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The Girl's Own Paper, Vol. XX. No. 999, February 18, 1899

The Girl's Own Paper, Vol. XX. No. 999, February 18, 1899
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Author: Various
Title: The Girl's Own Paper, Vol. XX. No. 999, February 18, 1899
Release Date: 2019-02-24
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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LINNÆA; THE STORY OF A FRIENDSHIP.

“‘GIRLS, I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY TO YOU IF YOU WILL LISTEN.’”

All rights reserved.]

CHAPTER IV.

“Life with its narrow round
Day after day
Widened and perfected
By one sweet ray.”

Next evening the girls were gathered as usualin the small schoolroom. They were allowedan hour to themselves after preparation andbefore prayers. This was their own hour, andmany and various were the occupations andrecreations indulged in then. There was atiny room adjoining the schoolroom, wherenow and then a studious pupil would goat this hour to continue study. To-night itwas occupied by Linnæa alone. Throughoutthe day her set, white face had kept all at adistance; no one dared address her, indeed,no one had anything to say that would softenthe blow of yesterday’s revelation, no excuseto offer, no explanation to make.

The face which had been changing intosomething almost attractive during the lastweek, had again undergone a complete change—butwas it back to the old indifference?No—something had been aroused that wouldnever again lie dormant—if she could not love,then she would hate, and the glitter in hereyes showed only too plainly that hatred hadtaken the place of dawning love.

Gwendoline was not of their number thatnight. She too was changed; so muchchanged as to be almost unrecognisable. She,the queen of the school, whose will was law,and whose opinion was sought upon everyquestion, had been to-day the quietest andmost subdued of them all.

Things had not turned out as the girls had{322}anticipated. They had expected that in alittle while Gwendoline would call upon themto acknowledge how well she had succeededin her undertaking—as she had indeed beensuccessful, far above the expectations of anyof them. They had had vague ideas thatLinnæa would then be gradually allowed todrop, would sink back into her old insignificance,and would be again a figure in thebackground, as she had been before theadvent of Gwendoline.

As they sat at their various occupations—lesstalkative than usual—Gwendoline entered.

After glancing round the room as if tosatisfy herself as to which girls were present,she said—

“Girls, I have something to say to you ifyou will listen.”

Immediate silence followed. What wasshe about to say? Would it be aboutLinnæa? They knew Linnæa was in theadjoining room and the dividing door washalf open; would it not be better to tellGwendoline? But, after all, what could shesay that would be worse than Linnæa hadalready heard? Before anyone had spoken,Gwendoline began.

“You all heard my foolish vow ten daysago. Perhaps you think I have been actingall this time and have only been drawingLinnæa on to make my poor, mean triumph;but I have not. Oh, no, I have not! Almostfrom the first night I saw her I have lovedher, and I love her now passionately. Iwanted you to know it, so that you mightforget my silly words. I did not know howmuch I loved her until her love was removed—andjustly—it was right she should know ithad been begun under false pretences.”

Was that tears they saw—the haughtyGwendoline in tears?

Yes, tears had begun to trickle down hercheeks, and it was in a broken voice shecontinued appealingly—

“She would not believe me now, althoughI were to tell her I loved her. Could none ofyou make her believe? I cannot bear her tohate me like this!”

Before anyone could speak, the door betweenthe rooms was opened and a figure appeared.It was Linnæa. Her face was radiant and herarms outstretched. Gwendoline looked up,saw her, ran to her, and was clasped in thewelcoming arms.

Onlookers were forgotten in that closeembrace—words were needless at thatmoment.

Linnæa drew Gwendoline into the littleroom, and one of the girls consideratelyclosed the door. For a few moments neitherspoke, but each held the other as if at anymoment someone might come to separatethem. By-and-by Gwendoline said, in avoice quite unlike her usual clear tones—

“Why don’t you hate me instead oftreating me like this? You told me youhated and despised me, and I deserve thatyou should.”

“That was before I knew you loved me atall, dear. What do I care how it was begun,so that you love me now! That is enoughfor me. Do you know,” she continued,after a pause, “I said I hated you, and Ithought so; but now I am not sure that I didall the time. I hated myself, hated the othergirls, hated even the teachers; but I amalmost convinced I have never hated you!”

Two months passed after that—two happymonths for Linnæa and Gwendoline, happy intheir mutual friendship—and the summervacation drew near.

About this time the dream Linnæa haddreamt the first night she saw Gwendolinecame true. Her parents wrote to her that ifshe wished she might come home next autumn,but if she preferred to remain at school anotheryear she might do so. Then Linnæa—shewho had looked forward all her life to thetime when she would be allowed to go home—wroteand told them she would stay anotheryear.

And the Linnæa that went to India at theend of that time was very different from theone that would have gone had the hiddenlove in her nature not been called forth byGwendoline. Sometimes her schoolfellowsand teachers had hard work to believe shecould be the same person. She would neverbe what the world calls beautiful, but therewas a sweet, refined expression about the facewhich now attracted, where formerly it hadrepelled.

Linnæa, as I say, was improved beyondrecognition; but Gwendoline also was altered,and entirely for the better. Her will—strongas ever—was exerted in a quieter and lessarbitrary manner than formerly. Her influencewas still as great over those with whom shecame in contact; but she had had a lessonshe would not easily forget, and the girl whohad been in danger of growing up a heartlessand cruel flirt, ambitious to draw men to herfeet and wreck their happiness, developedinto a pure and noble woman whose powersof fascination were only used to influenceothers for good, and to induce those of weakerwill to follow in her footsteps.

The rare friendship, begun in such anextraordinary way, did not end with schoollife, but continued, beautifying and enrichingthe lives of both throughout well-nigh fiftyyears.

Frances Leamington.


A DREAM OF FAIR SERVICE.

By C. A. MACIRONE.

CHAPTER II.

DOMESTIC SERVICE.

T

he dream curtainswere closed indarkness, butI saw thewhite wings ofthe angelsshining aboveme, and Iheard a softthrilling voicespeaking,and saying,“Will you seemore?”

“If I may,” I said as I knelt. “I deservenothing, but grant to me the honour ofrecording such deeds as these, that the memoryof them may touch nobler hearts and strongerpens to carry on the stimulus of such examplesand arouse others to like actions.”

The curtains slowly rose, and I saw a poorcottage in France, in a wide open country,long rows of poplars along straight roadsgoing off into the distance—it was a disturbedcountry—time of the Revolution. I saw a poorman like his and our Master also a carpenter—likeHim. He had been fostered and educatedby the care and at the cost of a kind lord. Oneday in those troubled years, he saw standingat the door of his cottage his lord, with threelittle motherless children, fugitives and outcasts.The little fair Angélique of five years,Josephine of only four, and the little CountLouis, scarcely a year old. The Count wasforced to fly from the country (it was for hislife), and there was no living soul but AlexandreMartin to whom he could trust his children.So much of the family distress was known toMartin that he did not wonder there was nomention of any possible repayment, and hehad three children of his own, and onlyone, was old enough to help. But in thatpoor home the lord’s children must finda home of love and reverence, and all whocould work worked doubly hard, day andoften night, that the children might beserved and treated as their faithful loyaltyinspired.

I saw the table of the Chief’s children servedaccording to their rank; they were seated attable where white bread was given them, andAlexandre waited on them as respectfully asif they had been in their own castle—alas!destroyed—while his children had the scantybrown bread of the country and they wore theirpoor coarse clothes to rags, whereas the youngd’Aubespinés were dressed neatly. And thecarpenter’s family slept on the floor that thelord’s children might enjoy the only beds thepoor home could furnish.

“And all for love and nothing for reward.”

Like other great and noble actions, it wasall carried out perfectly simply from thegrateful loyalty of the family towards theirmaster’s grandchildren. As time went on twonoble ladies of Chartres took charge of theyoung girls as they grew up, and the youngCount was, as he grew older, educated at afoundation endowed by his great ancestorSully at Nogent-le-Rotrou.[1]

Years passed by, and I saw a great meetingof the Academy in Paris where the youngCount and Alexandre Martin were present, andheard a voice which said—

“Martin, your task is over, you have deservedwell from all good men. You have shown ourage a sight only too rare—gratitude, fidelity,respect. And you, Louis d’Aubespiné, sinceyou are present at this solemnity, may it makea deep and lasting impression on your youngheart. You are entering life, as persons arenow and then forced to appear on a later age,with all eyes upon you. Learn that the firstof earthly blessings is to be honoured by one’scountry, and pray the God who has watchedover your infancy to enable you to win thatblessing that depends on ourselves and that noevent can rob us of. One day you will be toldthat illustrious blood flows in your veins, butnever forget that you must trace your line asfar back as Sully before you find a nameworthy to stand beside that of Martin. Growup, then, to show yourself worthy of thememory of your ancestor, the devotion of yourbenefactor, and the patronage of the King!”

And then the vision faded, the crowdedaudience disappeared and the only figure leftradiant, as the curtains of my dream closed,was that of the French peasant—the Carpenter—theredresser of one of the mighty wrongsof the French Revolution.

(To be continued.)


{323}

“OUR HERO.”

A TALE OF THE FRANCO-ENGLISH WAR NINETY YEARS AGO.

By AGNES GIBERNE, Author of “Sun, Moon and Stars,” “The Girl at the Dower House,” etc.

CHAPTER XXI.

IN VIEW OF CAPTAIN PEIRCE.

"A

s prodigious an admireras ever of Sir JohnMoore, Jack?”

“’Tis not my mode,Molly, to admire a man one week, andto cast him overboard the next!”

“And if ever so be that Sir John hieshim to the Indies, sure you would be seton going too?”

Jack was not so quick in response asMolly expected. Would he, or wouldhe not? He could not feel quite sureeither way. Wherever Sir John mightbe, there no doubt Jack would wish tobe also; yet it lay within the limits ofpossibility that he might still morestrongly desire to be somewhere else.India in those days lay very far distant.Miles are miles in these days as inthose, but actual distance is greatlydiminished. A man writing from Indiato his friends in England may now lookfor a reply in six or seven weeks; butthen he could not look for a reply in lessthan as many months.

Jack felt that such a separation frompeople at home—from Molly in particular—wouldbe serious. He had not thusfar gauged his state of mind critically.He was not in love with anybody; hehad no particular wish to marry anybody—sohe would have said. Jack stillcounted himself exclusively in love withhis profession. He looked upon Mollyas his particular friend—as the beingbeyond all others

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