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“ Thank you,” replied Agnes, in kindred tone, as she hand, while all his guests were out in pursuit of hats came forward to greet her other guests. Her mother and wrappings. heart, thus reminded of her lost child, was no proof “You are not going back to the city to-night, against that voice.
| Cyril ? ” asked Agnes, with a face as white as her In the parlor waited Linda, wearing deepest mourn dress. ing. Nothing narrower than quarter of a yard folds of "I must, Agnes, in common politeness. Mrs. Suth. crape could express her grief or measure her loss. The erland and her aunt have no escort, while the other tea-table, garnished with flowers and set with delicate ladies have. It will be midnight when they reach the + c0T viands, was all that even Circe Sutherland could desire. city. They must not go alone from the station even to She overflowed with the subtlest and sweetest appre their own carriage. I invited them, and I must see ciation of everything. She beard nothing, she saw them safely home. Did you ever hear such a voice nothing, she tasted nothing that did not delight her, and before ?" she expressed her delight in voice and speech of equal “No, never.” music.
“I shall be at home to-morrow, to tea. Good night, Certainly the drawing-room of Lotusmere never Aggie." thrilled to such melody before, as flowed from her “Good night.” voice and from the touch of her fingers. Agnes' piano He stooped and kissed her. had found a new interpreter. Agnes herself, with all | Why, as he lifted his face, did he pause and look the soul of music in her, though it had never found its upon hers again, as if he were taking it into his mind utmost expression through the organ of her voice, lis. to carry away with him? He certainly knew not why tened for the time entranced. She shrank with fright, he did it. The hall resounded with the ejaculations, when, rising from the piano, Mrs. Sutherland said, - the laughter, the merriment, which always accompanies
" Do play one of your old ballads for us, Mrs. King. the breaking up of an informal social party. Agues Your husband says that you play and sing them both forced herself to the door, forced her mouth to smile, if so sweetly."
her eyes refused, forced her lips to utter words of pleas“I would if I could. It would be impossible now. ant farewell. I can imagine po music after yours, Mrs. Sutherland.” | “I don't intend that hospitality shall always remain
“ Thanks. How kind you are. And how glad I on one side,” said Mrs. Sutherland, as she lifted her am to give you pleasure.”
face from kissing two unreturning lips. “The very Cyril looked delighted with Agnes' words of appreci-| first visit you make must be to me. Must it not, Mr. ation, but he did not urge her to sing. She was thank King? You must come and stay with me a whole ful that he did not, and yet something in her heart week. What music we will have! And we will go made her want him to ask her. He did not, and as everywhere. Say you will come soon; do, that's a the evening went on she became more and more con darling. Can't you make her say that she will, Mr. scious that she was not in his thoughts. When he | King ?” with a pretty parting pout. first arrived with his guests his thoughts were on ap | “No. I never get made her say anything that she pearances, and he was quite sufficiently attentive to his did not choose to say. You are a stubborn little wife to fulfill the role of the proper husband. Now, as woman, aren't you, Aggie? But of course she will very the beguiling voice floated through his home and filled soon visit you with me, Mrs. Sutherland." all his senses, he yielded unconsciously to wonted hab- “I shall never visit Mrs. Sutherland," said Agnes in its; he was pervaded by the singer. He hovered near the open door. her, he turned her music. Polite to all, in his manner This sentence, uttered with startling distinctness, fell to her there was a consciousness, a difference, which like a bomb amid the little group standing before her on others felt rather than saw. The dreadful sensation the piazza. Till she uttered it, her manner had been that which struck through her heart at the ambassadors' l of a faultless hostess. In one breath sbe undid all that ball (the only place where she had seen them together) she had suffered so much to do through the entire evenagain filled the breast of Agnes, — the same sense of ing. They had borne upon her too long. By one re neglect, of aloneness. Now it came from the fact quest Circe Sutherland over-played her part. It was which made itself felt rather than seen. She sat the the one thing that Agnes could not bear. The truth acknowledged mistress in her own parlor. As such outraged within her arose, and in defiance of all conrenher husband had shown her all deference. He was tionality said its one say. No soft society word came just for the present altogether absorbed in a beautiful in response to such impolitic sincerity. musician. Yet the something more made itself felt “ Good night," said the party simultaneously, turned, even to the uninitiated.
and left. Agnes, standing in the door alone, watched "Mr. King has eyes and ears but for one," whispered them out of sight beyond the garden avenue, then, low a lady in the background. “Nothing could be without a word, ascended to her own room, in which plainer.”
Vida waited asleep in her crib. No sleep touched with “At least to Mrs. King," murmured back her com healing her young mother's lids that night. She arose panion. “How sorry I am I'm not married,” she as she lay down, with open, tearless eyes. She made whispered sarcastically.
no response to Linda's hints, which insinuated plainly Nevertheless it was a “ perfectly delightful evening." | enough that she was conscious of all that transpired Each guest proclaiined it to be such, when about half the evening before. The house still seemed full of the past ten began the stir of departure. “Mrs. King, I voice that filled it with music the night before. She have had such a charming time.” “Mrs. King, we are wanted to get away from it, and for the first time since so much indebted for a delightful evening," said each | her boy's death went out to her old seat on the pier. guest on his or her way to dressing-room or hat-rack. I The salt breeze blew refreshingly over her hot eyelids
“ Good night, Aggie; I shall be home to-morrow by and cheeks. She looked away over the gleaming plain tea-time,” said Cyril, slipping into the parlor, hat in of waters to the far, low-lying bills, to the distant ships
moving out to the ocean, as if she were never to follow | bonnet, and a moment later, Linda, looking out of her them again. Her eyes came back from their outward | window with Vida by her side, said, “Look, baby! journey, and with the same brooding farewell light there goes your mamma. Where does baby think she rested on every familiar object that helped to make is going?” dear her home : the flowers that she bad tended, the “ Dun know. Baby wants to go wid mamma.” elm that shaded the lawn, the little graves that had “Oh no! baby wants to stay with Auntie Linda.” yrown green in its shadow.
“ No s'e don't," with an emphaticscre am, and a rush "Cyril coming home to tea! He promised that be- for her battered little garden hat. fore I spoke. He will not come pow. If he did, he “ But baby will stay with auntie,” said Linda, takwould not speak to me. He will never forgive me, ing her into her arms with a wicked gleam in her eyes. never. What is it in me that will speak out when | Agnes dropped both letters into the near post office everything seems false and hollow about me? I box, and then with slow but steady steps, that she couldn't help it. I didn't want to speak, and yet I did, might attract no attention, passed down the village and he will never forgive me. Cyril was never so far street to what was called “The Front," from whence from me as he is at this moment. I feel as if I might | numerous dusty and mouldy piers jutted out into the never see him again. Yet he is coming home to tea.” water, with every variety of water-craft hugging their
Vida had flitied back and forth about her mother, sides. She did not glance at any till she came to one like a butterfly, all day. It was hours past noon, when beside which lay a staunch schooner, that moment reAgnes took the chubby little hand in hers, and went ceiving into its hold the load of fragrant lumber which back with her to the house ; then Vida went in pur- was to be its next load of merchandise to Boston. It suit of her “ Auntie Linda," and Agnes again entered was trig and new, and bore upon its bow and stern, in into the refuge of her own room. As she went in, she golden letters, the name of " Agnes.” She knew her saw what seemed to be an open note on her bureau. | way down, for she had been here more than once beShe went to it, and found it to be a letter without an | fore, with little Cyril. envelope, in Cyril's hand. She opened it. It began, “Is Captain Ben aboard ? ” she asked softly, of “ a "My only love." Had he by some means placed this hand” who paused an instant in taking in the lumber here to reassure and comfort her aching, loving, and and lifted his cap to a lady whom he knew. desolate heart? How it fluttered in her breast. It “Yes, he is,” said the man. “I will go and tell him seemed as if it would stop beating with sudden joy, as who wants to see him.” And as he passed her and she read, “My only love; life is valueless without you. I caught the look in her eyes, he said inly, “They are Why should I struggle any longer against a fate that I full of trouble. No trouble should come anigh that cannot arrest! God knows that I do not want to love lovely lady if I could help it. She as bas so feelin' a you. But because you live I have no power to help it. | heart for the poor. This very vessel a-named for her My fate is in your hands. You remind me of my fame, because on it." my family, of all I have at stake. You command me Captain Ben came up from his cabin to meet her. to forget you. You know that is impossible. I can To him, no woman on earth had so angelic a face as part with fame, family, everything but you. I will not hers. When he was “ Skipper Ben” and so poor, did be separated from you. I cannot be. If you want to she not come to his Mary when their baby died, take sare me from ruin, come back, where at least in the dis | the stricken mother into her loving arms, and from that tance I can see your lovely face, where at least, day to this, had she not been her tender, unchanging amid the crowd, I can listen to your voice. It is too friend? late to tell me of her; that it is for her sake that you “ Captain Ben, may I speak to you a moment bewent away. It is for my sake that you must come low?” she asked. back! If I were never to see your face again, and to “A moment or an hour, Mrs. King, as long as you know that it was she who had banished you, I should please.” And he led the way to his cabin. hate her, — hate the sight of her. Only by coming - Captain Ben, I know that you are my friend,” she back can you make me tolerate the thought of her. | said, with trembling voice. “ Because I know that I Only by so doing can you help her. You cannot make can trust you, I come to you in my trouble. When her more than she is, or more than she is to me. you start to-night, I want you to take me and my little No one knows this better than you. Then, Circe, why girl with you to Boston. If necessary, I want you to do you torture me? Will you drive me to ruin, or will hide us out of sight. I want you to keep any human you come where I am, where I may see you, and being from getting us before you sail. Will you, Caplive?"
tain Ben ?” Agnes looked at the date. It bore that of June, of | “I'll do anything you ask me to do, Mrs. King. I'll the year before ; a month before Mrs. Peppercorn wrote | hide you and defend you with my life, if necessary.” her. As she opened the letter, another dropped out, “I believe you, but it will not be necessary. Nowritten on tinted paper, and in the most delicate hand. body will take the trouble to come after me," she said It began, “ My Fate, I can but obey your command. mourufully. “I was foolish to have thought of such a Your life cannot be poorer than mine, robbed as it is thing. When do you start ?” of the light of your eyes.”
“Well, we should have started at sunset. But I will Agnes read no more, till she came to the signature, wait for you. When will you be likely to come ?” "Circe." She walked slowly to her desk, opened it, “Not till dark. I can't. Will you be on the looksat down ; again opened the two letters, and read out for me, Captain Ben?” every word of each, from beginning to end. She then “I will come for you if you say so, Mrs. King, and laid one in the other, and without an added word, placed will carry your little girl. And I will run down to the both in one envelope, and directed it to her husband at / house for Mary. She often takes the trip. It will be his city office. She wrote another brief letter, di- | pleasanter for you, Mrs. King, to have a woman on rected it, placed botb. in her pocket, arose, put on her board, and she will look after the little girl.” 1 .1
* You are too good, Captain Ben. I shall never for Vida remembered what Auntie Linda said in the get your kinduess, uever!
window in the afternoon, and grew whist. She appreCaptain bieu Wxs & gentleman; he had not asked ciated the difficulty of getting off without that lady's her a question, le storl watching her as her form re interference, and was not without her childish longing codex from the patr, eu as he turned to start on his for victory. errand to his wife, he sighed.
“Remember, now, Vida must not speak a word, or It's COLUGA, he sad tu hinselt. "I always knew that make a sound, and mamma will carry her out," said it would sometiune louiy wonder it hasn't afore. Agnes, taking the child in her arms before opening the Totul fu distraction, thai's what she is; and she's
door. goinine I'li help her guna And I'll detend her with my Vida was dumb. She was delighted with the mys.
byth it be this if I'm dead agin him, the pea- tery; it was much pleasanter than going to bed. (1+ k, 4 x \ \ ,*.
Out on the lawn, Agnes set the child down, and took l es & to her home as quietly as she left it. the little hand in hers. She led her down the broad Title hue to tee, she would meet him as it walk toward the pier, till coming near it they turned
hins ben helyettel, and her departure would be de into a side path, and there, out of sight of the house, Bakvend lindt he will not come to tea, I am sure of beneath the great elm, beside the shining waves, the
mother sat down by the graves of her children, while She want to her own room, opened her desk, took | she drew her one living child close to her heart.
un its innego drawer her little manuscript book, the “Say good night to brother," she murmured with R uin of lyril, that he had given her before their mar- broken voice. Pinda and placed both in a reticule which she could “Dood night, dood night, little brudder," said Vida w won her arm. She went into the room which with a sob. who is made a shrine to her departed child, shut the Agnes stooped low. She laid her cheek upon the doors and sat down in the low chair in which she had turf of each little grave, as if it were the face of the spent so many hours since his passing away. She child at rest beneath. She broke off a white daisy kirceled down by it and begged God's mercy for herself, blooming on little Cyril's grave, and shut it in the retand for those whom she left. She went to the bureau, icule on her arm. She bent down and kissed the turf in which she had garnered the toys and garments of her green above his face. boy. llere, for the first time, her heart's anguish “My boy!” swelled into tears. These were the treasures which it She took Vida's hand and moved slowly on toward tore her heart to leave behind. Who would keep them an unfrequented path running along the Sound. always for his sake! Who but his mother? The ret The distance was not long to the wharf. Before she icule would hold so little of what once was a part of had reached it two figures advanced toward her. They himself. She chose at last a single thing, – a tiny cap were Captain Ben and his wife. of lace, the first that he had ever worn, whose deli “Mary, is this you! How good of you !” as the ente embroideries her own hand bad wrought, before he eager hand of her friend seized hers in loving clasp. was born. This, with his picture, and one shining tress Captain Ben took Vida in his arms. His wife did not of his hair, was all that she could carry away of her loosen her grasp. Thus between two true hearts child. Again she sat down in the low chair, and here, Agnes was led on to the ressel that through the dark- . taking in every object in one long, lingering, loving ness of the night was to bear her from her home. gaze, she bade farewell forever to her home
(To be continued.) Cyril did not come. The two women and the little girl sat at the tea-lable as usual. Save a deeper pallor on her face, no one could have detected anything FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD. marked, either in Agnes' aspect or manner.
Not till she took Vida at her early bed-time hour | CHAPTER XXXVII. THE STORM: THE TWO TOGETHER. into her own room, did her face and movements betray excitement. Then it could be seen only in the quick
A LIGHT flapped over the scene, as if reflected from breath and trembling hands.
phosphorescent wings crossing the sky, and a rumble filled
the air. It was the first arrow from the approaching storm It was but usual that she should take off the little
and it fell wide. girl's white embroidered frock, with its shoulder-knots
The second peal was noisy, with comparatively little visof violet ribbon ; but entirely unusual that instead of ible lightning. Gabriel saw a candle shining in Bathher night-gown, she should put on the rosy, round little sheba's bedroom, and soon a shadow moved to and fro figure a flannel petticoat, and a warm merino frock.
upon the blind. " What 'oo doin'?” inquired Vida wonderingly.
Then there came a third flash. Manœuvres of a most “ I'm dressing Vida to go and take a walk with
extraordinary kind were going on in the vast firmamental
hollows overhead. The lightning now was the color of mamma; don't she want to go?”
silver, and gleamed in the heavens like a mailed army. “ In de dark?”
Rumbles became rattles. Gabriel from his elevated posi“ Out under the bright stars. Vida will have hold tion could see over the landscape for at least half-a-dozen of mamma's band, and won't be afraid ? "
miles in front. Every hedge, bush, and tree was distinct “No!” said Vida bravely.
as in a line engraving. In a paddock in the same direcThe stout little legs were soon encased in woollen
tion was a herd of heifers, and the forms of these were visstockings and thick boots by the trembling hands,
ible at this moment in the act of galloping about in the
wildest and maddest confusion, flinging their heels and whereupon legs and feet began to dance with delight.
tails high into the air, their heads to earth. “ Hush! Vida. If you want to go and walk with
A poplar in
the immediate foreground was like an ink stroke on burnamma under the stars you must be very quiet, so nished tin. Then the picture vanished, leaving a darkAuntir Linda will not hear you ; for she would not ness so intense that Gabriel worked entirely by feeling want Vida to go."
1 with his hands.
He had stuck his ricking-rod, groom, or poniard, as it | briel bastily drove them in, could again be distinctly heard. was indifferently called - a long iron lance, sharp at the He thought the crisis of the storm had passed. But there extremity and polished by handling - into the stack to came a burst of light. support the shoaves. A blue light appeared in the zenith, “Hold on!” said Gabriel, taking the sheaf from her and in some indescribable manner Aickered down near the shoulder, and grasping her arm again. top of the rod. It was the fourth of the larger flashes. A Heaven opened then, indeed. The flash was almost too moment later and there was a smack - smart, clear, and novel for its inexpressibly dangerous nature to be at once short. Gabriel felt his position to be anything but a safe realized, and Gabriel could only comprehend the magnifione, and he resolved to descend.
cence of its beauty. It sprang from east, west, north, Not a drop of rain had fallen as yet. He wiped his south. It was a perfect dance of death. The forms of weary brow, and looked again at the black forms of the skeletons appeared in the air, shaped with blue fire for un protected stacks. Was his life so valuable to him, after bones – dancing, leaping, striding, racing around, and all? What were his prospects that he should be so chary | mingling altogether, in unparalleled confusion. With these of running risk, when important and urgent labor could not were intertwined undulating snakes of green. Bebind be carried on without such risk ? He resolved to stick to these was a broad mass of lesser light. Simultaneously the stack. However, he took a precaution. Under the came from every part of the tumbling sky what may be staddles was a long tethering chain, used to prevent the es called a shout ; since, though nó shout ever came near it, cape of errant horses. This he carried up the ladder, and it was more of the nature of a shout than of anything else sticking his rod through the clog at one end, allowed the earthly. In the mean time one of the grisly forms had other end of the chain to trail upon the ground. The alighted upon the point of Gabriel's rod, to run invisibly spike attached to it he drove in. "Under the shadow of down it, down the chain, and into the earth. Gabriel was this extemporized lightning-conductor he felt himself com almost blinded, and he could feel Bathsheba's warm arm paratively safe. '.
tremble in his hand — a sensation novel and thrilling Before Oak had laid his hands upon his tools again out enough ; but love, life, everything human, seemed small leapt the fifth flash, with the spring of a serpent and the and trilling in such close juxtaposition with an infuriated shout of a fiend. It was green as an emerald, and the re universe. verberation was stunning. What was this the light re- Oak had hardly time to gather up these impressions into vealed to him ? In the open ground before him, as he a thought, and to see how strangely the red feather of her looked over the ridge of the rick, was a dark and appar hat shone in this light, when the tall tree on the hill beforeently female form. Could it be that of the only venture mentioned seemed on fire to a white heat, and a new one some woman in the parish – Bathsheba ? The form among these terrible voices mingled with the last crash of moved on a step: then he could see no more.
those preceding. It was a stupefying blast, harsh and “Is that you, ma'am ?” said Gabriel, to the darkness. pitiless, and it fell upon their ears in a dead, flat blow, with" Who is there?” said the voice of Bathsheba.
out that reverberation which lends the tones of a drum “ Gabriel. I am on the rick, thatching."
to more distant thunder. By the lustre reflected from “ Oh, Gabriel ! — and are you? I have come about every part of the earth and from the wide domical scoop them. The weather awoke me, and I thought of the corn. above it, he saw that the tree was sliced down the whole I am so distressed about it - can we save it anyhow? I length of its tall straight stem, a huge ribbon of bark being cannot find my husband. Is he with you ?”
apparently flung off. The other portion remained erect, “He is not here."
and revealed the bared surface as a strip of white down “ Do you know where he is?”
the front. The lightning had struck the tree. A sulphur“ Asleep in the barn."
ous smell filled the air : then all was silent, and black as a “He promised that the stacks should be seen to, and cave in Hinnom. now they are all neglected! Can I do anything to help? “We had a narrow escape !” said Gabriel hurriedly. Liddy is afraid to come out. Fancy finding you here at
“ You had better go down." such an hour! Surely I can do something ?”
Bathsheba said nothing; but he could distinctly hear “ You can bring up some reed-sheaves to me, one by one, her rhythmical pants, and the recurrent rustle of the sheaf ma'am ; if you are not afraid to come up the ladder in the beside her in response to her frightened pulsations. She dark,” said Gabriel. " Every moment is precious now, descended the ladder, and, on second thoughts, he followed and that would save a good deal of time. It is not very her. The darkness was now impenetrable by the sharpest dark when the lightning has been gone a bit."
vision. They both stood still at the bottom, side by side. “I'll do anything !” she said, resolutely. She instantly | Bathsheba appeared to think only of the weather -- Oak took a sheaf upon her shoulder, clambered up close to his thought only of her just then. At last he said, heels, placed it behind the rod, and descended for another. “ The storm seems to have passed now, at any rate." At her third ascent the rick suddenly brightened with the “I think so too,” said Bathsheba ; " though there are brazen glare of shining majolica - every knot in every | multitudes of gleams, - look !" straw was visible. On the slope in front of him appeared The sky was now filled with an incessant light, fretwo human shapes, black as jet. The rick lost its sheen quent repetition melting into complete continuity, as an
the shapes vanished. Gabriel turned his head. It had unbroken sound results from the successive strokes on a been the sixth flash which had come from the east behind gong. him, and the two dark forms on the slope had been the "Nothing serious," said he. "I cannot understand no shadows of himself and Bathsheba.
rain falling. But, Heaven be praised, it is all the better Then came the peal. It hardly was credible that such a for us. I am now going up again." heavenly light could be the parent of such a diabolical “ Gabriel, you are kinder than I deserve! I will stay sound.
and help you yet. Oh, why are not some of the others “ How terrible!” she exclaimed, and clutched him by here!” the sleeve. Gabriel turned, and steadied her on her aërial | “They would have been here if they could,” said Oak, perch by holding her arm. At the same moment, while he in a hesitating way. was still reversed in his attitude, there was more light, and « Oh, I know it all — all,” she said, adding slowly : he saw as it were a copy of the tall poplar tree on the hill “ They are all asleep in the barn, in a drunken sleep, and drawn in black on the wall of the barn. It was the shadow my husband among them. That's it, is it not ? Don't of that tree, thrown across by a secondary flash in the west. think I am a timid woman, and can't endure things.”
The next flare came. Bathsheba was on the ground "I am not certain,” said Gabriel. “I will go and see.” now, sbouldering another sheaf, and she bore its dazzle He crossed to the barn, leaving her there alone. He without flinching — thunder and all — and again ascended looked through the chinks of the door. All was in total with the load. There was then a silence everywhere for darkness, as he had left it, and there still arose, as at the four or five minutes, and the crunch of the spars, as Ga former time, the steady buzz of many snores.
He felt a zephyr curling about his cheek, and turned. She diminished in the gloom, and vanished, and he It was Bathsheba's breath — she had followed him, and heard the latch of the gate fall as she passed through. He was looking into the same chink.
worked in a reverie now, musing upon her story, and upon He endeavored to put off the immediate and painful sub- the contradictoriness of that feminine heart which bad ject of their thoughts by remarking gently, “ If you'll come caused her to speak more warmly to him to-night than she back again, miss — ma'am, and hand up a few more ; it ever had done whilst unmarried and free to speak as would save much time.”
warmly as she chose. Then Oak went back again, ascended to the top, stepped He was disturbed in his meditation by a grating noise off the ladder for greater expedition, and went on thatch from the coach-house. It was the vane on the roof turning. She followed, but without a sheaf.
ing round, and this change in the wind was the signal for « Gabriel,” she said, in a strange and impressive voice. I a disastrous rain. Oak looked up at her. She had not spoken since he
(To be continued.) left the barn. The soft and continual shimmer of the dying lightning showed a marble face high against the black sky of the opposite quarter. Bathsheba was sitting almost
THREE FEATHERS. on the apex of the stack, her feet gathered up beneath her, and resting on the top round of the ladder.
BY WILLIAM BLACK, AUTHOR OF “A PRINCESS OF “ Yes, mistress,” he said.
THULE,” “THE ADVENTURES OF A PHAETON," ETC. “I suppose you thought that when I galloped away to Bath that night it was on purpose to be married ?”
CHAPTER iv. THE LAST LOOK BACK. “I did at last - not at first,” he answered, somewhat surprised at the abruptness with which this new subject MR. RoscorLa may be recommended to ladies generally was broached.
and to married men wbo are haunted by certain vague and “ And others thought so, too ?"
vain regrets, as an excellent example of the evils and van“ Yes."
ity of club-life. He was now a man approaching fifty, " And you blamed me for it?"
careful in dress and manner, methodical in habit, and “ Well – a little."
grave of asp ct, living out a not over-enjoyable life in a “I thought so. Now, I care a little for your good opin- solitary little cottage, and content to go for his society to ion, and I want to explain something - I have longed to the good folks of the village inn. But five-and-twenty do it ever since I returned, and you looked so gravely at years before he had been a gay young fellow about town, me. For if I were to die — and I may die soon — it would a pretty general favorite, clever in his way, free with his be dreadful that you should always think mistakingly of money, and possessed of excellent spirits. He was not me. Now, listen.,
very wealthy, to be sure ; his father had left bim certain Gabriel ceased his rustling.
shares in some sugar-plantations in Jamaica, but the re“I went to Bath that night in the full intention of break turns periodically forwarded to him by his agents were ing off my engagement to Mr. Troy. It was owing to cir sufficient for his immediate wants. He had few cares, and cumstances which occurred after I got there that — that we he seemed on the whole to have a pleasant time of it. On were married. Now, do you see the matter in a new disengaged evenings he lounged about his club, and dined light ? "
with one or other of the men he knew, and then he played “I do — somewhat.”
billiards till bed-time. Or he would have nice little “I must, I suppose, say more, now that I have begun. dinner-parties at his rooms; and, after the men had And perhaps it's no harm, for you are certainly under no changed their coats, would have a few games at whist, delusion that I ever loved you, or that I can have any ob perhaps finishing up with a little spurt of unlimited loo. ject in speaking, more than that object I have mentioned. In the season he went to balls, and dinners, and parties of Well, I was alone in a strange city, and the horse was all sorts, singling out a few families with pretty daughters lame. And at last I didn't know what to do. I saw, when for his special attentions, but careful never to commit bimit was too late, that scandal might seize hold of me for self. When every one went from town he went too, and meeting him alone in that way. But I was coming away, I in the autumn and winter months he had a fair amount of when he suddenly said he had that day seen a woman more shooting and hunting, guns and horses alike, and willingly beautiful than I, and that his constancy could not be | furnished by his friends. counted on unless I at once became his. . . . . And I was Once, indeed, he had taken a fancy that he ought to do grieved and troubled.” .... She cleared her voice, and something, and he went and read law a bit, and ate some waited a moment, as if to gather breath. “And then, be dinners, and got called to the Bar. He went the length of tween jealousy and distraction, I married him!” she whis going on circuit ; but either he travelled by coach, or pered, with desperate impetuosity.
fraternized with a solicitor, or did something objectionGabriel made no reply.
able: at all events his circuit mess fined him: he refused “ He was not to blame, for it was perfectly true about — to pay the fine, threw the whole thing up, and returned to about his seeing somebody else," she quickly added. “ And his club, and its carefully-ordered dinners, and its friendly now I don't wish for a single remark from you upon the | game of sixpenny and eighteenpenny pool. subject — indeed I forbid it. I only wanted you to know Of course he dressed, and acted, and spoke just as his that misunderstood bit of my history before a time comes fellows did, and gradually from the common talk of smokwhen you could never know it. You want some more | ing-rooms imbibed a vast amount of nonsense. He knew sheaves ?”
that such a statesman professed particular opinions only to She went down the ladder, and the work proceeded. | keep in place and enjoy the loaves and fishes. He could Gabriel soon per eived a languor in the movements of his tell you to a penny the bribe given to the editor of the mistress up and down, and he said to her as gently as a Times by a foreign government for a certain series of artimother,
cles. As for the stories he heard and repeated of all man: "I think you had better go indoors now, you are tired. ner of noble families, they were many of them doubtless I can finish the rest alone. If the wind does not change true, and they were nearly all unpleasant; but then the the rain is likely to keep off.”
tale that would have been regarded with indifference if “If I am useless I will go," said Bathsheba, in a flagging told about an ordinary person, grew lambent with interest cadence. “But oh, if your life should be lost!”.
when it was told about a commonplace woman possessed “ You are not useless ; but I would rather not tire you of a shire and a gaby crowned with a coronet. There was longer. You have done well.”
no malice in these stories; only the young men were sup“And you better !” she said, gratefully. “Thank you posed to know everything about the private affairs of a for your devotion, a thousand times, Gabriel! Good-night , certain number of families no more nearly related to them -I know you are doing your very best for me.”
than their washerwoman.