLOSEDTOANEAGERLISTENER.
XXV ANEWCHARACTERISINTRODUCED.

146
154
164
173
181

XXVI ANEXCITINGINTERVIEWANDANAPPALLING



DISCOVERY.

XXVII MRS.GODDARDBECOMESANEAVESDROPPER.
XXVIII ISABELSTEWARTASTOUNDSMR.GODDARD.
XXIX "OURWAYSPARTHERE,NEVERTOCROSSAGAIN."

"IHATEYOUWITHALLTHESTRENGTHOFMY
ITALIANBLOOD."
XXXI RECORDSSOMESTARTLINGDEVELOPMENTS.
XXXII "YOUWILLVACATETHESEPREMISESATYOUR

EARLIESTCONVENIENCE."
XXXIII MR.BRYANTMEETSWITHUNEXPECTED

DIFFICULTIES.
XXXIV ANUNEXPECTEDMEETINGRESULTSINA

WONDERFULDISCOVERY.
XXV "THATMANMYFATHER!"
XXXVI FURTHEREXPLANATIONSBETWEENMOTHERAND

DAUGHTER.
XXXVII "MYDARLING,YOUAREFREE!"
XXXVIII ANUNEXPECTEDENCOUNTER.
XXXIX CONCLUSION.
XXX



189
199
208
217
226
234
242
250
259
268
276
285
292
298


THEMASKEDBRIDAL.


PROLOGUE.
Themostimportantandthemostsacredeventinawoman'slifeishermarriage.
It should neverbe lightlyconsidered, nomatterwhatmaybetheallurement—
honor,wealth,socialposition.Toplayatmarriage,evenforaplausiblepretext,
islikelytobeveryimprudent,andmayproveasinagainstbothGodandman.
Thestoryweareabouttotellchieflyconcernsarefinedandbeautifulgirlwho,
for the ostensible entertainment of a number of guests, agreed to represent a
brideinaplay.
Thechiefactors,justforthesakeofillustratinganovelsituation,andperhapsto
excitecuriosityamongthespectators,weretohavetheirfacesconcealed—itwas
tobeamaskedbridal.
Already the guests are assembled, and, amid slow and solemn music, the
principalstaketheirplaces.
Theclergyman,enactedbyagentlemanwhoperformshispartwithprofessional
gravityandimpressiveeffect,uttersthesolemnwordscallingfor"anyonewho
could show just cause why the two before him should not be joined in holy
wedlock,tospeak,orforeverholdhispeace."
Atthesoundofthesewords,thebridevisiblyshudders;butassheismasked,it
canonlybeinferredthatherfeaturesmustindicateherintenseemotion.
Butwhyshouldsheexhibitemotioninsuchascene?Isitnotaplay?Shecannot
beacleveractresswhensheforgets,atsuchatime,thatitisthepartofabride—
awillingbride—toappearsupremelyhappyonsuchajoyousoccasion.
Itisstrange,too,thatasthebrideshudders,thebridegroom'shandcompresses
hers with a sudden vigorous clutch, as if he feared to lose her, even at that
moment.
Wasitmerelyacting?Wasthis"stagebusiness"reallyintheplay?Orwasita
little touch of nature, which could not be suppressed by the stage training of
thoseinexperiencedactors?
Theplaygoeson;theentrancedspectatorsarenowallarousedfromtheapathy


withwhichsomeofthemhadcontemplatedtheopeningpartoftheremarkable
ceremony.
As the groom proceeds to place the ring upon the finger of the bride, she
involuntarily resists, and tries to withdraw her hand from the clasp of her
companion.Thereisanembarrassingpause,andforaninstantsheappearsabout
tosuccumbtoafeelingofdeadlyfaintness.
Sherousesherself,however,determinedtogoonwithherpart.
Every movement is closely watched by one of the witnesses—a woman with
glittering eye and pallid cheek. When the bride's repugnance seemed about to
overmasterher,and perhapsresultina swoon,thiswomangaveutterancetoa
sigh almost of despair and with panting breath and steadfast gaze anxiously
watchedandwaitedfortheendoftheexcitingdrama.
The grave clergyman notices the bride's heroic efforts to restrain her agitation,
and the ceremony proceeds. At length the solemn sentence is uttered which
proclaimsthemaskedcouplemanandwife.
Thenthereisagreatsurpriseforthespectators.
Astheybeholdthebrideandgroom,nowunmasked,thereisastareofwonder
ineveryface,andexpressionsofintenseamazementareheardonallsides.
Thenitdawnsuponthewitnessesthattheprincipalactorsintheplayarenotthe
personsfirstchosentorepresentthepartsofthebrideandgroom.
Why was a change made? What means the unannounced substitution of other
actorsintheexcitingplay?
Askthewomanwhocausedthechange—thewomanwho,withpallidcheekand
glitteringeye,hadintentlywatchedeverymovementoftheapparentlyreluctant
bride,evidentlyfearingthefailureoftheplayuponwhichshehadsetherheart.
It became painfully evident that the play was not ended yet, and some there
presenthadreasontobelievethatitwaslikelytoendinatragedy.
Nowletusportraytheeventswhichprecededthemaskedbridal.


CHAPTERI.


TWOUNEXPECTEDVISITORS.
Itwasacold,rawnightinDecember,andthestreetsofNewYorkcity,despite
theirmyriadsofelectriclightsandgaylyilluminatedshopwindows,weredismal
andforlornbeyonddescription.
Theskywasleaden.ApiercingwindwasblowingupfromtheEastRiver,and
greatflakesofsnowwerebeginningtofall,when,outofthedarknessofaside
street, there came the slight, graceful figure of a young girl, who, crossing
Broadway,glidedintotheglareofthegreatarclightthatwasstationeddirectly
oppositeapawnbroker'sshop.
She halted a moment just outside the door, one slender, shabbily-gloved hand
restingirresolutelyuponitspolishedknob,whileanexpressionofmingledpain
anddisgustsweptoverherpalebutsingularlybeautifulface.
Presently,however,shestraightenedherself,andthrowingupherheadwithan
air of resolution, she turned the knob, pushed open the door, and entered the
shop.
It was a large establishment of its kind, and upon every hand there were
indications that that relentless master, Poverty, had been very busy about his
work in the homes of the unfortunate, compelling his victims to sacrifice their
dearestpossessionstohisavariciousgrasp.
The young girl walked swiftly to the counter, behind which there stood a
shrewd-facedIsraelite,whowastheonlyoccupantoftheplace,andwhosekeen
black eyes glittered with mingled admiration and cupidity as they fastened
themselvesuponthelovelyfacebeforehim.
With an air of quiet dignity the girl lifted her glance to his, as she produced a
ticketfromthewell-wornpursewhichshecarriedinherhand.
"Ihavecome,sir,toredeemthewatchuponwhichyouloanedmethreedollars
lastweek,"sheremarked,asshelaidtheticketuponthecounterbeforehim.
"Aha! an' so, miss, you vishes to redeem de vatch!" remarked the man, with a
craftysmile,ashetookuptheticketunderpretenseofexaminingittomakesure
thatitwasthesamethathehadissuedtohertheweekprevious.


"Yes,sir."
"An'vatvillyouredeem'immit?"hepursued,withadisagreeableleer.
"Withthesameamountthatyouadvancedme,ofcourse,"gravelyrespondedthe
girl.
"Ah! ve vill zee—ve vill zee! Vhere ish de money?" and the man extended a
hugesoiledhandtoher.
"Ihaveafive-dollargold-piecehere,"shereturned,asshetookitfromherpurse
and deposited it also upon the counter; for she shrank from coming in contact
withthatrepulsive,unwashedhand.
Thepawnbrokerseizedthecoingreedily,hiseyesgleaminghungrilyatthesight
oftheyellowgold,whileheexamineditcarefullytoassurehimselfthatitwas
genuine.
"So!so!youvillvantdevatch,"heatlengthobserved,inasullentone,asifhe
did not relish the idea of returning the valuable time-piece upon which he had
advanced the paltry sum of three dollars. "Vell!" and irritably pulling out a
drawerashespoke,hedroppedthecoinintoit."Ah!"hecried,withasudden
startandanangryfrown,asitdroppedwitharingingsounduponthewood,"vat
youmean?Youwouldsheatme!—youvouldrobme!Demoneyishnotgoot—
decoinishcounterfeit!Ivillsendfordeofficer—youshallpearrested—youvon
little meek-faced robber! Ah!" he concluded, in a shrill tone of well-simulated
anger,asheshookhisfistmenacinglybeforehiscompanion.
The fair girl regarded him in frightened astonishment as he poured forth this
torrentofwrathfulabuseuponher,whileherbeautifulblueeyesdilatedandher
delicatelipsquiveredwithrepressedexcitement.
"I do not understand you!—what do you mean, sir?" she at length demanded,
whenshecouldfindvoiceforspeech.
"Youplaydeinnocenceveryvell!"hesneered;thenadded,gruffly:"Youvillnot
getdervatch,foryouhafproughtmebadmoney."
"You are mistaken, sir; I have just received that gold-piece from a respectable
lawyer,forwhomIhavebeenworkingduringtheweek,andIknowhewould
nottakeadvantageofmebypayingmewithcounterfeitmoney,"theyounggirl
explained;butshehad,nevertheless,grownverypalewhilespeaking.


"Ah!maybenot—maybenot,miss;notifheknewit,"saidthepawnbroker,now
adopting a wheedling and pitiful tone as he drew forth the shining piece and
pushed it toward her. "Somebody may haf sheeted him; but it haf not der true
ringofgold,andyou'llhaftobringmedert'reedollarssomeodertime,miss."
Thegirl'sdelicatefaceflushed,andtearssprangtohereyes.Shestoodlooking
sadlydownuponthemoneyforamoment,then,withawearysigh,replaceditin
herpurse, together withtheticket,and leftthe shopwithouta word;whilethe
tricky pawnbroker looked after her, a smile of cunning triumph wreathing his
coarselips,ashegleefullywashedhishands,behindthecounter,with"invisible
soapinimperceptiblewater."
"Oh,mamma!poormamma!whatshallIdo?"murmuredthegirl,withaheartbrokensob,asshesteppedforthuponthestreetagain."IwassohappytothinkI
hadearnedenoughtoredeemyourpreciouswatch,andalsogetsomethingnice
and nourishing for your Sunday dinner; but now—what can I do? Oh, it is
dreadfultobesopoor!"
Anothersobchokedherutterance,andtheglisteningtearsrolledthickandfast
over her cheeks; but she hurried on her way, and, after a brisk walk of ten or
fifteen minutes, turned into a side street and presently entered a dilapidatedlookinghouse.
Mounting a flight of rickety stairs, she entered a room where a dim light
revealedapaleandwastedwomanlyinguponapoorbutspotlesslycleancouch.
Theroomwasalsocleanandorderly,thoughverymeagerlyfurnished,butchill
andcheerless,fortherewasnotlifeenoughinthesmolderingemberswithinthe
stovetoimpartmuchwarmthwiththetemperatureoutsidealmostdowntozero.
"Edith,dear,Iamsogladyouhavecome,"saidafaintbutsweetvoicefromthe
bed.
"And,mamma,Inevercamehome witha sadder heart,"sighedthewearyand
almostdiscouragedgirl,asshesankuponalowchairathermother'sside.
"How so, dear?" questioned the invalid; whereupon her daughter gave an
accountofherrecentinterviewwiththepawnbroker.
"I know Mr. Bryant would never have given me the gold-piece if he had not
supposedittobeallright,forhehasbeensoverykindandconsideratetomeall
theweek,"sheremarked,inconclusion,withaslightblush."Iamsurehewould


exchangeit,evennow;buthelefttheofficeatfour,andIdonotknowwherehe
lives; so I suppose I shall have to wait until Monday; but I am terribly
disappointed about the watch, while we have neither food nor fuel to get over
Sundaywith."
Thesickwomansighedgently.Itwastheonlyformofcomplaintthatsheever
indulgedin.
"Perhapsthemoneyisnotcounterfeit,afterall,"sheremarked,afteramoment
ofthought."Perhapsthepawnbrokerdidnotwanttogiveupthewatch,andso
tookthatwaytogetridofyou.""Thatisso!howstrangethatIdidnotthinkofit
myself!" exclaimed Edith, starting eagerly to her feet, the look of
discouragementvanishingfromherlovelyface."Iwillgoaroundtothegrocery
atonce,andperhapstheywilltakethecoin.Whatacomforteryoualwaysprove
to be in times of trouble, mamma!" she added, bending down to kiss the pale
faceuponthepillow."Cheerup;wewillsoonhaveablazingfireandsomething
nicetoeat."
She again put on her jacket and hat, and drew on her gloves, preparatory to
goingforthtobreastthestormandbitingcoldoncemore.
"Icannotbeartohaveyougooutagain,"saidhermother,inananxioustone.
"Idonotminditintheleast,mamma,dear,"Edithbrightlyresponded,"ifIcan
only make you comfortable over Sunday. Next week I am to go again to Mr.
Bryant, who thinks he can give me work permanently. You should see him,
mamma," she went on, flushing again and turning slightly away from the eyes
regardinghersocuriously;"heissohandsome,socourteous,andsoverykind.
Ah! I begin to have courage once more," she concluded, with a little silvery
laugh;thenwentout,shuttingthedoorsoftlybehindher.
Halfanhourlatershereturnedwithherarmsfullofpackages,andfollowedbya
manbearingagenerousbasketfulofcoalandkindlings.
Herfacewasglowing,hereyessparkling,andshewasabewilderingvisionof
beautyandhappiness.
"Themoneywasn'tbad,afterallmamma,"shesaid,whenthemanhaddeparted;
"theydidn'tmaketheslightestobjectiontotakingitatthegrocery.Ibelieveyou
wereright,andthatthepawnbrokerdidnotwanttogiveupthewatch,sotook
that way to get rid of me. But I will have it next week, and I shall have a


policemantogowithmetogetit."
"Didyoutellthegroceranythingaboutthetroubleyouhavehad?"theinvalid
inquired.
"No, mamma; I simply offered the coin in payment for what I bought, and he
tookitwithoutaword,"Edithreplied,butflushingslightly,forshefeltatrifle
guiltyaboutpassingthemoneyafterwhathadoccurred.
"Ialmostwishyouhad,"saidhermother.
"IthoughtIwould,atfirst,but—Iknewwemusthavesomethingtoeat,andfuel
tokeepuswarmbetweennowandMonday,andsoIallowedthegrocertotakeit
upon his own responsibility," the young girl responded, with a desperate little
glitterinherlovelyeyes.
Hercompanionmadenoreply,althoughtherewasashadeofanxietyuponher
wanface.
Edith, removing her things, bustled about, and soon had a cheerful fire and an
appetizingmealprepared.
Her spirits appeared to rise with the temperature of the room, and she chatted
cheerfully while about her work, telling a number of interesting incidents that
hadoccurredinconnectionwithheremploymentduringtheweek.
"Nowcome,mamma,"sheremarked,atlength;"letmehelpyouintoyourchair
andwheelyouuptothetable,forsupperisready,andIamsureyouwillenjoy
thesedeliciousoysters,whichIhavecookedasyoulikethembest."
Mother and daughter were chatting pleasantly, enjoying their meal, when the
door of their room was thrown rudely open and two men strode into their
presence.
Edithstartedtoherfeetinmingledindignationandalarm,thengrewdeadlypale
when she observed that one of the intruders was an officer, and the other the
grocerofwhomshehadmadeherrecentpurchases.
"What is the meaning of this intrusion?" she demanded, trying in vain to keep
hertonessteadyandherheartfromsinkingwithaterribledread.
"There! Mr. Officer; that is the girl who passed the counterfeit money at my
store,"thegrocerexclaimed,hisfacecrimsonwithanger.


Edithutteredasmotheredcryofanguish,thensankweaklybackintoherchair,
as the man went forward to her side, laid his hand upon her shoulder, and
remarked:
"Youaremyprisoner,miss."


CHAPTERII.


ASTANCHFRIENDMAKESAVAINAPPEAL.
Beautiful Edith Allandale and her gentle, refined mother had been suddenly
hurledfromaffluencedownintotheverydepthsofpoverty.
Onlytwoyearsprevioustotheopeningofourstorytheworldhadbeenasbright
tothemastoanyofthepettedfavoritesoffortunewhodwellintheluxurious
palacesonFifthavenue.
AlbertAllandalehadbeenawealthybrokerinWallstreet;foryearsFortunehad
showeredherfavorsuponhim,andeverythinghehadtouchedseemedliterally
toturntogoldinhisgrasp.
Hisfamilyconsistedofhiswife,hisbeautifuldaughter,andtwobrightsons,ten
andtwelveyearsofage,uponwhomthedearesthopesofhislifehadcentered.
But like a thunderbolt out of a clear sky, an illness of less than a week had
deprivedhimofbothofhissons.
Diphtheria,thatfelldestroyer,laiditsrelentlesshanduponthem,andtheyhad
dieduponthesameday,withinafewhoursofeachother.
Theheart-brokenfatherwasachangedmanfromthemoment,when,sittingin
speechless agony beside these idolized boys, he watched their young lives go
out,andfeltthatthefutureheldnothingtotempthimtoliveon.
Hismindappearedtobeimpairedbythiscrushingblow;hecouldneithereatnor
sleep;hisbusinesswasneglected,and,daybyday,hefailed,until,inlessthan
six months from the time that death had so robbed him, he had followed his
boys, leaving his wife and lovely daughter to struggle as best they could with
poverty; for their great wealth had melted like snow beneath the blazing sun
whenMr.Allandalelosthisinterestintheaffairsoftheworld.
Keenly sensitive, and no less proud—crushed by their many sorrows, the
bereavedwifeanddaughterhidthemselvesandtheirgrieffromeveryone,ina
remote corner of the great city. But misfortune followed misfortune—Mrs.
Allandale having become a confirmed invalid—until they were reduced to the
straitsdescribedattheopeningofourstory.


Theweekprecedingtheyhadspenttheirlastdollar—obtainedbypawningone
after another of their old-time treasures—and Edith insisted upon seeking
employment.
Shehadseenanadvertisementforacopyistinoneofthedailypapers,and,upon
answering it in person, succeeded in obtaining the situation with the young
lawyeralreadymentioned.
Everydayspentinherpresenceonlyservedtomakehimadmireherthemore;
and,beforetheweekwasout,hehadaltogetherlosthishearttoher.
When Saturday evening arrived, he paid her with the golden coin which was
destinedtobringfreshsorrowuponher,andshewentoutfromhispresencewith
a strange feeling of pride and independence over the knowledge that she had
earneditwithherownhands,andhenceforthwouldbeabletoprovideforher
ownandhermother'scomfort.
ButRoyalBryanthadbeenconscience-smittenwhenhesawherbeautifulface
lightupwithmingledprideandpleasureashelaidthattinypieceofgoldinher
palm.
He would gladly have doubled the amount; but five dollars had been the sum
agreeduponforthatfirstweek'swork,andhefearedthathewouldwoundher
pridebyofferingheragratuity.
Sohehadtoldherthatshewouldbeworthmoretohimthenextweek,andthat
hewouldcontinuetoincreaseherwagesinproportionassheacquiredspeedand
proficiencyinherwork.
Thusshehadstartedforth,thatdrearySaturdaynight,withacomparativelylight
heart,toredeemherwatch,beforegoinghometotellhermotherhergoodnews.
But,alas!howdisastrouslythedayhadclosed!
"Come,miss,"impatientlyremarkedtheofficer,asshesatwithbowedhead,her
face covered with her hands, "get on your things! I've no time to be fooling
away,andmustrunyouintocampbeforeitgetsanylater."
"Oh,whatdoyoumean?"criedEdith,startingwildlytoherfeet."Whereareyou
goingtotakeme?"
"Tothestation-house,ofcourse,whereyou'llstayuntilMonday,whenyou'llbe


takentocourtforyourexamination,"wasthegruffreply.
"Oh, no! I can never spend two nights in such a place!" moaned the nearly
frantic girl, with a shiver of horror. "I have done no intentional wrong," she
continued,liftinganappealinglooktotheman'sface."Thatmoneywasgivento
meforsomeworkthatIhavebeendoingthisweek,andifanyoneisanswerable
foritbeingcounterfeit,itshouldbethepersonwhopaidittome."
"Whopaidyouthemoney?"theofficerdemanded.
"AlawyerforwhomIhavebeencopying—Mr.RoyalBryant;hisofficeisatNo.
——Broadway."
"Thenyou'llhavetoappealtohim.Butofcourseit'stoolatenowtofindhimat
hisoffice.Wheredoeshelive?"
"Idonotknow,"sighedEdith,dejectedly."Ihaveonlybeenwithhimoneweek,
anddidnotoncehearhimmentionhisresidence."
"That's a pity, miss," returned the officer, in a gentler tone, for he began to be
movedbyherbeautyanddistress.Theconditionoftheinvalid,whohadfallen
backweakandfaintinherchairwhenheentered,alsoappealedtohim.
"Unlessyoucanproveyourstorytrue,andmakeupthegrocer'slosstohim,I
shallbeobligedtolockyouuptoawaityourexamination."
Edith'sfacelightedhopefully.
"Do you mean that if I could pay Mr. Pincher I need not be arrested?" she
eagerlyinquired.
"Yes;themanonlywantshismoney."
"Then he shall have it," Edith joyfully exclaimed. "I will give him back the
changehegaveme,thenIwillgotoMr.BryantthefirstthingMondaymorning
andtellhimaboutthegold-piece,whenIamsurehewillmakeitallright,andI
canpayMr.PincherforwhatIboughtto-night."
"No, you don't, miss," here interposed the grocer himself. "I've had that game
playedonmetoomanytimesalready.You'lljustforkoverfivedollarstomethis
very night or off you go to the lock-up. I'm not going to run any risk of your
skippingoutofsightbetweennowandMonday,andleavingmeinthelurch."


"ButIhavenomoney,savethechangeyougaveme,"saidEdith,wearily."And
do you think I would wish to run away when my mother is too sick to be
moved?"sheadded,indignantly."Icouldnottakeherwithme,andIwouldnot
leaveher.Oh,praydonotforcemetogotothatdreadfulplacethisfearfulnight!
I promise that I will stay quietly here and that you shall have every penny of
yourmoneyonMondaymorning."
"Shecertainlywillkeepherword,gentlemen,"Mrs.Allandalehereinterposed,
inatremulousvoice."Donotforcehertoleaveme,forIamveryillandneed
her."
"I'm going to have my five dollars now, or to jail she will go," was the gruff
responseoftheobdurategrocer.
"Oh,Icannotgotojail!"wailedthepersecutedgirl.
Mrs. Allandale, almost unnerved by the sight of her grief, pleaded again with
pallidfaceandquiveringlipsforher.Butthemanwasrelentless.Heresolutely
turnedhisbackuponthetwodelicatewomenandwalkedfromtheroom,saying
ashewent:
"Doyourduty,Mr.Officer,andI'llbeonhandMondaymorning,incourt,totell
'emhowI'vebeenswindled."
With this he vanished, leaving the policeman no alternative but to enforce the
law.
"Oh, mamma! mamma! how can I live and suffer such shame?" cried the
despairing girl, as she sank upon her knees in front of the sick woman, and
shudderedfromheadtofootinviewofthefatebeforeher.
Mrs.Allandalewassoovercomethatshecouldnotutteronewordofcomfort.
Shewasonlyabletoliftonewastedhandandlayituponthegoldenheadwitha
touchofinfinitetenderness;then,withagasp,shefainteddeadaway.
"Oh, you have killed her!" Edith cried, in an agonized tone. "What shall I do?
HowcanIleaveher?Iwillnot.Oh!willnoonecometohelpmeinthisdreadful
emergency?"
"Sure,MissAllandale,yeknowthatKateO'Brienisalwayswillin'tolendyea
handwhenyou'reintrouble—blessyerbonnyheart!"hereinterposedaloudbut
kindlyvoice,andthenextinstantthegood-naturedfaceofabuxomIrishwoman


was thrust inside the door, which the grocer had left ajar when he went out.
"What is the matter here?" she concluded, glancing from the officer to the
senseless woman in her chair, and over whom Edith was hanging, chafing her
coldhands,whilebittertearsrolledoverherface.
A few words sufficed to explain the situation, and then the indignation of the
warm-hearteddaughterofErinblazedforthmoreforciblythanelegantly,andshe
beratedtheabsentgrocerandpresentofficerinnogentleterms.
Kate O'Brien would gladly have advanced the five dollars to the grocer, but,
unfortunately,sheherselfwasatthatmomentalmostdestituteofcash.
"Come, Miss Allandale," said the officer, somewhat impatiently, "I can't wait
anylonger."
"Oh,mamma!howcanIleaveyoulikethis?"moanedthegirl,withadespairing
glanceattheinanimatefigurewhich,asyet,hadgivennosignstoreturninglife.
"Shehasonlyfainted,mavourneen,"saidKateO'Brien,inatendertone,forshe
atlastrealizedthatitwouldbeworsethanuselesstocontendagainstthemajesty
ofthelaw."She'llsooncometohersel',andyemaysafelytrustherwidme—I'll
notlavehertillyecomebackagain."
And with this assurance, Edith was forced to be content, for she saw, by the
officer'sresoluteface,thatshecouldhopefornoreprieve.
So,withonelastagonizinglook,shepressedakissuponthepallidbrowofher
lovedone;then,againdonningherhatandshawl,shetoldthepolicemanthatshe
was ready, and went forth once more into the darkness and the pitiless storm,
feeling,almost,asifGodhimselfhadforsakenher,andwonderingifsheshould
everseeherdearmotheraliveagain.


CHAPTERIII.


THEYOUNGLAWYEREXPERIENCESTWO
EXTRAORDINARYSURPRISES.
The next morning, in the matron's room of the Thirtieth street station-house, a
visitor came to see Edith Allandale. The visitor was Kate O'Brien, who, after
announcing the condition of the prisoner's mother, declared her willingness to
aidEdithinanywayinherpower.
EdithintrustedalettertoherforMr.RoyalBryant,andearlyMondaymorning
Katewasatthelawyer'soffice,andplacedthemissiveinhishands.
The young man instantly recognized the handwriting of his fair copyist, and
flushedtohisbrowatsightofit.
"Ah!sheisillandhassentmewordthatshecannotcometotheofficeto-day!"
hesaidtohimself.
"Sitdown,madam,"hesaidtohisvisitor,andheeagerlytoreopentheletterand
readthefollowing:
"MR.BRYANT:—DearSir:—Iamsorrytohavetotellyouthatthefive-dollar
gold-piecewhichyougavemeonSaturdayeveningwasacounterfeitcoin.
I passed it at a grocery, near which I reside, in payment for necessaries
which I purchased, and, half an hour later, was arrested for the crime of
passingspuriousmoney.Icouldnotappealtoyouatthetime,forIdidnot
knowyouraddress;butnowIbegthatyouwillcometomyaidto-morrow
morning,whenIshallhavetoappearincourttoanswerthecharge,forIdo
notknowofanyoneelseuponwhomtocallinmypresentextremity.Oh,
praycomeatonce,formymotherisveryillandneedsme.
"Respectfullyyours,
"EDITHM.ALLANDALE."
Royal Bryant's face was ghastly white when he finished reading this brief
epistle.
"Goodheavens!"hemuttered,"tothinkofthatbeautifulgirlbeingarrestedand


imprisoned for such an offense! Where is Miss Allandale?" he added, aloud,
turning to Mrs. O'Brien, who had been watching him with a jealous eye ever
sinceenteringtheroom.
"IntheThirtiethstreetstation-house,sir,"shebrieflyresponded.
"Infamous!"exclaimedtheyoungman,ingreatexcitement."Andhasshebeen
inthatvileplacesinceSaturdayevening?"
"Shehas,sir;butnotwiththecommonlot;thematronhasbeenverygoodtoher,
sir,andgaveherabedinherownroom,"thewomanexplained.
"Blessed be the matron!" was Royal Bryant's inward comment. Then, turning
againtohiscompanion,heinquired.
"Whatisyourname,ifyouplease,madam?"
"KateO'Brien,atyourservice,sir."
"Thankyou;anddoyoulivenearMissAllandale?"
"Jistforninsther,sir—onthesamefloor,acrossthehall."
"She writes that her mother is very ill," proceeded the young man, referring
againtotheletter.
"Whisht,sir;thepoorlady'sdyin',sir,"saidKateinatoneofawe.
"Dying!"exclaimedRoyalBryant,aghast.
"Yes, sir; she has consumption; and just afther the officer—bad luck to 'im!—
tooktheyoungladyaway,shehadabadcoughin'spell,andburstablood-vessel,
andshehasbeenfailin'eversince,"thewomanexplained,withtremblinglips.
"WhoiswithMrs.Allandalenow?"questionedMr.Bryant,withalookofdeep
anxiety.
"Thedocthor,sir;hepromisedtostaywidhertillIcomeback."
"Well,then,Mrs.O'Brien,ifyouwillbegoodenoughtohurrybackandcarefor
Mrs.Allandale,Iwillgoatoncetoherdaughter;andIamverysurethatIcan
secureherreleasewithinashorttime.Tellhermotherso,andthatIwillsendher
homeimmediatelyuponherrelease."


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