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strong grave face rose suddenly before her. He would come to her presently—her husband whom she had promised this day to love and honor; there should be no thought in her heart, please God, which she should be ashamed or afraid for him to know. She returned to the parlor. The fire still blazed in the grate. She laid the letter upon the coals, where it flamed for a moment, then died to ashes. Then she sat down to await the conclusion of the conference in the library.




Ir was as they had suspected. Wormley returned to town with her charge the afternoon of the picnic without waiting for the Professor and Katey, or making any effort to find them. Long before they could have reached the spot to which she had sent them she joined the girls, who were already collected outside of the woods in the fields adjoining the road. She made a feint of lingering here, then led the way at a slow pace down the road towards the village, where they were to take the omnibuses. Some of the girls ventured to demur, and suggested that they should go on alone to town and leave Miss Wormley, and one of the older girls to return and seek the two who, being strangers to the locality, had, perhaps, already lost their way. But to this she would not listen for a moment. What, leave the girls to go back to town just at nightfall alone?"


We never have so clear a perception of duty as when it accords with our inclination. And return to town she would at once, though half of La Fayette wandered lost among the woods and hills. It was no fault of hers if laggards were left behind. She had warned them.

"But you sent them away," said Clary Luckiwinner, growing bold in her terror. "I went back for my basket and I saw you-"

"Silence, Miss Luckiwinner, and return to your place; you break the line." And so she marshaled them all like a skillful tactician, as she was, and, putting herself at the head, led the procession from the omnibus station down to the school.

"They went for a walk, you say," repeated Professor Paine, nervously, when she immediately laid the matter before him. She was sufficiently wise to say little

nothing, in fact, but that the delinquents had wandered away, and failed to return in time to take the omnibus. "They must have strayed further than they intended. It was thoughtless, certainly; but the next omnibus will bring them, without doubt." And you think I was right to return with the girls? I had no one to send after them, you know, and if we had lingered there until dark




Oh, to be sure," answered the Professor. Your duty unquestionably was to see that the girls were cared for and returned at a proper time." And he went home to tea somewhat annoyed, but not at all uneasy as to the final result.

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When he came back later in the evening, and there were still no tidings of the Professor and Katey, he began to be seriously alarmed. The conviction that they had lost their way, forced itself upon his mind. He knew something of the locality where they had spent the afternoon. It was wild and sparsely settled. With night coming on, and even by daylight. one might wander for hours here without coming upon a house or finding the turnpike, which wound among the hills. He called Miss Hersey and Miss Wormley, the only teachers in the house, for consultation. The growing excitement among the girls necessitated some action, even if common humanity did not demand it. It was long past the hour of retiring, but still white-robed figures flitted about the dormitory halls or gathered upon the stairs. The hasty opening of the library door, where the three teachers had met together, was followed by the sound of scurrying feet and the disappearance of ghostly forms into the darkness of the music-room and up the stairway at its further end.

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a level with a row of volumes in the library devoted to the discussion of original sin. It was good to see the air of conscious and severe virtue displayed in her countenance at this moment.

"For shame!" exclaimed Miss Hersey, hotly. "There is nothing so mean as insinuations and against the absent, who cannot defend themselves!" She paused, The overfrightened at her temerity. charged weapon had recoiled; she began

to cry.

Poor, timid little Professor Paine was at his wit's end. He had called them together for deliberation; the result seemed likely to be a quarrel. Unconsciously his strong sense of justice ranged him upon Miss Hersey's side.

"Do I understand you to prefer charges against Professor Dyce and Miss Earle ?" he demanded, with a kind of trembling severity in his voice.

"Oh, no, no! Not at all! I have no charges to prefer. It is nothing to me, I am sure ;" and Miss Wormley seemed to scent a very pleasing and tranquilizing odor in the air, quite above the heads of her companions.

"If you mean to say that they have gone away deliberately, we can easily decide that by going to their rooms," said Miss Hersey, who had recovered her dignity by this time, through wrath, which does more than self-control, sometimes, towards drying tears. "We should be likely, in that case, to find a note stating their intentions, or, at least, some signs of preparation. I think we had better go at once," she said to Professor Paine, who, by this time, was in a state of mind to do anything or go anywhere.

Led by Miss Hersey, they proceeded to the other building, to Katey's room, followed and accompanied by the soft rustle of garments, the stealthy, muffled sound of unseen feet, the opening and closing of doors in the darkness but feebly lighted by the lamp in Miss Hersey's hand -all of which ghostly sounds they were too much engrossed to heed or notice. The door was unlocked. Everything in the, little corner room appeared as usualupon the table an open book, a bit of embroidery half completed; the very air of the place was peace and expectation of return as the light flared into it.

They descended the stairs again without speaking. They went on down to the class-rooms, among which was the Pro


fessor's study. The door was locked, but after a time a key was found to open it. Here, too, were no marks of disorder, no suggestions of change. Miss Wormley's eyes fastened upon a sheet of paper lying upon the writing-table. It was a halfwritten letter. The ink had dried upon the pen thrown down beside it, when the writer was called away. She took it up. 'Really," began Professor Paine, we have no right-"



"Listen to this," said Miss Wormley, triumphantly, and read aloud: "You will not be surprised at anything you hear of me, since my future movements are so uncertain, especially if you learn that I have left here suddenlyAnd there the letter broke off.

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They returned to the library. To retire to their own rooms was out of the question. The weight of responsibility upon two, at least, of the party, banished all thought of sleep.

Daylight struggled in at the window and still they had decided upon no course of action. Miss Wormley dozed in her chair. Professor Paine and Miss Hersey, chilled, anxious, and miserable, in body and mind, after their night of watching, still conversed together in low tones at intervals. If Professor Dyce had left not to return, steps must be taken to fill his place. The trustees must be informed at once. What, and how much should be told the girls? Who would fill the vacant places in the class-rooms? or could the school go on as usual? All these considerations began to press upon them with the dawn. Though Miss Hersey had denied stoutly that the letter found in his study had anything to do with Professor Dyce's disappearance, and Professor Paine was inclined to agree with her, it had still so far influenced both that nothing was now said of sending any one in search of them.

"I suppose we had better have prayers as usual;" suggested Professor Paine at last, when signs of life began to make them

selves apparent through the house. The poor man appeared more pinched and withered and yellow than ever as he rose up and shook himself feebly.

by no means profound in her reasoning on ordinary occasions, she developed now a skill and acuteness in conjoining circumstances, with a boldness in uttering convictions which did much towards fostering and strengthening public opinion in favor of the absent ones, besides stirring up suspicion and girlish outspoken scorn,—which knows neither bounds nor reason,-against Miss Wormley, whose position was by no means an enviable one, even before the afternoon, when the dispatch from Professor Dyce arrived, falling like a bomb in their midst. "I shall return to La Fayette by the evening train, with Miss Earle, who is now my wife," it read. There was nothing

"Prayers!" exclaimed Miss Wormley in her sharp voice. "You had better go into the school-room and inform the girls that their precious teachers have absconded and there will be no lessons or prayers either till you have laid the matter before the authorities. Even if they should dare attempt to return now" "Miss-Miss Wormley," interrupted the Professor, "there is, so far as I can see, no occasion to create anarchy or disorder. I shall of course put the whole matter into the hands of the trustees; but in the meantime, you will please say nothing to any one upon the subject:" and with an unusual straightening of the thin figure, causing a surprising number of wrinkles never seen before in the back of the rusty black coat, the little man walked stiffly out of the room towards the study-hall.

Regret that he had not dispatched some one at once in search of the missing ones grew upon him every moment, especially when the curiosity and excitement among the girls became manifest. The very fact that they had differed so widely upon the questions of the day, and that a coldness had in consequence sprung up between them, made the just little man, who was left in this dilemma to manage affairs, fearful lest he had not done his duty. And at last, when the school had been organized for the day with an attempt to make a show of going on as usual, he slipped out of the house and engaged a man to mount a horse and scour the country in the neigh-But borhood of the picnic ground. But of this he said nothing to any one.

Clary's distress can be imagined perhaps; it was beyond the power of description. She dissolved to tears before the omnibuses were gained, and wept from that time forward in a feeble, heart-broken way with occasional respites of wrath, odd little unexpected bursts of anger which dried her tears for a time, and perhaps saved her from entire liquefaction. No attempt at discipline could affect her conduct in the least. She wandered about, or made a lay figure in the school-room, neither studying nor attending the recitations of her classes, with ability to do nothing but mop her eyes with delicate little lace-edged handkerchiefs-for grief, even, with Clary, must have its attendant magnificence. Although


To say that Professor Paine,-whose messenger had returned before now from his useless quest, rejoiced, would too feebly express it. If anything so dried and stiffened into shape as his countenance could be said to fairly shine and sparkle, this was true of it now. He walked directly into the school-room, stepped upon the platform before Miss Hersey who was trying to enforce the semblance of a study-hour, with the assurance of utter self-forgetfulness, and read the message aloud, ending it with a kind of glorified glare at the girls, conceived as a radiant smile. And they appreciated the act, bless their dear warm hearts, North and South! For the first time they understood each other. A great shout went up from the whole school. They sprang from their seats and crowded around the little man, who by this time had retired into his shell again, frightened at himself and them.

they would not be repulsed, and with a little nervous laugh, and a trembling quaver in his weak voice, he could only assure them, over and over again, that he really knew nothing but what he had learned from the dispatch. Miss Wormley passing through the school-room heard the message, felt the shout of joy like a knife at her heart, and crept away to her own room to hide her mortification and rage as best she could. She had failed. There remained nothing for her but to accept the fact, and try to avert whatever consequences would be likely to fall upon her head. At least they could prove nothing against her. Even Professor Dyce, himself, must acknowledge that her duty was to return to town with the girls in her charge. If no one was sent after them, for she knew nothing of Professor Paine's attempt,-it

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As I opened Hop Sing's letter, there fluttered to the ground a square strip of yellow paper covered with hieroglyphics which at first glance I innocently took to be the label from a pack of Chinese firecrackers. But the same envelope also contained a smaller strip of rice paper, with two Chinese characters traced in India ink, that I at once knew to be Hop Sing's visiting card. The whole, as afterwards literally translated, ran as follows:

tered the warehouse of Hop Sing. There was that deliciously commingled mysterious foreign odor that I had so often noticed; there was the old array of uncouth looking objects, the long procession of jars and crockery, the same singular blending of the grotesque and the mathematically neat and exact, the same endless suggestions of frivolity and fragility, the same want of harmony in colors that were each, in themselves, beautiful and rare. Kites in the shape of enormous dragons and gigantic butterflies; kites so ingeniously arranged as to utter at intervals, when facing the wind, the cry of a hawk; kites so large as to be beyond any boy's power of restraint-so large that you understood why kite-flying in China was an amusement for adults; gods of china and bronze so gratuitously ugly as to be beyond any human interest or sympathy from their very impossibility; jars of sweetmeats covered all over with moral sentiments from Confucius; hats that looked like baskets, and baskets that looked like hats; silks so light that I hesitate to record the incredible number of square yards that you might pass through the ring on your little finger —these and a great many other indescribable objects were all familiar to me. I pushed my way through the dimly-lighted

warehouse until I reached the back office or parlor, where I found Hop Sing waiting to receive me.

"To the stranger the gates of my house are not
closed; the rice jar is on the left, and the
sweetmeats on the right as you enter.
Two sayings of the Master:

Hospitality is the virtue of the son and the
wisdom of the ancestor.
The Superior man is light hearted after the
crop-gathering; he makes a festival.
When the stranger is in your melon patch ob-
serve him not too closely; inattention is often
the highest form of civility,

Happiness, Peace and Prosperity.

Admirable, certainly, as was this morality and proverbial wisdom, and although this last axiom was very characteristic of my friend Hop Sing who was that most somber of all humorists, a Chinese philosopher, I must confess that, even after a very free translation, I was at a loss to make any immediate application of the message. Luckily I discovered a third enclosure in the shape of a little note in English and It ran Hop Sing's own commercial hand. thus:

THE pleasure of your company is requested at No.- Sacramento St. on Friday Evening at 8 o'clock. A cup of tea at 9— sharp. HOP SING."

This explained all. It meant a visit to Hop Sing's warehouse, the opening and exhibition of some rare Chinese novelties and curios, a chat in the back office, a cup of tea of a perfection unknown beyond these sacred precincts, cigars, and a visit to the Chinese Theater or Temple. This was in fact the favorite programme of Hop Sing when he exercised his functions of hospitality as the chief factor or Superintendent of the Ning Foo Company.

At eight o'clock on Friday evening I en

Before I describe him I want the average reader to discharge from his mind any idea of a Chinaman that he may have gathered from the pantomime. He did not wear beautifully scalloped drawers fringed with little bells-I never met a Chinaman who did; he did not habitually carry his forefinger extended before him at right angles with his body, nor did I ever hear him utter the mysterious sentence "Ching a ring a ring chaw," nor dance under any provocation. He was on the whole, a rather grave, decorous, handsome gentleman. His complexion, which extended all over his head except where his long pig-tail grew, was like a very nice piece of glazed brown paper-muslin. His eyes were black and bright, and his eye-lids set at an angle of 15°; his nose straight and delicately formed, his mouth small, and

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