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THE LOVE OF A LADY; ,

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[ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.] THE LOVE OF A LADY; OR, ROWLEY LE BRETON, BY ANNIE THOMAS. AUTHOR OF Dennis Donne, Played Oitt," "Eyre of Blendon," d"c. CHAPTER XIIL "BECAUSE I AM JEALOtH* MRS. MARcnANT was waiting at the Stretton station for the down express from London with a pretty ex- pression of impat'ence on her face that puzzled behol lers. It was her wifely habit to meet this train frequently when her husband and any of her husband's friends were coming down by it. To-day it happened t hat both her husband and one of her husband's friends were coming by it; therefore it may be assumed that Mrs. Marchant's impatience, though" prettily expressed," was not altogether a fictitious thing. Dora was driving her ponies up and down smartly in front of the station, occasionally amused for half a moment by the grotesque shadows they and she cast upon the smooth, well-ordered road. They were a bonnie trio truly, she and her chestnuts—a trio that were well matched for beauty, breeding, and dare devilry. Unkind people said-and there are unkind people to be found even in the pure and blessed country- that Mrs. Marchant would have an accident sooner or later with those satin skinned, elastic-pasterned chestnuts of hers, and they added that she would have it one day when her husband, poor man, happened to be with her. For Do a had a habit of asserting that MrMarchant always made her nervous when he was with her in the pony trap, as he would give her directions which she didn't feel in- clined to follow." Nevertheless, though he made her nervous, Dora was always dutifully ready to drive him to and from the station, even when he travelled alone. But this day he was com'ng accompanied by a friend, a friend whom they had ne ther of them seen for many months a friend who was coming to them under such altered conditions that he would "hardly seem like the same man" Dora felt, as she glanced towards the incoming train, and quivered as she glanced. Spr'ng sunshine was spreading its warmest after- noon rlow over everything as the two men c aiiie through the station gate But it seemed as though the most golden gleams had concentrated themsel es upon Mrs. March nt and her pont, s. The radiance of them almost dac led Rowley le B eton out of the compose 11 ilTeren e he had i-een tutoring himself to feel for Pora. "I have b o-ghtbim ('0 n you see, rora! k en't you g ing to tell him you're glad to see h m Mr. Mar hant was saying, while Dora's liquid eyes were delighting in the si ,ht of Ilodey's absorbed admira- tion of the perfect harmony in chestnut and gold which she an l her onies were making. The cushions of her little carriage were covered with old gold curduroy, and a jacket and hat of the same colour and material in a lighter texture encased her splendid figure, denning it perfectly, and covered her golden-haired head. It was no use attempting to tattle against the impression this woman's thrilling beauty and charm had flr him. As her eyes met his, and his. roved over the study in chestnut and gold she and her ponies made, he felt her chains being forged afresh around him, and no thought of Kitty intervened to make him try and break them. Wasn't it stupid of me to come with the ponies ? I ought to have b ought the wagonette. But I forgot there were two of you. I am so accustomed to fetch Mr. Marchant only that I forgot you, Wasn't it stupid of me ?" I can walk* up of course I can walk. I shall enjoy it," Rowley was saying, with the ready effusion that is born of extreme unwillingness, when Mr. Marchant interposed, "Shouldn't think of allowing you to do anything of the kind, Le Breton. Dora, my dear, you must insist on Le Breton's driving home with you. I want to say a few wo ds to the stationmaster about some traps of mine which are com'ng down by the ne-t train." chap 13 Mr. Marchant, full of cares and anxieties about his corning-traps, and of kindly feeling towards the guest who e widowed, fortuneless stnte seemed to him so pitiable, went back into the stat'on. and I c Howley Le B eton stepped into Mrs. Marchant's carriage. The little groom in the back seat sat with cossed arms, stolidly staring'nto the landscape between the shoulders o the pair in front of him. His. youthful mmd was not capable of entertaining two ideas at a t me. Hi absorbing one at the present was that" Miss's wouldn't be ack in time for him to go and have a di :• in the river before supper. Dips in the river re resftnted un'nown quantities of joy-3 to him now that he was in respe table service, for it hr u;ht him in eonta t with village lads and V hoo of the bu olic order, who v ere not consi 'ered good enough for him to speak to when he had his li ery on. Put they were the friends of h's youth, and when he was out of live y his souv yèarned towards them Taught as lie was with visions of this felicity in the immediate future, he took no note of the present. The idyl! that was eing enacted before him had no charms did not attract the slightest regard from the boy who was longing for a dip in the river. On the whole it was perhaps as well that it should be the c S3 "or the jr'yl; had its dangerous side. looked at from that, side. it might not have a"peared a purely pastoral poem that those in front were read- ing by the lights of the past. As they trotted away from the F* "Dora Marchant stole a loo at the face uy her side, the handsome face thatshehad onceloved so desperately. Tt was handsomer now than it had been then. The experience of the man had enriched the beauty of the boyish face whose prevailing expression in the old days had teen one of passiorate love for herself. I wonder if any other woman has ever seen that loo in his eyes ? 'Helen' never saw it, at least, I'm sure of that," she thought, as she glanced demurely away from him. Instantly this comforting refection was followed by another and less satisfactory cne. Had Kitty Paubeny e'er seen it ?" she could not help wondering. Suddenly she spoke. "It was ve y good of you to come down to us, Rowley. I told my husband when he proposed asking you that I fea ed your work would keep you in town." I am only too glad to come, you know that. Moreover. I'm not specially hard at work just now. I've t'nished my novel, and I'm waiting to see how it catches on befo e I begin anoth r.' J m so interested in it," she said softly. You may well 1 e "I am How beautifully Miss Daubeny is illus. trat/ng it, isn't she ?" Very c harmingly." I'm quite flattered at her having taken Wag and me for her models. What could have made her think of doing it ?" Have you read my description of Doris ?" I have." It was that which made her recognise you when she saw you." Did she tell you anything about her little visit to me ?" Very little." Weren't you curious to know what she thought of me ?" 0 Not a bit." Was that because you were indifferent to me, or indi "erent to her opinion ?" I can never be indiTerent to you, and I should value Miss Daubeny's opinion about many things." But not about me He laughed in a half am- sed, half-vexed tone that allowed er to cee that her mention of Miss Dallbeny a'Tected him in some way. Why s' ould I sk a sir nger's o inion of you when I know you so well myself ?" Do you thin! you know me, Rowley ?'' Do I not know t ee t the bone, my sweet ?'" How improper to quote Chastelar's impassioned words to me. Oh, dear! There's one com'ort Mary Stuart had in the mi'st of all her troubles. Thouch the men knew her to the bone, knew her thoroughly, t' ey went on loving her just the same She heaved a sigh, and put on a passing expres- sion of sadness that was intinitely touching. Howley saw it with the corner of his eye, but forti red by a recollection of Kitty he refused to be touched by it, and remained stolidly silent. Has Miss Daubeny been a friend of yours long, Rowley?" I have known her some months now." B "Did you introduce her to Mrs. Row:ev T, Breton?" No, poor Helen was always more or less ill after I knew Miss Daubeny." Has Miss Hewlett ever seen Miss Daubeny?" "Not that I am aware of." Lucky for Miss Daubeny, I'm thinking. That Hewlett woman is capable of murdering anyone she disliked, and she would be sure to dislike Miss Daubeny as much as she disliked me. I'm quite sure in my own mind that it was she fired at me that night." The wretched woman I wish we had been able to bowl her out. But why Why what a question to ask. Because she thought you liked me I don't say that she was correct in that assumption, but she acted on it. Now, if she saw Miss Daubeny she would in all probability jump at the conclusion that you liked her, and then there might be another shot fired, with better effect than the former one." In case your prophecy might be fulfilled, I shall do my best to prevent a meeting between Miss Hewlett and Miss Daubeny." It wou'd be a catastrophe. Now if she had HUed me when she shot at me, chastened grief for an old friend would have been all she felt. But if she killed Miss Daubeny!—No, Rowley, I won't harrow up your feelings any more by suggesting such a ghastly thing." •' It would be a ghastly thing, truly. Miss Daubeny would be a real loss to Art, as well as an irreparable one to everyone who knows her." "TInt sounds just like a sentence in an obituary notce in a local paper. I don't like you when you talk in sentences Ii k e that. Tell me in good idiomatic language what the loss of her would be to you, if it would be an irreparable one to everyone who knows her. Why pursue the subject of Miss Daubeny's possibly tragic end so rnfinchingly ?" I chose a topic which I thought would be interest- ing to you." They were pulling up at the door of her home as she said this. When he had followed her into the house, and they were safely ensconced in her own boudoir, she turned to put both her hands on his shoulders, and asked in a voice that she well knew how to render as thrilling as a syren's: Do you know why I chose Miss Daubeny for my theme, Rowley ? Because I am jealous of her." She was gone like a gleam of lightning from the room refore he had time to answer her-even had he felt so inclined. As it was he did not feel inclined, therefore her going was a relief to him. He felt very sorry for several things as he stood there, but chiefly for this, that he had come to Walmsey at all. The fact of Mrs. Marchant having expressed herself so openly on the subject of Kitty Daubeny embarrassed him. Yes! heartily, on this the first day of his arrival, he wished he had not. come to Walmsey.

CHAFTER XIV.

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