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11l'. ) XXVII.—"KIND IS MY…


11 l' ) XXVII.—"KIND IS MY LOVE TO- 1T ^HILE T R)AY' TO-MORROW KIND." ''lor, ( 5'y Lesbia was draining the cup of >8, fy w 0% and London care to the dregs, Lady "S leading her usual quiet life beside the b \v ^e> where the green hill-sides and sheep et yere reflected in all their summer verdure a ,otonle c'°udiesB azure of a summer sky. A uf ii(je^Jlls life—passiug dull as seen from the i 1 inTaiK* >"et Mary was very happy, happy J sfiofi k 'So1-itl,c*e' the grave deep joy of a I" >\y oea,i-t, a mind at rest. All life had taken 16 d. since her engagement to John Ham- r J A sense of new duties, an awakening Ile,essAa<^ given a graver tone to her charac- H0j-1 ^pii'its were less wild, 3'et not less joyous )]t ljt,0!cl- The joy was holier, deeper. Y letters were the chief delight of her To read them again and again, and ifl ft «P°a them, and then to pour out all her Su'L m'nd in answering them. These were "( e*s \v en°ugh for any young life. Hammond's Id t ei'e sPch as any young woman might be h8 ? leceive. They were not love letters only. it a tj*le as friend to friend; not descending th»e J>roud pinnacle of masculine intelligence i#1 Wer level of feminine silliness; not e Wn to a simple country girl's capacity i^SiVrn fully and fervently, as if there were 0' &d^ecfc too lofty or too grave for the under- lie betrothed. He wrote as one sure ajij Sympathised with, wrote as to his second lion ^'ary showed herself not unworthy of j ^ei'e,Uf ^1Us rendered to her intellect. p'W vas 01ie world which had newly opened fl rid /v s,,1ce her engagement, and that was the i> Hammond had told her that & ie R l°n was to succeed as a politician—to do Ifr otn \n- c^aJ' as °neof tlie governing body; •• time she had made it her business Wo '°w 'ghind, and the world outside Eng- *» She er,e governed. A H e'acl no natural leaning to the study of poli- 4 t que!l?lny- Indeed, she had always imagined <? Hv f V1 relating to the government of her f i«jfy be inherently dry as dust and unin- A/Li ut had John Hammond devoted his W '°\vhe stluJy °f Coptic manuscripts or the inscriptions upon Assyrian tablets, ;1 'Halip i ^ave toiled her hardest in the endeavour !(:ln fersel' a Coptic scholar or an adept in e nu character. If he had been a student I tlie she would not have been discomfited ;Ob,- ers of the fiftv thousand characters in re nese alphabet. of8?' \a's 'le. was to make his name in the 'Pcj Jt-'ublic life, she set* herself to acquire a to t) erstanding of the science of politics f^y US enc' s'le g'or&e(l herself with English Hallam, Green, JustinMacCarthy, 19 fiJf the days of Witena-gemot Ie B111, the Repeal of the Corn Laws, |^« TJ Jlishment of the Irish Church, Ballot, 9 i. |]es,!lionism, and unreciprocated Free Trade. ts)1 ;ller, l0'i vyas deep enough to repel her; for was atC(n°Ver interested in tliedryest thereof and Jul] 'tc.erned him and his welfare must needs this mterest to her. j ^H}'• "s'le rea(l the debates religiously day f d she one day ventured shyly to suggest I'i'sv, s,l0uld read them aloud to Lady e? iV Kte n°t t"8 a little rest for you if I your Times aloud to you every .Jl" t¡1Il,y ,randmrther?" she asked. You read ''rUthj ooks, French, English, and German, sfjes, uk y0lir eye3 njUrit; o-et a little tired some- f.^ary for ^"tured the remark with some timi- f| tin,' 0Se.falcon eyes were fixed upon her of e, bright, and clear, and steady as the Ce tQ Youth. It seemed almost an imperti- l'nSest that such eyes could know weari- j A,r U f?-11 olri ry' 111 y sight holds out v/onderfullly 5 d e tie! replied her ladyship gently. '■^Fipgrj 's,'1y of the last occulist whose book '4 hy lo' very amusing and interesting Uit^er^n+u e by-is that the sight improves Jt rral jai lly constant use, and that an agri- f. 6tately"<>Vrer' wl10 hardly uses his ej'es at all, v^atchill!it'le tI,ec'ille life so go<;d a sight_ as a}Va .°1' the student. I have read im- 'fi'ini 'y life, and find myself no worse for Sp-nce. But you may read the debates "5 j\°n like, mv dear, for if my eyes are Sick to death, t0-deatl1-" j ?^to eyesturned from Mary,and looked $tl of S ille to tlie hills in their ineffable and light-shifting, changing JIJSss rmeut of the summer day. Intense 0ok-l.f Settled despair, were expressed in I> J'et sa<2cter than all tears. v,1ry monotonous, very sad for *ith w?1 her own eves brimming Sfandv8/ But it will not be always so, vill be 'er' hope a time will come when fe.» able to go about again to resume your thatr hr,P3> Mary. No, child, I feel and £ slr„ ne will never come. My strength is live i 5' day bv day. If I live for another ips'-J;0 Lesbia married, and you, too, ^'ell, I shall die at peace._ At peace, no it Jja faltered, and the thin, seini-traus- >e ^as pressed upon her brow What ry fe mc '>hen I am dead?" ared that her grandmother's mind was ^hc came and knelt beside tiiecouch, Ci*r&is- aSa'n £ ,t the satin pillows, teu- o wdinother, pray be calm," she mur- tsil-y j i-ea'd 0 not l°t>k at me like that, as if you lio'c k„ {"% heart. There are hearts that l001ied into. Mine is like a charnel- >•. jllf,touous, yes my life has been rnono- :he »i,.° c°nventual gloom was ever deeper iten it?11 ^Hside, My boy did nothing Y0 0r "le, and his son followed his foot- fibe sd Was pressed upon her brow What ry fe mc '>hen I am dead?" ared that her grandmother's mind was ^hc came and knelt beside tiiecouch, Ci*r&is- e..d agamst the satin pillows, teu- ,Jc<\l' ,<,I,I1g1y. e e,'rl. o wdinother, pray be calm," she mur- tsil-y j i-ea'd 0 not l°t>k at me like that, as if you lio'c k„ {"% heart. There are hearts that l001ied into. Mine is like a charnel- Il jllf,touous, yes my life has been mono- the gol 0 clnnentul gloom was ever deeper of FeIIside. My boy did nothing y 01 0r me, and his son followed his foot- L Lesbia have been my only conso- 'bud and f a' vvas so proud of her beauty, ?ecaHen 0n^ her because she was like me, rgeti3 °^Yn youth. And see how easily 'li.:ch lt)^ne- She has gone into a new world, arn n? 3'E'e an<i ir.y infirmities have no part, ftlbarr, e ^rum red to pale, so painful wars ie- °f hpi. 'nent. Wiiat could she say in de- Ja WafJr.sJser? How could she deny that fJ etters an Ingrate, when those rare and hur- J ?elfisKJ So careless in their tone, expressing I too pi of the writer in every syllable, told .ar » y of forgetfulness and ingratitude? life j ^^dmother, Lesbia has so much to do jy. 3 so full 0f engagement.-?," she faltered I .If up i1,6 goes from party to party—she gives ri s^e nfa»fc anc' wind and soul to pleasures j D to g. to consider only as the trivial fa^ eucls at!^ she fo2-gets the woman S to L r frnyifi' an.^ cai'ecl f°r her, and watched 1'1 w;, f er i'ofa'icy, and who tried to in ■' lk read a no'le ambition. Yes, read to me, iiC ijf la^'6 lne new thoughts, if you can, for K1 i-^s a M'eai*y with grinding the old ones, tt T6'reat debate in the Lords last night, L YUartfield spoke. Let me hear his J {bill¡?1.1 can read what was said by the man jrf i«]V readrever mind the rest." f g duji LlJrd Somebody's speech, which was j hut which prepared the ground for a ) exhaustive reply from Lord A'ue question was an important one, j Cf;heic| e Wellbeing of the masses, and Lord e w'th an eloquence which rose in ji lielle, as he wound himself like a serpent i/i; Vi vr?'j his subject—beginning quietly, ■ 11 110 opening flashes of rhetoric, ;11 ° gradualJy to the topmost heights of a sPeech," ci-iell Lady Maulevrier.de- a ,cheeks fflowing, her eyes kindling '"j if, I fellow the speaker must be. Oh, -i v'5S': tell you a secret. 1 loved that man's ) 111 y dear, I loved him fondly, J; and^i' as y°n ^ove that young man of '|k' e Waa the only man I ever really (w11 [j: e parted us. But I have never for- ■j j never, Mary, never. At this ik" Sep k-ave but to close my eyes and h lookpi113 face-see him looking at me j el' jj the last time we met. He was a 1- ,^ays I'"?1") his future quite hopeless in 'i'i |la > but it was not my fault we parted. 5 y0, V° 1Ilai'ried him—yes, wedded poverty, M but aie ^oing to marry this Mr Hara- t Vn lny would not let me, and 1 'jl too helpless, to make a good fight, ft \t I had only fought hard enough, ■0 woman I might have been, and 8 Oy lvJfe." -J1 f?^ a £ ood wife to my grandfather, I u' rj°nsotatore<:l Mary' hy wpy oi' saying some- 0 tK%V^ich j 0Wn came over Lady Maulevrier's ,v 'ad softened to deepest tenderness ji l^fr vvife to Maulevrier," she said, in a if C himi?' Well, yes. as good a wife as [ Vs Wif d deserved. I was better than 0 f(,; i'eSi Mary, for no breath of suspicion ipon my name. Bat if I had t y1 Q i1.ctcfielù I should have been a happy Fr,'J/} that I have never been since I [i r) K him." thi^e,evcr seen the present Lord Hart- r r» ifyet .V' r i^'ah ^Kf I have watched h;s career. I ^.infac °-f him. His father died while he Oil'l')l¡ Ido'I" and he was brought up in seclusion rf, who kept him tied to her Ql:1d tIn he went to Oxford. She idolised l:11a.thall:1 told she taught herself Latin and- JI!dies etllatics even, in order to help him in Ii. ltq, later on, worked at the classics Irj o1t¡a. became exceptionally learned .Jf>syrri];,v-H-he,wr,s.,h?r son's companion and -U e<^ with his tastes, his pleasures, fftv' devoted every hour of her life, r' ^llrher mind, to his welfare, his in- H v6i- with him, rode with him, travelled tli aH ,i u'°pe, yachted with him. Her tli 11.11 nrope, yachted with him. Her a IO\.1.S l:1 eclared that the lad would grow up h P 5 but I am told that there never ,lnai1 than Lord Hartfield. From b? t0 he was his mothers protector, 6ma.t :(dlrllnister to her affairs, acquired sense of responsibility, and au thoS0 vices w)lich make young C ,b?e- His mother died within a few V ^t i majority. He was bvokeu- aftei. ?Sln<< her, and went abroad imme- *d ^at /'ei' death. From that time he has (jk t^kevi iaveher. But I suppose now that e lilR seat in tne House of Lords, and t a good many times, he means to elJ. of f!1d take his place liong the fore- day. I am told that he is worthy ø ,lI)1U[S pla<o. „ver," c. ?el warmly interested in watching f| > in^1 Mary sympathetically. i#tj vvm in everything that concerns jOiri ,atn y°u another secret, Mary. I W-v ,rdly V3? 'nto my dotage, my dear, or I witv. to you like this," said Lady s;. [.a touch of bitterness. wi^hd' 1'1,? on a "tool by the sofa, close 'i'w' Shd cla^Pecl her grand- I ted itjtoiidi/, v j <! Dear grandmother, I think you are talking to me like this to-day, because you are beginning to care for me a little," she said tenderly. Oil, my dear, you are very good, very sweet and forgiving to care for me at all, after my neglect of you," answered Lady Maulevrier, with a sigh. I ha.ve kept you out in thecold so long, Mary. Lesbia—well Lesbia has been a kind of infatuation for me, and like aJl infatuations it has ended in disappointment and bitterness. Ambi- tion has been the of my life, Mary and when I could be no longer ambitious for myself —when my own existence had become a mere death in life, I began to dream and to scheme for the aggrandisement of my granddaughter. Les- bia's beauty, Lesbia's elegance seemed to me to ensure success—and so I dreamt my dream— which may never be fulfilled." What was your dream, grandmamma ? May I know all about it ?" That was the secret I spoke of just now. Yes, Mary, you may know, for I fear the dream will never be realised. I want my Lesbia to be- come Lord Hartfield's wife. I would have brought them together myself, could I but have gone to London but failing that, I fancied Lady Kirkbank would have divined my wishes without being told them, and would have introduced Hartfield to Lesbia and now the London season is drawing to a close, and Hartfield and Lesbia have never met. He hardly goes anywhere, I am told. He devotes himself exclusively to politics, and he is not in Lady Kirkbank's set. A terrible disappointment to me, Mary It is a pity," said Mary. "Lesbin.isso lovely. If Lord Hartfield were fancy-free he ought to fall in love with her, could they but meet. I thought that in London all fashionable people knew each other, and were continually meeting." It used to be so in my day, Mary. A1 mask's was a common ground, even if there had been no other. But now there are circles and circles, I believe, rings that touch occasionally, but never break and ming-Ie. I am afraid poor Georgy's set is not quite so nice as I could have wished. Yet Lesbia writes as if she. were in raptures with her chaperon, and with the people she meets. And then Georgy tells me that this Mr Smithson whom Lesbia has refused is a very important personage, a millionaire, and very likely to be made a peer." "A new peer," said Mary, making a wry face. One would rather have an old Commoner. I always fancy a newly-made peer must be like a newly-built house, glaring, and staring, and arid and uncongenial." "C'est selon," said Lady Maulevrier, "one would not despise a Chatham or a Wellington because of the newness of his title but a man who has only money to recommend him-" Lady Maulevrier left her sentence unfinished, save by a shrug, and Mary made another wry face. She had that grand contempt for sordid wealth which is common to youug people who have never known the want of money. I hope Lesbia will marry someone better than Mr Smithson," she said. I hope so too, dear and yet do you know I have an idea that Lesbia means to accept Mr Smithson, or she would hardly have consented to go to his house for the Henley week. Here is a letter from Georgia Kirkbank, which you will have to answer for me to-morrow-a letter full of raptures about Mr Smithson's place in Berkshire, Rood Hall. I remember the house well. I was there nearly fifty years ago, when the Heron- villss owned it; and now the Heronvilles are all dead or ruined, and this city person is master of the fine old mansion. It is a strange world, Mary." From that time forward Mary and her grand- mother were on more confidential terms, and when, two days later, Fetlside was startled into life by the unexpected arrival of Lord Maule- vrier and Mr Hammond, the dowager seemed almost as pleased as her granddaughter at the arrival of the young men. As for Mary, she was almost beside herself with joy when she heard their voices from the lawn, and, rushing to the shrubbery, saw them walk up the hill as she had seen them on that first evening nearly a year ago, when John Ham- mond came as a stranger to lellside. She tried to take her joy soberly, though her eyes were dancing with delight, as she went to the porch to meet them. What extraordinary young men you are," she said, as she emerged breathless from her lover's embrace. The idea of your descending upon us without a moment's notice. Why did you not write or telegraph, that your rooms might be ready." Am I to understand that all the spare rooms at Fell side are kept as damp as the bottom of the lake ?" asked Maulevrier. I did nut think any preparation was necessary but we can go back if we're not wanted, can't we, Jack ?" You darling," cried Mary, hanging affection- ately upon her brother's arm. You know I was only joking, you know how enraptured I am to have you." "To have me, only mc,"said Maulevrier. "Jack doesn't count, I suppose ?" c. You know how glad I am, and that I want to hide my gladness," answered Alary, radiant and blushing like the rich red rose in the porch. H You men are so vain. And now come and see grandmother. She will be cneereci by your arrival. She has been so good to me just lately, so sweet." She might have been good and sweet to you all vour life," said Hammond. "I am not pre- pared to be grateful to her at a moment's notice for any crumb of affection die may throw you." "Oh, but you must be gvateful, sir, and you must love her and pity her;" retorted Mary. Think how sadly she ha3 suffered. We cannot be too kind to her. or too fond of her, poor dear." Mary is right," said Hammond, half in jest and half in earnest. What wonderful instincts these young women have." Come and see her ladyship, and then you must have dinner, just as you had that first even- ing," said Slary. We'll act that first evening," said Mary. We'll act that first evening over again, Jack, only you can't fall in love with Lesbia, as she here." "I don't think I surrendered that first evening, Mary. Though I thought your sisLer the loveliest girl I had ever se-"n." And what did you think of me, sir, tell me that," sa;d Mary. "Shall I tell you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth ?" Of course." Then I freely confess that I did not think about you at all. You were tnerø-a pretty, lll- nocent, bright young maiden, with big brown eyes and auburn hair but I thought no more about you than I did about the Gainsborough on the wall, which you very much resemble." That is very humiliating," said Mary, pout- in a little in the midst of her bliss. "No, dearest, it is only natural," answered Hammond. I believe if all the happy lovers in this world could be questioned, at least half of them would confess to having thought very little about each other at first meeting. They meet and touch hands, and part again, and never guess the mystery of the future, which wraps them round like a cloud, never say of each other, there is my fate, and then they meet again, and again, as hazard wills, and never dream they are drifting to their doom." Mary rang bells and gave orders, just as she had done in that summer glooming a year ago. The young men had arrived just at the same hour, on the stroke of nine, wlnll the eight o'clock dinner was over and done with, for a tele a teic meal with Frauiein Kirsch was not a feast to be prolonged on account of its felicity. Perhaps they had so contrived as to arrive exactly at this hour. Lady Maulevrier received them both with ex- treme cordiality. But the young men saw..a change for the worse in the invalid since the spring. The face was thinner, the eyes too bright, the flush upon the hollow cheek had a hectic tinge, the voice was feebler. Hammond was reminded of a falcon or an eagie pining and wasting in a cag-c. I am very glad to see you, Mr Hammond," said Lady Maulevier, giving him hcr hand and addressing him with unwontecl cordiality. It was a happy thought that brought you and Maule- vrier here. When an old woman is as near the grave as I am her relatives ought to look after her. I shall be glad to have a little private con- versation with you to-morrow, Mr Hammond, if you can spare me a few minutes." As many hours, if your ladyship pleases," said Hammond, my time is entirely at your service. Oh, no, you will want to be roaming about the hills with Mary, discussing your plans for the future. I shall nut tllcroach too mllch on your time. But I am very glad you are here." We shall only trespass on you for a few days," said Maulevrier; "just a flying visit." How is it that you are not botli at Ilenloy ?" asked Mary. I thought all the world was at Henley. Who is Henley, what is Henley?" demanded Maulevrier, pretending ignorancc. I believe Maulevrier has lost so much money backing his college boat on previuns occasions that he is glad to run away from the regatta this year," said Hammond. I have a sister there," replied his friend. That's an all-sufficient explanation. When a fellow's woman-kind take to going to races and regattas it is high time for him to stop away." "Have you seen Lesbia lately?" asked his grandmother. "About ten days ago." "And did she seem happy?" Mauievrier shrugged his shoulders. She was vacillating between the 'efusal or the acceptance of a nidhon of money and four or five fine houses 1 don't know whether that condition of mind means happiness. I should call it an intermediate state." Why do you make silly jokes about serious questions do you think Lesbia means to accept this Mr Smithson?" "All London thinks so." And is he a good man?" Good for a hundred thousand pounds at half- an-hour's notice." Is he worthy of your sister ?" Maulevrier paused, looked at his grandmother with a curious expression, and then replied :— I think he is—quite." Then I am content that she should marry him," said Lady Maulevrier, "although he is a nobody." Oh, but he is a very important nobody, a no- body who can get a peerage next year, backed by the Maulevrier influence, which I suppose would count for something." "Most of my friends are dead,"said Lady Mau- levrier, but there are a few survivors of the past who might help me." l "I don't think ther'Il be any difficulty about tae peerage. Smithson stumped up very hand- somely at the last general election, and the Con- servatiyos are not strong enough to be ungrate- fuJ." 0 CHAPTER XXVIII. —WAYS AND MEANS. 1 he three days tha.t followed were among the happiest days of Mary Haselden'a youug life. Lady Maiuevrier had become strangely indulgent, A softening influence of some kind had worked upon that haughty spirit, and it seemed as if her whole nature was changed—or it might be, Mary ¡ thought, that this softer side of her character had always been turned to Lesbia, while to Mary her- self it was not altogether new. Lesbia had been the peach on the sunny southern wall, ripening and reddening in a flood of sunshine Mary had beea the stunted fauit. growing in a north-east corner, hidden among leaves, blown upon by cold winds, green and hard and sour for lack of the warm bright light. And now Mary felt the sunshine, and grew glad and gay in those glowing beams. Dear grandmamma, I believe you are begin- ning to love me," she said, bending- over to arrange the invalid's pillows in the July morning, the fresh mountain air blowing in upon old and young trom the great open window, like a caress. I am beginning to know you," answered Lady Maulevrier gently. I think it is the magic of love, Mary, that has sweetened and softened your nature and endeared you to me. I think yon have grown ever so much sweeter a girl since your en- gagement. Or it may be that you were the same always, and it was I who was blind. Lesbia was all in all to me. All in all—and now I am nothing to her," she murmured, to herself rather than to Mary. I am so proud to think that you see an im- provement in me since my engagement," said Mary, modestly. I have tried very hard to im- prove myself, so that I might be mora worthy of him." You are worthy Mary, worthy of the best and the highest, and 1 believe that although you are making what the world calls a very Lad match, you are marrying wisely. You are wedding your- self to a life of obscurity but what does that matter, if it be a happy life ? I have known what it is to pursue the phantom, fortune, and to find youth and hope and happiness vanish from the pathway which I followed. Dear grandmother, I wish you had been able to marry the man of your choice," answered Mary, tenderly. She was ready to weep over that wasted life of her grandmother's to weep for that forced part- ing of true lovers, albeit the tragedy was half a century old. I should have been a happier woman and a better woman if fate had been kind to me, Mary," answered Lady Maulevrier gravely, and now that I am daily drawing nearer to the land of shadows I will not stand in the way of faithful lovers. I have a fancy, Mary, that I have not many months to live." Only an invalid's fancy," said Mary, stooping down to kiss the pal," forehead, so full of thought and care, only a morbid fancy, nursed in the monotony of this quiet loom. Maulevrier and Jack and I must find some way of amusing you." You will never amuse me out of that convic- tion, Mary, my dear. I can see the shadows lengthening and the sands running out. There are but a few grains left in the glass, Mary, and while those last I should like to see you and Mr Hammond married. I should like to feel that your fate is settled before I go. God knows what confusion and trouble may folloyr my death." This was said with the sharp ring of diapair. I am not going to leave you, grandmamma," said Mary. Not even for the man you love ? You are a good girl, Mary. Le?bia has forsaken me for a lesser temptation." Grandmamma, that is hardly fair. It was your own wish to have Lesbia presented this season," remonstrated Mary, loyal to the absent. "True, my dear. I saw she was very tired of her life here, and I thought it was better. But I'm sorely afraid London has spoiled her. No, Mary, you can stay with me to the end, if you like. There is room enough for you and your husband under this roof. I like this Mr Hammond. His is the only face that ever recalled the face of the dead. Yes, I like him him. and although I know nothing about him except what Maulevrier telis and that is of the scantiest—still I feel, somehow, that I can trust him. Send your lover to me, Aiary, I want to have a serious talk with him." Mary ran off to obey, fluttered, blushmir, and trembling. This idea of marriage in the imme- diate future was to the last degree startling. A year had seemed a very longtime, and she had been told that she and her loxer must wait a year at the very leaat bO that vision of marriage had seemed afar off in the dim shadowland of the future. She had been told nothing by her lover of where she was to live, or what her life was to be like when she was his wife. And now she was told that they were to be married almost immedi- ately, that they were to live in the house where she had been reared, in that familiar land of lulls and waters, that they were to roam about the dales and mountains together, they two, as man and wife. The whole thing was wonderful, be- wildering, impossible almost. This was on the first morning after Mr Ham- mond's arrival. Maulevrier had gone off to hunt the Rotha for otters, and was up to the waist in water, no doubt, by this time. Hammond was strolling up and down the terrace in front of the house, looking at the green expanse of Fairfield, the dark bulk of Seat Sandal, the nearer crests of Helm Crag and Silver Howe. "You are to come to her ladyship dircctly, please," said Mary going up to him. He took both her hands, drew her near to him, smiling down at her. They had been sitting side by side at the breakfast table half an hour ago, he waiting upon her as she poured out the tea yet by his Wider greeting and the delight in his face it micht have been supposed they had not met for weeks. Such are the sweet inanities of love. "What does her ladyship want with me, dar- ling, and why are yuu blushing ?" he asked. "I—I think she is going to talk about—our— marriage," faltered Mnry. Why, I will talk to her upon this theme until mine eyelids can no longer wag," quoted Haul- inond. "Take me to her Mary. I hope her ladyship is growing sensible." "She is very kind, very sweet. She has changed so much of late." Mary went with him to the door of her lady- ship's sitting-room and there left him io go ll1 alone. She went to the libr:1ry- that r.o. m over which a gloomy shadow seemed to have hung ever since that winter afternoon when Mary found Lady Maulevrier lying on the floor in the twilight. But it was a noble room, and in her studious hours Mary loved to sit hero, walled round with books, and able to consult or dip into as many volumes as she liked. To-day, however, her mind was not attuned to study. She snfcwith a volume of Macaulav open before her, but her thoughts were not with the author. She was wondering what those two were saying in the" room overhead and, finding all attempts at :eading futile, she let her head sink back upon the cushion of her deep luxurious chair, and sat with her dreamy eves fixed on the summer landscape and her thoughts with her lover. Laxly Maulevrier looked very wan and tired in the bright morning light when Mr Hammond seated himself beside her sofa. The change in her appearance since the spring was more marked to- day than it had seemed to him night in the dim lamplight. Yes, there was need hero for a speedy settlement of all earthly matters. The traveller was nearing the mysterious end of the journey. The summons might come at any hour. Mr Hammond, I feel a confidence in your m. tegrity, your goodness of heart, and high prin- ciple, which I never thought I could feel for a man of whom r know so little," began Lady Maulevrier gravely. All I know of you or your antecedents is what my grandson has told ms—and I must say that the information so given has been very meagre. And yet I believe in you—and yet I am going to trust you, wholly, blindly, implicitly— and I am going to give you my granddaughter, ever so much sooner than I intended to give her to yon. Soon, very soon, if you will have her I will have her to-morrow, if I can get a special licence," exclaimed Hammond, bending down to kiss the Dowager's hand, radiant with delight. You shall marry her next week, if you like, marry her by special licence, in this room. I should like to see your w edding. I have a strange impatience to behold one of my granddaughters happily married, to know that her future is secure, that come weal, come woe, she is safe in the pro- tection of a brave, true man. I am not scared by the idea 01 a little poverty. That is often the best education for youth. But while you and 1 are alone we may as well talk about ways and means. Perhaps you may liardiy feel prepared to take upon yourself the burden of a wife this year." As well this year as next. I am not afraid." Young men are so rash. However, as long as I live your responsibilities will be only nominal. This house will be Mary's home, and yours when- Young men are so rash. However, as long as I live your responsibilities will be only nominal. This house will be Mary's home, and yours when- ever you are able to occupy it. Of course I should not like to interfere with your professional efforts —but if you are cultivating literature—why books can be written at Feilside better than in London. This lakeland of ours has been the nursery of deathless writers. But I feel that my days are numbersc.—and when I am dead-wen, a death is always a cause of change and trouble of some kind, and Mary will protit very little by my death. The bulk of my fortune is left to Lesbia. I have taught her to consider herself my heiress, and it would be unjust to alter my will." "Pray do not dream of such a thing—there is no need—Mary will be rich enough," exclaimed Hammond hastily. With fivehundred a year and the fruits of your industry," said Lady Maulevrier. Yes, yes, with modest aspirations and simple habits, people can live happily, honourably, on a, few hundreds a year. And if you really mean to devote yourself to litera- ture, and do not mind burying yourself alive in this lake distnet until you have made your name as a writer, why the problem of ways and means will bo easily solved." Dear Lady Maulevrier, I am not afraid of ways and means. That is the last question that need trouble you. I told Lesuia, when I offered myself to her nearly a year ago, that if she would trust me, if she would cleave to me, poverty .should never touch her, sordid care should never come near her dwelling. But she could not be- lieve me. She was like Thomas the twin. I could show her no palpable security for my pro- mise—and she would not believe for the promise sake. Mary trusted me, and Mary shall not re- gret her confidence." AL, it was different with Lesbia," sighed Lady Maulevrier. I taught her to be ambitious. She had been schooled to set a high price upon herself. I know she cared for you—very much, even. Bat she could not face poverty; or, if you like, I will say that she could not face an obscure existence—sacrifice her ambition, a justifiable ambition in one so lovely, at the bidding of her first wooer. And then, again, she was told that if she married you she would for ever forfeit my regard. You must not blame her for obeying I me." I do not blame her, for I have won the peer- less pearl — the jewel above all price—a perfect woman. And now, dear Lady Maulevrier, give me but your consent, a.nd I am off to York this afternoon, to interview the Archbishop and get the special licence, which will allow me to wed my darling here by your couch to-morrow after- noon." "I have no objection to your getting the licence immediately but you must let me write a cheque before you gü. A special licence is ex- pensive—I believe it costs fifty pounds." If it cost a thousand I should not think it dear. You have made me wild with happiness." But you must not refuse my cheque." indeed I must, Lady Maulevrier, I am not quiet such a pauper as you think me," But fifty pounds and the expense of the journey an outlay altogether unexpected on your part. 1 begin to fear that you are very reckless, A spendthrift shall never marry my grand- daughter with my consent." j I have never yet spent above half my in- come." Lady Miulevrier looked at him in wonderment and perplexity. Had the young man gone sud- denly out of his mind, overwhelmed by the great- njsss 01 hi. I.>li: I 1 — ,— I But I thought you were poor," she faltered. It has pleased you to think so, dear Lady Maulevrier; but I have more than enough for all my wants, and I shall be able to provide a fitting home for my Mary, when you can spare her to preside over her own establishment." Establishment is rather a big word, but Lady Maulevrier supposed that in this case it meant a cook and housemaid, with perhaps later 0:1 a boy in buttons, to break windows and block the pan ry sink with missing teaspoons. Well, Mr Hammond, this is quite an agree- able surprise," she said, after a brief silence. I really thought you were poor—as poor as a. young man of gentlemanlike habits could be, and yet exist. Perhaps you will wonder why, thinking this, I brought myself to consent to your marriage with my granddaughter ?" It was a great proof of your confidence in me, or in Providence," replied Hammond, smiling. It was no such thing. I was governed by a sentiment—a memory. It was my love for the dead which softened my heart towards you, John Hammond." Indeed," he murmured softly. There was but one man in this world I ever fondly loved—the love of my youth—my dearest and best, in the days when my heart was fresh and innocent and unambitious. That man was lionald Hollister, afterwards Lord Hartfield. And yours is the only face that ever recalled his to my mind. It is only a vague likeness—a look now aud then but slight as that likeness is it has been enough to make my heart yearn towards you as the heart of a mother to her son." John Hammond knelt beside the sofa, and bent his handsome face over the pale face on the pillow, imprinting such a kiss as a son might have given. His eyes wure full of tears. Dear Lady Maulevrier, think that it is the spirit of the dead which thanks you for your fidelity to old memories," he said sottly. (To be continued. I


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-----------jTHE NOHTii WALES…











__---"-----_-THE FATAL ACCIDENT…

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