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! THE GREAT mill-street ?…

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! THE GREAT mill-street ?…

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Jess was looking more than doubtful. u f. don't think granny would let me go," she. murmured. } You would earn far more in that way than by selling flowers," said Eastwood, quickly. I would give you-let me see—half-a-crow^ an hour. Would that do ?" t I must ask granny," said the girl. j II Well, where is granny? Let us see her, and ask her at once. Is she here ?" T Jess glanced up and down the street ratlter, helplessly. II The gentleman frightened her a little by his impatient, masterful way/ although his tones were gentle and his eyes,, looked kind. I think she's at her stall with her basket. she said at length. I'll go and ask ber, if you like-if you don't uiiud waiting for me here." ■ II Shall I come with you ?'' The girl shook her head and started in search of her grandmother. She had picked up her hat, but, as George noticed, with a half-smile, she had not re-placed it on her head, and the long hair still flowed down hot. back in all its splendour. Eastwood had not to wait long. The girf came back, olosely followed by the hobbling old grandmother, who, with shaking baudsi bleared eyes, and bloated face, came wheezing and whimpering to express her sense of obliga*: tion to the gentleman" and her conviction of the honour oonferred upon her girl Jess. Jess should go. Oh, yes, Jess should go and have her picture drawn as natural as life, and her fond granny had always thought deal of her. especially since she had grown up' so beautiful, and no doubt the gentleman would make it worth her while and not grudge a poor old body a trifle That will do," said George Eastwood,' drily. I never said that I thought your grand-daughter beautiful. She has hair of » rather unoommon colour, that is all. I wanti to make a study of it and if she will come to my studio to-morrow morning at eleven o'clock I will pay her well for the time she spends with me." flr1 Mrs. Sarah Flint expended her strength wildly in protestations of gratitude, but Ewrt-, wood did not listen to her. He turned to, Jess. "Can you read? he asked, somewhat abruptly. c She nodded in reply. He had taken a leaf out of his note-book and was rapidly writing a few words on it &a he spoke. 2, feBurnham Studios, Burn- ham-road. That is the address. Come at, eleven to-morrow." j "And ího name, air; the name, if you please ? said the old woman eagerly, with her cunning eyes fixed ravenously upon East- wood's face. The young man hesitated for a moment before he replied. Ask for Mr. Eastwood. It would hardly, do," he reflected uncomfortably, to give quite a false name. Helmont would find me out as sure as a gun, and I can explain to him some time why it is so necessary to get that, girl's hair into my picture. But, confound that old woman, I wish she had not come upon the scene just now! His business was over, and he thought it better not to linger in Mill-street too long. He gave some money to Mrs. Flint and reminded the girl once more of the hour at which she was to be at the Burnham Studiosi,' and then took his leave of the pair, not ill satisfied with his evening's work. ':i: He did not know that he had been watched; throughout the inter view with Jess and he grandmother by the young man whom he had described to Francis Helmont. A dark-faced-t sullen-looking fellow, with fierce, deep-soi eyes, had been holding himself resolutely itt the background; he had slunk along tht pavement close to the houses, his face white* his teeth set, his features fixed in an express sion of almost murderous hate. Eastwood did not see him, Jess did not see him, but the grandmother did and it was perhaps owing to this fact that she allowed the gentleman", to slip away so easily without extracting more blackmail before his departure. If Eastwood did not live at his studio. He, was an artist only by fits and starts; he had an income of his own, and had never appliecl himself seriously to any profession. That for which he had the most talent was cerr tainly painting, and his friends, many of whom strongly disapproved of his becoming an artist at all, said amongst themselves some^ times that there was only one thing thafl George would ever do well, and that yet he would not take the trouble to do it. k; He had rooms about ten minutes' walk from his studio, and the rooms were in the. house of one Mrs. Fogg, who hadj^een lady'lj maid to George Eastwood's mother, and wal exceedingly devoted to him. So devoted w she that he succeeded in persuading her ti help him in a plan which formed itself in hit mind as he was goirife homewards from M il$ street. l) It was in pursuance of his arrangement with her that she was at the door of th* studio next morning, when Jess came timidly up the long flight of steps, at the top which hit studio was plaoed. She had eVl", deutly arrayed herself iu her best for tha occasion. Mrs. Fogg's sharp eye remarked that the cotton frock the girl wore was olèant and that her ungloved hands had been care-, fully washed. As to the wonderful bain about which her master had been so enthu? siastic, Mrs, Fogg just glanced at it and dis< missed it with a contemptuous snort. Jus( carrots," she said to herself as she grimly bad#, the stranger enter, I. Ca.rrots, and nothing more." Jess drew back timidly at the sight of: Mrs, Fogg, who scanned her timidly with. suctl unfriendly eyes. The gentleman told me taf. come," she began, when Eastwood came rush. ing out of his studio and relieved her from her embarrassiiient. Ob, come in, come ii, Jess," he ei-ied. 14 This is Mrs. Fogg, my housekeeper—she'lL show you what I want you to put on and allj that sort of thing. Here's a little room that; you can make into a dressing-room; Fogg will see to that,"