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THE ORIGINAL WOMAN.

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PUBLISHED BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT THE ORIGINAL WOMAN. BY F. FRANKFORT MOORE, Antkor of "The Jessamy Bride," "The Girla of the House," "A Whirlwind Harvest," &c., &o. [COPYRIGHT.] CHAPTER XV. Was it her knowledge of how Nature could bt improved on that caused her to see with great clearness of vision that the best way of getting near to p man is to keep as far away from him as possible? She usually took a stroll on the terrace nftei breakfast when the men of the party were light- ing-their pipes, and she had nearly always at this time, found herself by the side of Stephen Urqu- art. But this morning she went into the library; and from one of the windows of this apartment which overlooked a sunny end of the terrace, she had the satisfaction of noticing the waiting look in the eyes of Stephen Urquhart aa tie sat in his cane chair with a bundle of letters on his knees. The expression on his face was too faintly marked for anyone else about him to read, but Claire felt that she could rend it aright, and she felt that she was making pro- gress; she was getting the man nearer to her by keeping away from him. And in this respect she felt that she was im- proving upon Nature; being quite forgetful of Ir. Marvin's theories of the Original Woman, wh". while flying from the pursuing man, takes good care ) wear her hair long to give him a chance of catching her. She perceived an expression of impatience— the merest cobweb of an expression, but quite enough for her—on the face of Stephen Urquhart, when an hour had passed. And then she thought that the time had come for her to take a stroll on the terrace. But she had not risen :rom the window-seat when Philip Trent entered tne room. "What, he cried, "are you indoors, Miss La Roache? Is this a library day—this day stolen from the summer? I'll tell you what this day :s. Did you see the swallows making themselves ready to fly last week? Well, they went; but this day is a sort of dallying swallow—dallying— delaying, from the general flight of the autumn." "A perfect idea," said Claire. "It is not merely an idea, it is a finished poem. Cannot you see how it would be written by Francois Coppee P" He shook his head. We shall treat it—you and I," he said. Come mtside. We shall walk through the pines down to the lough and see what colour it is in this October sunshine. Come along." "Delighted!" she cried. "That is how to your idea of the delaying swallow-day. Why should one trouble to write a poem when one can live one?" "Why, indeed?" sa.id he. When people are perfectly happy they never want to write versea happiness. Good Lord! The library to-day! Why, the very sight of a book to-day would be enough to make me mad. But you, pale Btudcnt She ran with the book that had been on her knees to the bookcase, and pushed it shoulder to shoulder with its fellows. I am ready," she cried. Within three minutes she ha-d put on her yachting cap and was back on the terrace. Stephen was still in his seat; Mr. Trent was say- ing something to him. She did not go too ;lose. He might be dictating a telegram. "Such good time!" said he. "On we go." IIo said half-a-dozen more words to Mr. Urqu- hart and then joined her. They went on side by side to the end of the terraoe, and, then, when in the act of disappearing down the sloping wood path, she turned her head. lie was looking after her—Stephen had sent his eyes after her. She gave a little farewell wave of her hand to him. He raised a finger to hi" cap. She felt that she had made progress. This going away from him meant progress. That little wave of her hand meant not a good-bye but an invitation. She had seen Lady Evelyn go off with Mrs. Archie and Lord Medway with salmon rods imme- diately after breakfast; therefore she had no hesi- tation in accepting Mr. Trent's invitation to walk with him. But Stephen, oatching sight of the two figures re-appearing on the path at the slope of the glen, mused, muttering: Has the thing begun to work? Is it time?" He knew himself to be an exceedingly clever man. He had set out in life to make the most of this endowment, which was practically his only one; and it was generally thought that he had done pretty well for himself. To become private secretary to Mr. Philip Trent was to have gone further than a good many men of cleverness could hope to go. But the opinion of the people who are round a man is not invariably the opinion of the man himself regarding his progress in life: so much depends on the man's own ambition, and liis belief in his own power to realise the object of his ambition. Most people think that the Midtaghorn forms a very decent climb and are quite ready to boast of having compassed it; but what about the man who has set his face to the Matterhorn ? Lady Evelyn Carnaleigh was a beautiful girl and II. nice girl, and when he had first asked him- self if it was possible that he could gain her love he felt that he was ambitious indeed. But she •was, as so many nice and beautiful girls are, practically penniless. Her father, Lord Carna- leigh, found it hard to keep up his establishment —one of them (in Paris) was notoriously expen- sive—on the income which his tenants allowed him. And knowing this, Stephen Urquhart had his doubts as to the advantage to himself likely to accrue from marrying the daughter of a poor man, even though he had a title and his daughter was permitted the use of one also, with the precedence which accompanies such a dis- tinction. It waa those doubts which had caused him, after Lady Evelyn had accepted his offer of love, to place before her the advisability of keeping their engagement a secret. He told her that he was not satisfied with his position in the world, and that he felt sure that Lord Carnaleigh would never give his consent to the engagement of his daughter to such a man as he was. For his own part he was not sure that Lord Carnaleigh was wrong—no, he certainly would not take it upon him to say that Lord Carnaleigh was wrong. But he knew what he could do, and he felt sure that, in the course of a year or two, he would succeed in making for himself such a position as would enable him to win her even in the face of such, prejudices as her father would naturally—having nt heart the best interests of his daughter— entertain against such a match for her as he, Stephen, might suggest. If I were to go to him now he would natur- ally send me about my business; and I am not so sure that he would be wrong," said Mr. Urqu. hart in talking the matter over with her. He would be wrong—he does not know you," s:1 Lady Evelyn. He shook his head, with a smile of toleration —the indulgent toleration of a man of the world for the prejudices of the narrow-minded. He would be right, and that would be the end of everything, for I have a —a sort of pride— I suppose it is ridiculous, but there it is—pride is the sole consolation of the humble—and I know that your father's 'No' would be effec- tual," he answered. "Our only chaneo is to let our engagement be between ourselves until the right time comes—when I can go with confi- dence to your father and say, I have won her!' A tM first "he hesitated—he knew, he hoped that sbi. would hesitate; she had never had a Becret from her father, and she shrank from hav- ing one now; but, of course, he prevailed. This secret engagement had been in force for more than a year. It had its fascinations, especially for the man. It enabled him to have many delightful moments with the woman, and it made him sure of her, so to speak. It was nearly a good. as a secret marriage: with such a girl as Lady Evelyn its binding power was almost as great. lID knew that it reflected great credit on his cleverness—his good management of a delicate negotiation; and he was perfectly well satisfied the situation until Claire La Hoache appeared before him. He had never had a notion that he would be such a fool. He had always been able to keep himself well in hand: the way he had conducted his negotiation with Lady Evelyn proved this; and yet before he had been more than twice in the company ot Claire La Roache he knew that he was in love with her. Even while he had had his arm about Lady Evelyn, listening to the exquisite huwkiness in her voice while he whis* pered his "Good night" at the foot of the stair- case—Claire La Roach J being at the top-he had been in love with Claire La Eoache He liaa no idea that he should ever be such a fool. For, quite apart from any Question of h j. (engagement to Lady Evelyn, it was, he knew, the height of folly for such a man as he was h love such a girl as she. Of course, everyone talked of her hautv. and he certainly thought that 5110 was the most beautiful creatine whom he had ever seeJand no one was better able than himself to assess accurately the value of a beautiful^vifc as an auxiliary to success. In the armpit frequently meant thr. difference Oetwe^n distinction and obscurity ); n ic illy iuch an auxiliary counted for veiv iilMr—>"d he hoped to become one day a political po-ut. And yet he had fallen in love with Claire, %nd^every day that he Jf near her bad but aiade him feel that for her he was ready to do anything. He had heard of this old-fashioned sort of Miing, and had ever been ready to smi1 at it as people smile at something prehistorio. But it had him is fte grasp, and it left upon hm the impress as of fiery fingers. He had known instances of the working of this power- the history of kings and nations was full of them—and they had always appeared sad to him. Kings had fallen, dynasties had been extin- guished, or worse, dynasties had been prolonged, by the tyranny of this power upon the sons of men, yes, a.nd religious reputations—political reputations—even artistic reputations had been undone by it. And yet he, who had seen and heard all that mortal man had ever seen and heard of it, had allowed himself to become its victim. Ho never gave one thought after the second day to the obligations which were imposed upon him by the fact of his engagement to another woman; no question of honour ever crossed his mind. causing him to hesitate, or to make the attempt to rid himself of the thraldom. He never thought of his future. He was prepared to go to any length in order to get her to love him. He had gone pretty far when he paid that secret visit to the descendant of the Spanish Moor whose name was Cortex; and in the inter- view which he had with her he had astonished even that ancient woman, and she had had strange traffic with strange people and strange Powers in her time. And now he was pacing the terrace in front of that Irish house, asking himself how it was that he, who hrd mapped out his life so carefully, and had seen the hard things which had stood in the Kay of the realisation of his ambition melt away before him, so to speak, had allowed this incredible folly to enter into his life. Of course ha knew that it was folly for him to allow this particular incident—his falling in love with a girl who could in no way advance his interests in the world—to dominate his life, to interfere with his plans; but now so far from making any reasonable attempt to retrieve his position as a person of forethought and resolution—a person even of honour—he was taking delight in the thought that the means which he had adopted for realising his dream of folly, not his dream of ambition, were likely to prove effective. All his thoughts were centred in that back- ward glance which she had cast at him with that graceful fluttering of her hand above her head. Her 1 and seen from afar was like a white butterfly twinkling through the morning air. He had waited for such a sign from her to tell him that his plans were succeeding, that his visit to that cottage on the side of the lonely Slieve Dhu had not been made in vain. She was coming nigh to him. He gloated over the thought. —————— .•> CHAPTER XVI. "i think that you fanoy you do," said Claire, when h? had told her—in his own way—that he loved her. and asked her if she did not believe him. He was standing before her, very close. He was conscious of the gracious glow—the ex- quisite warmth of her presence close to him. There is nothing like the passion of love for rubbing the veneer of civilisation off a man, Mr. Marvin could have told him, if he had been in any doubt about the matter himself. Yes," he said; and there was a certam husKi- ness in his voice, which he could not account for. Yes, I fancy that I do. I fancy that I am alive. I have begun to be alive. What do you fancy about it, Claire La HoacheP" She smiled in his face; then she looked down at the point of the toe which she had pushed into eicht from beneath the edge of her dress. She hid her head turned slightly to one side. She locked her foot about, along the edge of her dress, still smiling. I am wondering what would happen if I weTe to you frankly that I believe you—that I know you love she said; and once more her eyes—still smiling—went up to his face. So am I," he said. I am wondering what will happen." What would' happen—don't say what happen, Mr. Urquhart." "I prefer to say 'will'—'woulds' are not in my line." "I believe that. The man who gets on in the world is the man who forces other people to say I will,' not, I might. "And you will say it now." The man who says to someone You will say it' is the man who gets OIl in the world." I don't care about the world. The world has for :re dwindled down until it hag become en- closed Within the limits of these four walls. There is nothing for me in the world that this room does not hold—that this hand does not hold." He had put out his hand to her. She did not draw back by the extent of a single inch. She only hesitated for a single second. Then she put her hand into his, not looking at his hand— looking smiling into his face. He held her hand tightly within his own. "I knew that you would do it," he said, still huskily. II You love me." Do I?" she said. "God knows. I tell you if I love you it is not because I want to love you. Is that the way people fed at first? Do they want to rush away and hido themselves, and never wish to hear the word Love mentioned in their hearing again? That is how I feel now; and yet—yet——" "You would nr. MIl away for all the world," he said. Is that because 1 leel as you say you do- that the world has for me become compressed within these four walls?" "That is h nv you feel, Claire—niy Claire." "Yes, that is how I fee!—and at the same time I tell you that I feel that this room is a prison. I tell you in all truth that I fed as if your love were a prison—cruel—noxious—terrible -no way of t scape." "That is the real love," said he. "Is it?—is it?" she cried. "Then pure love is nearer to pur hate than anyone imagines it to be." You have never loved before, or ;rO.,1 would know that the delight of lovo is no greater than the delight of hate," said he, looking into her faeo. It was paler at that moment than he had ever seen it. She snatched her hand away from his, and walked quickly across the creaking boards of the floor. She returned to him and looked at him for a moment, then set out on the same track across the room. Before she reached the window she turned about saying, "Talk to me—talk to me—for heaven's sake say something to me. Why do you stand there silent when yon ÐOO me going about like this?— any nonsense you please." "I love vou, Claire. I love you, Claire La Eoache. I love you, my pearl among women." That is what the savages say," she cried, smiting her hands together. They call the savage girl their pearl-their moonstone—their glass bead, as the case may be. Are you content to be thought a savage, Mr. Urquhart?" Quite," said he. I am one, thank hooven/ She seemed startled—for he did not speak flip- pantly. She stared at him, and saw that he spoke the truth. The savage man looked through his eyes. I wonder if I am a savage woman," said she, eurk«usly, and with a little pucker of curiosity on her forehead. I hope you are," said he. "At any rate you are a woman and you love me." "Both savage," she laughed. fI Well, you have said something to me—I asked you to say something to me—a soothing something. Shall we go now r" "Go? Heavens :>bovø! Go? Not a minute has passed since I told you that I loved you and you told roe that you loved me. Go?" "What else is there to say that we haven't eaid "Heavens! This is the moefc important hour in our li:«?s; and you ask if there is anything more to be said." And is there ? What happens as a rule when two people have found that they love one another ?" He had his arms round her in a moment, and his lips were all but upon her own; but at the moment when they were about to touch, she flung back her head and put up a hand. "Not that—not that," she cried. My beloved !—you love me." Yes—yes—but—not that—not that, I am not sure that I do love you." I am sure of it. Why should you doubt it p" She did not take her hand away from his but she did not respond to his clasp. There was a puzzled expression on her face. "I feel so constrained," she said. "I am not satisfied. It may bo love—but—oh, let us go now. Have I not gone far in responding to you? Tell me—do you love anyone else, Stephen Urquhart?" Was ever woman in such humour wooed ?' was his thought as he marked every change of mood of that beautiful creature for whom he had sacrificed much and was ready to sacrifice more. She had passed from mood to mood—a dozen of them and more—within the quarter of an hour that they had been alone. She had been gay, grave, petulant, coquettish, trustful, dubious in turn. And now there was something of the jealous woman in the tone of her inquiry. Do you love anyone else p" Moreover, her eyes were searching his heart, If he had made the least attempt toevade a direct answer she would have become aware of it. This he knew, and of course he was wisa enough to answer her directly. "I love no one else," he said, gravely. He would have liked to convey to her by his tone that he felt somewhat aggrieved at being asked po poioted and 29 pertinent a ftmastiftiu. Hs.did: Hot believe that he had succeeded in doing 80: it was such a very difficult thing to do. He under- rated bis own powers, and in another instant he was aware of this fact. She made a little apologetic movement of her head, and put out her hand to him at the same moment, aying, "Forgive me. It was a horrid question to put to you. Oh, believe me, I am forced to do things •—to ask things. Thank heaven, they are coming to us now.' Footsteps sounded on the boards outside, and Stephen hastened to open the door. Mrs. La Roache with Mr. Sullivan approaohed along the corridor. "And what conclusions have you come to re- specting the rcoms in this wing?" asked Lady Innisfs.il. We think that the lower ones are in such a picturesque state of ruin it would be a great pity to do anything with them." Mr. Urquhart shook his head sadly. Hopeless," he said, quite hopeless." He turned to Mrs. La Roache. It seems impossible to do anything with the place unless by the ex- penditure of a considerable sum of money." And, as I told you this morning, Mr. Urquhart, I am not just now in a position to spend anything considerable upon the place." It will become more and more picturesque every year—rest assured of that," said Lady Innisfail, consolingly. People will come to see it by the thousand when the tourist traffic be- comes properly organised. Why shouldn't we hire an historical novelist to write it up and so bring people to it? That plan is worth thinking out. I am sure that an historical novelist could be got very cheap. They are going out of fashion. I really could not make my way through the best of them, with their cold damp winds blowing down a narrow alley in some mediaeval town or other—their heroes with the coldly cruel smile, and their 'sbloods' and 'sdeaths'. I am sure that we could pick one up a bargain. What do you say about it, Mr. Urquhartp" A sound one would cost money, but one only slightly cracked—" "Oh, now you are mooking us all," said Lady Innisfail, when Mr. Urquhart made a pause, breaking off his sentence in a very suggestive way. That is the way with men: you never can get them to discuss a serious matter seriously. I say that if we were to hire a novelist to do for Ireland what Scott has done for Scotland, people would simply flow into the country. Do you know what the population of Ireland was before the famine?" "There have been two famines a year for the past twenty years—which of them do you mean, Lady Innisfail?" said Mr. Urquhart. "Two famines a year—two famines! Now, Mr. Urquhart., this is jesting on a very serious question," said Lady Innisfail. "But what a delightful room this must have been!" she con- tinued, looking around her. It must have been a port of boudoir. Such an exquisite pattern— silk tapestry." "I can give you the whole history of the room— ah, if it could only speak!" said Mr. Sullivan, throwing roguish glances from Urquhart to Lady Innisfail, and a more subdued variety from Mrs. La Roache to her daughter. "Thank goodness it can't speak!" said Lady Innisfail, with an air of true devoutness. "I always have thought it most indecent for poets and people of that stamp to make oaks and haw- thorn bushes talk—revealing horrid things. Now* we must hurry off. I knew that you could only come to one conclusion about the place, my dear Mrs. Roache: it. must be given up to Father Time. By the way, doesn't Mr. Sullivan look like the embodiment of Father Time. He is just as quaint, only Father Time is never clean shaven. And yet he might be if only he sharpened up that scythe of his." "Fair charmers!" said Mr. Sullivan, with a. Regency smirk. "Let me have the honour to offer you some refreshment—a glass of burgundy nnd a biscuit. I have still a few bottles of the Waterloo vintage left. I shall feel vastly obliged"—he pronounced it obleeged—" if you will accept my humble hospitality. Mrs. La Roache, your hand. Madam, I swear to you that the very touch of such a hand —" But Mrs. La Roache continued her conversa- tion with Lady Innisfail, and they found it neccsaar* () brush past the gesticulating little man. Il Jne hall, however, he succeeded in getting In front of them, and did his best to entice them into the room where Mrs. La Roache and Claire had sat on the evening of their arrival at the Castle; and when they passed him by once more, going out to the coach, he rebuked them with a snarl that in no way suggested the kindly firmness worn by the face of Father Time. "He is a problem that you will have to face sooner or later," said Urquhart, as the coach drove back to Suanamara. hat to do with Mr. Sullivan is a nioe problem." They had driven across the hills to Castle Finnbar immediately after lunch, Mrs. La Roache having been urged by Claire todoso, in order that Mr. Urquhart and Lady Innisfail might have a chance of seeing what was the state of the rooms at the Castle, and judging whether the place could be inhabited again. Mrs. La Roache had seemed pretty well con- tented with life as she had found it at Suana- mara- It was much better than Belgrade at its best, and was certainly infinitely superior to the little flat i Paris and the "appartment" in the street just behind the Place Massena at Nice. But Claire had been resolute in impressing on her mother the necessity for at least making an effort to leave the house where they had been so hospitably entertained for nearly a whole month. Claire tried to explain to her that, as several sets of Bridge players had come to and gone from Suanamara within the month it would be trespassing on Mrs. Archie Browne's good nature were two such casual guests as she and her mother to stay on over the month. There was Castle Finnbar waiting for them, Claire pointed out; and if it could be put into a habitable condition for a hundred pounds or so, her mother and she should lose no time in at least setting about getting the work done, if not. actually doing it. Mrs." L:1 Roache, however, having long ago seen how impressed were all the visitors with the beauty of her daughter, was in no particular hurry to leave Suanamara to become the chate- laine of such a heap of stones held together by ivy as Castle Finnbar, and when Claire talked to Mrs. Archie on the subject of the departure of herself and her mother, Mrs. Archie was quite annoyed, and threatened to tell her husband. As a matter of fact Archie Browne was told of the designs of Mrs. La Roache and her daughter and gave them the most hospitable abuse on that account for a whole evening. But in pite of this Claire had her own way, and with her mother, Lady Innisfail and Stephen Urquhart drove to the Castle. It was while Lady Innisfail and Mrs. La Roache were examining the melancholy details of the furniture of the lower rooms that Urquhart and Claire had gone to inspect the condition of the apartments upstairs; and they had scarcely entered the decayed boudoir before he had said words that called for that reply which she had hesitatingly givn him: "I think that you fancy you love me." And now she was sitting at the window of her room looking out over the orange and gold of the glen foliage illuminated by the last gleam of day- light. She had a good deal to think about— more than she had had at any one hour of her life. Was it gladness that was in her heart at that hour? That was what she had to think about. Was it the best day of her life or the worst? lie had told her that he loved her, and the announce- ment. had not come upon her as a surprise. She had looked for it. She had done her best to lead him on by keeping as far away from him as pos- sible. And she had succeeded. And yet she was now asking herself if she felt desperately happy or jubilantly miserable. Somehow she had a sense of having been coerced. That was the feeling which she had endeavoured to put into words when he had told her that he loved her. She had seemed to hear a voice ever close to her ears, saying to her: This is the man whom you are to love." It was just the same as it had been on that night when she had awakened and sat up in her bed feeling that there was someone in the room with her—someone who was like herself outside hergelfa sort of dream-self making suggestions to her, the force of which was irresistible. She had spoken the exact truth to him when she told him that their love was imprisoning her. She felt, sitting at that window, as if she were looking forth from the barred window of a prison —that she was not there by her own free will, There was a spring-tide of laughter rippling below her window. She knew that some of the guests had returned from the business of the day •—the business of fishing or shooting or sailing. Mr. Trent was saying something to Lord Med- way, and Archie Browne was giving a guffaw, which showed her that the pleasantry was per- suasive without being in the least subtle. And then there was the voice of Lady Evelyn. Claire sprang up at that voice. That was what she wanted. I have her happiness at heart," she said, not to herself, but not out loud, though there was no one in the room to hear her. It seemed as if she Was bringing an argument to bear against herself —as if she was trying to silence another voice that had been somewhat clamorous in advancing its argument in quite another direction. There was another wavelet of laughter beating against liei- window, and among its basses the rivulet chinio of a girl's voice. She sprang inmi her chair. That is it," she cried. To those who do not knlV all it would eeem, if they^hmcd cf it that 1 I was disbonourable-detestable,horr-rd; but they do not know all. She iv-ill be happy with the man who loves her truly-a good man—nay, better, a brave man. She will be happy. They will both be happy—far happier than I shall ever be." She seated herself on her sofa feeling almost happy. But before many minutes had passed, she was on her feet again, pacing the room. Then She flung herself down on the cushion of the sofa in paroxysm of tears. She felt weaker than words could express. And yet before o had come to her room for the night she was conscious of a woman's exul- tation at having got the better of a rival—of having succeeded in drawing to her side a man who had been at the side of another woman. It actually amused her to speculate upon the course that would bo adopted by Stephen tirquhart when the time came for him to explain to Lady Evelyn that he loved not her but another. She felt that it was quite an amusing thing to specu- late on. But she had every confidence in Stephen Urquhart's ability to extricate himself from a position which was not quite—no, not quite— Well, she had recently become accustomed to an English idiomatic phrase that conveyed a good deal-a tight place. Yes, he was in a tight piaoe; but that did not matter: he was clever; he would get out of it. And he was bers-go much was certain. He loved her, and he would be dishonourable for her sake. She thought of all that Mr. Marvin had said about the Original Woman—pre-historic woman; and the more she thought about it the gladder she became that she was a descendant of the Original Woman. It was not the Primeval Woman who had felt complimented when the man sang outside her cave, 1 could not love thee, dear, so much, Loved I not honour more." It was just when this thought was passing through the brain of Claire La Roache, that Philip Trent, sitting alone in the hall with Stephen Urquhart, threw away his half-smoked cigar and said, "Urquhart, a funny thing has happened—the funniest thiLg in tho world I do believJes, I am sure (.f it-I am sure of it-I am in love!" Stephen Urquhart smiled very gently—perhaps sadly-while he said, This is funny. But after all-well, I sup- pose you have got it into your system or you would not seek to confide iN anyone." I fancy-well, I don't see that I have any right to claim immunity from the common lot because I happen to have done pretty well for myself in other Avays," said Trent, giving a good deal of attention to the tips of his fingers. To expect so much would be ridiculous," said Urquhart. The only thing is that you told me long ago that you had a dread-" Yes, yes, I had a sort of dread that-well, you know what the modern mother is, Urquhart —thinking only of the worldly position of the man." Pretty much the same as she always did. There was never a woman that lived in the world who was not at one time a modern woman." "I shouldn't wonder. Anyhow it's a long time since I got frightened off. I didn't think that I should ever be in love. But that was before she appeared before me." "Is it allowable to ask who is the She?" Philip Trent glanced up with an expression of (surprise. "Heavens above! Can you ask such a ques- tion?" he cried. "Oh, I see that you are only jostling me." "Not I," laughed Stephen. "You have cer- tainly every symptom of the true lover.- You seek a confidant, and when you have found one you decline to confide in him. But I won't press you for names." "Good Lord, Urquhart, do you mean to tell me that there is more than one girl before your eyes in this connection ?" "I tell you that—Oh, I'm afraid I have been a bit of a fool. I might have guessed; Lady Evelyn—but I really had not the slightest sus- picion when I saw you sitting beside her last eyening-" "Don't plunge, Urquhart. I don't know what could have put Lady Evelyn into your mind. Lady Evelyn is a charming girl and all that, but the one I want to talk to you about is Claire La Roache." (To be continued.)

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