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A DAUGHTER OF THE TROPICS.

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[COPYRIGHT.] A DAUGHTER OF THE TROPICS. BY FLORENCE MARRY AT, 1A.utho)' of" Love'] Conflict," Vironiqvs" etc. CHAPTER XI. THE LADY-SECRETARY. JAFTER a significant delay of a few minutes she appeared, looking very nervous, very pale .and with her eyes cast down to the "round' She did not advance into the room ei< her b<i< â atood at the door like a servant, waiting until «he was spoken to. ° Please come in and sit down, Mrs. Ar!i.,«- i^u'al tone "T"' ^8 «P«k in his âºnot' And -n j 13 very warm to-day, is it fhave had not *°°k to me aa if you remain in -r re9^ Why did you not should n f^.°Ur °Wn room a little longer? I 'had Vian S have asked to speak to you unless I 'had heard you moving about." sir d j â r6i household duties to perform, j T hope I shall net neglect themâso g as i remain here," she answered, in a low .voice. b" That is just what I want to talk to you out," resumed her employer. I don't think Were ,e'ther of us quite ourselves last night, »T^r^ngton, and we said several things we 'Oad better have left unsaid. Shall we try and forget what passed between us ? Is it a bar- gain ?" You may be sure I shall never renew the Subject, Mr. Kerrison." "Of course not We will neither of us ever refer to it again. That is plainly under- stood. You were over-tired and excited, and 'I daresay you hardly remember what you did fiav neither do I. We talked a lot of nonsense about separation, but I don't think that step would benefit one of us more than the other. I should lose an invaluable ally, and you would rgive up a home that is, at least I hope, a com- 'fortable one to you. What do you say ? "It would be a life-long blow, to me, sir." Very well; then let us consider the idea abandoned and for ever, But whilst we arc on this subject, Mrs. Arlington," continued t Kerrison, glancing towards the door to be sure ,it was shut, and we have agreed it ig mooted for the last time, perhaps we had better speak to each other without reserve. If our con- nection is to be continued, you fully under- stand, I hope, that it will be on the old foot- ing of â what shall we say ?-author and amanuensis." "I understand, sir, fully," rejoined Mrs. Arlington, rather bitterly. You see, my dear Lola," said Mark Ker- risoa, venturing on a little soothing process now that he had settled the main point, I am not a marrying man, and the sooner my friends rrecognise that fact the better. I consider I am past changing my condition in life, and it is a very good thing for the women that I am. I don't think I should make a good hus- bandânot even a pleasant one. You see me at my best, for I have a habit of shutting myaetf up when I feel unfit for company. But I am very morose and gloomy at times, and then I am a caution I can assure you." "All persons who work their brains much are subject to periodical fits of depression," ,observed Mrs. Arlington. Then they are better left alone, my dear lady, until they come out of their sulks again. Heaven forbid I should depreciate the kind indulgence of my friends! for no man is more dependent than myself on affection and sym- pathy but I am not fitted to form a nearer tie rthan friendship. I should lose instead of gain, on a closer inspection. I am too much wedded to my own habits and customs to be able to 'break through them without detriment to my temper and disposition. Do I make myself "lain to you ? "Quite plain, sir." The terms on which we have worked to- gether hitherto appear to me to be the only ones on which the sexes can approach each other, and keep clear of the dissensions which invari- ably follow a closer intimacy. You ha ve al ways teen ready to give up your time or your pleasure to meet my convenience aad I have sometimes, I think, made similar little sacrifices for you." Indeed you have, Mr. Kerrison. You have always treated me most generously and con- siderately. 1) I acknowledged as much to you last night." Pooh pooh We musn't refer to last might, remember. Is it buried henceforth as in the depths of the sea. I want only to talk to you of the future. Do you intend to remain with me or not 1" "It must be just as you please, sir." u You know I should wish it to be so, under the conditions I have mentionedâ namely, that all things go on just as they did before. But with regard to yourself-would it make you happier to go ? U 0, Mr. Kerrison how can you put such a question to me ?" said Mrs. Arling- ton, with an intonation that made him hurry on with his next sentence. "Very good, then, that is settled you will remain with me. But is there anything more I can do to mark my appreciation of your services? You have your own sitting-room -in it sufficient? would you like to have a writing-room apart from this? Will you feel more comfortable to occupy a separate room from mine? Speak out-don't be baBhful. We need have no secrets from one another." Then I would rather remain here, sir." Very well; and for the future, Mrs. Arliag- «on, we will change your designation and â¢Â«all you my lady-secretary. You will still take the cuctr, im establishment, and be ny housekeeper, but my friend Escott and I have been talking the matter over, and we think that the high title is more befitting station in life. If it is in accor- dance with your own feelings also, I shall be :glad if you will take your meals for the future at our table. This will place you at once in your proper position with the ladies who may IC)hance to honour me by dining here. I sup- \p0.ge you will have no objection ? No Objection I By the rich colour that mantled thAL atv.tho .idea» he might have seen if â¢he had any objection to it, â¢wonlr) ° he<*t in H^°n keen asked what balm Would best soothe her lacerated feelings of 7nr' f.hG C°Uld not have «*">« £ one â better fitted for the purpose. To discard the ame of housekeeper, which had always seemed i*> place her on a level with the servants' 1, «nd adopt that of lady-secretary, Witjj tj^ rivilege of sharing the meals of her employer gratified all the ambition which his repulse *»d left her. H- pe returned to her bosom, "hust she had access to his presence she would ^^despair, and her eyes glowed with renewed W Ai jfeg8 5!' Slr> you are too good to me I con- fides *'t position has galled me some- for *or. a kittleâand had it not been thrown jtcerta"1 circumstances I should have strange vr«,UI>-n0rig a8°- It was so new and house*of understand, after having had choice." y °wn, but my poverty left me no Of cottrae X have felt it! I knew that, and it all al()rl make any ,h,, g, but it was difficult to too handsome, Vj S8t I was alone. You are ,ro.tlte with a ba,hel to be dining the.- that the Colonel lives'J <â¢er old; bat now People will not talk soS,m«. >t is different, increase in your salary ton make an Will settle that next pay^ja'nat"rally, but we ve have made up our little now, since our plans/or the future, I should I?6 anc* laid Co upstairs and lie down and rest âlse y°u to fou are certainly not fit for "Indeed, indeed I am, if you ^iu «ne." °wylet No, I will not let you. Be?i<*e* I atn thi Sng out something, and want the library tQ m «elf. So good-bye for the present, Mr8. 'on, and remember that â Es")tt } shall Expect to see you at the dinner-table this even- ^ut, left to his reflections, Kerrison looked r*ther Demlexed. and could not decide m ^8 own mind whether he haJ tfat Coloirf judiciously or not. It was true THAT OOLONEI J^eott and he had talked oyer advisability praising Mrs. Arlington's "rrect ^ousehold. It did not seem that the housekeeper should spend halt 2* time in her master's library, help:ing him his work. But there would be nothing in the fact of his LADY-SECRETARY under- to direct his household into the bargain. &cott, under the influence of bis admiratioa for Mrs. Arlington, had naturally argued strong ly in her cause, and Mark Kerrison had seen th* reason of it. But the revelation of the night before should have shown him it would be a mistake. However, his own convenience, and a laudable desire to soothe the woman's wounded vanity, had made him propose the change, and now it was too late to repentit. But he doubted if he had been wise. Another thing troubled him. In orderto justify his behaviour to Lola Arlington, he had told her he was not a marrying man, and would never change his con- dition in life. It was what he had been in the habit of say- ing for years past, and a month ago he would have repeated it over and over again, without compunction. But to-day, somehow, the remem- brance made him uneasy, and he found himself wondering what the new lady-secretary would do or say, if he ever changed his mind. Would she throw it in his teeth, or consider he had broken some sort of a compact he had entered into with herself ? For Mr. Kerrison was very conscious that his thoughts had been drawn of late, far oftener than was necessary, in the direetion of Lily Power; and that this pale, reserved, and mysterious sort of girl was taking a hold upon his mind that alarmed him. He had been grad- ually awakening to the truth for some weeks past, but since Lola Arlington's confession he had been sure of it. What else was it but a heart already fixed in another direction, that bad made him turn, almost with loathing, from the pleading of a young and handsome woman for his love ? Why did her flashing eyes revolt him ? Her dark hair and crimson lipa appear to possess no beauty? Onlyâbecause his fancy at that moment was riveted on a slight, fragile form, and pensive eyes that shone through tears like wood-violets bathed in dew. Only-because a white face, with quivering, pale-tinted lips, had taken possession of his heart without his know- ing it, and all riper charms looked coarse and uninviting beside the image enshrined there. And in assuring Mrs. Arlington of his entire freedom, both in the present and the future, he seemed to have put a fetter on his actions, and Eledged himself to a life which every hour was ecoming more distasteful to him. lie was still ruminating over what had passed between them, when Colonel Escott's tap sounded on the door. "Quite alone, my dear Mark?" he asked peeping in. Quite so, Jem. By the way, old fellow, I have just been talking to Mrs. Arlington about the little alteration you suggested in her nomenclature the other day, and she is quite pleased with the idea. So we decided that for the future she is to be my lady-secretary, who is good enough to include the superintendence of my household amongst her duties, and that she will take her meals at the same table as our- selves. Will that satisfy you ? The Colonel's honest face beamed with pleas- ure. My dear Mark, I really think it is the right thing to do. It seemed a shame to me that a woman with such manners, and such a mind, should be placed on a level with an upper servant. She was so out of her place, too. And I am sure it will make our meals much more agreeable to have her sitting at the table with us, instead of hovering in and out of the room, as she was in the custom of doing. It makes me nervous to have a woman waiting on me. I think the change will be altogether for the better." "Well, if you're content, old boy, I am; and own you are here to look after us, we will hope it may give rise to no scandal. I think she will be useful as a chaperon for my young. lady guests. It is sometimes awkward to secure the' presence of a married woman when you want one. I was thinking of giving an enter- tainment shortly to the Miss Oredo' company. I thick it would be a graceful acknowledgment of their success last night. They all played remarkably well, didn't they ?" Remarkably; especially your prottgde, the waif. She came out quite strong in the last act. I had no idea she had it in her "She did well enough," replied Kerrison, with affected carelessness, as he turned over the newspapers that lay upon his table. But, of course, Emily Hartlebury carried off the honours. She is the best comedy actress I know." "We enjoyed it all through, Emé and I," said the Colonel, "but I was quite sorry t9 see Mrs. Arlington in the dress circle I fancied she felt it. She should have been in your box, Mark. I wonder you didn't put her there." Kerrison shrugged his shoulders. Well, I suppose now that she is trans- formed into a 'lady-secretary,' she will claim a seat there for the future? However, she had nothing to complain of she had an excellent view of the stage. By the way, did Fielding return here with you last night ? "No; he wasn't very well, and left me as soon as we found you had no intention of responding "to the cries fur 'author.' Bv the way, Mark, why didn't you turn up ? "I was: quite disappointed at your defalcation. The audience was so very enthusiastic, it seemed quite ungracious not to respond to their demand." "I was called away on business in another direction, and did not get home till half-past one," replied Kerrison, with an averted face. Besides, I don't care for appearing before the curtain, Jem, and always avoid it if I can. Tenniel does just as well. I supposed he apologised for my absence ?" "0, yes; everything was done en vègle, but it was a long time before they left off shout- ipg. It was an exciting scene. I felt quite tired after it, and went to bed as soon as I came home. When will your Miss Credo' dinner come off ? Next week, I hope, but don't say any- thing about it, Jem; we may as well keep it to ourselves. I don't want the place overrun by a lot of men the few we may require to make up the party I can bring home from the club." All right, old fellow, I won't mention it to an/body," replied the Colonel, who looked unaccountably cheerful at the news he had heard. CHAPTER XII. "QUEEN LILY AND ROSE IN ONE." MARK KERRISON'S self-constituted guardian- ship of Miss Power effected its object so far as that young lady's freedom from molesta- tion was concerned, but it did not pass without comment in the theatre. Each night he con- ducted her to her cab himself, or sent her under- the charge of some trust-worthy person, who was bound previously to ascertain that no one was hanging about the stage dcor likely to approach or speak to her. Esme Fielding, therefore, although on several occasions he was lurking round the corner to try and obtain a private interview, was never bold enough to run the risk of a public refusal, especially as Mr. Kerrison was so often her attendant cavalier. This constant solicitude on the part of the dramatise for the young actress's safety was not altogether interpreted to her credit. Men who have reached the top of the tree, and become wealthy and powerful, do not often patronise young and obscure girls from motives of charity and benevolence. Yet Miss Power was so pale and undesirous of attracting attention, that few persons recog- nised the depth of her beauty and so quiet and reserved, that fewer still would have accused her of flirting. The pursuit was universally allowed to be on Kerrison's side only, and he was credited with poor taste for his pains but he went on his way, unheeding public opinion, and was fain to confess to himself that, the oftener he saw and conversed with Lily Power, the stronger hold she took on his imagination, and the more her image haunted him when she was away. Of course his theatrical dinner had been organised entirely with the view of securing her company amongst the rest, but it was a long time before he could persuade her to accept the invitation. I never go out anywhere, Mr. Kerrison- Indeed I do not," she pleaded, in excuse for "fusalâ««I do not care for society, and I aa} not fit for it." are fi^TVjCan you say such a thing, when you afford you ft ^1 the highest niche it could you met^ because you do not know me. shy and tim?^ °°mpany, you would see how 1 can never fln i am> how foolishly silent. "And yet ^ing to say to stranger^' upon the stage "U are completely at your etwfl That is difTp my audience, or ^hing; I cannot sm from another. Whe distinguish one fac» alone or raihor. I rj\ am Paying I feel quite ai, j Bgent UJ feci that I am there I and the I waif' is too much occupied with his own troubles to leave me any time to think of mine." You have the spirit of a true artist!" ex- claimed Kerrison, delightedly, "and you interpret the character to the life. How long have you been on the stage, Miss Power?" Not long," she said, evasively. You must have had a great deal of practice is an amateur." I don't think I did." "Forgive my curiosity, but have none of your family been upon the stage ? I I None, Mr. Kerrison but please don't speak to me of my family they are mostly dead, and would rise from their graves, if they could, to reproach me with what they would consider my degradation. Had my parents lived," she con- tinued, in a choking voice- But there* let us talk of something else." Mark' Kerrison laid his hand in sympathy on hers. She did not start nor draw it away. The girl seemed to have outlived the lesser feelings of humanity, but she never responded to his attentions in any way. We will talk, then, of my little party," he replied, cheerfully it is to be quite a family affair, and you must join us." "'Who is to be there?" Only the Miss Credo' companyâthat is, Emily Hartlebury, Nelly Nevins, Mrs. Forbes, and I hope yourself, with Jack Arm- strong, and Dudley Amory. My lady-secretary, Mrs. Arlington, a very charming person, will be of the party, and my old friend, Colonel Escott, and myself. Nothing very formidable, you see. Only the same faces you meet every night at the Meridian." "You are sure there will be no one else?" she said, nervously. Quite sure, unless I bring a club man or two to fill up vacant places. I wouldn't ask you to a large party, knowing how you dislike publicity but this little gathering will consist really of only ourselves." "And you very much wish me to be pre- sent, Mr. Kerrison ? she asked, wistfully. Very much, indeed-more than I dare tell you The affair will be a complete failure to me without you In that case I will come. You have been so good and kind to me, and I have no way by which I can express my gratitude exeept by complying with your wishes. Bat I am afraid I shall be a very stupid guest-a kind of female Banquo at the feast, and you will regret that you did not ask someone else instead oi me ? When the evening arrived, however, and she stood in Mark Kerrison's drawing-room amongst the other women, she was the fairest of them all. Mrs. Arlington, in black lace and artificial flowers, looked coarse beside her- Emily Hartlebury, vulgar and over-rouged- little Nellie Nevins, insipidâand Mrs. Forbes, wrink',ed and old. Mias Power was the plainest dressed amongst themâmany would have said she was the plain- est in appearance. But she looked like a lily amongst cabbage-roses. She wore a white dress of some clinging material, made high to the throat, and hanging in straight folds to her feet. el Her golden hair was coiled round her shapely little head till it crowned it like a nimbus. Her face was guiltless of powder or of rouge. Her complexion was colourless, but clear. Her lips were tinged with a faint flush of pink like the inside of a sea-shell, and the dark lashes of her pensive eyes swept her cheek. She was very reticent and shy at first, as she had feared she would be. Mark Kerrison, to avoid comment, placed her under the charge of Colonel Escott, whilst he devoted himself to the brilliant Emily Hartlebury. But the honest Colonel found hia companion very difficult to draw out. Ho was not vet sufficiently au fait with theatrical matters" to be able to converse with her fluently on the topics that might be supposed to interest her most, and she did n.ot help him out a whit. At last the dinner was announced. What's become of those men ?" cried Kerri- son, impatiently. Jack Armstrong had disappointed him at the last moment, and so, to make the numbers even, he had invited Captain Riley and Esme Fielding to join the party, an invitation to which they had responded readily, although they did not know who they were to meet. But their clocks were evidently slower than Kerrison's, and they were not in Hyde Park Gardens at the dinner-hour. Give them five minutes' grace," pleaded Eseott; and so Kerrison fumed through five minutes more, and then, presenting his arm to Miss Hartlebury, who was, according to theatri- cal reckoning, the highest lady there, he con- ducted her to the dinner-table. It was laid out with perfect taste. Mrs. Arlington understood thoroughly how things should be done, and Mark Kerrison had aided her on this occasion with his advice. The centre piece was a huge block of ice on a silver plateau, embosomed in hot-house ferns, which cast a delicious coolness on all around. Before each lady's plate too, in American fashion, was a spray of flowers artistically arranged for wearing in the dress, and chosen with a view to the taste or complexion of each fair guest. Emily Hartlebury had a spray of stephanotis and geranium; Nelly Nevins, blue forget-me- nots and pink acacia; Mrs. Arlington, deep crim- son roses; and Mrs, Forbes, Neapolitan violets and camelias. But in front of Lily Power's seat at Mr. Kerrison's right hand was a little bunch Of pure white lilies resting on their waxen leaves, and beside it a long gold pin with » pearl of value at its head. She took it ùp, wonderingly. It is not real ? she said, inquiringly. Mr. Kerrison shook his head, and answered in a low voice: No no Merely a little souvenir o* the evening to fasten your lilies with. Are yot vexed because I chose something for you so pure and simple ? It was only because I thought them like yourself-as modest and bashful and-and-sweet He almost whispered the word amidst thi bustle of the guestq subsiding into their seats but Lola Arlington, sitting on the opposite side of the table, noted his looks and did no4 forget them. The soup was not dismissed before the defal. cant visitors were heard in the hall. "Here are our truants exclaimed Mark Kerrison. It is really more than they deserve to find the dinner so little advanced." "Hullo, Riley I Hullo, Fielding!" he COD ⢠tinued, as the two men entered the room aud commenced to make a thousand apologies for being late, "we've nearly finished, but I think you're in time for the cheese. It would aerve you right not to introduoe you at this late hour, but I am afraid that would punish the innocent with the guilty. These ladies you have seen before, though not quite so close, perhaps. Miss Hartlebury, Miss Nevins, Miss Forbes, Mrs. Arlington, and Miss Lily Power," he continued, rattling off their names like an acquired lesson, "Captain Riley, Mr. Esme Fielding." Miss Power started so violently as he pro- nounced the last word, that he eagerly asked her what was the matter. Nothingânothing whatever," aheanswered, quickly, H only-I have pricked myself with this pin." "I am so sorry. It is awkwardly long, I am afraid. Will you let me try and fasten it for you?" She did not make the faintest objection. She seemed to have lost the power of speech, as he fumbled in his masculine fashion over the refractory little instrument, and finally suc- ceeded in running it for about half an inch into her flesh. But he noted how she trembled the while he bent over her, and how her bosom heaved and palpitated as if she had lost all command of herself; and he interpreted these symptoms of feminine weakness according to his own wishes, and fully believed she was agitated by his proximity. Meanwhile, Esmé Fielding stood stiff and upright, like a soldier sentenced to be shot, and gazed at her. It had been the one desire of his heart to meet this woman again, but he had little thought the meeting was so near. Lola Arlington, regarding his strange atti- tude and the giri's confusion, and remembering the prophecy she had overheard maman utter through the locked door, took in the whole situation at a glance. Here was the white woman who was to be met first in a crowd. In a moment the secret which each heart believed to be its own was her property, and she had resolved to fathom it to the lowest depth. Lily Power was the woman, consequently Lily Tower wai Llic liisk auijiu-yutlv to recover her self-possession, and she made the prick she had received from the pearl pin an occasion for bantering her host upon his awkwardness. "Really, Mr. Kerrfeon. You have half stabbed me to the heart. That pin of yours is a veritable stiletto. May I not try a shorter and a humbler one ? "I shall be very much distressed if you do I have set my mind on your wearing this. Won't you oblige me?" he said, in a low voice. Certainly, if you wish it. But I must put it in myself," she answered, as she again bent over her dress and triecjto hide her face in her flowers. "Fielding, my dear fellow, when are you going to sit down?" exclaimed Kerrison, sud- denly alive to a neglect of his guests; that is your seat opposite your godpapa. I plaeed him there so that he might keep you in good order, that is, if he can spare any time from his next-door neighbour." The Colonel, who was becoming quite at home with the fair sex, answered brightly that he had certainly no leisure to look after gd-wons with a lady each aide of,him, and Esme must be left to his own devices for that evening only, by particular desire. The young man was evidently not ready with one of his usual sallies, for he seated himself in silence, and glared in an imbecile manner at the servants as they whispered the name of one horn cPreuvfe after another into his ear. He was almost stunned by the sudden rencontre. Although he knew that Kerrison was acquain- ted with all the members of the Miss ('redo" company, he had had no idea he was invited to meet them, and Lily Power's unexpected pi c- sence acted on him like a spell. He ate and drank mechanically. The voices of the assembled guests seemed to him fsraway as the voices in a dream, whilst his thoughts flew back into the past, and reviewed the happy hours which he had spent by this woman's side before the world and Mammon had combined to separate them. Mrs. Arlington noted his confusion and Miss Power's pallid silence, and put her own interpretation on them. The secret which had upset his life was the same secret that had made her thin, and pale, and uncom- municative. It lay between those two. She was certain they had met before. Fielding, my dear fellow, you are not enjoy- ing your dinner," rang out the host's cheery voice. Edward, champagne to Mr. Fielding. Will you take champagne, my dear bov, or moselle? Why, what's come to you? Have you lost money, or got a new pair of boots on ? If it were not so late in the season I should certainly say you had backed the loser. I never saw you so glum." "I have backed the winner and lost upon it before now, Mr. Kerrison," replied the young man. "But it was an old loss that was pres- sing on my mind just then, not a new one." "Well, my boy, whichever it is you must drop it for this evening, for it is an insult to Miss Credo.' You were there on our first night, &nd I am sure you will join me in a bumper to her continued success, and that of all the talented ladies and gentlemen who have made her what she is." Hear, hear cried Captain Riley. I drink to the health of .NLii.98 Credo,' and the lilies and roses that made her," said Fielding, raising the wine to his lips. "And to Miss Lily Power, queen lily and rose in one, quoted Kerrison, with more enthusiasm than prudence, as he followed his example. The names of the various artists were men- tioned one after the other, and congratulations and compliments accompanied each toast. Only one woman at the table was left out âMrs. Arlington. Colonel Escott fancied ahe looked hurt at the omission and he could not bear that she should feel herself slighted. He waited till the cheering and enthusiasm had died away, and then be said, bashfully "I would like to give you one more to st, Mark, if you have no objection. There is a 1 idy present who interests herself keenly in your work, and rejoices unreservedly in your success. From a dramatic point of view she is not per- haps the rose, but she has been near it. And in herself she is rose enough to attract the notice of any nightingale. You must know I allude to Mrs. Arlington, and I ain sure the gentlemen will join me in drinking her health, and wishing her all prosperity for the zeal she displays in carrying out your wishes." Mark Kerrison did not quite like this little speeeh. Ifc looked as though he had forgotten his duty to one of his guests. But he tore his eyes away for the moment from Lily Power, and murmuring "Yes yes of course <fuiccT' Â¥ Jem. Your very good health, Mrs. Arlington," drank the toast in a hurried, indiffcienl mauner, and immediately recommenced his attentions to his fair neighbour. Lola sat, dark and glowering with indigna- tion, at the head of the table. What avail to her were Colonel Escott's honied speeches and pretty flatteries, whilst Mark Kerrison was engrossed by Lily Pcvtu ? It was no palliation in hereyes that Miss Power sat silent and reserved by his side, And did not seem to be paying heecrto a single word he uttered. She would have liked to strike that pale, indifferent girl dead at her feet, for having the power to engross his thoughts to the exclusion of everyone else. But she thought she saw an opening for her revenge, though as yet in a glass darkly, and she knew where the infor- mation was to be acquired which should make the rough places plain. She made the signal for the ladies to retire, with a malicious anticipation of the moment when she would be able to give her rival one gr two sword-thrusts to carry home with her, but Miss Power did not afford her an opportun. ity to carry out her benevolent intentions. By an almost supernatural effort of will she had passed through the cruel ordeal of dinner with- out displaying one sign of distress; bat as soon as the immediate necessity for self-con- trol was over she broke down like a frightened child. I am ill, Mrs. Arlington," she exclaimed, as soon as the women found themselves alone I have hardly been able to sit through my dinner. I must ask you to let me return home at once." uItt! dear?" echoed Miss Hartlebury; "why, what's the matter? You don't look any paler than usual; you never have any colour, you know." "Nevertheless, I am not well enough to remain here any longer," rejoined Miss Power, coldly, If and I must beg Mrs. Arlington to let one of the servants call me a cab." "But you had better try some remedy first. Let me send for Mr. Kerrison," suggeste a Mrs. Arlington, with a sneer; he is sure to do you good." Lily Power sank down into a chair, appar- ently overwhelmed by their opposition; and the housekeeper began to consider what the consequences might be, if she were really taken ill in the house, and established there as Mr. Kerrison's guest. "I must go home," murmured the girl, faintly; I cannot hold up my head. lam I unfit for anything but solitude and rest," "Well, of course, if you must, you must," acquiesced Mrs. Arlington, as she rang the bell, and gave the servant orders to call a cab for Miss Power, "but I am afraid Mr. Ker- rison Will be very much vexed with me for let- ting you go." I cannot help it. Please make my excuses, I shall be better to-morrow," said the girl, in broken sentences, as she hurried through the hall. But Lola Arlington took care to accompany her to the vehicle, and listen to the given address. What number did you say, Miss Power ? she inquired, sweetly, after Lily had spoken to the driver through the trap he can't hear you." And the girl, who suspected no collusion, and had but one prominent desire-to get away before Esm6 Fielding should enter the draw- ing-roomâanswered, deliberately gt Three hundred and twenty-eight, Waterloo- road, and please tell him to drive as quiokly *s he can." (To be continued.)

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