As she is sitting beside the lifeless remains of one who had filled such an important part in her history—a striking illustration of life in its varied forms of existence—its joys—its sorrows—its longings—its aspirations—its dreams—let us look upon her as one of the many purified through much suffering—whose faith will meet its recompense.
Reader, we will ask you to follow us as we pass over a period of two years—two long years. The task imposed is an arduous one, yet, we shrink not. All former friends must be searched out, and once more introduced. Be not impatient if we do not succeed in the direct order of your wishes. In the uncertain distance faint echoes are already heard between intervals of solemn thoughts, while the name of Rosamond strikes upon our ear and vibrates within us as though the influence of myriads of spirits had woven around a deep subtle spell from which we cannot force ourselves. In truth, you have won us—your point is gained.
Now to your relief. Bereford Castle stands in its grandeur and beauty with not an object near to mar the effect. Its stoical exterior bears no impress of the loss sustained in the heir and son. Menacingly it frowns upon those scenes which recall the realities of life. Amid storm, sunshine, sickness and death, its aspect is unchanged—true type of its age, order and design. On entrance, the interior is calm, quiet and inviting. Daily contact with the inmates has had a soothing effect. Look around. In the spacious drawing room, opening upon the garden, is the family occupied in different ways. Lord Bereford is seated beside the familiar form of a beautiful woman dressed in robes of mourning. A second glance is not necessary to aid recognition. The sweet pensive smile is sufficient. Lady Rosamond has lost none of her charms. Time has no grudge against her for personal wrongs, no retributive justice to be meted out—instead, the quiet happiness of a contented mind is lavished with true delight. A fond light beams in the lovely eyes as they turn towards Maude Bereford—ever the same Maude that strolled around Trevelyan Hall some time in the past. The same simplicity is attached to every movement, action and speech—Maude still.
But a stranger is engrossing her attention. A tall, handsome and gallant gentleman occupies a seat at her side, devoting his attentions to her, occasionally addressing Lady Rosamond in terms of endearing familiarity. There is not much difficulty in ascertaining the relationship. Geoffrey Seymour had become a frequent visitor at the Castle. The blushes that greeted him told the tale upon Maude Bereford. Yet, she cared not for the eyes of the world. She had given her heart to a true, honorable and affectionate lover. Already she has woven bright dreams wherein are clearly portrayed outlines of two fond beings living in the