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- A Heart-Song of To-day - 67/67 -

unsteady of gait; Melty stoops to conquer the gold, picks up a shower- stick to get it from a corner, knocks with one end the lamp out of the shaky hand of the maid."

"Jove, what a blaze!" exclaimed Everly, who had been alternately flattening his nasal organ against the window pane, or gazing around at Vaura, who, at his last words, starts to a sitting posture, and says, controlling herself to speak calmly:--"

"I am going down stairs at once; what a terrific blaze. Are you coming, Blanche, or Sir Tilton?"

"Yes, yes; come, Blanche."

"I wonder what is known by the guests and household, and if Sir Lionel has had them pursued?" cried Vaura brokenly, as they rapidly descend the stairs.

"Some of the men In the house guessed what Delrose's game was," said Everly, "and we thought the only women in the secret were Mrs. Meltonbury and Mason, the maid, but Blanche seems to have been aware of their plot."

"I am surprised at you, Blanche, seeming to be _au fait_ in the matter, and keeping it secret; but I forget, you thought it best they should fly."

"Yes, it was for the best, Miss Vernon, and the small white mouse can keep dark when she chooses; the tongues of the other women were bought," she said cunningly.

"Yes, tied by a gold bit. Sir Tilton, you are tied to a born detective, said Vaura.

"He is," says the wee creature laconically.

Here they meet Trevalyon, out of breath and racing up for Vaura.

"How do you feel now, darling?" he says pantingly.

"Rest a minute, Lion, you are out of breath; Sir Tilton, kindly open that casement."

"There is no way of opening this one; bad fix. Trevalyon is very short of breath."

"Unloose his collar," she said hastily, and taking a diamond solitaire off her finger, handing it to Everly, said quickly, "cut the pane."

Trevalyon had sank on to a step; Vaura drew his head to her knee while Blanche held her vinaigrette to his nose; in a minute or two his breathing came naturally and he said:

"Too bad to have frightened you, darling, and you too Lady Everly, but really, it was scarcely my fault," with a half smile, "you must blame the stairs, they seemed all at once to become too cramped and stifling. Ah! I thank you Everly, that air is refreshing; I am quite myself again," and he would have stood up.

"No, no; rest a minute," said Vaura gently.

"Yes, sit still; you are our patient, and all the patience we have till we hear from you all about Melty's fire-works," said Blanche eagerly.

"Rather Lucifer's bonfire over the old Adam in that woman," said Vaura, contemptuously.

"Clayton was dreadfully shocked when I told him, and we decided not to name their flight until to-morrow; he and I, with my man and the butler (trump of an old fellow he is), fairly ran to Rose Cottage and succeeded in getting out, unharmed, Mrs. Meltonbury and a maid; we sent my man to the village to hurry up the firemen, and then I flew back to you, dearest, knowing you would be anxious as to your uncle. I left him looking more like himself than I have seen him for years, quietly talking to Lady Esmondet and Mrs. Claxton; in my haste to be with you I out-ran breath and then had to wait her pleasure to catch up to me. No fear of the revellers suspecting anything; the ball is at its height and the hells were not rung. They took the midnight express through to Liverpool; thence they sail to New York."

"Did you compel Melty to own up to that much?" said the little detective, her tiny, white race full of interest.

"We did; and pursuit would he useless."

"When a Haughton weds and is dishonoured, divorce, not pursuit, will lie his action," said Vaura, her beautiful head erect; and now for our revenge, a sweeter strain than that of grief; we shall descend and so cover their retreat by our sparkling wit, and gay smiles, that they shall not be missed."

"Mrs. Haughton would get left anyway," said Blanche; "for the crowd all want to stare at you."

"Flashes of light and warm tints in a golden summer sky versus evening in her red robes sinking to the west," said Trevalyon, pressing Vaura to his side as they follow their companions.

"One for you, Sir Lionel," cried _la petite_ looking over her shoulder.

And Lionel bends his handsome head down to the fair woman whose face is unturned to his. He says, whisperingly, while his face is illumined with happiness.

"A few days, beloved, and then we shall lead, till I weary my wife with the intensity of my love, the life of the lotus-eaters."

"Yes, my own tired love, yes; our home, until our world bids us forth, shall be a very 'castle of indolence,' 'a pleasing land of drowsy head, 'twill be of dreams that wave before our half-closed eyes, and of gay castles in the clouds that _pass_ forever flashing round our summer sky.'"

And the large dark eyes are full of love's warm light, as the ayren voice dies away to a murmur.


A Heart-Song of To-day - 67/67

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