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THE ONE THING NEEDFUL.

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——- ■ ■ ■' j.'jll.jjaj»l'wiw lNOW FIRST PUBLISHED.) THE ONE THING NEEDFUL. BY MISS M. E, BRADDON, Author of Lady Audley'a Secret," &c. TKi: RIGHT OF TBANSLATIOH IS KESEBVED. CHAPTER XVII. BUT HOW SHOULD I AVOID TO BE HER SLAVE ?" Brumm and the outskirts of Brumm looked a little more detestable than usual to Lord Lashmar that October afternoon, although Lady Carminow was sitting opposite him, clad in ruddy brown velvet and sable tails, with a little sable bonnet that harmonised deliciously with her rich gold- brown hair. If the beauty of woman or the luxury of a barouche on C springs could have sufficed him, he might have been happy but on this particular afternoon, he beheld even Lady Carnainow's perfection with a jaundiced eye. "Your velvet and fur will not be improved by iron and coal dust," he said, with a disparaging glance at her rich apparel. Oh, I have had this gown for ages. I should be rather glad to spoil it." Lashmar's eyes, in sheer absent-mindedness, noted the figures on the pavement; two half-clad factory girls fluttering by in cotton, hugging thoir shabby little shafts across their narrow chests, as they faced the east wind and it struck him that the Radical's howl against the inequality of fortune was one of those themes which would never lack listeners. Granted that every scheme which would equalise wealth is alike absurd and impossible; yet there the contrast is, always before men's eyes, always calling out to them for redress somehow, somewhere. "Those two girls looked rather enviously at your sables," he said, noting the long wistful stare which followed the fine lady in the fine car. riage. You may be sure they have as grand gowns for Sundays—dog-skin, or cat-skin, and cheap vel- veteen. They always follow the fashions," answered Clarice lightly. "One can't help feeling sorry for them," mur- mured Mrs. Mulciber. ¥es, with that gentle, passive sorrow, which hurts nobody and doas nobody any good," answered Lashmar, with quiet scorn, "If one of us were like that little Norfolk dressmaker now, who, being one day suddenly moved to pity for a poor wretch in jail, took up her cross, and for ever after devoted her life to the help and solace of jail-prisoners; bore with them, comforted them, prayed for them, died in her patient slavery. That is what real pity means, and how very little there is of itA" Lady Carminow did not pursue the argument. She was looking straight before her towards a great black gateway, gloomy as the entrance to Tartarus. They were in one of the dingiest Streets In Brumm—Danebrook Lane, so called after the great Danebrook Ironworks, where Mr. Danebrook had established in this Midland centre works which rivalled in their magnitude those of Darlington, and competed with the Kruppa and the Coclferllills of Germany and Belgium. Lady Carminow could hear the chink of the steam hammers; and she always hoard that sound in this place with a faint thrill of pride. She had broad acres which gave her a position among the landed gentry, and of those she was proud but these works were her kingdom. Here was the source of her wealth, aud Merc she reigned supreme. The vustness r,f those Plutonian halls, the multi- tude of blackened laces, the clang of the engines, the roar of the furnaces, where the keels of mighty ironclads and the connecting rods and cranks of large locomotives were welded and fashioned, im- pressed her woman's fancy with an idea of power. The factory was like an arsenal; and she seemed to hersetf strong as a Goddess of War, when she made her slow progress from hall to hall, preceded ) by deferential foremen and officials. | It pleased her to think that Lashmar would see aer amidst these surroundings. She had given no notice of her coming, and it seemed to her as she alighted from her carriage in the great black quadrangle, that the manager, who ran to receive her, was less effusive than usual. 3e was not less deferential; he bowed before her and spoke with bated breath, as to a queen: but he had a troub- led look, which La^htnar's quick eye perceived. I'm afraid we've come at an awkward time," he said you've some gigantic job in hand, per- haps, in the throes of completion." No. it is not that, my lord," answered the manager gravely; "that kind of thing never puts U8 out of near. But it is hardly a good time for her ladyship to visit the works. Our men are on the eve of a strike." > Lady Carminow laughed softly, pleasantly, as at an irresistible joke. "That is a very old story," she said. "I hnve heard that all my life. My father used to say as much almost every time he came from the works. The men were always hatching mischief. Ths strike was always coming; but the strike never came." Mr. Danebrook had an extraordinary influ- ence over the men, an exceptional power of mana- ging them. Ha contrived to ward off the strike— partly by that personal influence, partly by con- cessions your ladyship has refused tø-" "To accede to demands which I consider prepos- terous—which my father would never have granted." Your father would have gone with the times, Lady Carminow. He was too wise a man to try to stem a rising tide." If some of us don't stand firm against that tide it will be over all our heads before long," said Lady Carminow, looking like Bellona. Lashmar would hardly have given her credit for so much spirit—or obstinncy-he did not know which to call it. The men have held on, though they are worse off as to current wa$;es than other iron workers in Brumm. They have held on for the sake of those idmirable funds which Mr. Danebrook established for sickness and old age. The prospect of bonuses and annuities has kept our men faithful to us at a disadvantage but, there is a very unpleasant feeling arising in the fuctory, an idea that the richest works in all Brumm pay the worst wages. In most other firms like ours, work is done by the ton, lIV a ganger who undertakes the j )b. and employs men under him. This plan saves the firm a good deal of responsibility, and the men like it better, because they can earn more money, while an intelligent ganger may make a small fortune." I will have no middle men in my business," said Lady Carminow. The manager bowed submissively. '• Your ladyship knows best," he said; "but I Issure you rhere is a danger in getting old-fashioned. A system which answered admirably ten years ago is beginning to work awkwardly now. There was a time when we hadn't a single union man on the premises; but labour was scarce last winter when we had some of our biggest jobs in hand, Ind we were obliged to let in some of the union men. And now we mnst either give them what they want, or prepare for a strike." If they strike we can get other men, I sup- pose ?" "Not a man—in England." "But we can get them irom Belgium." The mauatier shrugged his shoulders dubiously. "Belgrum ironworks are in a very prosperous condition just now. I doubt if there are men to be had at Liege." And if these men leave us they forfeit all Claim upon my father's funds ?" "KaturaDy." Then they will not go," said Lady Carffiiriow. It Assuredly not the old hands, who have touched bonuses already, and have been working for an- nuities in the future. No man will forfeit the reward for which he has been woffcing." Anger is short-sighted, Lady Carminow. Radi- calism has been gaining ground in this place ever tinceican remember. Twenty years ago our hands were better off than any other workmen iti Brumm. But wages have been going Up, and Our wages have remained the same. We point to our bonus system, our workmen s buildings, sound and clean and well cared for, our annuities to the aged but the modern workman is hardly grate- ful for these advantages; he doesfi t much care what kind of hovel he pigs in, but. he wants high wagea, a drinking bout every pay-night, rump- steaks and onions for supper; He doesn't care about the future. You had better go with the tide, Lady Carminow, and let me raise the wages before the strike comes." "I would much rather shut up the works," replied Clarice. « Please do not let tts discuss the question any longer. I have brought my friends to see the works, not to hear the usual doleful prophecies about strikes which never come. The Danebrook mefi know they are better off than any other men in Brumm." She led the way, walking rapidly past the manager's office into the heart of the citadel. Be had hardly time to snatch up his hat, give a hurried direction to one of his clerks, and get in front of the little processioh. A foreman aopeared almost by magic, and amidst the din olf huge engines, and 'in the heat and glare of giant furnaces, Lord Lashmar surveyed the source of Job Danebrook's fortune. He saw the half-finished blocks of iron conveyed from shop to shop by the traveller," a curious kind of steam monster work- ing upon an overhead railway, thirty feet from the ground. He saw the huge unshapely mass of white hot faggots drawn from the roaring furnace by the steam crane, plucked, as it were, from the mouth of hell; just such a demoniac-seeming spec- tacle as he had beheld years before at Woolwich Arsenal, where he went. as a boy to see the draw- ing of a gun. Ho saw the mighty steam hammed fashion that iron protoplasm into form, weld and shape it into use and meaning; but amidst alf the uncouth grandeur of the scene, he noted the sullen fares of the men; heard more than one muttered sarcasm from smoke-blackened lips as the great lady swept, by in her splendour of velvet and fur. He kept as close as he could to her side all the time, ready to defend her should there be any hint of violence. He felt that the men were disaffected; md he was very glad when, after seeing a mono- tonous repetition of strange forms, and breathing noxious fumes of coal and red-hot iron. he was 1: r allowed to escape into the outer air. The smoke- charged atmosphere of Brumm seemed fresh and clear after those fiery Vaults through which they had passed. After the works had been done, Clarice insisted that he should see the workmen's houses, for which privilege Mrs. Mulciber was particularly eager. I confess myself a very stupid person wherever machinery is in question," she said, but the dwellings of the poor are my delight. I am a member of the Dado Society, and I think I have made many a humble home happy by the intro- duction of an artistic wall-papering and a sage- green delf jar here and there on a bracket. It always makes me sad to think of the many who have to live without dadoes." I'm afraid our Brumm people would laugh at the Dado Society," answered Clarice. "Tney have no idea of beauty. You will see the most revolt- ing objects in their rooms-artificial flowers under glass shades, bead mats, crotchet antimacassars, things that make one's blood run cold." "Poor things!" sighed Mrs. Mulciber. "The day will come when the influence of the Dado Society will permeate this outer darkness, I hope." The workmen's houses formed two spacious quadrangles, opening one into the oilier through an archway, like a college. They had been built by Mr. Danebrook, and were of a Rensihle heIght" only three storeys, with balconies to all the rooms, and a colonnade under which the children coutd run about in wet weather. There was also a spacious building, called the recreation house, in which the children played in the daytime, and where the adults amused themselves of an evening. There were baths and washhouses, and all modern accommodations and improvements. The archi- tecture was utilitarian and substantial. There was no attempt at the Gothic or the Jacobean in any portion of the buiiding. It was frankly ugly from garret to basement; but the rooms were all light and airy, the passages and staircases were wide and well ventilated. They went into two or three different sitting- rooms, Lashmar feeling himself an intruder, Mrs. I Mulciber in her glory descanting upon the sweet- ness and light which the Dado Society could bring into these bentghted dwellings, Clarice, c*.m and queenly, entering and leaving without apology, here and there telling a mother that her children were not a credit to her in those dirty pinafores, or scornfully informing a housewife that hor floor did not look as if it had been scrubbed for a. month. "You have nice rooms, if you would only learn to keep them nice," she said to one woman. Wages are too low and victuals too dear for us to have much heart for finicking over the rooms," replied the matron, with a sulky air, bending down to stir the fire with her back to tho visitors, and then lifting the lid of a saucepan which sent forth a hot blast of onions and grease. Mrs. Mulciber tried to insinuate a suggestion of a bracket, or of the wonderful dado-istic effect that might be produced with a little distemper. "Yourhusoand could do it himself, my dear sou), don't you know," murmured the lady. "Just a pail of whitewash and a little red-" My husband would chuck the whitewash over my 'ed if I was to arst him any such rubbish," answered the matron ficrcely. We don't want no dadoes here: we want higher wages and less humbug. Bonuses, indeed, and 'newiiies; we've got too long to wait for the bonuses, and we shall ail be dead and rotten before the 'newities falls doo." Clarice felt that the atmosphere was unconge- nial; that her father's system, which had answered admirably while he was there to administer things, was not working smoothly just now." The place is stifling," she exclaimed you all keep your rooms much too hot. I suppose that is because you get coals for nothing. We'd need get something for nothing, when our husbands and sons are wearing their flesh off their bones to make other people's fortunes," grumbled the matron, as her visitors departed. Lady Carminow went back to her carriage, deeply disgusted with the Want of loyalty in her people. She had gone over thesame ground with a party of friends a year ago, and had been re- ceived as a queen, the children bringing her a bouquet, the women curtseying and smiling, dazzled by her beauty and splendid raiment, the men deferential, eager to wait upon her footsteps and answer her questions. The change was appalling, and might presage some hitherto uniinagined evil. 41 The working classes are becoming detestable," she said, as she leant back in her carriage, ex- hausted and depressed. "They are not always as pleasant as they might be," replied Lashmar. "There is no place in the world where I feel so much out of mv element as in Brumm. Half an hour in this hole always makes me fancy the old order is ending, and that we shall all have to turn up our sleeves and work at the furnnces before long." "Those people positively adored my father," said Clarice discontentedly. Ah, but he was one of them. you see, or made himself one of them." replied Lashmar. I dare sxy he wore a shabby coat, in the factory, and went about among the men, handling cranks, and uot afraid of greasing his hands. You have the air of coming from a totally different world, of looking down at them from an immense altitude. That's what they don't like." "I shall never go neur them again," said Clarice. "They may be very sure of that." She was deeply offended; touched in her womanly pride of beauty and grace. Never before had men looked upon her sa7e wIth admiring ev.-s. Those sullen faces haunted hor as she rlroVd home through the twilight.; and Lashmar, who mi•>ht have been comforting and tender, held his peace, nnd sat silently gazing at the misty Autumn fields. She had wished to show hirn her power itS II queen in that black kingdom yander, and she felt 1 hurt and humiliated by the uncomfortable turn the whole thing had taken. If was between six and seven when Lady Car- minow and her companions returned to the Castle. Afternoon tea was over, and tho shooters had de- parted to bathrooms and dressing-rooms, and there was the sound of a piano nnd a very thin soprano voice from the drawing-room, whereby Lashmar opined that Mrs. Vavasour was indulging in a ballad alone or in company. He went, to the library, intending to enjoy a quiet half-hour with the newspapers before he dressed. The room was only lighted by the burning logs in one of the two fireplaces, and a single lamp on a reading table. The curtains had not been drawn, and as Lashmar crossed the room towards the lamp-light, he saw two dark figures pacing slowly- past the windows. He opened a casement and looked out. A man and woman were standing a little way off in earnest conversation. The woman, black-robed, bare-headed, tall, straight, and siim, was Stella. The man was Nestorius. He was bending to speak to her, until it seemed to Lashmar that his lips must almost touch her hair. His hand was on her shoulder, as if he had been pleading or arguing with intensest meaning. Suddenly Stella released herself from that detaining grasp, knelt for an instant at his feet, and clasped and kissed his hand with quick, passionate gestures, then rose as quickly as she had knelt, and rushed away to the other end of the terrace. Only Southern blood would have shown its feel- ing in such impassioned movements. Strange as the act Was, it seemed in no wise false or theatri- cal. All was natural and spontaneous. To La*h- mar. who had seen the girl silent, statuesque in her immobility, this new aspect of her enarae'er was startling in the extreme. Has she suddenly gone out of her wits ?" he asked himself angrily. tias Nestorius infected her with lunacy, or is playing a deep game? Yet, that is it, no doubt. She means to hook our enthusiast. He is more impressionable than Ulysses, and she is ns crafty as Calypso. Those silent women with lowered eyelids are always sly." He went out into the gloaming. Autumnal mists were rising all over the park. Night was coming up from the valley and the river like a palpable presence, a mighty winged monster, spreading wide pinions over tho earth, curtaining and covering homestead and meadow, man and beast, diffusing a false rtir of peace and silence and solemnity over all things. There was no peace in Lashmar's breast, which was white hot with anger. Why he should be angry he never stopped to ask himself. The hussy," he muttered the artful, incorri- gible hussy This is the kind of woman who leads wise men to ruin. who subverts class distinctions, who creeps into foolish women's houses and steals a husband's heart from his lawful wife." He saw her standing alone at the end of the terrace, above that tennis lawn where ho and Clarice had played so often in days gone by. Nestorius had gone back to the house. Sho was leaning weafily against an antique vase, gazing into the night. He could not command his temper that white- hot fire in his breast must. needs have some relief. Silence, calmness, were alike impossible. There is an Unreasoning anger which must be satisfied, sven at the loss of self-respect, which is surely the heaviest price that any man can pay for Self- indulgence. He walked quickly to the spot where Stella was standing, he placed himself by her side, but was not able to see her lace, which was turned from him. WeH," he began, in his harshest voice, "you have taken the measure of our statesman, Miss; Boidwood. Hs is a man peculiarly Susceptible to flattery, especially a woman's flattery, and your little bit of melodrama just now must have delighted him." She turned quickly and faced him, white as death as it seemed to hlin, in that dim light. Her face gleamed upon him like the face of a ghost. The large, dark eyes, wet with tears, alone had a look of life. "Were you listening and watching us from some corner, Lord Lashmar?" she asked contemp- tuously: She had assured herself long ago that this man hated and despised her, and that it was a duty she owed to herself to despise him. It was in her nature to feelntid to do All things with nn excep- tional intensity. As she had loved her benefactor j with all the force of her young heart, so she hated, her benefactor's brother. She was ready to be insolent to him at the slightest provocation; "I was neither listening nor watching; but I went to that window yonder to see who wns promenading the terrace, and was just in time to ] see you fling yourself at our statesman's feet and kiss-his hand. It was very prettily done; and 1 have little doubt it will have the desired effect." Indeed. Pray what effect do you suppose I wish it to have ?" My dear Miss Boldwood, when a young lady throws herself st a gentleman's feet., the obvious conclusion is that she wants to bring him to hers. It is taking a short cut to a denenement that hangs fire. And in the oase of a young lady whose attrac- tions are much greater than her fortune, and a i wealthy widower, impressionable but wavering, one can conceive no better coup de main than that with which yoti hate just surprised our friend 1 Nestorius." You think that I want to catch Mr. Nestorius as a husband ?" What else can I think, having seen what I saw lust now V" You are very quick in jumping at conclusions, Lord Lashmar." When the conclusion is so obvious the jump is inevitable; and it is a very small jump-only a gutter. Do you suppose that I have not under- stood your game for the last three weeks? That I have not marked your manoeuvres, your lonely rambles across the park, and accidental meetings with Mr. Nestorius on the way; your piteous re- velations to him, your tears for the fatlier whom you lost too long ago to have the faintest real feeling about him, always remembering how much you were a gainer by his loss?" A gainer?" she cried." to eat the bread of de- pendence in your mother's house. Do you think that is gain?" It is at. least better than being a factory girl, which you would have been in all probability had your fatlier Jived." Had he lived! Do you know for certain that he is tiead ?'' I know, as everybody else knows—that he perislwd in the attempt to save your lifo;" answered Lashmar, forgetting everything but his head-long anger; and I know that my brother, who was worth a dozen demagogues, risked his life to save a child whoso face he had never seen. You have ijooa need to be grateful to him." "Deau!" she fa-ltered; "your brother tolu me that he had gone away to a distant country, I thought, as I grew older, that he had left England because life here was too hard for him; that he had left me behind, intending to send for me if things went well with him in his new country. And then I thought that, Fate had still been against him, and that he was waiting for the tide to turn, waiting to be rich enough to send for his only child and now you tell me he wa%kUted the night of the fii-e-killed in trying to save me! Ob, it was cruel, infamous, to deceive me so!" sho cried passionately. It was your benefactor, the man who was more than a fat her to you, who told the lie." "Yes; but when he was gone—when I was older, better able to face sorrow, when I had to bear a hard, bitter life, when no one would have been pained by my tears—why was I not told the truth then ? Neither you nor Lady Lashmar have been so anxious to spare my feelings that you need have kept this grief from me. You have let me go on year alter year, feeding on a f ilse hope, drea.m- ing a mocking dream." ''tt was an oversight on my mother's part and on mine," said Lashmar 11 we ought to have told you the truth. My brother Hubert had a foolish sensitiveness on the subject, a morbid dread ot your tears; but with us it was otherwise. We did wrong in not telling you. However, you have been in some wise a gainer, as your pathetic case has made a profoun I impression upon Mr. Nes- torius; and that last touch of pathos—your belief in your father's existence IUltny years after his death—has uuiie fubtiued him." Mt-. Nestorius has been very good to me. and I am deeplv grateful to him; but if you think that I have schemed to win his regard I do think that you have so scnemed, and that you have gone very near winning your g;tine-not quite, perhaps—but your last move was admirable, and I anticipate the pleasure of congratulating you upon your pro.notion before Nestorius leaves tho Castle." "Is that all you have to say to me, Lord Lash- mar?" Yes, that is all, until I offer you my congratu- la I ions I timnk you for your kiadness and considera- tion. II is almost eqiwl to that with which you sent, me out of the library seven years ago." Oh, you were a child then, and I am sorry to say you were a very untr mnerly child. I hope you do not harbour resentment after all these years, because I was a little rough with you that afternoon." I do not harbour resentment. I do not care enough about you to resent your conduct tome in anything-no. not even your cruelty in trying to strangle every ambitious thought. of my mind, every hope, and every dream, when your brother's death made iny life desolate. I despisa you too much to be resentful." "You despise me. That is rather strong." "I know of no words strong enough to express wiiat 1 feel, when I remember how you have treated iiie-wilen I compare you and your brother." "Ah, there is a difference, is there not? But Hubert was cast in a different mould. He ought to have b. en a woman. I am a man." I would nut, boast, of that, if I ware you, just after you have been unmanly enough to iusult a. friendless girl." "Friendless! What! when you have Nestorius as your friend, your adorer, your future husband, if you play out your game as well as you have begun it? Do not talk about friendlessnsss. Calypso is never without friends." She turned from him and walked quickly towards the house; he followed its quickly, iind opened I lio, library window for her to pass through. The a<*ii'in was polite, yet it reminded him of that ot hei- action, seven years ago. when he had flung open t lie door tor her and told her to march." She had not forgotten. She turned on the threshold, and looked at him with flashing eyes. Why don't you i ell me to 4 march '?" she said, as you did that other day. This time there is no need of your order. I am goin<» to march." And so. with a short, angry laugh, she feft him. "What a .she-devil, he muttered. "It is her Spanish blood, I suppose, and Boldwooo's blood. A nice mixture! Yes, upon my soul, a verv pleasant, brew He went uack to the terrace, and t.rnmped up and down till <) fr the warning gong had sounded. Then lie rushed to his dressing-room, and scrambled through his toilet: and to dress hurriedly was a thing he hated. What on earth did the creature mean when she said she was going to march ?" he naked him- self, as lie bundled with his cambric titl, CBAPTKR XVfll. ■'SHALL WE NOT L.mritT. SHALL Wit NOT WFFR P" Never had Lord Lashmar felt less inclined to play the host than upon this particular evening. H" was so thoroughly out Of temper that it Was an pffort, to him to he even decently civil. Voices jarred upon his nerves, truisms and platitudes almost maddened him, and Mrs. Mulciber's gentle prosings about the Dado Society and the awaken- ing of the love of the beautiful in the mind of the artisan, made him feel murderous. One relief, and one only, was afforded him. "Did you know that Mr. Nestorius was going rtwiv, Lashmar?" asked his mother in the five minutes before dinner. No. You don't mean to say that he is gone ?" Yes lie left, an hour ngo, in time for the S 15 from Brumm. He sent me a hurried little note— business of State—something to do with the coming BI"ctinn¡; 011, he had had a telegram, no doubt. No, I had no idea he was going to leave us." I am dreadfully sorry," Sighed Lady Carminow. He has been a little distrait lately, but at his best Iw is quite the most delightful man in Europe." "Tlmt is a large order," said Lashmar. Pray, have you met all the delightful Europeans ?" I have met all the typical men," replied Ohrice reprovingly; "the men who are held up its examples—Parisians, Viennese, Belgians, Italians, Spaniards—one meets the best. people of every nation, don't you know, in diplomatic society. I think I know all the men who have reputations, and not one of them has the fascination of Nes- torius. It. is a kind of glamour." What a happy word exclaimed Mrs. Mulci- ber. ""Ves, it is glamour." Everybody agreed that the word fitted Mr. Nei- torius like a glove. It, was hy glamour that he had secured majorities, wriggled himself out of difficulties, nnd led the British nation by the nose; and then they all went in to dinner and enjoyed themselves just as much as if the glamourist had been there. Lady Carminow was on Lashmar's right hand is usual, but she found him a very disagreable companion. How tired you look!" sho said; "I'm afraid the ironworks worried you." Not at all; the ironworks are delightful. I snvy you the sense of power you must feel when fou survey that army of blackened faces; you must feel like Zenobia before she was conquered." "Zenobia never was beaten," interjected Lady Sophia, across the table. She never could hear a classical name without referring it. to the Racing Calendar. "She was one of the finest, two-year- olds that Lord Zetland ever owned. He sold her to Count Legrange for a pot of money, on the strength of her Newmarket successes, and she won the Grand Prix the year after." Lady Lashmar retired soon after the ladies left the dining-room, and it Was about ten o'clock when Lord Lashmar, on his way to the drawing- room, was startled by a tremendous ringing of hit mother's bell, a summons so violent that he took Fright and hurried at once to her ladyship's room, axpecting to find her attacked by some direful illness. She was not ill, but she was in a towering ragè. ind turned upon her offspring as a tigress Oil her cub. "Where is St elli P" "I have not the faintest idea. Is she hot to be Found, that you inquire so vehemently p" She is not to be found anywhere In this house. 3he was to have read to me at half-past nine. [t is the first time she has ever disobeyed my orders." she is getting too grand to obey orders. Per- haps she has gone off with Mr. Nestorius." What do you mean ?" "Surely you have seen what has been going on under your eyes. The gentleman is impression- able—the lady nrtful. She has been trying to secure a wealthy husband. She hils bronght him to book, perhaps, and is off and over the border. They can be married before a registrar in Bruiting or In London to-morrow morning." Nestorius could not be such a madman "Who knows? He would not be the first to count the world well lost for Jove. If she has gone you may be sure he is concerned fil her de- parture. She would not have the pluck to go out into the world nlOhê-wlthout the slightest knowledge of life outside these walls-without friends or money. But is it so certain that she has boll-k-d ? She may be only outstaying her time with old Vetoes listening to some bookish twaddle." We can very soon ascertain that," Said her ladyship, striking the spring bell which summoned her personal attendants. Before it could be answered, Barber came In with the latest intelligence. Stella had been seen to leave the Castle with a little carpet bag one of the housemaids had met her on the back staircase and had asked her whet-6 she was going. Going away," she hAd answered. "For a holiday?" "For ever." The housemaid had concluded that Miss Boldwood had been dis- missed by her ladyship, and had not considered it necessary to mention the fact till she heard Barber making enquiries. My servants are a regiment of fools," mid Lady Lashmar. Pray, at what hout did the housemaid meet, this girl ?" "A little before nine o'clock." "That will do for the present, Barber oo-where- upon the patient Bar ber vanished. Nestorius left at seven, and «u driven straight to the station. He can have had nothing to do with this girl's running away," said her ladyship. He may have inspired it, may have planned to meet her in London." "No, Lashmar, Nestorius is abovo all things a gentleman; he would not wrong that girl even in thought. He would not compromise her by a acandatous. elopement, or take a base advantage of his residence in my house. You must think of someone else." There is no one else. It is horrible to think of that girl: alone, friendless, utterly ignorant of the world, penniless, not knowing which way to turn for a meal." He had been savagely angry with Stella that afternoon, had deemed no words too hard or too bitter, had scorned her as a schemer and an adven- turess of the lowest type; and now that she was gone from him, for ever perhaps, utterly beyond his reach, he thought of her in her helplessness with strangest, tenderest pity; thought of her as a mother who had been led away by anger might think of a rebellious child; pictured her, in her ignorance of life, falling a prey to the scoundrelism that lurks in great cities, to the traps and sna/es set; for innocent feet. We must have been infernally cruel t* ner," he exclaimed, that she should be driven to do this thing. I don't know what you mean by cruelty. For the last two years, since she has been my reader and secietary, slie has led the life of a lady. She has not soiled her delicate fingers. Sho has had her own sitting-room, her meals served to her alone, as if she bad been a gentlewoman. She has been allowed to carry on her education at her own pleasure. "Granted; but have you treated her kindly? After ail, even Boldwood's daughter is a thing of flesh and blood, with instincts and feelings, able to be glad and sorry. She would encroach, no doubt, if treated too kindly; but do you think we have been too unkind?" "I do not know what we may have been. I know that for my own part I have always been civil to her." Civil; yes, that is the word. But I believe there are some natures that cannot exist upon bare civility. There are souls which revolt against luxuries enjoyed upon sufferance. You did nut do much to brighten her life, did you? She had to fall back upon books as the only possible delight; and for a young creature to have no other joys than she can get from books, seeins rather a dreary business. You did not dress her over smartly either, or gratify her youthful yearning for pretti- ness and bright colours. Her soul must have sickened at that perpetual black gown." Are you mad, Lashmar, that you preach to me | like this?" "No, I am only remorseful, very remorseful. Great God! if we should have driven her into danger Why, she knows no more of the outside world than a baby. Bub perhaps she has only gone to the nearest shelter: to old Veruer's cottage. I will go and hunt for her there." You go." Yea. I would rather go myseif. I shall be in a fever till she is found. I have been a wretch, a lcold-hearted, vindictive brute. I have been svs- tematically uncivil to her, I who know how fond my poor brother was of her I, who, for his sake, ought to have been kind. She had a bad influence upon mo, somehow sho stirred something evil in my nature. I hope I shall find her with Verner." I daresay you will, and you will ex ilt her idea of her own importance by going after her in person. You had much better send a stable boy." .\0, I want a smoke in the open air. 1'Jl go myself" He went, being a young man who always took his own way. It was an infinite reiief to him to get away from those cold questioning eyes of his mother's and to get out into the cool night air, the fresh, free October air blowing up from the river and swirling the newly-falieu leaves about him as he tramped across the park. Never had he had been so disturbed in mind as ho was about the tiight of this girl. She was nothing to him, absolutely nothing, he told himself. It was only his guilty conscience which was punishing him. He had allowed his prejudice, his dislike, to go too far. He had seen her suffering uudor his mother's icy tyranny, had made no remon- strance—he who was young and prosperous and happy had done nothing for friendless and up. pressed youth,—lie who called himself a man had never pleaded for womanhood deprived of all womanly joys. And to-day he had gone further, had attacked a defenceless girl with most insult- ing speech. He had been brutal, offensive, un- gentloman like. What was it to him if she had angled for a rich husband, schemed for home and position, for all those things which had been with- held from her ? Was it his place to be angry ? If he should find her with his brother's old tutor he was prepared to humiliate himself, to apotogiseforhisunwarrantabieanser, to promise t her fairer treatment and a happier home in the future, to pledge himself that her life as a woman should be brighter than her girlhood had been. The lamp was burning in the old bookworm's parlour, but, he was aione with Aristotle and tha rest of the learned dead. He had heard nothing of Stella's lfight—was in the deepest, distress at hearing of it. No, she had never told him any of her troubles, but he know she was not happy, hld never been happy in her home at the Castle since her benefactor's death. If Her ladyship has a very fine character,he said apologeticallybut sho has never under- Stood Stella. Tho girl is altogether exceptional she has geniu", Lord Lashmar, original genius. The only person Who has ever understood nnti ap- preciated her-except my humble sMf—is Mr. Nestorius." Mr. Nestorius is in love with her." said Lasli- mtr sharply; That is what understanding and appreciation mean in hiacuse." Well, it may he so," replied the student, thoughtfully. "He certainly was profoundly in- terested in her. He seemed to take a delight in her society, would linger and linger when she was here, and hang upon her words. Perhaps it was on her account he came here so often." Ii Of course it was on her account. I tell you, Verner, he is over head and ears in love with her." Ho is old enough to be her father." What of that ? A man of his temperament is never too old to fall in love. Whar ara we to do, Vernfr ? How are we to find this gil"l He might as well have appealed to the shade of Atistotid. The old man was sorely distressed lit. his favourite's flight, but he had no suggestion to offer. I would walk barefoot to London, if that would help," he murmured. But it, wouldn't help. What we want is a bright, idea. I'll telegraph to Nestorius the first thing to-morrow morning. If he had no hand in her Bight he may help us to find her." rTo be continued.]

TInJ "llED DHAGONõ".

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