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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 287 pages of information about Bart Ridgeley.

CHAPTER XXXVIII.

THE OLD STORY OVER AGAIN.

“Mr. Ridgeley,” asked Miss Giddings, “what is this delightful little romance about the rich Judge’s beautiful daughter, and the chivalrous young law student?  I declare, if it does not bring back the days of knight-errantry, and makes me believe in love and heroism.”  It was one evening at her father’s where Bart had called with his newly found sister Ida, to whom he was quite attentive.

The young man looked annoyed in spite of his good breeding.  “Has he told you the story?”—­to Miss Aikens.

“Not a word of it,” said the latter.  “You know,” she then said to Miss Giddings, “that some things so pleasant to hear may not be pleasant for a party concerned to tell about.”

“Forgive me, Mr. Ridgeley.  It never occurred to me that this could be of that sort, but as it was so delightful as told to me, I wanted to know if it was an actual occurrence, in this humdrum world.”

“I suppose,” said Ida, “that a great many beautiful and heroic events are very prosy and painful to the actors therein, and they never dream the world will give them the gloss of romance.”

“Ladies,” said the young man, with a gay and mocking air, “hear the romance of the Judge’s daughter, and the poor student—­certainly a very poor student.  There was a rich, powerful and proud Judge; he had an only daughter, more beautiful than a painter’s dream, and proud as a princess born.  In the neighborhood was a poor and idle youth, who had been the Judge’s secretary, and had been dismissed, and who loved the proud and beautiful maiden, as idle and foolish youths sometimes do.  The beautiful maiden scorned him with a scorn that banished him from her sight, for he was prouder than Judge and daughter, both.  While disporting with her damsels among the spring flowers in the forest, one day, the beautiful maiden wandered away and became lost in the heart of an interminable wood, more wild and lonely than that which swallowed up the babes of the old ballad.  Day passed and night came, and in its bosom was hidden a fierce tempest of wind and hail and snow.  The poor maiden wandered on, and on, and on, until she came upon the banks of a dart, cold river; wild and lost amid tempest and storm, she wandered down its banks, until, in despair, chilled and benumbed without heart or hope, she laid her down to die, and the pure snow covered her.  Her father, the proud Judge, and his friends, were searching for her miles away.

“A little boy told the story to the poor student, who hurried into the forest, and under the inspiration of his scorned love, ran and ran until he found the swooning maiden under the snow, took her up in his arms, placed his garments upon her, and bore her through the cold and rapid stream, found a shelter under the rocks on the other side, kindled a fire, gave the maiden, proud no longer, a cordial, warmed and restored

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