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CHAPTER VI.

handkerchiefs more than once ; both of them did, sir.

And my lady, when she came back to the phaeton, was COLONEL TRENTE went away with Warde on the day of very grave and thoughtful — I wondered" the lawyer's visit, and did not return until the next day, He stopped abruptly, and rubbed his hand tremulously quite late in the evening.

across his forehead. Roger followed immediately to his master's chamber, “Well, Roger, why did you stop ?” and found him seated at the dressing-table, looking 80 "I thought of something she said, sir. Oh, my old worn and weary that the faithful friend and servant gave brain! Why can't I think what I answered her ?" a most audible sigh.

Colonel Trente saw that some perplexed thought was “Are you there, Roger ? I wish your leal old heart worrying the old man, and waited in silence, though his would not quiver under every pang of grief that transfixes whole frame quivered beneath his impatience. mine," he said, regretfully. “Yet I am selfish enough to “Oh, sir, it's of no use. I can't think,” groaned Roger, rejoice in your thorough sympathy."

presently. “Ah, sir, if I might have taken all this trouble on “About what, Roger?" myself," sighed Roger, "and spared you."

“What I answered her. It flashed across me that she “My faithful friend, I must tell you what I have said to me, just before we drove into the avenue, 'Roger, learned to-day. You must read the letter Miss Annette if I wanted to put a paper, or a letter, for your Mr. left me, and that strange one she wrote to Warde. It is Malcolm to find -not right away, but to certainly find, possible you may understand what she means by saying by-and-by, what place should I put it in ?!" that my mother promised her she would leave some ex “Good Heavens! you think Miss Annette was right; planation for me. Sit down in the chair there, Roger. that she wrote something, as she promised, and put it Forget, as I do, that you are my servant, and read the away for me to find? You think my mother went home letters. Let me see what you will think of this startling and wrote something meant for my eye alone?" exclaimed development."

Malcolm Trente. And Malcolm Trente leaned back in his own chair and “I know she went into the library, and was there a long watched the old servitor, while he adjusted the glasses, time. I remember that she called me for a glass of wine, which he first carefully polished, upon a broad bandana and that when I carried it in her eyes were red, and she handkerchief, and then slowly unfolded the letters and looked as if she had been crying, and that there was a read them standing, despite the injunction to the contrary. sealed letter on the table. Yes, sir, I do believe she wrote Not a word was spoken by either until each letter was it for you." slowly and carefully mastered. Though Colonel Trente's “Her papers are all in the escritoire where she left face bore evidence of excitement and impatience, and them. But I was certain that I looked them all through, Roger's hand presently shook so that the paper rattled Bring the escritoire here, Roger. The keys are on my andibly. But when the reading was accomplished master ring. I will look everything carefully over to-night." and man faced each other with eagerly questioning eyes. "It won't be there, Mr. Malcolm. I am sure it won't.

"Oh, Colonel! Mr. Malcolm, what do you think ?” Why can't I think what I told her when she asked that ? burst forth Roger.

Stupid dolt that I am! But it will come to me, it must “Tell me your opinion, Roger," demanded the other, come to me,” declared Roger, vehemently. peremptorily.

“But I will look over the escritoire and satisfy myself The old man lifted one hand to sweep away the gray concerning those papers; that is the least I can do,” said bair dropping down over his forehead, and swallowed Colonel Trente, gravely. “I would rather you should twice before he could articulate his answer.

bring it than Jean, if you please, Roger." "I am afraid, Mr. Malcolm - I'm desperately afraid that Roger started quickly in answer to this appeal, and there's something in it."

promptly appeared again, wheeling in the light desk Colonel Trente groaned.

from the adjoining apartment until he had placed it before “Roger, have you ever had such a doubt before-in his master. the years gone, I mean?” he added, hoarsely.

“It will take you a long time, Mr. Malcolm, and you "I can't deny that I did, but I never could find any are so tired now,” he said, deprecatingly. “Couldn't I proof, and I laid it to my dislike of him."

help you a little ?" “Your dislike of him? You never told me that, Roger. The master looked over to him with a grateful gleam in I might have trusted to your instincts, for I have always his melancholy eye. said they were something superhuman, When did you “Yes, Roger, if you will share my vigil. I think it will dislike him, Roger ?”

help me just to see you here. Only I don't like to deprive “Always, Mr. Malcolm. I used to blame myself and you of your sleep." say I was jealous because you loved him so much."

"I couldn't sleep, knowing you were awake here. I'll "I did love him. God knows, I gave him what was left tell Jean to go to bed, sir; that I can attend to his duties, of a bruised and rifled heart," muttered Colonel Trente, sir, if you are willing.” fiercely. “And was he the viper who stung all my hopes “Certainly. Only, Roger, you must be sparing of your to their death ? Roger, there is no more rest for me, strength. Remember, you are twice ten years ahead of night or day-there is no more rest for me till I sift this me, and we must manage to last each other out. My to the bottom."

good fellow, it will be a sorry day for either that sees the Roger's honest face overflowed with commiserating other taken away. Your strength offsets my age. We devotion as he gazed back to those appealing eyes. must manage to wear out together, Roger.”

"I think I remember the day, sir, that Madame Trente “Please God, sir," responded, Roger, fervently. met Miss Annette; I was driving her myself in the pony Then for two hours they were busy over the papers. phaeton. She got out at the park, and the two ladies Every bundle was untied, every envelope carefully opened, walked together round and round the square which has but all in vain. Colonel Trente pat them all back at last, the fountain in it. I watched them, and I know it was with a sigh of disappointment. nothing of the common sort of talk, for they used their "I didn't expect it, sir," said Roger. “She put it

where I told her you would be likely to find it. If I can troubling you with all these ugly memories. I wish only think. Perhaps I shall to-night-when I go to that those young men were coming to-day to divert your bed.”

mind. It is possible they may arrive. At all events, the “And you ought to be there, Roger," said the master- house will soon be full. I have invited a pleasant set. "you onght to be there tbis moment. Just look to the Major Chilson and his wife and daughters will be with us grate, and throw out my dressing-gown. Jean will be in as long as the Thorntons stay. Now you may call Jean ; I early enough to get out the morning clothes. And now, shall be in the library in an hour." good-night-good-night, leal old Roger."

Roger passed out of the chamber, casting a last wistful But very early in the morning Roger was at his master's glance behind him. door with the cup of coffee to be carried in to him. Jean The old man's heart was full of tenderest commiseraremonstrated indignantly at this infringement upon his tion. He alone know what a dreary life had been enown especial duties; but Roger waved him back with an dured by this grand, brave, loving man. And when, authoritative gesture.

scarcely two hours later, the Hon. Algernon Thornton "I am to see the colonel this morning at once, Jean, stepped airily across the hall and awed the other servants and I may as well take the coffee along. You know he'll with that grand, benign presence of his, old Roger agree to what I say about it."

clinched his hands and said, within his angry thought: Yes, Jean knew that very well, and shrugged his French “Algernon Thornton, if I thought it was you, if I was shoulders in disgust at the master's taste, but dared not sure it was you, I am not certain but these old hands of give any further sign of his wrathful jealousy of old mine should throttle you where you stand this minute." Roger's influence,

But he stepped briskly into the library and closed the And Roger went on into the bedroom with the coffee. door behind him.

“What, Roger, you ?" said the master, reproachfully, “Mr. Thornton is outside, Colonel Trente," he an“Why did you leave your bed so early, after our late nounced, in a lowered voice. hours last night ?"

“Ah!" and a quick-drawn breath accompanied tho “Oh, Mr. Maloolm, I dreamed that rido all over last monosyllable. night. I saw my lady so plainly. I heard her talk !" The next moment Malcolm Trente spoke quietly.

“Did the whole come back to you ?” he asked, quickly, "Will you hand me that portfolio, Roger ?" raising bimself up against the pillows.

And when Mr. Thornton was shown into the grand old “Ah, no, sir ! She asked it—the question and then I room he found its master standing up before a table, with gave a great start, and thought, ‘Now I shall know where buth hands occupied in slipping a valuable engraving into to tell Mr. Malcolm to look,' and at that I woke up. But its proper fastening. He spoke promptly, in a natural never fear, I shall dream it again ; I shall know the whole and cheery voice. soon ; I am quite certain of it.”

“Ah, Algernon, is it you? You are quite a stranger in "Let us hope so. What else have you to tell? I can these parts. Pray, excuse my not coming forward, for read your face, Roger-there is something more." you see my hands just now are imperatively occupied.

“Yes, sir. I was out walking an hour ago, trying to Take a seat. I was hoping to see you soon. Here, seize upon the clew, and I saw a horseman at the turnpike. Roger, come and help me. These cuttings are too close, I know him at once, and I followed to see wbere Mr. and there is danger of the print's being bent.” Algernon Thornton was going so early in the morning." It took a few seconds of Roger's help to get the picture

“Algernon Thornton !” ejaculated Colonel Trente, back into its place; by that time the visitor was seated,

“Yes, sir, Mr. Thornton himself; and he rode over to and Colonel Trente, dropping the portfolio into its place, Miss Henchman's house and stopped at the door to ask of and falling back into his own chair, quite forgot to come the housekeeper the particulars of her death. She thinks forward for the accustomed handshaking. he was wonderfully kind and feeling for poor Miss An Algernon Thornton's keen eye took a furtive survey of nette. He talked with her twenty minutes or more, and bis host's countenance. It was lighted by a bland smile, then he rode off at a rattling pace, and—I went in. He but had a worn and pallid look thai, somehow, deepened asked a good many questions, among them if you had his secret uneasiness. called on Miss Annette lately, and if Miss Annette had "Are you quite well, Malcolm ? It seems to me your ever sent for you, and if-Mr. Warde had any special color is not as good as usual,” he asked, with an air of business here--that he was down yesterday."

extreme solicitude. “Roger," spoke out Malcolm Trente, hoarsely, “that “Oh, I dare say. I've been indoors rather more than man is guilty!"

usual, and withoat much to enliven me. So, of course, I "If he is, we will find him out at last,” said Roger, get triste and wilted. But I am to have an improvement sternly.

soon, I trust. By-the-way, I hope Mrs. Thornton and "Ah, Roger, we can never unravel the bitter sorrow of her daughter have listened favorably to my plea. I trust my life. But we will penetrate this mystery. We will I am to see them next week at The Towers ?" find what was the fate of Eveline. We will tear away this "To refuse such a favor would be far from their silence and invisibility which hides Horace Henchman. thoughts, I assure you. Maude is quite -wild over the You, Roger, only you beside myself know the darkest prospect. And it chimes in most harmoniously with my secret of the whole—why I live alone in this once happy plans. I am at work on that shooting-box again." home of mine, a wifeless, childless man. Not even “Of course you will make your headquarters here with Warde, who has conduoted the secret search for so many Mrs. Thornton," said the host, in the most courteous years, suspects the real truth. Many a time have I seen tones. “Now, then, tell me about yourself-what the that he almost despised me as an infatuated man, ab- papers don't tell, you know. Of course, I comprehend surdly devoted to the memory of a perfidious woman. the politioal height to which you have mounted, the dig. And I kept silent, for her sake-for bers, living or dead, nities and the honors and applause, and all that. It was since in either case it must be danger to peace and dis- always more in your line than mine. I never cared for honor to memory. Dear Mr. Roger, I think we shall such glittering baubles. You have scolded me many a learn the truth now. But I wish it could be done without' time for my lack of ambition, and my foolish apprecia

tion of happiness and love. Well, well, you have attained bell he said, in a more animated tone than he had yet used: both, and I sit here alone, possessing neither. This life "Well, to be sure, we have drifted off from present of ours is a curious thing, is it not, Algernon ? Now 1 matters. Roger, ask some one to bring in some wine and suppose that you will claim that you have made your own a tray of refreshments. Mr. Thornton has rode some disway, seized your own triumphs, and that I, sitting passive tance this morning, I judge. And now, Algernon, when and spiritless, have deserved to hold empty hands ?" may I have the happiness of seeing the ladies here ?"

He looked over to his guest with tranquil eyes, half “Early in the week." lighted with the listless smile on his lips.

And the speaker eagerly accepted the wine, which The Honorable Mr. Thornton swept another swift Roger poured for him before he left the room again. As survey, and then answered, promptly:

be filled it again he held it up to the light to admire "Now, Malcolm, old fellow, how can you attribute its sparkling purity, and while his face was thus half anything so unkind to me? I do not hold that your concealed from view, he said : hands are empty. You occupy an honorable position, you I was much pained to see Miss Henchman's death in are the head of a fine old estate, and you fill the position the papers. Poor thing! I am afraid hers was a dreary worthily. Heigh hol how do you know that I do not life. Have you seen anything of her lately, Malcolm ?" envy you your freedom from carking care,' from the No; and it pained me to remember how I had kept buzz and whirr of the world's turmoil and feverish strife?" away from her, when it was too late to remedy my selfish

Can that be so ?" retorted the other, lightly. “Why, ness. I have not spoken with her for twenty years. I then, of course, we are quits. Besides, I ought to be bave not seen her, except in her carriage, for two years, satisfied with your success. You know you were always certainly." my hero, Algernon. From the time I was your devoted Mr. Thornton's face brightened. fag at college till I grew up to manhood you were always Perhaps she was thankful to go," he said. my admiration and delight."

“Yes, I dare say," answered Colonel Trente ; "it is one “I am proud and grateful to remember it, Malcolm," of the unsolved problems why. That was a tragic affair, spoke the other, quickly, and his voice was a little husky. after all, Algernon, though you used to tell me it would

“It is odd, now that I look back upon it in a sort of pass away and be forgotten by every one. How many outside way. I see how very odd it is that I was so spoiled lives can be counted for it, I wonder? Mine and devoted to you; my love for you was really a sort of Miss Annette's, certainly, and poor Henchman's, too, I am womanish weakness,” parsued Colonel Trente, musingly. positive, and-well, never mind. If we believe in a watch"I did not believe there could be a flaw in your character, ful Providence, I suppose we must trust that some time nor a selfish element in your affection."

the vengeance some one has deserved will fall. Ah, The Honorable Mr. Thornton stirred uneasily in his Roger-" comfortable easy-chair. He did not enjoy the drift of the "A visitor, sir,"and Roger laid a card beside his master, conversation.

“GEOFFREY CARLINGFORD.” "How beautiful your estate is looking now, Malcolm! You care for it with the generosity of your character." he “Ah, my young Oxford graduate. Let him come in.. remarked.

Don't rise, Algernon." “Yes," returned the other, gravely, “and why shouldn't “Thank you ; but I promised to see the keeper at twelve, I? It is all I have; it takes the place of father and and I have just time to do it. Good-morning.” mother, wife and child. Why shouldn't I love my trees, “Good-morning. Come and see the ladies frequently, my lawns and meadows ?"

and make your headquarters here with them." "To be sure. It is most natural and very commendable. And again Colonel Trente bowed courteously, but did Ah! by-the-way," and the fluent member hesitated and not come forward with extended hand. stammered, as he had not done since he was a plodding Was it accidental or intentional ? The Hon. Algernon schoolboy, asking himself where should be find a safe Thornton pondered upon this question all the time occuand comfortable subject for conversation. “You must pied by his ride back to the little house in Thornton allow Maud to see all the beanties of your woods. She is Wood. an enthusiast in such things, perhaps because she has been And when he dismounted he was no more satisfied than condemned to so much city life.”

when he set out. "I am told she is a great belle and very beautiful,” “For he urges our coming to him as guests," he soliloobserved Malcolm Trente. “Tell me, Algernon, are not quized, “and he has not seen Miss Annette." your worldly success, your political triumphs, dust and ashes beside the love of this child, bone of your bone, flesh of your flesh? How many times I have tried to picture

CHAPTER VIL. to myself what it would be to me to have a child of my "I CAN do nothing with the child,” said Miss Van Benown! Algernon, was not that hand pitiless-should it not thuysen to Philip Markham, as she walked into one of the be accursed-which struck away from me such beautiful little waiting-rooms of the refreshment-station upon his hopes ?"

arm, instead of following her usual custom of having MitThe man addressed felt a sharp stab within, but his kins bring her up of tea and sandwich into the railway smile was self-possessed and bland as he returned : carriage.

"My poor Malcolm, you brood over those memories till “You mean," began Philip, with a half-smile and in an they are morbid. Sạrely it lay in your own hands to interrogative tone of voice, understanding her well enoneh remedy the lack. It is not even yet too late for you— by this time to know that she would promptly fill in his to marry."

blanks, if she were in a loquacious mood. Malcolm Trento lifted his eyes and fixed a quiet but “That she will not talk to me of her own accord ? Vis steady look upon him, until, despite his marvelous self- that is what I mean. I have asked her a score of quescontrol, those pale-blue eyes of the other wavered and tions. To the direct opes I get 'Yes' or 'No,' and to the turne 1 aside.

others generally, 'I don't know,' The girl doesn't kn. w Then the host laughed, softly, and as he touched the 'how to tal's."

"Perhaps not. But you will allow that this is a very "A young friend ?" suggested Philip. sad time to test her abilities that way,” he answered. “I “Poor little Flossy! She could comfort me now, for have my own theory about her. This ungirlish reserve she loved me." and reticence is not, I imagine, entirely the consequence “Can I not find her for you ?” began Philip, eagerly. of the daze of this sudden sorrow, I think it is also the "Oh, no! Flossy is dead. I buried her myself, and result of habit and her peculiar education. I should not how hard it was for papa to comfort me! He was a little be surprised to learn that she talked very little even with angry with me for being so grieved at my dog's death. her father. All her enthusiasm seems to have flowered out He said I was too old to be such a baby." toward this silent aunt in England.”

A dog ?" ejaculated Miss Van Benthuysen, her lip curlMiss Van Benthuysen nodded her acknowledgment of ing. bis speech, but was just then too busy in arguing with a “A dog is a very dear friend, when it is all you have to pretty German girl about the price of a basket of cherries love you. And Flossy was very fond of me," said Miss to answer. But as they went back toward the train and Younge, turning upon her indignantly. their carriage, she said :

Philip did not smile, for it was a pathetic picture con“Don't be sulky, young man. Mitkins is a great deal jured up by these simple words. better in the other class, and I like you to talk to. Come “I am sorry Flossy is dead," he said, gently. " But in and see if you can have better success than mine with an aunt is better even than Flossy." this young Sphinx."

“Oh, my Aunt Anne. I should think so!" exclaimed Philip smiled, not without a momentary gratification at Miss Younge, a quiver shaking the delicate features ont of his consciousness of having conquered more than Sphinx | their apathetic look, while she turned her eyes again in thus vanquishing the redoubtable dragon of Miss Van toward England's sky, or what she imagined to be the Benthuysen's distrust.

quarter toward which they were journeying. And he entered the carriage, and carefully examined “Supposing your aunt proves to be a very different the waiter set in the young girl's lap, saying, playfully : person from the one your fancy has created, Miss Younge,"

“Have you been obedient, Miss Younge? I must not spoke up Miss Van Benthuysen, sharply, “what then ?" find a drop of coffee in that cup, nor a crumb of the sand “Ah, but she will not-she cannot !" answered the girl, wich."

promptly. The wistful blue eyes looked up to his trustfully, “And pray, why not? Come, picture to me what you

“I did the best I could—that you might see I tried to expect to see.” please you."

The blue eyes widened, and deepened in tint. “Then I mustn't scold at finding all the cake untouched," “She will be sweet and good and loving.” he returned. Here, garcon," and he thrust the waiter “Pshaw! Come, now, child, that is absurd. Supposforth to the white-aproned lad waiting for it.

ing you find her like me ? Am I sweet and good and He saw the look of relief breaking over the pale young loving ?" face as he took his seat; so she was glad to have him re But though she laughed the short, sarcastio sound so main in the carriage. The next instant he checked the many knew and dreaded, there came an eager look into little throb of vanity with the thought.

the cold, hard eyes. But who could help it after being shut up with Miss If you were my aunt-my own real aunt-you would Van Benthuysen and her merciless questioning ?

be to me,” was the low bat emphatic response. “At the next stopping-place you must get out and take Miss Van Benthuysen turned hastily to the window, a turn up and down the platform,” he added, as the train and despite Philip's quickly proffered assistance, occupied started off amidst the incessant little tinkle of the electric herself in lowering the glass, so do one but herself know bell and the rush of an inbound train.

of the hard lump which rose up in her throat, and the “You think we may go on without any delay ?" she great drops of bitter rain that dashed from those ioy eyes. asked, presently.

She fell into a profound reverie after that, and left the “Certainly, if the ladies of my company are very obe- young people to themselves. But, though her eyes were dient, and obey all my instructions, so that they will be fit closed, she had never been further from the desire or for the Channel. You have been on this route before, I thought of sleep. imagine ?"

Pbilip talked on. It was, indeed, a subtle, if an uncon. “Yes; we stopped more than a month at the little vil. scious flattery, which this young girl's innocent trastful. lage you see behind the hill. We were always wandering ness induced in him. Miss Van Benthuysen had only into these oat-of-the-way places. Papa liked them.” been able to obtain the monosyllables, while he had but “And you ?” suggested Philip.

to give the faintest suggestion and her quick sympathy “Yes, I often was very happy here. I found such took the idea and carried it on. lovely flowers, and sometimes such charming woods," she He learned a great deal, during that long afternoon answered.

ride, of this simple girl's life and ways; and better still, he “And your father accompanied you always ? I suppose saw into a clear, transparent soul, and beheld its beauty he told you a great deal about the flowers—he made you and truthfulness. love the beautiful scenery ?"

A strange life, truly. He asked himself again and again "He did not go so often with me. He liked to be if there was ever another girl so educated. There was alone,” she returned, and a low sigh accompanied the scarcely anything in art throughont Germany, and France words.

and Italy, with which she did not seem as well acquainted “But you had a companion, of course-some other girl, as with her alphabet. Greek and Latin axioms tripped as no doubt ?" continued Philip, understanding the glint of unconsciously from her tongue as the fippant tricks of Miss Van Benthuysen's glassy eye, and gently leading the fashion or flirtation from the lips of gay young ladies. unconscious girl to reveal a closer glimpse of her strange There was no noted book outside the sciences with whose Bohemian life.

drift, at least, she was not familiar. She knew all the “There was a time I had Flossy. Oh, how I enjoyed by ways of Europe, and could tell over its palaces as well. Flossy !" and now the blue eyes lighted again.

But of the conventionalities of society-the social life of

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