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[COPYRIGHT.] A DAUGHTER OF THE TROPICS, j BY ] FLORENCE MARRYAT, | .Author of U Love's Oonflict," Vbvnique, I., etc. CHAPTER XXIV. «I DON'T LIKE HIM." IT is difficult to analyze the motive that made Lily Power accept so readily the hand of Mark Kerrison. It was certainly not from avarice or ambition. No girl loved money less, or the luxuries that money can procure us. And no one had a humbler mind, or shrank more from publicity than she did. Not that she was unintelligent, or ignorant of her own powers. On the contrary, she had proved herself to be a very capable artist; and her ideas ,and opinions, on serious subjects, astonished Mark Kerrison himself. He had never supposed so young a woman to be capable of so much thought. But the greatest of minds are always the most diffident of their strength-the most reluctant to display their resources. Therefore, although she was quite competent to fill the position to which her marriage had raised her, Lily Kerrison was anything but anxious to commence her reign in Hyde Park ■Gardens, and would have been content to be hidden for ever from the world in the shooting-box at Glencara. And the same feeling made her cling to her husband in a child-like manner, which enchanted him, but which seemed to denote aI great deal more of affection on her part than it really did. The fact is that she had married him with a great fear knocking at her heart, and his offer presented a refuge from it, in which she thought .She would be safe for ever. The period she had spent in Mrs. Fielding's house, and the terrible episode which had been the cause of her leaving it, were burned in upon her brain in letters of fire. Her relations, all gentle-people, in respectable positions of life, had believed the cruel story spread against her, and refused to receive her since. Our relations generally are the ones to believe the worst of us, and in their craven fear lest their own names should be besmirched with ours, make no allowance, and accord no sympathy. Lily had henceforth, therefore, to make her way in the wide world alone. To affirm that she had erased the love of Esme Fielding from her heart would be untrue. She was very proud, but very affectionate, and hating the sin, she loved the sinner still, which perhaps made her hate herself the most of all. His finding her out, and following her to her lodgings, had filled her breast with a great dread, not of his violence or reproaches, but of his persua- sion. She feared lest in a weak moment she might yield to it, and cast in her lot with his. She doubt- ed her own powers of resistance. She trembled when she thought of the passionate love in her bosom that love, for cherishing which she despised her- self, and she longed to find some barrier to build up between them and when Mark Kerrison asked her to become his wife she saw the stronghold it presented her at once. As Mrs. Kerrison, who would dare to molest or persecute her ? Even Mrs. Fielding's rancorous tongue would be silenced, and no visitor could gain admittance to her presence whom she ordered to he kept out. Marriaga meant safety and privacy co her. It meant, a sheltered home, with no further occasion to appear in public to earn her daily bread, and a trusty friend always ready to watch her interests and supply her need. Is it any wonder that she took the goods the ■gods provided her ? And as the days of the honey- moon slipped away she found no reason to be lesf,, .grateful. Mark Kerrison was an adoring husband, but still he was a considerate one. He had left off expecting to receive love from women, and the little Lily bestowed on him was quite enough to make him happy. They were more like two good friends together thvn husband and wife; but -Kerrison had lived a purer life than most men, and had few remembrances to bring in contrast with his present calm existence. But Lily often wished that she had been more -explicit with him before their marriage on the subject of Esme Fielding. She had no idea then that there was any connection between the families. She had never heard his name mentioned by Kerrison until she so unexpectedly encountered him at his dinner table, and then she imagined he was a chance guest, whom it would be easy for her to shake off again. But it is difficult to express an opinion concerning another person without adducing a reason for it. The first time Esme Fielding's name rose up between them after her marriage, it filled her soul with dismay. There were French windows in the breakfast-room at Glencara that opened on to a shady veranda, and Lily was seated at one of them waiting the advent of her, husband. She looked younger than her age by several years, clad in a simple white gown, and with her pale golden hair plaited in two long tresses on either side of the head. Her eyes appeared to be gazing only on the expanse of moor spread out before her —a pur.ple mass of heather-bloom, like the violet mists encircling the Alps at sunset, and palpitating, as the morning breeze moved through it, like a livii-jg thing. But her thoughts were far away- wandering in a world of her own, as she wondered, half guiltily, if he had heard of her marriage yet, and whether a day would ever dawn when she could think less contemptuously of him than she did at that moment. Her reverie was broken by Mark Kerrison's kindly voice. Dreaming still, my darling," he said, as he put his arm about her, wishing it was all undone again, and you were back in your stuffy little rooms in the Waterloo Road ? Anything but that," she answered, with a faint smile, as she gently pressed the hand that clasped her waist. There are some women who, having lost the one great good they attained to, cannot even find com- fort in the affection of another man. Lily Kerri- son was not one of them. She was very childlike in her nature. She loved to be loved and taken care of. She had had so little of it during her lifetime and though she did not respond after the same fashion perhaps, so long as she was allowed to show her gratitude in her own way, it was a pleasure to know she was the object of so much devotion; and Mark Kerrison was quite satisfied with her behaviour. Like most men who did not fall in love, until they have reached middle age, he was extravagantly fond of his young wife. He positively adored her. He thought she was the loveliest, most charming, and most amiable creature he had ever met, and how she could eyer have consented to marry himself was a riddle he had not yet found the solution of. The lamtefct smile she gave him—the feeblest pressure th^V1 uPon his hand—were sources of ecstasy him marvelling at his own happiness. He was far less selfish and exacting in his love than "Olinaer men, who expect to be worshipped rather lie put y worship and the very restraint "wife's" j, ?011 feelings for fear of wounding his Indeed ^P^kilities, bound her closer to him. matrimony X Tt™ alread7' after ten days of ful friends n i v ^ay to become fast and faith- had had the conr./ Ljly Mf,is,hed so much that she "Not quite S f imfL Kerrison, emboldened wP' .?onti"u^d Ma.rk sick of being ,hut Up Not <lmte lonely moor, with no better • cot £ ?Se on » man who bores you thfn.an old and his kisses ? death with his admiration Have I ever said so ?" •, No you have been the -POT. ^in- patient of women ^der it all7 SyS tI°S,S been more successful in procuring alittL^ilfJf you. It would have made the J* I hoped Escott would have joined us by^hfs time W he writes me a word he cannot come. I am afraid he writes me a word he cannot come. I am afraid the dear old boy is a little bit sulky at our marriage. I cannot account for his preferring London in August to the grouse in any other way." "Oh, I hope not!" exclaimed Lily, quickly, "for it would make me so unhappy to come between you and any of your friends. And you have known Colonel Escott all your life, have you not? He may well hate me if I am the means of separating you." "My darling!" cried Kerrison, "if Jem has any feeling of the kind it will soon pass away. And what do you suppose I should care if I lost every friend I ever made in comparison with the joy I feel in possessing you I have not thought of the matter since. I should not have thought of it at all except as it affects yourself but Jem is a good fellow at heart, and I am sure you will like him. Why he refuses to come here I cannot imagine." Perhaps he is afraid he would be de trop," said Lily, shyly. Her husband laughed. I provided even against that. I promised not to excite his envy by too open a display of my happiness, and I told him to bring up young Field- ing (or anyone he liked) as a companion." Who did you tell him to bring up?" asked Lily, in a constrained voice. Esmd Fielding, the young fellow who dined with us the same night as the Credo' company. Oh, I forgot, though. You were taken ill, poor child, and doubtless never observed him. How- ever, he is a godson of Jem's (who was a distant cousin, I believe, of his father's) and they are very much together. He stayed with us for several weeks at the beginning of the season, and I hope he may do so again. He is a fine young man, and I like him." I don't," said his wife, in a low voice. "You don't Do you remember him, then ? But you saw nothing of him, my dear How can you tell whether you would like him or not ?" I judge from his appearance. I often judge of people so, and I generally find I am correct. I saw Mr. Fielding plainly enough all through dinner- time, and I don't like him. I hope you won't ask him to the house when we go back, Mark. I should so much rather not know him." She uttered the words in such a pleading tone, and with so humble an expression, that her bus band's sympathy was aroused at once. My own child—my darling Lily, of course not —a thousand times over-if you have the slightest objection. Understand, my love, that from the moment you enter my house you reign supreme there. I will turn every servant out of it, and cut every friend I have ever made, if it would give you any pleasure." "Oh, Mark don't think so badly of me as that she replied, with a delicate colour mantling in her cheeks for my part, I should wish to be a friend of all your friends, but I don't quite like Mr. Estn4 Fielding." And what about Riley, my dear, and poor old Jem ? Do their phrenological bumps satisfy you or not ? "Now you are laughing at me, Mark, and that is not fair I did not observe Captain Riley, but Colonel Escott seems very nice, though he did not speak to me much. He was so taken up with your lady-secretary. What is her name? Mrs. Arlington ? Kerrison frowned. I half suspect Mrs. Arlington is at the bottom of Jem's leaving us, Lily, and it displeases me. You see, my darling, before I had ever met you and made an old idiot of myself, Escott and I came to the conclusion to pass our lives together, and I did not anticipate that my marriage would rupture the contract. However, he insists upon taking chambers for himself, and it hurts me terribly J" But what has Mrs. Arlington to do with the matter?" inquired Lily. "Well! she never liked poor Escott from the beginning, and has taken various means to let him know it; they have seemed better friends of late, but I do not think the feud is forgotten, and per- haps she has taken advantage of poor Jem's fear of being in our way to get rid of him altogether." But that is going rather beyond her province as your housekeeper and literary assistant," said Lily. Mark, don't be vexed with me, but I fancy Mrs. Arlington has a dreadful temper. She frightens me somehow, her eyes are so black, and —and—maglignant Malignant! Oh, what a big word to apply to a woman's whims. Say, rather, that her eyes are envious, Lily. What eyes would not be, looking at you and me ? The women's-because they are jealous of your beauty-the men's, because they grudge me the possession of it. Poor Lola Arling. ton is but human. You mast not be too hard upon her if she looks dissatisfied when she compares youi lot with her own." She may well envyme my dear, good husband," replied Lily, softly. My darling girl, it is I only who am to ba envied but & propos of Mrs. Arlington if she displeases you, or make you nervous, she must go!" "My dear Mark what a notion, and when she is of so much use to you. I would not hear of such a thing; why, she is your factotum, is she not? Orders your dinners, and looks after your servants. I am afraid you would find my services a sorry substitute." I don't want you to be troubled about anything, my Lily. I want you simply to enjoy your life, and let others wait upon you; that is why I have not dethroned Mrs. Arlington from her position as housekeeper, until I had learnt your wishes on the subject. If you prefer to look after such things yourself, say so, and I shall retain her simply as my secretary. If you do not care abouii the trouble, she can continue to manage the house as she has hitherto done." Oh pray let everything go on in the same routine, Mark. I should be a shocking bad manager. You know I have never had any experi- ence in such things. Only-" Only what, my darling ? Don't let Mrs. Arlington come much in contact with me, because I am afraid we might not agree." Mark Kerrison knit his brows. There must be no question of your agreeing, or not agreeing, Lily. Lola Arlington was not always in the inferior position she occupies at present but the fact remains that she is my servant, and as such must defer in all things to the mistress of the house. We have spoken on this subject together, and she perfectly understands what is expected of her. The matter now rests entirely with you. Keep her in her place from the beginning, my dear, and all will go well. Be kind to her, but not familiar. She dines at table with us, but it is as a privilege, not a right, and you can always let her understand that you remember it. If you can manage in this way to make the household wheels work smoothly I shall reap the benefit of it, for there is no dout that Mrs. Arlington is very useful to me, and that I should find it difficult to replace her." I Lily put her arm round her husband's neck, and looked up confidently in his face. And do you think that 1, to whom you have been so good, and who owe everything to your generosity, would wish to deprive you of the services of anyone who can lighten your labour ? Why I would make friends with the old gentle- man himself if I thought it would be of any assist- ance to you-" Mark Kerrison strained her to his heart. "My dearest wife! You are a thousand times too good for me. I feel ashamed to think I can offer you so little in return for all your love." "No, no!" she cried, shrinking from him. "Don't say that. Only take it, the best I can give you, as a small expression of my gratitude for tho haven of rest to which you have brought me." And where nothing that I can prevent shall ever disturb your peace," he answered. Not even Mrs. Arlington." "Oh! let us forget Mrs. Arlington for the present," said Lily, impatiently. "It was foolish of me to mention her. After all, as you say, she- is only a servant, and her tempers are beneath my notice." You will never see much of them," replied Mark Kerrison. "I will take care of that, Lily, for the first time she presumes to exhibit such a thing before you, she goes CHAPTER XXV. II I1 WAR TO THE KNIFE." THE day that the Kerrisons returned from Glen- cara was an epoch in the household. Mrs. Arlington had schooled herself for the o?ca- sion. Though she was still burning with mortifica- tion at the failure of her hopes, she recognised the fact that, if she was to continue in her situation, she must preserve at least an outward of deference to Mark Kerrison's wife, and had resolved of two evils to choose the least. Bat it had not entered her mind that she would be deposed from the position she had been permitted to assume. Since she had been promoted to dine at the same table as her employers, she had given herself all the airs and graces of a lady, and required more waiting on and attention than they did. The retir- ing and somewhat submissive aspect which she had formerly exhibited had entirely vanished, and she had become rather aggressive in pushing herself forward and doing the honours of the house instead. She intended to make herself agreeable, after her fashion, to the new Mrs. Kerrison, but it never struck her that Lily would have the assur- ance to put her in her place. She remembered her only as a pale, silent, apparently timid young woman, who was not likely to assert herself how- ever undemonstrative she might be. When she was, therefore, prepared to receive the bride in an effusive and somewhat patronising manner Mrs. Arlington imagined she had done all that was necessary to meet Mark Kerrison's wishes on the subject. For she thought only of him his wife occupied but a secondary place in her con- sideration. On the evening when they were expected home to dinner she arrayed herself with much care in a black lace dress, that displayed her arms and neck in a liberal manner, whilst in her bosom bloomed a large bunch of sweet-scented tea-roses. Her cheeks were unusually pale, with the greenish pallor that accompanies dark blood, but her lips were scarlet, and her eyes glowed like two stars. Colonel Escott, who had been asked to wel- come his friends to their home, thought he had never seen her look so handsome before, and told her the fact without hesitation. Lola smiled at the compliment, and pretended to enjoy it, whilst her ears were pricked up to catch the first sound of the returning carriage- wheels. At last they arrived. The handsome barouche which Mr. Kerrison had bought for his bride stopped at the door, and in another minute Colonel Escott had wrung Mark's hand, and was helping Mrs. Kerrison to alight from the vehicle, whilst Mrs. Arlington stood in the hall smiling, to receive her. Lily looked tired from her long journey, but she was reserved and dignified. The caution her husband had given her respecting Mrs. Arlington was in her mind as she entered her own house for the first time, and when the latter came forward with an outstretched hand she tailed to see it, but with a distant bow passed on to the drawing- room. Mrs. Arlington became dumb with rage. She accepted Mark Kerrison's greeting in silence, and did not attempt to follow in the footsteps of his wife. How are you, Mrs. Arlington 1" he said cheerily. "We have had a long journey; I am afraid my wife is terribly tired. Please let us have dinner at once," and hurried on without further comment. Did yout see that?" asked Mrs. Arlington, with closed teeth, to Colonel Escott, who lingered by her side. See what ? • "The way she treated me. She did not even take my hand Mrs. Kerrison ? Oh, she did not mean it. It must have been an oversight. You mustn't feel ambrage at trifles. She ia tired don't judge her oill to-morrow." But all Mrs. Arlington did was to turn from aim, and order the footman to desire the cook to dish up" at once. Meanwhile, Mark Kerrison was fussing over Lily in the drawing-room. "My darling, you look quite cold They ought ao have had a fire for you. These September even- ings become chilly. Where is your maid ? Why is she not here ? "I don't know; I have not seen her," replied ais wife. "Cannot Mrs. Arlington send her to me?" Here Mrs. Arlington," cried Kerrison, from the open door, "where is Mrs. Kerrison's maid? Why don't you tell her to come and attend to her mistress? And we should like a fire lighted in the bed room. Come bustle about, there's iI. good creature, and see after our comforts a little My wife is worn out with travelling." He spoke impatiently, and Mrs. Arlington shrugged her shoulders as she gave the neces- sary orders before entering the presence of Lily Kerrison. "Will you go upstairs now? I think you will find the room ready and the maid in attendance," she said, in a cool voice, as she addressed her; and perhaps you would like to have your dinner sent up there to-night ? It will be no trouble if you prefer it! Lily turned her eyes upon her in calm surprise. Thanks But if I had wished it I should have ordered it so. Mark, I think I will go and take off my things before dinner;" and, slipping her hand through his arm, she left the drawing- room. Had you not better offer your services to Mrs. Kerrison ? I think Mark will expect it," said Colonel Escott to Mrs. Arlington, a few minutes later, as, attracted by her playing on the piano, he entered, and found her sitting there alone. I shall do no such thing She has her lady's- maid, and I was not engaged to wait upon her she seems more stuck-up and disagreeable than ever. Boor Mr. Kerrison bids fair to have a nice life of it!" Meanwhile Lily was saying to her husband: Mark, is she going to dine with us in that dress ? For a woman in her position it is utterly absurd Bare neck and arms by daylight-I don't call it decent Mark Kerrison scented trouble ahead of him. "My dear girl, you must settle that matter between you; it is quite out of my province, though I certainly consider such a display to be perfectly unnecessary." "It is ridiculous and for a family dinner too But it would be out of place at any time I shall speak to her about it on the first opportunity." After which Mrs. Kerrison came down to the table herself in a high brown velvet dress, in which she looked pre-eminently fair and delicate, and directed her attention almost entirely to her hus- band and the Colonel, answering Mrs. Arlington's flippant remarks in monosyllables, and glancing every now and then with stern displeasure at her liberal display of bust, arms, and shoulders. Already there was thunder in the air. "How did you enjoy your grouse-shooting?" inquired Escott of his friend. So-so I The birds were rather shy, but I should have had a good time on the whole had I not been troubled with the idea that Lily was lonely at the Lodge. It is dull work being shut up on the moors, without the means of getting about." Affords too much time for thought," remarked Mrs. Arlington, sweetly. That depends upon what you have to think about," laughed the Colonel, glancing at the bride. "Of course!" sighed Lola; "but few people who have come to years of discretion, Colonel, have not some melancholy reminiscences to attack them when alone." "Not when they're just married, surely?" he rejoined, lightly. You must appeal to Mrs. Kerrison for your answer," replied Mrs. Arlington "I was married so terribly young, that I had no past to look back upon. Only fifteen I No time to have had a lover, or even to know the meaning of love! But few wives have had my experience." "Do you mean before or afterwards?" inquired Lily, innocently. "I mean before, Mrs. Kerrison!" said Mrs. Arlington, delighted to have drawn her into tne dis- cussion. I had had no opportunity to jilt anyone, or to allow anyone to jilt me. Some young ladies have lived a lifetime before their wedding-day, and go to the altar with their consciences burdened with dark secrets they dare not disclose to their hus- bands! But I was different; my soul was like a white sheet of paper—unwritten on—and my hus- band was responsible for every character that was inscribed upon it." Mrs. Kerrison had regarded the speaker earnestly during the delivery or this little tirade; when it was finished she observed, quickly You were lucky-and he was lucky! I hope he never inscribed a character there for which you need blush. Mark, I will take another cutlet." The die was cast in that brief sentence. The women had measured their weapons, and j knew what they had to expect from each other. I They had hardly exchanged a dozen words, but it was going to be war to the knife between them. When Mrs. Kerrison rose from the dinner with- out deigning to give Mrs. Arlington an intimation of her design, and swept out of the room before her, Lola knew that her reign was over. This upstart from the boards of a theatre, with a secret soeial ban upon her, intended to keep her in her place She little dreamed that the sword of Damocles was hanging by its single hair above her head But the climax of Mrs. Arlington's indignation was not yet reached. Lily walked about her handsome drawing-room for some moments in, silence, examining the orna- ments and pictures, sat down for a few minutes to the grand piano and played through part of a waltz, and threw herself on the sofa and desired Mrs. Arlington to ring for coffee. The footman appeared with the silver tray, deposited it on a side table, and began to pour out the fragant beverage. "I believe this is your province," said Mrs. Kerrison, with a faint smile, to Mrs. Arlington; tell the man to leave it, please, I should prefer being waited on by you." The footman quitted the room, and Lola com- menced, with a darkening brow, to dispense the coffee. Did you expect any guests to-night beside Colonel Escott ? demanded Lily, presently. Guests /—no Why do you ask me? returned Mrs. Arlington, sharply. Because of your dress. It struck me as so un- suitable for a family party and indeed I think at all times that a high dress is better than a low one at the dinner-table. You will oblige me by not wearing it again, if only because I always wear high dresses myself." Well, really exclaimed Mrs. Arlington, with a toss of her head. "I have been in Mr. Kerrison's employment now for three years, and I never heard a complaint made about my dress before I daresay not. You see, it doesn't signify with bachelors; but now I shall be having ladies to dine with us, and it is best not to excite remark." It would be well, Mrs. Kerrison, if no one had ever excited more remark than I have." "I don't understand your answer," said Lily, flushing, "and it was quite unnecessary; I was only telling you my wishes." Mrs. Arlington did not make any further reply, but her bosom heaved rapidly, and she had great difficulty in holding her tongue. Mark Kerrison entered after a few minutes and took his wife up to her own room. She said good. night in passing, but did not offer her hand and as soon as she was out of sight Lola Arlington flung herself down upon the satin sofa and burst into a flood of tears. Colonel Escott, coming upon her in that condi- tion, overwhelmed her with sympathy. My dearest Mrs. Arlington, what is the matter! Are you ill, or has anything occurred to vex you ? Pray tell me your trouble; you know that you have promised me your confidence." "Anything occurred to vex me! How can you ask ? Didn't you see how that woman treated me at dinner-with marked impertinence ? And since we have been in the drawing-room together she has ordered me to wait upon her as if I was a servant, and dared yes, actually dared to criticise my dress, and to tell me I must alter it." Your dress!" repeated the Colonel, gazing I with admiration at the creamy-white arms and shoulders that were displayed before him. What fault could she find with that ? Why, it is just perfect!" "I know it is. I suppose the cat is envious because she cannot afford to wear a low-cut dress herself, and so she says it is not suitable for my position But I will not stand it, Colonel Escott! I am not going to remain here to be ordered, about by that girl, and told what I am to wear And if you only knew what I know about her I I A bou-t Mrs. Kerrison t" gasped Escott. Hush! I ought not to have mentioned it. But nothing will induce me to submit to her tyranny I will leave the house to night, and never come near it again 1" "But what would poor Kerrison do without you ?" cried the Colonel, with his first thought for his friend. He must do as best he can; unless, indeed, he chooses to control his wife. But my life will be a misery-a torment-to me f" "If you can't agree with her, it certainly will be," acquiesced Escott "but, Lola, if I may call you so, you know where you will always find a welcome and a home. Don't be downcast, my dear; if the worst comes to the worst, come to me." I I Oh, Colonel Escott! I have told you it can- not be Not as my housekeeper-that would be absurd! —but as my wife I know I have nothing to offer you worthy of your acceptance; I am not rich, like Kerrison, or able to give you a house and carriage and horses, such as you are fitted to adorn; but you would have a home, Lola, and respect and affection to your life's end. I feel ashamed to have so little to offer in exchange for yourself, but all I say is, don't despair whilst a shelter remains open to you." He spoke very diffidently, this noble gentleman, whose true love any woman might have been proud to possess, and he laid his hand with a very timid touch upon her dark hair as he said the words. And Mrs. Arlington laughed within herself at the absurdity of his proposal as she lay prone upon the sofa, with her face concealed from him, al- though she professed to answer it with a bashful- ness equal to his own. Oh Colonel Escott You are too good to me t I have always told you so; but I would not over- weight you (at least for the present) with such a burden as myself. Let me struggle on-this is only a little natural disappointment, which will soon pass away-and try to do my duty and then, if every- thing fails, and I am fated to be unsuccessful, I will not forget the generous offer you have made me to-night." (To be continued.)

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