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———B————!)!!!!!J !'-Bribery.


———B————!)! J Bribery. II What an awful day said the stranger. May Halhngham only bowed in freezing silenoe. It was disconoerting, after having waited for half an hour in solitary grandeur at a wayside railway station, to be surprised by a stranger — male, young, and good- looking — in the middie of a wild though solitary polka, started for the purpose of warming her feet. She had said Oh I" and sat down in tbestiffest attitude she could oompass on the one straight-backed waiting-room ohair. The intruder had not been disconcerted in the least. He had struggled for half an hour through the snow drifts after leaving his overturned fly, and bad found in sole possession of Munford Junction a young woman, evidently of the upper ten thousand, wildly oareering by her- self to the "See me danoe the polka," chanted in her own clear mezzo-soprano voioe. He had tried to look as if a passenl was the customary diversion of a first-class passenger, and had partly succeeded. How late the train is he Remarked after a short silenoe. He was good-looking, and she had no sternness in her where men were conoerned. That was her ohief fault, though it did not diminish her enjoyment of life so she answered, still rather self-con- scious, There will be no train-the porter told me the stationmaster went home when be heard it was snowed up; when you came I was alone with the old porter." Feeling the desirability of a chaperon, she added, He will be back directly he has gone to return the stationmaster his shovel, after taking all the coals in his offioa for this fire. I hope he will be back soon." 11 W by, may I ask?" it I want to convert him." Convert him ? Are you in the Salvation Army F" No," she langhed; "the Primrose League. lie is wearing the lladioal candidate's colours. Did you not know there was an election going on in the county p" The stranger, who had looked alarmed when he suggested the Salvation Army, groaned as she explained. "I was aware of it," he said. "Tben you have a vote, perhaps," she said. (Shyness, as has been hinted, was not her weak point.) if Which way do you mean to give it P I need hardly ask; but I put down all promises and hand them to Lord Doveroourt'a agent. Do you know anything about the chances ? What part of the division do you coma from P" The stranger was getting very chilly in his manner. 11 1 don't care about politics," he said; fó l've heard a good deal about them lately, and we are strangers." "Politics are a nice safe subject for strangers." said Miss Allingham cheerfully. Why don't you like them P" "Because I've heard nothing else disonssed for a week because I am alone with the prettiest girl I've seen for an age, and because—— Hush I" said Miss Allingbam; If I prefer politios to compliments—from strangers." I'll drop both if £ eu like," said he. It Well," she said, in that case we must sit in silence but I did want to hear if you knew Mr. Shellabear, the lladioal candidate?" "1 have heard a great deal about him lately," said the stranger wearily. It is still snowing, is it not?" He is a horrid young cad, I believe"— Miss Allingbam's English was occasionally vigorous. He wears a white satin tie in the evening." What an enormity, and no doubt his political crimes are on the same soale." He says horrid things about the League," she added fiercely. The what ?" The Primrose League." Dash the Primrose League 1" murmured the stranger audibly between his teeth. Miss Allingham rose to her feet. That was ungentlemanly—and—profane," she said, walking towards the door. Mr. Shellabear says nothing so bad as that, though he says dreadful things about the Dames-aiid I am a Dame." The stranger followed her wittt jrofuse apologies. He really had not meant wtafc he said; be had the highest respect for tlte Primrose League and every Dame in it. He would say the same of Mr. Shellabear as be had of the League, if that would atone. He suoceeded almost in appeasing her—at all events, in getting the subject ohanged. "lam so hungry," she said, after a silenoe. I had hardly any lunch, and its past tea- time." "I never thought of that," he exclaimed. What an ass I am and he felt in the pookets of his ulster. Look, here is a pocket of sandwiohes big enough to last us a week, and a flask of oherry-brai),clv." He untied the sandwiohes, and she took one with a forgiving smile, holding out her hand for some cherry brandy rather eagerly for two --•sons thefirat because she had a weakness for ot^ro nnld weather: the second, because she was muoh exeroiaeu «. the identity of her ohanoe acquaintance, and there were letteri engraved npon the flask. She read them as she sipped with little chokes and coughs—G.C.S., a monogram, but quite an easy one to decipher. She pondered, then sat quite still, getting rather red. She was repeating to herself "G.O.S.; Gladstone Gobden Gladstone Cobden Shellabear; what a fool I've been Suddenly she said aloud, It may not really be so bad after &11." What may not p* said the stranger; the cherry brandy P" What Mr. Shellabear says. I mean he may uo\-I mean I hear he is really rather nice, very good-looking too." Yet, he is that," answered the stranger; "and a clever chap besides." Her eyebrows were raised at this, and there was another short pause. I did not know you were can- vassing this part," she then said, rather timidly for her, "or I should have been more careful." IfOb, you know me now,"said the stranger, holding out his hand. How did you manage that r I read your initials on your flask. I Glad- stone Cobden Shellabear' is not a name to be forgotten." "Or forgiven, I should think," he said; but what do you mean by initials on my flask P" He looked at them as he spoke, and he looked puzzled too. But Miss Allingham did not see that; she had sat down again, and was staring at her boots in a very shame-faced manner. To find you have told a man to his face he is a cad, and that he oommits sooial solecisms usually renders friendly conversation difficult, if not impossible. Meanwhile the stranger was look- ing from her to his flask and back again with a mischievous gleam in his eye. She would have noticed it if she bad not been gazing so hard at the toes of her boots, As it was, she did not answer his question, but said humbly, Lord Doveroourt is my oousin I want him to get in so muoh, and I did not know that you were Mr. Shellabear." Lord Dovercourt's oousin, are you p" said the stranger; ii then no wonder you are keen. Do you know him P" A nd he began to look at her rather closely as she answered, I have not seen him sinoe he was a rather ugly but very jolly boy of fourteen, I was ten then; he has probably forgotten me." H I think not," murmured Eej opmpwiipn# still looking at her attentively; but she did not hear, and continued, "I'm going to stay in the same house witfc him now at the Hartleys'. Kveryone round there will vote for him; he's sure to get in, that's one comfort." U Then perhaps Mr. Shellabear bad better retire," said her companion, with a polite bow. "I wish you would," said Miss Allingham, with a sigh, looking at the fire. He had moved nearer to her, and was Lending over her. Ask me like that and perhaps I might," be said. He was bending very much over her, and with a sudden movement had cap. tured her band as it lay on her lap. What are you thinking of, sir p" she ex- claimed, drawing away from him. I was thinking of a very pretty lady who used to win elections with her lips, and I was thinking that perhaps one kiss instead of many might-I have a vote in the division for a farm near here." I won't hplr of suoh a thing," said Mist Allingbam hotly. He was drawing near her again, and she took her bundle of rugs off the table with a vague idea of warding him off with them. "I would not do such a thing if you promised never to stand for Parliament again as long as you lived." Wouldnt you P" he said, "'Not even for that? Just think what a service to your cause. What other Primrose Dame wiH have done as much ?" You don't mean it; you are joking and I am not. Keep off." I am not joking," be said. It you wiU let me I will promise. We will have in youi old porter as a witness, it'you like; or I'll swear on paper, if you choose, never to stand again until I have your leave. That would be a long time." Miss Allingbam has never given a very satisfactory account of what went on in her own mind at that moment. She was as anxious to serve her cousin, Lord Dover" court's interest, and to prevent Mr. Shellabear from opposing him; and he was very good- looking, but that she does not ever give as her reason, even to her most intimate friends to whom she has confided the rest of the story. She must have hesitated, at least apparently. and she certainly said, just to hear how it sounded, of oonne- II Y 01.1 swear P" I swear," he repeated after her. 41 Never to stand," "Never to stand for Parliament again without your leave," And then, before sh« quite knew whore she was, he had caught her in hi* arms and kissed her. She gasped. "J did not give you leave," she said furiously; "I did not mean it; I did not; how dfire you P" I don't know," he said but it's done now, an j how, and you will get all the glory when youtell the other Dames." 11 As if I should tell them!" she said, blushing crimson. What shat! I do? Yoa will have to leave the county, at all events— if you keep your word." Yea, he said, with a sigh. I must take the first train to town now, instead of going on with you to Hartley Hall." "Hartley Hall! There was not muoh chance of meeting you there." Wasn't there p,. he said carelessly. "I'm not so sure about that. Look here, I was under the impression Lady Hartley had in- vited me." He was holding a note out to Mis» Allingham. "Dear Doveroourt," she ex- claimed, reading it. "You are not Lord Dovercourt, you are Mr. Shellabear!" 11 I am not so sure of that, either," said he. II I never said so, at all events, Look here again," and he drew a card-case and some letters from his pocket, Your initials on your flask P" she said. Not mine at all; 1 borrowed it from Colonel Somerville, with whom I have been staying. Come, May, I know you if you don't know me. I was going to flartley to- meet you." She drew herself up. "And suppose I say that I deolino to meet you, that you have obtained "Goods by false pretences," he said, inter- rupting ber. NAtell, it's not the first tinM by any means, is it, eh? Don't you remember years ago how you used to pinch me when- ever——" Miss Allingham tried to look stern. She had recollections of days when she was ten and itc Snurteen but she felt sternness was the P3T9$C? flMg vedar U& circumstances. You not to stand for Parliament," she said But at that moment there was a whistle, and the old porter, who had seen more through the window than be mentioned at the time, came in to say that the missing train was coming in and the line was clear, at least to Marton, the station for Harvey Hall, It wu blocked to London in three plaoes, he added. He did not take much interest in the argument which followed his announce- ment; but he got haIr-a-orown, all the same, as he put them into an empty carriage and looked the door. "Bribery!" said Miss Alinffham severely. What would have been said if it was known that a frivaroso Xi*o h"5 dono .14 thing 7" "I shall have to oantion th-m, 1 know," said Lord Doveroourt drily, u now 1 know what they are oapable of.&. Jameif Gazette.


A Steamer Stopped by a Fish,

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