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"First Violets"

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"First Violets" - (Written for the BUr. II I. n THAT OVEBCOMKTH....
(Written for the BUr. II I. n THAT OVEBCOMKTH. BY H. HAYWARD. 4 v . (;. that overcometh will I rrnt to sit if.M m in mv throne, even aa I alo overcome, and am 8t down with my Father in his throne. -Kiv 8:81. From this promise oJinlrinjr What a radiant hope In cant, 0.8 it cheers, us throuph the conflict By the thought of rest at last ; For when life's great work Is ended. And its Journey all Is o'er, Then for "him that overcoruetb" There'N a glorious rest In store. And Christ's weary, waiting children. Keeping now that rest In sight. Longing, earnest to posses It, Stand up bravely mind the flprht; Kortheir leader Journeys with thezn, And his banner o'er them waves, They trust in His love and guidance. Knowing those Be loves He saves. The reward and glorious resting They who "overcome ' shall know, Will repay for all their trials While they Journey here below ; For the promlBe still asHiires us, When the mortal is laid down, There's for "Mm that overcotneth." A stat with Jesus in his throne. First Violets. RY BERTHA M. (LAY. Author of "Dora Thome ," "Thrown on the World," "Thf lhikt'ti Secret etx., etc CHAPTER I. They look withered and dried, these two little bouquets of violets; still there is attached to them the history of a love and a life. They were purple once, and glistened with fresh dewdrops; the sweetest fragrance hung around them, and the fairest bloom was upon them. Vow, faded and dead, they still tell me the old story, fresh as though I had only known it yesterday. My girlhood p issed happily enough under my parents' roof. I was one of a large fjuuili' fatherJthough not a rich man, had an income sufficient to maintain us in the greatest comfort. Our home was in Ilendlcy, a small market town in one of the midland counties. As is usual in small market towns, every one knew every body else; and a stranger visiting the place was omsidero.d as a person of the greatest importance. Invitations on such occasions were issued with great state and regularity. The fortunate visitor had always a set number of dinners, teas, and evening parlies to go through. The family entertaining a guest led for a time the festivities and fashions of the town, and only returned to their original position when the stranger departed. In spite of its eccentricities, Ilendlcy was a charming place, and no one ever left it without feeling a strong desire to return, We were a warm-hearted, hospitable people, though we indulged in a little scandal amongst ourselves at select tea-parties. Do not judge us harshly; there was no railway, witli its hourly deposits of passengers and luggage, and no telegraphs to excite us with startling messages; no "Mudic's" to give us food for thought or conversation; and the one library in the town had no fictions more modern than Miss Barney's. In this state of things can it he wondered that the fact of Miss Smith having actually been seen flirting and laughing with Dr. Jones, gave a Wist and piquancy to our gossip? After all, our scandal was of the mildest kind; it might bo that Miss Lawsrn had dyed her silk dress, or the Kobinsons had a hot meat supper every night, or Mrs. Clarke had another new bonnet; we seldom accused each other of worst1 crimes than these. We had one very good day-school, fonductod by i clover and intelligent lady. After attending this for some years, tho general plan adopted by parents was to send their children for a year or two to some school at adistance; , their education was then considered as complete. I had been no exception to the common rule, and at the age of eighteen. I returned home, life all before mo, and from that time my story dates. As I write this, there grow s upon me tho picture of a bright, young face, with dark, fearless eyes, a noble head, proudly set, and covered with a mass of golden ' curls. It is the portrait of my boy-lover, Charley Vane, when we were children; and I remember his taking me by the hand to and from school, carrying my books and slates, and getting up the most alarming skirmishes with any other little hoy who presumed to address me. "You are to be my wife, JLaura," he would say, "and I do not choose for j those boys to talk to you." One thing I remember now with in- finite amusement, when he was young, Charley always wore one of the Scotch caps, witli a silver thh.tle in front; every time he left me, or saw me, the cap was raised. :.nd Charley's golden head bowed as deferentially as though I were an empress. I can never remember the timo when we did not love each other. We grew from childhood to youth. 1 In-come a young lady, whose education was said to lie finished; and Charley having won tnf highest prizes in the collegiate school of the neighoring town, began to .study medicine. He had decided to follow his father's example, and become ''The doctor of IlendleyV' I do not remember now that, in our long walks and conversations, we ever spoke of love. It seemed to Ik; an understood tiling; in all pic-nics, dances, parties, I was. by some natural arrangement, Charley's partner. It wasa pretty idyl, but the tragic part had yet to come. One beautiful afternoon in the early spring I sat dreaming at the drawing-room window. I remember the whole scene, us though it had happened only yesterday. The sun wasshining brightly and the air was soft and balmy. I was watching the snowdrops and spring llowersT)looniing in the garden, and thinking, (ah who can write the myriad thoughts of the young girl, when spring tide inspires them!) when one of my little sisters ran into the room, crying out "Laura, lien; is a note from Mr. Vane! The man is waiting for an answer." It contained these few lines: "Peak LaYka. Will you join us in a walk to Ilillington Hough? We are going to look for some first violets. We will call for you at two." I smiled hiiprniy to myself as I pictured going this bright sunny day witli Charley. I knew the fields we must cross, and the woods we should pass, and I ran away witli a heart as happi-fiufccouM make it, to dress myself for tht; expedition. Of course I stood still for a few moments to ponder upon what I should wear. Some strange fatality led me to select a black lace shawl and a pretty white bonnet, of which I was proud. What sorrow has not that I choice of a toilette cost me! We, were a merry party; Charley Vane's two sisters were there, and his cousin, who was supposed to admire Miss Vane exceedingly. Two or three other young friends joined us. Charley offered me his arm. and we walked slowly, for we were talking earnestly; the others were all before us. We came, at last to my favorite nook; I see it now in my dreams. It was an old-fashioned stile, standing underneath the shade of two very large trees; a pool of clear, deep water lay near it; the fields all around were like a green sea studded with gold; in the distance were the dark woods of Burdalc. The brandies of the trees met, and formed a most beautiful arch. I never saw a more lovely picture than this scene presented in the Slimmer time. The golden sunshine, the green trees, the clear water, and the iiumberous wild llowers that filled the air with their fragrance, all combined to produce a fairyland. This was my favorite walk. The stile was low, and I used to sit upon it while Charley, leaning against the trunk of the tree, made cowslip balls and woodbine wreaths for inc. It was there we used to linger to talk, for Charley was clever and intellectual, and delighted in teaching me all that he learned himself. The happiest hours of mv life have been spent at that old stile. We stayed there as usual; I sat down upon the stile, and Charley stood with one elbow leaning unon it. We were. greatly to our own satisfaction, engaged in making it grand ciassiiication oi poets, musicians, and painters. How ' well I remeinixT Charley's bright,! glowing face! Once 'or tw ice 1 found myself admiring it sn-TOiich, that I forgot what he was paying. Ah, ine! it was long before I saw that same face 1 so bright and hajljw again. Suddenly, j upon the brow of tbcjliill, I saw two or three people; they were evidently coming to join us. "Charley!" I cried, (most irreverently . interrupting a learned dissertation on the mental assimilation of Beethoven mwl f?nettip ''wtin uro tlirwu l;ulii.' They are coming to speak to us." "I quite forgot, Laura," said he. "How stupid 1 am! It was Valentine Hurst and his sisters who proposed this violet hunt. They have a visitbr at. their house, a Miss Grayson, said to be a beautiftil Londdn belle, and they wish to show her the wonders of Hendley." "Do they really think," said I, "that a fashionable London lady cares for first violets as much as we do?" "It is ;i change for her." replied ( 'liar-ley; ''one cannot always live in a hotbed of fashion. Nee, they are lu re! Mrs. Ilusst will introduce you to In t." There stood before nie a beautiful girl about my own height; and. strange to say, she wore, as I did, a Mack lace shaw l and a w hite bonnet. The similarity in our dross struck me at once. She gave me a sweet, cordial smile, and held out her hand. '"Oh, I am so glad to meet mt. Miss Villars," she said. "Mrs. Hurst has spoken so muck of you." She had, indeed, a lovely face, and a bright, sunny smile. I could delect no trace of the fashionable lady in her. She seemed delighted at the prospect of gathering violets, ami the excitement of having to search for them added to the pleasure. Ilillington Rough was celebrated for its violets; they bloomed there long before they were to be found in any other place. It was considered amongst us something worthy of note to discover the first; and (o present any one with those first gathered, was equivalent to any amount of Iceland ions. We went on throughthe fields and by the woods, Charley the life of the parly; I walked charmed by every word, at his side. When we reached the green hillock, known by the name of Ilillington Hough, we separated, each to search in his or her own way. "Charley,'' said Valentine Hurst, "I challenge you. I will wager anything not very considerable that I discover the first violets." "That you shall not do if I can prevent it," said Charley, "for 1 want them particularly myself." "What for, Charley?" said Valentine. "Excuse the question." "I can tell you!" cried Minna Hurst; "it is, that he may give them to the lady he loves best." "Itisjust so, replied Charley, a bright flush crimsoning his fair, young face; 'they are Idling emblems," he continued; imitating her accent, "of the l.idy I love best ." Miss Grayson smiled at his reply , anil then we all dispersed in different directions. Charlev and I walked down the hill together. "What do you think of Miss Grajson, Charley?" I asked. "She is very beautiful," he replied, "and emiabla, I should imagine, from the sweet expression of Iter eyes and lilts." I felt hardly pleased at his very energetic reply. I think I did not care to know that he had taken so much notice of the stranger. A glimpse of something purple, half hidden in the green grass, drew me from my companion's side. I, too, had my reasons, for wishing to discover the iirst violets. There they were, so modest and so lovely, fragrant, and sweel; 1 gathered them eagerly, and wandered away with my prize. At the end of Ilillington Rough there stands cluster of old trees. It was under their shade we met and rested when our task was accomplished. I was walking slowly to our rendezvous, when I saw Miss Grayson come from the fields on the other side of the hill, and stand to rest beneath the trees. I was going quickly to join her, to show my treasure, and examine hers, when I saw Charley with a beautiful bouquet of violets, most tastefully arranged in their dark green leaves, rapidly approaching her. I was then near enough to distinguish every word, though unseen by either. Miss Grayson was standing, looking at Burdale woods, so that Charley could not nee Iter fuooi "See!" said he, going up to her, "I have won my wager. These an; the first violets, and I hasten to give litem to you." ... . . She turned round hastily, and with a look of genuine surprise, took the flowers front his hand. I saw him start, and utter some exclamation, but I waited for no more. My heart had died within me. Charley had said he wanted to give the violets to the lady he loved best, and he had offered them to Miss Grayscm! It seemed to -me that I had lived many hours in the few moments that followed. Iliad been so sure of Charley's love, that it had never entered my wildest dreams that he could care for any one else. Then I remembered that, though we were always together, and had lieen little sweethearts as far .back as my memory could carry me, yet Charley had never spoken to me of love or marriage. "Ah!" thought I, in the sorrow and ' wtternessof my heart, "he has known ne all these vcars, and now this loauti- st ranger has come, w ith her sweet nilc, and has taken his heart from All the brightness seemed gone from le sunshine; listlessly the flowers I tad gathered fell from mv grasp. I sat down on the grass, and covered my face with my hands. Hot, hitter tears, fell from my eyes. I was lost in the first real sorrow I had ever known. I was already in a new world. "Miss Villars," suddenly a voice called near me, "I beg jour pardon for disturbing yon. Are you ill? 1 have been standing here for some time, but you did not hear me." "No, did not hear you, Mr. Hurst ," Ir plied w ithout moving; I am tired, want to rest a few minutes before we w alk home." "1 have ventured to bring you these violets,'' he continued, sttindown beside me; " will you accept them? They mean much more than I dare to express." I knew that the face I lifled to him in reply was pale and quivering, and that the lea is were still raining down my cheek; but I wits not prepared for genuine s'.are of surprise and the look ol decpanviety with which he regarded inc. "Laura,'' he ctied, "are you in trouble? Can I help joii? I will do anything on earth for you." "lam tired and faint with tint long walk." I replied. "If you really w ish to lie of scrvie-.' to me, remain here quietly until I feel better. Say nothing of my illness, iiinl hen arrange forme to return home with your sisters." "But Charley is looking for you," he said, with a wondering look in his frank face. "You arc Mistaken," said I; "he is otherwise enjaged." Valentine wisely made no reply'; Jfc'rhaps he, thought that it was merely a lover's quarrel. Ilow could he tell that Charley was taken from me by the charms of a hciut iful face? He began to speak to meof indifferent subjects, and gradually jitcivsted me in his conversation. Then lie asked me if I Would accept his vioh'.s, for he had arranged them for me. It soothed my vounded prideand love to find thai some out! had remembered me. The beautiltil fresh face had not caused Valentine, '.o forget, me. I took tht; violets, and hdd them" carefully in my hand. As I dhl so, 1 noticed a look of triumph on hi luce. "Do you feel now?" he asked. "Yes, I am real 7 to go home," I replied. "I su our friends are assembling: wo will join Hem." "Let me persmtdc you to take my arm," said Valentine. "You do not look well." I did not feel well either; that was the first storm of sorrow or passion that had ever passed over me. My life had hitherto been as tranquil and calm as a summer's day. For one short hour the love that had for so many years lain dormant in my heart seemed to have sprung into life, only to die in the same moments it began live. While Valuntine was talking to mo, my thoughts were in avhirl, my heart in a tumult of agitation. I tried to look and feel myself, for we were the last of the party; they were wailing for us. How idle ami tiresome it all seemed to me, the little incidonls'cach one had to relate, the exclamations of delight over each fragrant bouquet. "Miss Grayson," said Minna Hurst, "I must compliment you; your violets are by far the most beautiful and the ljest.:Lrr:iiifrP(." She smiled assent, and some one else cried out, "I think Uaura's tire quite its nice." "Valentine gave me these," I replied, with :i look of defiance at Charley. I w ished him to see that every one had not laid his ofTering before the London belle. Charley looked at me, with, both surprise and sorrow in his f;icc. He came to me, and said, "Will you allow me to be yourvcscort? We have along walk, and you look tired." "Miss Villars has promised me, that pleasure," said Valentine, before I had lime to answer. Charley made no reply he looked gravely at us, aftd then raising his hat in that manner so peculiarly his own left us. How that familiar gesture went to my heart! Then I saw him join Miss Grayson, and they, returned together by the same way that, a few hours ljefore, Charley and I had trod, I with a heart light and gay, he with his til face and voice both full of unspoken love. How changed it all seemed! I was indeed in a new world, a world in which there was no Charley Vane. There was no lingering now by the old stile. I saw him helping Miss Grayson to get over it. He never looked back forme. Then my attention was drawn to an animated dialogue going on near me between Miss Hurst and her cousin. The frequent repetition of my own name drew my thoughts to the speakers. "Mr. Vane seems certainly captivated by Miss Grayson," was. Miss Hurst's comment . "I thought lliat he was engaged to Laura Villars." said her cousin. "They are always together." "Oh no," replied Miss Hurst, -"nothing of the kind. Those childish nidations seldom come to anyting. Thej have been like brother ami .sister ever since they were babies. I never knew .stichfriondshipasthat end in marriage." Her cousin w hispered something, and she blushed and smiled. "Thill isadilVereut case." she replied. "I am glad," she continued, "that Charley Vane seems likely to fall in love seriously at last; it will give Valentine, a chance." "A chance of what?" said her cousin. "You are speaking mysteriously this afternoon." . "Well, I will tell you the secret," she replied, "for I know you will never betray it. My brother Val has loed Laura Villars all his life. We all know it, poor boy; but he seldom, if ever, finds it chance of speaking to her. 'barley Vane haunts her like a shadow." "Then he must love her too," said the young man. "No, I do not think so," was the reply; "not in the same way poor Val does. Charley and Laura are inseparable, because from childhood they have had the habit of companionship. It is custom, not love, that brings thelit together. That will not prevent, either of them from falling in love when the right person comes." 'I hope, for Valentine's sake, you are right," said her cousin. "I am quite .sure of it," she replied. "I notice something, too, which struck mi that was, thai Mr, Vane gave Miss Grayson the violets he had taken such pains to arrange." Then the. speakers passed on, too much engrossed in their ow n conversation to remark how near Valentine and I were to them. I looked at him not one wind ol this discourse had reached him. His frank open face was in a glow of delight. It struck nie then ! that, though we had known each other so many years, yet this was the first time I had ever walked home by the side of Valentine Hurst. It was a new revelation to find beloved me. I hail never given many thoughts to him. Charley Vane had been the centre of my litHo world. I was more bewildered thai: ever. It seemed to me as though I bad lost a great treasure, and found another that I did not care to possess; for t hough I was but young, and bad all my life In-fore me, I thought it then impossible that I could ever love or care, for any one save my old friend. ' We all called in at Mrs. Hurst's. There had been great preparations for tea, and we were compelled to .stay. It was arranged that we should have a dance afterwards. To me the evening was one long, bewildered dream. My pride was all in arms; my one effort the only one I was conscious of making was to keep as far away as I could from Charley Vane. The only thing J remember distinctly was, as I walked down the hall, cloaked and hooded, for going iiome, thai i iron upon something soft. I stooped to raise it, and found it was the bouquet of violets that Charley had given to Miss Grayson. L'vidently she had not treasured it much. I hid it in my dress. What bitter tears I shed that night over it, hot enough to have-killed the poor llowers a hundred times! I lay all night with it on my pillow; and when morning came, I locked it carefully away, here; when! it hits lain ever since. That was nearly twenty years ago. to bk continukoJ Mothms DoN t Know How ninDy ohil dreu are puuiubed for bttiug uucoutb, wilful, and Indifferent to iiintructioii or re-wardH, limply because they are out of health! Ad iutrlllgeut lady mtid of a child of this kind: ' Mothi-rs should know tbut if they would give tbe littltoueu moderate dosee of Hop Bitters for two or tbree weeka, the children would all a parent could desire." If he of of of is rapidly it upon It as as in all

Clipped from The Weekly Star, 01 Dec 1881, Thu,  Page 1

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