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HARRY SEYMOUR; OR Incidents in the Life of a Cardiff Clerk. I CHAPTER III. "Do, dear Blanche? Why, you will just stay where you are for the present until we can think of something better for you to do." Something better ? What is there I can do? I could not take a governess's place like you. There is only one thing I can do, and that is—go out as a barmaid; and even in that case, my being styled Mrs instead of Miss, will be against me." Oh, Blanche Pardon me; but there is one place you have not mentioned, to which you ought to go." And that is-" Home, dear Blanche, home to your husband." He will not have me back again his notions of rigot a i honour are so high that he will scorn r, that we have parted." No, dear Blanche. I know your husband better than that. Mr Aylwin is a Christian, and as such, will be only too glad to receive you again. If he expressed his willingness, will you go homo again?" If he sends for me, or comes for me, I will go;. not otherwise." "But, Blanche, dear, is it not your fault that you left home? I have heard that-" Here Louie stopped and hesitated. Go on, Louie; let me know all you have heard." "Well, it is said that-that you got your hus- band into debt; that you ran up enormous bills for fine clothes and jewellery, all unknown to him. Is that true ?" "Yes, it is true enough but if my husband loves me half so well as he has often professed, he will forget all that, and ask me to come back again. I don't think he will, Blanche," said Louie quietly. Mr Aylwin's sense of right and justice, as you just now observed, is high and he will not ask your pardon for the wrong you have done to him." How dare you talk to me thus ? Have you brought me here to insult me ? Let me go back to old Mrs Davies." If you insist upon it you may go there, but what will then become of you ? You may think me very unkind to talk thus, but it. is far better that I should set before you the true light in which you ought to view your errors, than that I should encourage you in rebellion against your home and husband." Blanche seemed so much distressed that Louie changed the subject, and Harry just then entering the parlour, it was not again referred to. After they had retired that night, Harry and Louie had a long conversation respecting the best means to bring about a reconciliation between Blanche and her husband. At length it was resolved that Harry should see Mr Aylwin the next day, and ascertain his views. Aylwin proved to be just what Louie had said. He was willing to receive Blanche back again, but declined to write to her, or to see her until she had expressed her sorrow for the trouble she had caused him. That evening Harry quietly told Louie the result of his endeavours to procure peace in the stricken home, and Louie took the opportunity of Harry's absence at his Mutual Im- provement Class to tell Blanche. I will never go back on such terms," was Blanche's reply to Louie's message. But, Blanche, do you not see now that your husband has expressed his willingness to receive you home again, that you cannot remain here. Mr Seymour is too high-minded to harbour—" "Harbour? Is it come to this ? Then I will go this instant. No one shall talk of harbouring me." And notwithstanding Louie's entreaties, Blanche put on her bonnet and cloak, and walked out of the house, without bidding Louie "good bye," or thanking her in any way for her kind- ness. Then even Louie's patient and gentle spirit v- roused, and she said to herself, '"Let her go si will have to come down yet." Weeks passed away, and very little was heard of Blanche. Her husband had broken up his home, sold off his goods, and gone into lodgings again. At length it began to be whispered about that Blanche had become addicted to intemper- ance—that she had been locked up in the police- station, but that the kind-hearted inspector, knowing her father, had let her out in themsrn- ing. One ^ening, it being the depth of winter, Harry andT&r Aylwin were returning from a private party, at which Louie would have been present if she had been well. The cold was in- tense, the thermometer being several degrees below the freezing point. They had been to Splotland, and were returning by way of Sandon- street, when Harry suddenly laid hold of Mr Aylwin's arm and exclaimed, "Good heavens What is that?" Why, Will, it seems to be a drunken woman. Poor creature? If she stops there she will be starved to death. What is to be done ?" They tried to rouse her, but drink and cold had made her utterly oblivions to their efforts. Is she young or old, Harry ?" asked Will Han-v struck a match, and peered iuto the face of the sleeper. Good God Will, it is Blanche "Blanch My wife No, no, Harry it can- not be you are mistaken." "No, Will, I am not mistaken I wish I were," and lighting another match, he held it to the features of the outcast wife of his friend. Oh Harry, I would I were dead. That ever a wife of mine should come to this. What can we do? It is impossible to rouse her." For an instant the thought occurred to him Why not let her die, and end thus my dis- grace," but his better nature soon banished the temptation, and he eagerly listened to Harry's suggestions. Harry went for a cab, while Will took off his overcoat, to shield from the terrible cold, the one he had vowed to love and cherish. Harry seemed to have gone a long long time, and Will Aylwin's thoughts were anything but com- forting whilst he was alone with his wife. Supposing she dies Shall I not be to blame I ought to have remembered that she was the weaker of the two, and have sought her out, and forgiven her. Now, perhaps, it is too late." Harry came at last, in a cab, into which Blanche was lifted, and driven to Harry's home. The dis- tress ;of Louie,1 who was sitting up for Harry, may be imagined when her old friend Blanche was brought to her in such a condition. She was put to bed, and Louie wished to send for a doctor, but Harry said better not, let us keep it as quiet as we can. If she is worse to-morrow, then we will have a doctor." Will Aylwin saw his wife comfortably in bed, and then took his leave, promising Harry and his true-hearted wife, that he would forgive his erring wife, take her to his home and heart again, should she recover. Louie insisted on sitting up with Blanche, whose countenance gradually regained a more healthy appearance. Towards morning she awoke, and raising herself, looked round. "Louie Seymour, tell me how I come here." You must not ask questions, Blanche, take a drink of this." 11 No, not till you have told me who brought me here." You were brought here by Harry and —" «< And who ? Not my husband ?" L ««Yes, Blanche, your husband." r "What will they—what will he think?" 44 Whatever he may think, he is willing to for- five you, and once more to try to make you happy. But go to sleep, dear Blanche, Will will be here himself in the morning." Louie saw Blanche, as she supposed, asleep, and then retired to her own room. In the morn- ing, on peeping into Blanche's room, the wretched wife was gone. It was only too true, Blanche had again flown, and Harry Seymour's benevolent heart was much pained at the failure of his hopes of .reconciling Will Aylwin to his miserable wife. IlOuie sug- fested that Harry should seek her again, but lariy was not sure whether Aylwin would care for him to interfere. I will send at once to Aylwin and let him know she has gone, Louie; and then he must de- cide on what is to be done. I fear that Blanche is EO far gone in the way of sin that she is irre- claimable." "She cannot have sunk so low as to forget she is a wife ? No, no; Harry, Blanche may be a drunkard, but she surely is not a—" Louie stopped short; she could not utter the word her thoughts bad Conjured up; but Harry understood her. Ah, Louie, drink makes a woman oblivious of all feelings of honour, truth, and virtue; but let us hope she has not sullied her own and husband's honour." Harry set out for the office with mingled feel- ings of pity for his friend Aylwin, and thankful- ness at the very different lot he enjoyed. He sent the message to Aylwin, and was answered by his friend in person. The meeting was rather an embarrassing one. Harry told all he knew, and asked Will if he should take any further steps. You may not be desirous of appearing in the matter yourself; if you wish that she should be sought, let it be my task to find her." Aylwin shook his head gloomily. "No, Harry; she has made her own bed, let her lie on it." But, Will, never forget that she is your wife; a being you vowed to love and cherish until death one whom, come sorrow, come joy, you are bound to look upon as part of yourself. Be- sides, Louie tells me that she is-is in a way to become almother." Is th at true? Then I will seek her out, and try to win her back, for the sakef of my unborn child; if it is really mine-" and a shade of doubt crossed his features. It must be yours, Will; I will never believe that Blanche has dishonoured you. She has taken to drinking, of that we have had evidence but let us not think anything worse of her. 'Judge not that ye be not judged. It was arranged that Harry should try to dis- cover poor Blanche, and he promised Alwyn that everything should be done with that object at once. Who knows, Will; you may yet be happy." It does not seem probable now but I thank you Harry and your dear wife, for your help and comfort." As soon as Harry's duties would permit him, he went to the police station, and had an interview with Inspector To that astute and clever officer he explained as much of his friend Aylwin's affairs as were necessary, and then requested the inspector's assistance in finding Blanche. If the young woman is in Cardiff, or even in the county, we will soon:find her," said the inspector as he took down Blanche's description; "but what are we to do when she is discovered ?" She has committed no crime, and we cannot detain her." Let me know directly, and have an eye kept on her movements," said Harry. I will then get her home." Next day the Inspector sent for Harry and told him that Blanche was in custody at Newport, having whilst drunk attempted to drown herself. Harry obtained leave of absence from his kind employer, and set off at once. He found that Blanche had been sent to the workhouse, for she was very ill. He went to see her: and was surprised and shocked at her appear- ance. Blanche was ashamed to look Harry in the face, for she knew that his motive could be no idle one in visiting her in such a place. After a long conversation, which was jpnly stopped by the nurse, who feared ill consequences, Blanche con- sented to return home, if Will would forgive her. She had been dismissed with a caution by the bench, one of the magistrates knowing her. Ob, Mr Seymour," she said, as he was rising to leave her, "only God knows the miserable life I have :Ied since we parted. Drink has nearly been my ruin; it would have been, had I not deter- mined to end my life. But if my husband will only forgive me, we may be happy yet." Blanche," said Harry, gravely and solemnly, I am about to ask you a question which may cause you pain and shame, but I cannot meet Aylwin unless I can assure him on that point. Have you been-been faithful to him ?" A deep blush suffused the pallid face of Blanche. Yes, Mr Seymour; I would have died a thousand deaths ere I could have forgot my hus- band's goodness, or that I was a wife, and-" I understand thank God I can go back to Cardiff with a light heart. You will not try to go away again ?" No, Harry, Mr Seymour, I mean but I for- get. Will has broken up his home." There will be a home awaiting you, when you are able to be moved." Harry leit, and hurried back to Cardiff feeling well repaid for his trouble, in the hope that he should yet see Will and Blanche happy again. (To be continued.)