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POET'S CORNER.

The Road to Love

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PASSING OF OATMEAL.

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FUN AND FANCY.

LUNG DISEASES,

FOR THE YOUNG FOLKS,

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The Road to Love

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_I any way you could see as would hlp Miss Ellen, sir. She's got all her father's pluck; but it's different to have spirit when you're riding to hounds and to have the fame spirit to fight the hard things she's got to fight .isn't it, nir?" "Yes, it is quite different," said Varley. The arranegd interview took place the next morning at nine o'clock. A certain little ex- oitement had put some colour into Ellen's cheeks, and though she was paler and thinner and had grown graver in manner, he could traos quite a near resemblance now to the little Ellen Milner he had watched so often in the hunting field. "1 do hope, Miss Milner," Varley said, "you think it intrusive of me to ask you to see me but I have been having a little chat about you with Mrs. Chadwick, and from what she tells me I—I believe you can be of great as- sistance to me." Ellen opened her eyes at this, and smiled. "Is there anything I can do for anybody?" she asked. And Varley smiled back at her. there are many things that you can do I have a sort of idea that you would like to live in the country, Her face lit up. and her eyes glowed. anywhere that not a town." sh" said. "T used to laugh in the old days when Daddy used to say that he could not breathe in Lon- don; but I understand it now. I have a dream." she added, "I should like to live in a tin v little cbttage. on a moor I should never be lonely. The streets, the people, the narrow- ness of life here depress me. If there is any- thing you want me to do in the country, Mr. Varley, I will do it." "That is a brave promise." Varley; "ard happily I can claim it without compunction. I do want you to go into the country. I want you to take up certain duties with a friend of mine. She is a very beautiful young wom; but owing to rert.1.in circumstances in oor youth she has not had those advantages which are common to mGfõt women ip the position which she holds. You would be a secretary, compan- ion. even a poverne&s." Ellen looked At him thoughtfully. "1 believe I might be able to teaoh very little children," caid: "but oh! I have such a lot to learn myself, Mr. Varley." "No diplomas are needed for the work which you would have to do. It is more an influence winch is required, someone who instinctively would help to set, litvle troubles right. I very anx'ous to find a proper person, nnd I foel convinced you would be most successful." Ellen did not speak at once, then she said "You have taken my breath away; it doesn't seem possible that anything so delightful should come to me so ensily." Varley hesitated a moment, and then he said "Ah but you mustn't run away with the idea that there will be no difficulties, nothing dis- agreeable. In fact, were it not that you have told me yourself that you must ",am your liv- ing, I should hesitate to propose this engage ment to you, because whilst it has much to re- commend- it, it may also have much that will try you. Your pupil, as I may call her. is not altogether an easy person she is very passion- ate. You will require an infinite amount of tact At the same time you will have freedom. you will have rooms at your disposal; there will be a horse for you to ride, close at hand there is a moor where you ca.n go and dream. The country round and about is most beauti- ful." "Oh! I am grateful to you," Ellen exclaimed. "I feel as if you have put new life into me! Thank you a thousand times, Mr Varley." Just for an instant she seemed to flash back into the happy light-hearted child he remem- bered so well. Her gratitude touched him with a sense of pathos As he held out his hand, be said with a faint smile: "Don't thank me too much, perhaps after all you will find the difficulties greater even than I imagine them to be. At any rate, I hope things may go pleasantly,, and if your exper- ience at W ynehe proves itself to be impossible. well then I shall hope. Miss Milner, for your father's sake, that you will let me try again to b? of some little service." As he was turn- ing away he said. "Oh! we have not discussed the subject of money! Will you leave that in my hands?" With a blush Ellen agreed, and he went. away with the understanding that he would go into the arrangements immediately, and that in all probability she would be leaving for the coun- try in a couple of days' time at the latest. Lord Norchester paid him a visit at his office that morning, and discussed certain matters which he wished to settle before going abroad. He made his arrangements in such a sombre way and with so much deliberation that Varley exclaimed at one point. "My dear Harry, yon are not going away for ever!" "One never knows what may happen," Lord Norchester answered, "eo I want to leave mat- ters in ship-shape order, and. look here, old chap, I do hope you won't, mind looking &fter things in general for me. I am afraid I am going to give you an awful .lot of trouble, bnt you are the one person I know who can handle a difficulty with great delicacy and tact." And he gave a little sigh, "there is sure to be some- thing of a difficult nature cropping up." Varley was silent a minute or two, then he said: "I suppose your decision is made, but you know, Harry. I must protest, onoe again. I don't think you are doing quite the right thing. I am perfectly well aware that you must have heaps of things to make your path rough, but then, on the other hand, you havS iiany things which in the opinion of most peopfe make life desirable." Just a little angrily the young man answered him. "I have told you. Dick, I am going as much for Miriam's sake as my own I give you my word of honour it is quite impossible for 113 to go on as we are now. You know a little about her. so you ouTnt to understand. She has taken this craze to be alone, and to go in for study. and all that sort of thine: so the 1>eo;t thing I can do is to make myself scarce for n time at least. By the way," he added, "you said last night you thought you knew the very person to go down to Wynche. Do you think you will be able to arrange that?" "Yeg," said Varley, "I think I phall be able to arrange it. I know of a girl who I believe may ba of great use to Lady Norchester." "A girl!" said Lord Norchester. quickly; "I should have thought Miriam ought to have had someone a little older, a woman of the world." But Varley shook his head. "No. J have a sort of idea that this girl will iust brim the kind of influence into your wife's life which she now lacks. At any rate, it is only a.n experiment, and we can but try-it. Are you down to Wynche again?" "No: I have brought un all my traps; I am not taking too much, you know. because I mean to motor across Europe. I am going without any plan, but I rather expect to pick up young Darrell en route, and he may have some echeme sketched out." "You'vo seen your mother?" Norchester nodded his head. "Yes. I am going to say 'good-bye' this after- noon. She » a little bit cut up: mother takes thinsrs so hardly. Of course, I have been an awful disappointment to her. I know that. Evelyn has promised to cheer her up. Evelyn's an awfullv good sort!" Richard Varley smiled faintly at this descrip- tion cf Lady Evelyn Wynche. who was by com- mon repute one of the prettiest and most charming girls in society at th"1 moment. "I often think," said Lord Norchester, All he got up to go. "that if mother hadn't been so jolly hard and so down on me, things might have been a little different." "It is always easy," aid Varley, "to find ex- cuses for our own weaknesses in discovering the weaknesses of others." The young man looked at him with a glint of amusement in his eyes. "Don't preach, Dick." he aid. Then t.hev gripped hands "Now you're going to look after everything for me, and I shall keen you in touch with my movements as far as I pos- sibly can. If I am wanted. of course. I'll come back as quickly a-possible." Thev parted with this. and Richard Varley went back to his work. that is to say he went back to the table, and at down and tried to work; but the current of thought roused by his kinsman's visit. carried him'far away from the dry routine of his lawyer's duties. He had a yearning to be able to stand and smooth out things for Norchester. The young man ap- pealed to him almost as pathetically as Ellen Milner had: in fact, he waa not quite sure whe- ther there was not more oathos attached to the future of Henry, Earl of Norchestre, than there was in the future of the girl who at this mo- ment seemed without, a friend in all the world. CHAPTER VI. Mrs. Chadwick was greatly excited at Ellen's news. She had nothing but nice ■ things to say about Mr. Varley, who had had rooms with her off and on ever since she and her husband had started the house; and, of course, the fact that he had been a friend of Sir Patrick's made everything all right. It appeared, too, that Mrs. Chadwick knew a little bit about the occupants of Wynche. A cousin of hers had a daughter who was one of the under-housomaids in this big establishment. "And she is going on well, too, though tho housekeeper's a bit hard to please. It shouldn't be difficult, Miss Ellen, to arrange that this girl. Eliza Bond, should wait on you." Ellen shook her head with a faint smile. "I don't expect to have anybody to wait upon me." sho declared. But Mrs. Chadwick was quite sure that going on Mr. Varley's recommendation, things would be made very nice and comfortable for Miss Ellen. "My cousin's grri says that Lady Norchester is very handsome, but very queer. There H some talk that she wasn't quite his lordship's equal, but that's no business of ours, is it?" "Norchester!" said Ellen to herself. "I won- der where I've heard that name before. It sounds almost familiar." The question of clothes was discussed between herself and Mrs. Chadwick, and she felt the necessity of spending a few pounds and buying herself a very modest black evening gown and few other things. She heard nothing from Varley till two days later, when a. little note arrived. He wrote from Wynche Castle, telling her the best train to travel by. and saying that he would be there to receive her on her arrival. "He doesn't do things by halves now, docs he?" said Mrs. Chadwick, approvingly. She had thought of travelling down with Misw Ellen, but now she contented herself with tak- ing the girl to the station and starting go her jouraej. It was with very different feelings that Ellen put herself into the train this time. The ex- citement was very pleaoant; for though Varley had warned her that she must not expect her now life to be a bed of roses, the feeling that she Was going to a position of trust, that she would have her place in a well-appointed house- hold. and., above all, that she would be breath- ing the sweetness and the freshness of the coun- try air, served to irradiate her spirit. When she found herself waiting on the plat- form from which she Wag to take another train. Ellen suddenly remembered that it wa:, here where she had sat a few weeks before and watched that young man talking to the station- master. The recollection of his charming face and delightful manners brought him before her almost visibly at the same time there flashed back to her memory the recollection of his name. "\V1)T, he was called Norchester!" she to herself "That man who spoke to him from the train as it came in called him Norchester. I am sure. How odd!" She took th's little remambrance as a good omen, for if the Lady Norchester whom she was going to join had any connection with this handsome, attractive looking man, sh3 could not fail to be interestiiv. The local train was slow. but it drew up at length pt the little wayside station at which Varley had told Ellen to alight; and he was there himself standing on the platform waiting to receive her. "I haven't com" in the motor," he said. "I thought you would prefer this." "This" turned out to be a very pretty little phaeton drawn by a pair of ponies. Ellen's face coloured wit h plea "ure. "Oh;" she said, 'how kind of you! What dear little animltls." So '2h went forward and stroked their noses, and spoke to thorn and handled them in a way which proved to the groom that this young lady knew what she was about. And she raw that Varley had left the driver's place for her: she hesitaW a moment. "May I?" she asked. "Won't Lady Norches- ter think it strange?" He reassured her. "It's all right. I know what you can do with these ponies, and I am not a bit of a whip mysetf. Don't bother about your luggae—it is coming on later." It seemed like a draam" to Ellen to sit in a luxurious carriage and onco again to hold the reins in her hand. The ponies were in splen- did form and trotted off in fine style. Richard Varley found, an extraordinary amount of pleasure in sitting beside her. in watching her, and in telling her which road to "You are iust in for the best time of the year." he said, "and I know you will endorse my opinion and say that Wynche is situated in a most beautiful part." "Even if it were less beautiful," said E' en, "it would be lovely to me." And yet as she spoke, the tears clouded her eyes. This return to all those things which had had such close association with her child- hood brought back the see of her loss, unbearably for the moment; but happily the ponies gave her plenty to do. the road curved a good deal, and she had to be continually on the watch for motors. As they were drawing nearer to Wynche she turnnd once to Varley and said: "You won't let, me thank JOU. but my heart is just overflowing, for even if I am a failllre here I shall never cease to feel I owe you a big debt of gratitude." "You will not be a failure," Varley answer- ed. And no more was said between them till the carriage rolled in under a broad stone gateway IInd pll into an avenue of most 1Il&gTIi6œnt beech trees. As they approached a turning out of this avenue, Varley suggested that they should pull up. "Perhaps you would rather walk the rest of the way," he said. "I want to point out a few of my favourite bits to you I am afraid I shall not have much opportunity, as I am going back to town this afternoon." "Oh! I am sorry!" said Ellen, and she said it earnestly She was growing to like Richard Varley very much indeed. She had regarded him as a man contemporary with her father, but as they 8-0- proachfd a certain spot in the grounds and he took off his hat and pointed out the beauties of the scene. Ellen suddenly realised that he was not as old as -he had supposed him to be. His hair was grey-tinged, it was true, but the face was not lined, and when his manner was buoy- ant. as it was at t,his moment he looked youn. It was evident that he took real delight in introducing her to the natural beauties which would henceforward surround her. He ex- plained as they walked on to the house, that as a boy he had spent many happy days at Wynche. "The late Lord Norcheeter was my mother's cousin andlro 1\ great friend of my father's, so he took a great deal of interest in me. He married rather late in life, and died just, at the time when he would have been of such value to his boy. As they faced the castle, Ellen stopped in- voluntarily, with an exclamation of admiration. "Oh! how beautiful!" she said. "What a splendid old house. I am so glad to come here." "That's righf," said Richard Varley. and his face lit up as he spoke. He led her through the great entrance, paus- ing to speak about some of the oldest parts of the architecture to her. Within they were re- ceived by various men-servants. "Will you tell her ladyship that Miss Milner has arrived." said Varley. The butler replied that Lady Norchester had desired that Miss Milner should go to her in her room. "I am afraid I can't come up with you," Var. ley said in a low voice, and involuntarily he put out h:8 hand. Ellen slipped hers into it, and the firm pressure of his hand-clasp, gave her a feeling of courage and confidence. She followed the foot- man up the broad ftaircarse. Inside, the house was very old, less beautifuJ perhaps than out side. There was a silence and grandeur about it, however, which appealed very strongly to Ellen. As they passed along a corridor, the sound of an angry voice was heard close at hand. With a scarcely concealed smile, the footman paused at the door and threw it open. "Miss Milner," he announced. Ellen passed into the room and then paused. Someone was sweeping to and fro acreanrng out. words in passionate anger. Ellen had a vision of a splendid face distorted with rage. There was something superb in the movements of the furious woman. She took no notice of the new-comer, but went on launching a tor- rent of abuse at an oldish woman, ovid-ently a maid. who was quietly occupying herself with putting the room straight, picking up a chair which had been flung down, settling cushions on the sofa. Even in the first moment of ac- quaintance with the mistress of Wynche Castle, Ellen felt that there was a kind of insolence conveyed in the silence and indifference of the maid. But in truth her feelings were rather blurred indeed, she was conscious of a sense of alarm, and she stood trembling a little as Lady Norchester suddenly paused and looked at her. (To be continued.)