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“ Not small in any sen:e of the word,” answered I, pushing MADAME LOFTY.

the Burgundy acro:s the table; and really, just now, in the

vague ball light, Jack Mortimer's six feet three loomed even Mrs. Lofty keeps a carriage,

onusually large and handsome. No, Jack was certainly not a So dol;

small mercy. We had been schoolfellows at Westminster, She has a pled grays to draw it,

chums at Cambridge, the best of friends always, though for the Noae bave I.

last half-dozen years or so parted by many a thousand miles of She's no pro der of her coachman Than an I.

sea and land. With my blze-ayed laughing baby

Even by this balf light something indescribable in the set of Trundling by.

my old friend's ordinarily fashionable garments, a something I hid his face, lest she should see

more indescribable still in his whole bearing-- certaia large The eherub b07, and envy me.

ease and freedom, as of a man acoustomed to an almost unlimited

amount of space to turn himself in, would have been sugHer fine husband has white fingere, Mine has not ;

gestive of one fact, I think, to the most casual observer

" Home from the colonies." And home from the colonies it He can give his bride a palace

Mine a cot.
Hers comes home beneath the starligh:;

For the last five years Jack Mortimer had been enjoying life
Ne'er ca-es she.

in the bush. Not that in his case there hal exisiel the usual Minc comes in the purple twilight,

inducement for viewing life upd-r those delightfully primitive Kisses me,

aspects, for my friend bad occupied from his youth upwards And prays that He who turns life's sands Will hold His loved ones in His hands.

that enviable position of heir to a wealthy maiden aunt; but

merely, as it seemed, írom a natural and inevitable tendency Mrs. Lofty has he: jewels,

in his own nature towards that simple and patriarchal state of So have I;

things. There having been no particular necessity for his prosShe wears herz upon her bosom,

pering in the line of life he had adopted, prosper, of course, be Incide I.

did; but a few months back, in compliance with the wishes of She will leave hers at Death's portals,

the maidea aụnt, who was getting on in years, and craved, as By and-by. I shall bear the treasures with me,

she said, to see her boy (which she would have called Jack if When I die,

he had been fixty, instead o: well up towards thirty, as he was) For I have love, and she has gold ;

take up his position in his native land be ore she died, be baci She counts her wealth, mine can't be told.

disposed of ali bis flocks and herds, and came back to old Eog

land to settle down as a country gentleman and landed proShe has tho:e wbo love her station,

None have I,
But I've ose true heart beside me,

I bad not very long previous y succeeded to my own modest
Glad am I ;

patrimony of Meadowsleigh, and flatır myself that that fact I'd not change it for a kingdom,

had some weight in the selection made by Jack of a residence ; No, cot I;

the same being a queer, rambling old house, with a valuable, God will weigh it in the balance,

but certainly improvable property attached, in my neighborBy and-by.

hood, called The Wild. And then the difference he'll define

Here Jack had been domiciled for some months now, the head 'Twixt Mrs. Lofty's wealth and mine.

of a curio'is bachelor establishment, organised, I should say, on strictly bush principles.

As near neighbors, as well as old friends, Jack and I were BETWEEN THE LIGHTS.

accustomed to exchange unceremonious visits at all bours ; 80 that after we had nodded to each other over our first glass,

there was scarcely aay need of his accountinz, in a hali apoloThe ladies (they were comprised in my wife and our sole getic way, for his appearance at this particular time, by saying, guest, a cousin feminice) bad left the dining-room ; so I drew " that The Wild was apt to feel duller than usual on these long, up my chair beside the open window, elevated my feet in a quiet summer evenings !” second, and prepared to extract the greatest amount of comfort, “I can imagine a vacuum there, which, being abhorred of compatible with circumstances, from that half-hour of post- nature, it is consequently unnatural of you not to fill." I said, prandial bereavement, whicb is the Englishman's privilege. lazily, "Jack, woy don't you marry ?''

And really circumstances just now were not otherwise than This suggestion my friend received in the silence which I had conducive to enjoyment. The soft-scented air of a sweet sum- sometimes noticed it was his habit to receive remarks of a mer evening rustled very pleasantly through the wide-open similar pature, nor was it his usual custom to lead up to such, window. The voices of the village children at play, mellowed by any reference to bis bachelorhood. As he sat now, leaning (I am happy to say) by distance, came up ever and anon upon back in bis chair, looking very large, and brown, and handits gentle breath ; and, it must be owned, a more delicately some, and yet with unwonted gravity on his free too, a sus fragrant glass of Burgundy has seldom gladdened the heart of picioa for the first time entered my head, as I glanced at him, man than that which blushed beside my elbow on the table that there might be some reason, of a tender and romantic

nature, o account for his peculiar reticence on this subject; I was, let me trust, in an appreciative and grateful frame of though, indeeri, Jack Mortimer, with his jolly laugh, his genia! miod; but yet, as I sipped my Burgundy and lay back in my face, and kindly words and looks for all the world, was not chair watching the tender evening light die away on the distant easily to be reconciled with the idea of "blighted hopes," trees, I was conscious of a waqt; for, after all, he is but a chur! “worms in the bud," and so forth. who can conleutedly drink even the glorious vintage of Bur- My rise, with whom Jack was on terms of mutual amity gundy alone.

and good will (as, indeed, this gentleman is a favorite with “Man never is, but always to bem" I was beginning, when married ladies in general), was firmly impressed with the conthe door opened.

viction, not only that Jack had never been in love, but that he "Mr. Mortimer, sir."

would never marry. “Let us be thankful for small mercies !" I ejaculated instead ; And why, madam, should you infer this of a man who is in “glad to see you, Jack ! Stevens, cleaa glasses."

every way calculated to adorn that honorable estate?" I in“Am I the mercy.P"' inquired Jack, depositing himself quired, when the partner of my joys first enunciated her views leisurely in the most cowfortable chair at hand. Not a par- upon this subject. “Is not my old friend eminently social in ticularly small one, then, I'm thinking, Frank."

bis habits, brimming over with all kindly affections ? Why,



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then, should be be incapable of love, and cut off from the joys man or woman availeth not, as I understand you," said I, of matrimony ?''

dismissing the subject. “I did not say he was incapable of love, Frank ; ah, no!" I had pooh-poohed my wife's observations, of course, thus answered Mrs. Marchmont, “ though I think he will never vindicating my natural supremacy and superiority, but secretly Harry. It will be some woman's loss too, for men like Mr. I own they bad weight with me, and I had long ago set down Mortimer-men more affectionate than passionate, more coa- Jack as not a marrying man, in spite of his natural predilection stant than ardent, make model husbands. Their wives are for the society of women, as evioced in his seeking that of those better loved than even their-their sweethearts (yes, Frank, I who were safely provided with husbands. like the pretty old world name for the old, old relation, and The tender evening light was fast fading into the transparent think no other so simply expressive). And hearth and home darkness of a midsummer night as we sank into mutual silence. are more to such men as he, than the rest of the world, I Streaks of mellow light from the wide-open windows of the think."

adjacent drawing-room chequered the long shadows of tree and “Upon my word, ma'am," I remarked in some surprise, for shrub on the lawn with broad bars of quiet light. The low airs my wife's voice was very soft and gentle as she spoke, “you of evening sighed tenderly to the trees, which whispered back s-em to have brought a great deal of consideration and reflec- answers all lovingly tremulous, and then, suddenly, there grew tion to bear on the subject of Mr. Mortimer !"

out from that murmurous accompaniment, a strain of plaintive “ Reflection !--not at all, dear,” Mrs. Marchmont said simply ; passion, of wondrous sweetness. "ode seels—at least I think a woman does instinctively-the Einsam bin Ich." worth of such a man as John Mortimer. And he is not of that I think we both held our breaths as that inspiration of Carl order that is most attractive to the greatest number of women Maria von Weber's, breathing sorrowful regret, passionate either."

yearning, came borne to us on a rich young voice ; and when, " Indeed! Be good enough to explain the contradiction in in a few minutes, it sank and faltered into silence, Jacks rose your words, young woman. If Jack Mortimer is possessed of from his chair and leaned out of the window without speaking. such unusual virtue, and women instinctively perceive the Come," said I presently, “leto us join the ladies. 'Music same, why is he not the honored object of their regards ? Or hath charms, especially on an evening like this." am I to understand that the female mind prefers an exhilarating The sudden change from the darkling atmosphere of the sprinkling of vice in its idol, if only to throw the virtues up room we had left, to the radiance of that which enshrined the into broader light, as it were ?''

ladies of my household, was a little dazzliog and bewildering. “No, not that, exactly,” Mrs. Marchmont answered rather Was it only tbat? or did I see, as Jack Mortimer turned from hesitatingly; “but I think, perhaps, that women prefer in his friendly greeting to Mrs. Marchmont, to bow in response to general a-well—a more showy style of thing than Vr. Morti- my introduction of "Mr. Mortimer" to “Miss Francis," a sudDon't laugh, Frank.”

den start, followed by utter confusion on Jack's part, a vivid But I did laugh.

blush, and an exceedingly baughty uprearing of the head, on “Of course they do, bless their hearts ! And so pour Jack is that of my pretty little cousin, Beaty Francis ?" to be the victim of an unappreciating female world.” I don't think I meant that, either, Frank; but of this I vinced, that any woman willing to marry Mr. Mortimer

CHAPTER II.-WHAT IS THE PLOT ? would have to make him understand it in an unmistakable

So, Miss Beaty! My introduction of my friend, John Mortimanner, or he would never credit the fact." "Well-well, my love. Then let us hope that a lady may already acquainted ?"

mer, last night, was altogether superfluous, it seems. You were cross our friend's path in life with sufficient sense to appreciate his worth, and sufficient courage and candor to volunteer the answered Miss Francis loftily, but with that faltering, tell-tale

“I have seen the-the gentleman before, cousin Frank," state of her heart to the object for which it beats, or else we color rushing over her face nevertheless. may consider his fate as sealed, I suppose." Mr. Mortimer would never marry any woman who could and pettish and tender, charming always, but she cannot be

Dignity is not my cousin's forte; she can be saucy and loving, forget in the sligbtest degree womanly delicacy or propriety," dignified or awe-inspiring ; consequently ! pursued the subject, my wife returned with much dignity. “Then may the saints help him, my dear; for help from

in no wise daunted by the little lady's displeasure.

“What, in the name of wonder, did you mean by that awful pause before “gentleman," my dear? What denomination did it take the place of ?"

“Squatter, perhaps," was the pert answer. “ Is not that what the creatures are called, who live in the outlandish place your friend comes from ?''

“Certainly not, miss. The term is not euphonious, I admit, but it is neither one of ignomioy nor reproach, as you in your ignorance would imply, being only another name for a landed proprietor, and signifying the same thing. My friend was merely a cattle dealer, and I own it puzzles me to imagine when your high mightiness could bave met an individual in so lamentably an inferior condition in life.”

“What does it matter where I met him ?" my cousin burst out with a vehemence that quite startled and overwbelmed me, her sweet face crimson, her eyes filling with tears-of anger, of pain, of mortification--of what? “I never wanted to see bim ; I wish I never had! Oh, how often I have wished I never, never had! Why did he not stay out at the other side of the world ? I thought he was gone for ever.”

These sentences, full of “evers" and "nevers," came in jerks from lips that quivered pitifully, and when they were ended, two great tears fought their way through restraining lashes, and rolled heavily down her face.

If I was utterly surprised, I was moved also. My little

cousin was very dear to me; she had been my pet and play. THE MAIDEN.-PAGB 274.

thing ever since the day when I, a rough schoolboy, used to



steal away from companions of my own sex and age, to play I could not rest, so laying the reins upon the neck of my with a pretty toddling baby in a wbite frock and blue shoes. inclinations, they straightway led me in the direction of The I took her two hands and drew her up beside me.

Wild. “ My dear," said I, “I ask your pardon if I have jested on a Mr. Mortimer was at home-yes-would I walk into the stody subject toat really touched you in auy way. I never dreamed or the dining-room, while Binks went in search of his master, of your baviog any special interest in Jack Mortimer ; how who was somewhere out of doors? could I?"

“Out of doors? NoI would not come in then. I would Hard is it for the mind mascnline, to follow the twists and prefer finding Mr. Mortimor myselt;" and being pretty well twinings of the one feminine. I had touched the wrong string acquainted with Jack's habits, I turned confidently down the again. Up weot my cousin's head, while a hot flush came to shrubbery walk that led towards the stables. The responsibledry up the two great tears.

looking head groom was standing at the door of the harness “And I have no interest-special or otherwise—in Mr. Morti- room (the stable department at The Wild was much more ably mer. He is nothing to me, nor ever will be. I beg you to administered toan the rest of the establishment). believe that once for all, Frank."

He touched his sorelock in answer to my inquiry. Of course, dear," said I, soothingly, but taking leave, at “Mr. Mortimer? Yes, sir, in the looee box, sir, along of the same time, to doubt that assertion under the circumstances. Ajax-mostly there at this time. Th's way, sir."

Any one could see from your meeting last night toat your In the loose box accordingly-an apartment as spacious and previous acquaintance must have been of the most castral much more neatly kept than the dwelli: g-room of many a nature. A ball-room one, perhaps, dear, when you danced five family-I found my friend seated, pipe in mouth, and in a very out of every six dances with Jack, ate ices together under the easy position, on one corner of the manger, out of which black orange-trees in a shady conservatory, watched the moon out of Ajax was leisurely partaking of his midday meal, yet lifting his the cool balcony, and passed him in the street the next day, bead ever and anon to look into his master's face with that penwithout so much as even a glance of recognition. It was some- sive kindness we see in the eyes of the horse or dog that loves thing of that kind, wasn't it, my little Béaty ?'

Close at Jack's feet, too, lay an animal oi the last named “No, Frank-nothiog like it. A ball-room and dancing! species, a splendid kangaroo dog, that, too noble for jealousy, Oh, no, no! A death-chamber, and dying words rather. Oh, watched yet, with a certain wistfulness, the hand so often withFrank, Frank! I wish I could tell you all!” And with that, drawn from its resting-place in the sort of cash Jack wore, in poor Beaty nestled her flushed face on to my breast (many a place of a belt or braces, to fondle the horse's short velvet ears time in the old days she had cried herself to sleep there after or sbining crest. some childish grief, or a fit of naughtiness) and wept.

The man, the horse and the aog, all powerful and hesutilal • Thea tell me, as, indeed, my pet, who has a better right to of their kind, made a pretty pi·ture, and RUBE.X know all that vexes or pleases you than your poor cousin lace and kind eyes were not those of a man wuo could willsuily Frank; and in the dear old days that are gone, Beaty, to whom wrong any of God's creatures, great or email. did you ever carry all your griefs (thank God, they have not The doubt'lying heavy at my heart vanished somehow, when been many, nor heavy, my dear !) but to him?"

my hand was gripped in that friendly one; but curiosity and “ Ab, used, Frank !" she cried, nestling ever closer and interest, deep and overpowering, remained. closer.

Jack duly inquired after Mrs. Marchmont's health, but re"And will still-yes; for I have never separated the Beaty ferred in no way to our visitor or bis recognition of her, and of to day from the little child I used to love so dearly ; and I | biding my time I made none either. After half an hour with claim the right still to be the sharer of all that pleases, all that Ajax, stable topics, local matters, crops, and neighborly talk grieves her ; I shall never give it up till one comes between us generally, we sauntered away from the stable precincts, out with a better, aud that can only be a husband.”

under a row of flowering limes, where the bees were making “No husband will ever come between us. Frank, dear, I drowsy music. shall never marry-never !" said Beaty, with much energy, One of those intervals of silence had befallen-that more than through her tears; and beyond reiterating this presently, when anything, almost, goes to show the complete intimacy that subshe sat up and dried her eyes, I could extract nothing at all sists between those who indulge it in each other's society-and from my cousin on the subject that moved her. I had loved presently into this silence stule the plaintive mu-ic of that this little girl very dearly. I had been accustomed to think of melody of last night, whistled very deftiy and sweetly, wkistled her as mine by a peculiarly near and familiar tie. I was 23 I think only one man can execute that accomplishment, that wounded to tbiok the woman could have a secret, when the man being Jack Mortimer. child bad confided all. I was hurt, and I suppose I showed it, I let him finish and then turned rather suddenlyfor with a faltering smile Beatrice put her arms round my neck “ By-the-by, Jack, you never told me you were acquainted as she said, “There are some things--some troubles—that are with my cousin, Beatrice Francis !" best never told, dear Frank, I think, and this is one of them. Jack's browa face gained a perceptible access of color. It could do me no good, and would, perhaps, be wrong also, “ Didn't I? Well-no-I dare say I dever did. I saw her since another person is concerned in it. You could not help once, I think, before I went to Australia, five years ago--never me, dear, no, not if it were possible to wish to do so more than since I came home, till last night. I don't even know, being you do-which could not be, I know—and--and it's nothing mightily igaorant on such matters, wh-ther one meeting gives new-and I don't often think of it now-only, last night, it all me any right to cluim acquaintanceship with Miss Francisseemed to come back so freshly. I am afraid I have been very what should you say, Frank ?'' silly, and pained you needlessly. Don't speak or think of it “ That it depends upon the circumstances under which the any more, and I will try and forget it also.”

meeting took place, of course," I answered, remembering with One word, Beatrice ; do you know that Mr. Mortimer is our great perplexity Beaty's reference to death-chambers and dying near neighbor and constant visitor ? Tell me, my dear, would words. Uuder wbat possible combination of circumstances you rather not see him any more, while you remain here ?" could these, my friend Jack, and my little cousin be associated ?

*Oh! I don't know; I don't care, Frank ; let that be as he I had been quite as accustomed to suppose I possessed Jack's likes," agaia with that burning color ; “don't say any more confidence as wel as that of my cousia ; yet bere evidently was about it;" and with this I was obliged to be content.

a mystery I was not to know, and oue ibat bad existed for five Feign to be so, I mean, for content I certainly was not. years, apparently, without my ever having had an inkling of

A borrible, haunting idea that Jack Mortimer, whom I had it. I had felt wounded on the first discovery ; by this time I hitherto sworn by, as the worthiest, kindest, most chivalrous began to experience a feeling of injury, and, with perhaps of men, bad fallen short somehow of right doing where my unwise frankness, avowed the same. little cousin was concerned, beset me paipfully.

Jack withdrew his pipe from his lips, shook out the ashes in It seemed increible, and yet how otherwise account for what troubled silence, put the pipe slowly into its case, and the case had passed between my cousin and me?

linto his pocket, before he spoke.

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"I hate mysteries and secrets; they are not at all in my way, ) rippled hair drawn into a knot behind the ears ; I could fancy as you know, old friend. I never expected the thing to befall the very look on the downcast face at this moment, though it me that I could not talk over with you ; but, Frank, there was turged from me—and then-well-yes, I kuew any cousin comes something into mosl men's lives, sooner later, that Beaty's usual walking dress of simple bolland, and the little they do not care to speak of, that no good could come of speak- velvet hat with the bright wing -in which she looked like ing of, and besidus—" He paused and then adied, “ This is herself, in short, and like no one else ever did, in my eyes. not my own affair either, entirely-another is concerned as well And if this was unmistakably my cousin Beatrice, the tall a3 14"

gentleman in light morning clothes, the eet of wbich was someWhy, those were Beaty's very words and reasons for deny how so indescribably loose and casy, who stood hat in hand ing me any explanation," I ejaculated in intense astonishment. beside her, speaking so earnestly, and looking so steadily at the

“ Have you epoken to Miss Francis-to your cousin on the bent-down face that yet turned towards him too, was no less subject ?”' asked Jack, flushing.

certainly Mr. John Mortimer. "Certainly, and got the same amount of satisfaction as from How long had this conference between these two apparently yourself,"

hostile powers lasted ? IIow long was it going to list? Was a "Thank heaven, then, that I never breathed a word of it to truce being declared, war determined on? Or was peace, mildliving creature,” said Jack. “I might have done it one day to eyed and beautiful, hovering sweetly over this communiog you, Frank, though I never regarded myself as having any pair ? right to talk of it. But tell Miss Francis-assure ber from me, How could I tell, who had never been admitted within the that I never have, never will now—she need never fear any mysterious circle that seemed somehow to enclose these two? allusion, not the slightest, to what is gone, from me tell her Should I advance now, og my way, which would lead me this, please, Frank," said Jack, earnestly.

straight upon the unconscious creatures ? or should I turn back “I'll tell her nothing of the kind. Hang me if I ever speak and pretend I had not seen what I bad? While I still remained to either of you again on the matter!" I answerer, losing dubious, pondering these things, Beaty turned and saw me; patience; "and I wish your future wife joy of the mce little and observing that without an instani's hesitation she came Bluebeard secret you carry about with you, Jack !”

slowly towards me, and that Mr. Mortimer followed her, I in “I shall never marry," Jack said quietly.

my turn advanced. "Grant me patience," I cried out; "she said ti...', too !" I did not care to look too closely into the child's face, as she “Did she?'' inquired Jack, very earnestly.

came up and quietly put her hand within my arm, but I did The next mloute be turned away his head, and · heard him look at Jack. mokin', (;, ! amv. Ainy !”

He colored a little, but be met my eyes very frankly and In a jew in udiro ino: e Jack and I parted, for the first time in steadily, and when he held out his hand, it was with the unmisour lives, with mutual relief.

takable look about him, somehow, of a man who never had, who never could do anything he was ashamed to be caught in.

I was on my way to The Wild, Jack."

“Were you? It is weil we fell in, tt.en, for I was coming A WEEK, a fortnight went by ; long days of rich unclouded over to call on Mrs. Marchmont, whom it seems an age since I sunshine, evenings of tranquil sweetness, evenings long, and saw. I met Miss Francis a few yards from here, and learnt sbe still, all perfumy with the breath of flowers, like those Jack was at home. had declared made the loneliness of his empty oid house intole- Was that simple inquiry the one Jack was making so rable to him; but neither glancing sunshine, nor tranqu:l sun-earnestly as I came upon them? set brought my old friend any more to Meadowsleigh.

We all turned, and strolled back towards Meadowsleigh I cannot tell all that want was to me; I scarce knew myself; together, I disguisiog whatever curiosity I had (I may as well and I cbafed angrily, as I was forced to own that I was puwer- own, it was intense) under, as I flatter myself, a very perfectly less to do anything but mourn over it.

simulated aspect of unconsciousness that my companions stood Whe but Jack himself, could judge how far his presence was towards each other in any than the ordinary relations of a lady fitting in the house where the sharer of this precious mystery and gentleman who met then and there, for the second or third for the present domiciled ?

time in their lives; but I speedily arrived at the conviction that At the end of the first week I bud called at The Wild ; but that confabulation among the trees, which I had interrupted, Mr. Mortimer was from home, and not expected to return till had partaken of the nature of a truce, or an accommodation, at night; at the end of another, I sallieu forth once more in that least, the demeanor of the contracting parties was so evidently direction.

in accordance with rules and regulations laid down and agreed The footway to the domain called The Wild led up through upon. my own grounds, crossed the high road, and entered my friend's Jack did not, as on the occasion of their former meeting in by a low gate. The day was one of these same summer ones, my drawing-room, refrain from addressing or even glancing in bright and still, hot and glowing. Brilliant sunshine steeped the direction of Miss Francis ; on the contrary, he studiously, all the fields waving grain, fast ripening now to harvest, in not to say laboriously, endeavored to include her in the desulfloods of golden light; but the arching trees that met overhead, tory talk by which we beguiled the way; and poor little Beaty, above the pretty woodland path I walked, only admitted hare with a manger lamentably differing from her usual one, all the and there glimpses of that glowing splendor. Shadows, broad careless flow of her pretty talk sobered into constrained and and cool, closed all around me; the light that came in here, all measured cadence, gravely followed his lead. soft, and dim, and broken, caused one to think of solemn old I think both were glad when we reached the house, and they churches in a land beyond the sea ; dim with painted windows, were released from any necessity of keeping up this show of misty with inceased altars, and grave with the gathered memo- common intercourse. But from this time the communication ries of all the bygone years. Perhaps, too, of trysting-places, between The Wild and Meadowsleigh was resumed upon someand waiting lovers, all the joy of meeting made tremulous, and thing of its old footing; and yet no, for I never now, as I threw sorrowfully sweet, by the shadow of that ineritable parting up my window of a morning, and leaned out to inbale the that waits upon alt meetings here. As this last thought strayed health-giving breeze of carly morn, was greeted by a cheery across my fancy, I reached a sudden opening in the trees around voice nor gladdened with a sight of Jack Mortimer, coming, me, through which the patteway wound, and turuing into it, I with those long quiet strides of his, across the dewy lawn of came to an abrupt balt in utter and vuhounded surprise. Meadowsleigh in time for an early breakfast. He did not drop

Lovers and trysting-places, truly! Why, what was this, and in to luncheon, nor saunter up between the lights in his old who were these, standing among the flickering shadows yonger ? fashion. It is true he might still have come at some of thes: Surely I could not mistake that figure, full of graceful lines and times, but never now without being asked. flexiie curves; I knew every one of them by heart. I knew, Nor did these symptoms of an agreed on and regulated too, the downward bend of that golden head, with its pretty demeanor towards each other, which I had detected at first

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between my cousin and my friend, disappear on continued | held out her hand to Mr. Mortimer with ever so quiet a smile, intercourse. They showed now, in a mitigated form, perhaps, and then swept away, before we could turn and accompany but they were still observable.

ber. And over my little cousin a shadow had fallen, tbat, try to Jack looked after her for an instant, and there was trouble in hide it as she would, she could not cover from my sight. I his eye. could not accuse ber of mopiog or pining-she did not sullenly “Miss Francis is not looking well," he said ; "she has grown turn her bacis upon life and its duties, refuse companionship, thin and pale." nor decline her daily meals. No; whatever her trouble was, she strove with it, as the good, healthy-mioded Eoglish girl whe was, and had evidently never a thought of giviug up, nor giving in.

THERE was no prettier nor cosier room in all comfortable But as I noted sometimes how the sweet laughter would and picturesque old Meadowsleigh than that one appropriated filter into sudden silence—the words lightly begun end in a to its master, and called “Mr. Marchmont's study.” It was bigh-her pretty, childish beauty deepen, and sadden at times, sacred to myself, and I was chary of allowing the intrusion of into thoughtful womanhood-my heart was sore within me. my household across its threshold, feeling that the "business' My little Beaty! thou wert very dear to me; but, alas ! what in wbich I talked solemnly of being engaged during a quiet buman love avails to shield its object from the doo:n of all the hour or so, when it pleased me to retire from the bosom of my world ? I could only stand silently on one side, and grieve that family into its comfortable seclusion, might perhaps suffer in it had come at last upon thee-that burden and beat of thy day the respect of its members, if they found how often it was transbere, which I could neither lighten nor share. Ah ! I think acted with a cigar between my lips and in a position of recumthere are few sadder moments in life than these-these in which bancy on a lounge constructed with many cuoniog contrivances we realise with a cruel pang that all our love, tender and true for insuring the greatest amount of comfort, with the least though it be, is powerlees. The world goes sobbing through expenditure of effort, on the part of the individual who sought space;"' none who live upon it can escape the doom of sorrow, its sleepy hollow. and regret, and tears.

The fire bad sunk down into a deep red glow on the wide And 60 summer days stole away on noiseless feet, and with tesselated hearth, my favorite hound was sleeping peacefully in the autumn came that time for Jack, which, let us hope, is its heat, all the room was full of brooding shadows, and that seldom one of rejoicing, pure and unalloyed ; that time when wavering glow from the fire only very dimly defined the large expectation becomes fulfillment, and the heir comes into his person of Jack Mortimer as he lay extended very much at his kingdom. The kind old maiden lady at Charleswood went ease on that same lounge. quietly to her rest, and John Mortimer of The Wild, was now A tap at the long window that opens upon the shrubbery. also lord of the fair domain of Charleswood, and a personage of If you please, sir, Jones would thank ye to walk down to considerable importance in the county where it was situate. the stable. Lady Betty went dead lame to-day, sir, while one

But wben he came last to The Wild after some weeks of of the boys had her out exercising, sir.” absence, and we walked under the limes, whose leaves shivered Uitering an anatbema upon boys in general, and stable boys silently to the ground beneath our feet, I was vexed to observe in particular, I caught up my cap and hastened away without a that my old friend was disposed to treat this fact but lightly, word of excuse to Jack, who was, moreover, half asleep. and that in his mood and conversation generally there was a I might, perhaps, have been absent half an hour, for I had to discontent, and gloom almost, quite unwonted in him. His wait the veterioary surgeon's arrival and report upon the sudden appearance, during my stroll, was somewhat unex- disaster of my favorite mare; and when I presently re-entered pected, and I said go as I welcomed him.

my sanctum, wbich I did by the window, as I departed, I stood “I seem to have been away an age, too,” he anspered, still a moment surveying the sight that presented itself to my hastily ; "and I came-upon my soul, I hardly know why I eyes. came, except that I was horribly lonely up at Charleswood, and Not with surprise-no-I flatter myself I had entirely overno wonder! Not that The Wild is much better, though, only, come any tendency to that emotion where Jack Mortimer and at any rate, I don't miss there a kind old face I used to know. my cousin Beaty were concerned ; for of course, those young Frank, if it had not been for the dear old lady I should never people composed the tableau on which I looked. have come home, I think ; and since she's gone, I can't do It was not otherwise than a pretty one, I am bound to confess better than go back again. I declare, if it was possible, I'd go that. There was Jack seated easily back on my favorite restingback to the bush to-morrow."

place, and by his side—and so very close, that Jack's arm could “ In search of society ?!' I inquired.

scarce have found a position anywhere but round ber waistJack laughed, but the next instant he sighed.

nestled Miss Beaty. As far as I knew, he had bardly hitherto " Ah! you may laugh at the idea of a man who has been five touched the little finger-tips of my pretty cousin, and now-lo years in the bush, crying out at the solitude of an old country —but I was calm, and advanced into the charmed circle within house under bachelor rule ; but I can tell you solitude is not at the firelight, as if for a lady and gentleman apparently on the all the same thing there-nothing like boredom in the bush, most formal terms of acquaintancesbip, to assume the present Frank; and somehow a friend's face seems all the more worth relative position of these two, was among my most ordinary and seeing, when you have ridden over fifty miles of green slope familiar experiences. and swell, with that sole end in view. In fact, I think a man “Wish me joy, Frank, old fellow," said Jack, jumping up must go to the bush before he really understands the meaning then. of the word "neighbor." No offence to you, old boy."

I wish you all poesible jny," I answered meekly; “None in the world ; but, for a gentleman of passably the less sincerely, that I don't in the least koow of what." engaging manners, decidedly bandsome means, in a moderately “I should think it was plaid enough, too," Mr. Mortimer populous and sociably disposed neighborhood, to complain of answered, turning to draw Beaty up beside him ; "but I am solitude, and talk of flying to the bush for society, strikes me afraid you are vexed, old boy, that we should have had a secret as a fact requiring explanation. If Charleswood and The Wild from you all this time. I suppose we have each fancied it the are dull, fill them with friendly faces, dear lad; they are never other's; but now it can be yours, toy, Frank, if Beaty will turned away from such as thee."

tell it." But Jack shook his head.

Not I, Jack. I came here this evening meaning to tell “The dear old country seems vo nave grown small, Frank. Frank, and made a sad mess of it (here she glanced up at Jack, I feel in the way here."

with the most enchantiog look imagiqable). You do it this We were just at the end of the shadowy avenue of limes as he time. Sit here, Frank, dear." spoke, and the next instant there was a faint rustle among the And my little cousin, bless her loving heart! seeing that I withered leaves on the grass, and my cousin Beaty glided into was grave (which I was, through sheer bewilderment), and fearit, and faced us. We both started a little, but the little lady' ing that I was wounded, sat down by me on the side not next



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