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CHAFTER XIV. A CAT IN TliE ROOM. ,-Ciir, -sympathy of old and tried friends is proverbially sweet. Before Rowley had been many hours at Walmsey he found himself confiding the whole story of the injustice of his wife's will to Dora's kindly ear. When he told her further of the latest message which Miss Hewlett had imparted to h'm, 'Mrs. Marchant's sense of the humour of it was overcome by the indignation which a woman is apt to feel ..hen a lesser woman than herself presumes to offer adora- tion at the same manly shrine. How insulting of her That ugly, unattractive woman to imagine she could buy you with her ill- gotten gains. Didn't you feel dreadfully humiliated when she sa:d it ?" I felt disgusted with the woman." "But didn't you reel humiliated ?" "No—why should I?" At her daring to imagine you would marry her." "Oh! she's a half-mad old catamaran. Don't let as waste any more time in talking about her." I- If I give up one topic at your request, you mus let me choose another." Certainly," he assented imprudently, and Do: a instantly rejoined "I want you to tell me how Miss Daubeny and people me Miss Daubeny li e. Miss Daubeny lives very quietly with her mother. I don't happen f5 now any people liL.e her, so I < an't say how they live." "I mean professional people—authors, -artists, actors, and .people of that ilk. They do a lot of daring, unconventional things, don't they, that we don't do ?" "I think you might give the majority of them a fair start, and still beat them in the doing of daring, unconventional things," he laughed cut, and Do'a forgave .him the partial rebuke on account of the admiration that leavened it. •'I wish fhe would come down and stay with her uncle at Stretton Rectory-while you're here. Eowlev," she said sweetly; it would be so pleasant for you to meet in the country, wouldn't it ? You would have time to plan out the illustrations for the last chapters together And she could ma' e fresh sketches of we!" You don't come into the last chapters- at "east. the Doris M S5 T'aubeny thinks like you, doesn't come into them." Indeed by whom am I superseded ?— for of course there must. e a woman to car y the interest onto the end. Make a clean br a,stofit, and I'll forgive you! By whom am I stipersedel She came one step nearer to him ard laid her hand on his arm, and held her winsome, sparkling face up towards him. It seemed to him that the sbr y eyes we e I t, not by vanity —not by the paltry, desire of a conquest which she might not en oy— f a victory in whi h she da-ed not prcIaim herself victrix—but by the real light of love! She seemed EO fond of him in the old familiar way at that moment that he forgot Mr. Marchant, he forgot ittv Daubeny IFe forgot everythinc." save that he and this woman had been lovers, and that she seemed to love him now. "My da ling!" he murmured passionately, "my own darling, who has never been—who will never e superseded." He had drawn her to him, his lips were meeting hers before the charneleon-natured creature changed. But the change came all too quickly for Eowley. She shrank away from him laughingly, her eyes dancing with delight at the sight of his chagrin. "Why, Eowley! what a bad memory you have," she said s-otnly. "You forget that I am at old married woman, and that you are in love with JUis, Daubeny." You make a man forget most things that he ought to remember, he said scowling a. little Put kora met the scowl and the censure with a largh and a moc- ing curt ey. U The dre,sinu;bell rang ten minutes ago I must go and put on my And—Eowley 'lease don't be melodramatic in th nay you were just now before Mr. Marchant He m'ghtn't understand how entirely fraternal our terms are." She went off laugh'ng at him with the same Fort of gool-natured, merry for' earan:'e which she might have e tended to a forward boy And he was a man whose real heart belonged to a pure, moral young girl who would have considered him defiled by the touch- of a matron's lips. At the same time he was c a man whose passions were being evoked by this creature who was "changeful as the sea. and he knew that she had it, in her power to wreck hrm: Still, he believed in the something better a' out her which he had discerned in his discrim'nating trusting youth, anl fancied, though she had the power indisputably she had not the will. It was a relief to him to find Wag in sole pos es- sion of the drawing room when he went down pre- sently. Wag's leonine head loomed out from the semi darkne-s as Eowley pushed the porti're aside, and Wag's thundering growl made him conscious that he had roughly pushed one of the St Bernard's paws "Have yo i half-forgotten and nearly grown to d'strust me, too, o'd man ?" he muttered, stooning to grasp t'e dog's jowl and force the clever o li ue eyes to look into h's own. f' as anyone else done thes • same things, Fowley i" a soft, oice asked, and he looked round to see Mrs. Ma chant: a vision in etherealised silk of some nameless hue between blue and green foating towards him, Her voice had quivered as she said "Rowley," and now the hand which she laid li htly on his was trembling, e felt. So he clasped it ever so gently— just to reas ureher. As they stood thus she looked up into his face reproachfully, he gating do-vn into her's with all the old admiration in his eyes. He asked: You cau'io ied me against being melojramatic' just now, and b''nted that. Mr. Marchant might fail to understand how entirely fraternal' our relations are! Do you th nk for a moment that I could e erbe cur enough to compromise you ? Though, Heaven forgive me, my feeling for you is as far from fraternal as ever it was." • .o. J Ie Not even when you remember that I threw you over for these and these ?" — She touched the jewels on her neck and arms wltfi such frank, fascinating contempt for them and her- self. Not even when I remember that you threw mo over for these things that are powerless to satisfy you now." j You think they are powerless to satisfy me ?" "At least you're not satisfied," he muttered miserably if you were you wouldn't have reminded me so vividly of the days when we belonged to each other-" I Rowley, my heart has never wavered, never been false to you. No, never for a single day," she was saying with a suppressed passionate emphasis, when Mr. Marchant came upon them hurriedly, and greeted his guest with genial heartiness. Dora's taking care of you, Le Breton, I hope? I'm a little later than I intended to be-detained about this horse show that's coming off at Bath. I'm one of the judges- Good Heavens! Dora, what's the matter ? What has happened ?" Dora's white face and dilated blue eyes were, happily for herself, averted from the object which had caused her uncontrollable emotion. In that brief moment, when she had been assuring Rowley that her heart had never wavered for a single day," Rowley had bent and kissed her hand, and the instinct of self-preservation bad made her start back and avert her face, which had grown ashen white under the conviction that she had nearly been found out by her husband. Rea'ising in one moment that this con- viction was false she recovered herself with the adroit grace that is a speciality of some women off as well as on the stage. There's a cat in the room, I'm sure. You know how antipathetic I am to cats Do look about, Afr. Le Breton I feel sure there's a cat in the room, for I feel faint and sick." Then there must be a cat in the room, my darling." Mr. Marchant was full < f zeal in discover- ing the cat, and of sympathy with his wife in a moment. While he searched for the feline intruder Mrs. Marchant went hurriedly upstairs. When she came down again she was perfectly and naturally calm and gracious again. The smelling salts have recovered me," she ex- plained, holding out her little silver-mounted bottle towards Rowley; "they always revive me at once however much I may have been agitated by cats or other things." "But the extraordinary thing is that there is no cat in the room. Your nerves played you false, my dear. There was no cause for your antipathetic sensations." It must have been a cat," she said calmly, "and probably it rushed out when I opened the door. My nerves never play me false. See how calm I am now that the cause of my nervousness is removed." She held her hand out with a winning smile, to her husband, and he took it tenderly, drew it within his arm, and so they went in to dinner, Rowley following them, wondering a little wildly at the ways of women. late into the night-long after Dora was sleeping the sleep of undisturbed innocence-Powley La Breton sat up writing out a portion of the plot and a set of incidents for his next novel. He felt that if he was to retain possession of his head while he remained at Walmsey he must be balanced by seme strong counteracting influence to Dora's intoxicating manner. The only influence he could invoke was work-real, hard work i-for Kitty Daubeny was absent, and had made no sign. It is lamentable to have to relate it, but it is the truth. The resolution made in the dark watches of the night evaporated in the morning li lit in Mrs Marchant's presence. What you have come to Walmsey for is rest and fresh air. We mustn't let Mr. Le Breton slave at" his pen while he is with us, must we?" she asked her husband, with a pretty, mixed manner. It was partly that of a mother to a sore and wounded child, Mr. Marchant thought approvingly. Rowley saw another side to it, and the vision made his heart beat faster, and sent the blood coursing through his veins in a way that forbade him anything like writing coherent y for that morning at least So he placed himself at his hostess's service, and she arranged that they should ride over to Ptretton rectory and lunch with Mr. Paubeny, and hear from him if there is any chance of your artist coJIeagno coming to stay with her uncle. It would be so interesting to see you two working together, Howley That's a sight you will ne er have the gratification of seeing."he said testily. Too sabred a one for v Igar and profane eyes, is it, Rowtey ?'' she as ed maliciously or," she added with a sudden re-apse, in passionate pathos, "one that you would not be cruel enough to e hibit to my jealous eyes." They had risen from the breakfast table and strolled out throgll the conservatory on t) the lawn when she said this. Branching o; from the bottom of the lawn a high he dged Jaurel path led away to a mound, on which was perched a summer ho se, v hich commanded some of the finest news in the neiarhbo rhood. Towards this she led him, an when they were half way through it she spoke aga 11, "Forget those last words of mine, Rowley; they were simply wrung from me. I ought never to have lost control over myself in such a contemptible way I never can for .et them. I am only a man, and I bless you for having uttered them." There is danger fo me n your remembering them tenderly. Be kind un1 generous, and forget them, Rowley Put even as she pi; acled with him to" forget them," she looked at him with her lips quivering and her eyes glistening with hushed tears. Not even for the sa e of subjugating-h:m on (he spot would that great enchantress have let those tears escape from her eye- lids. fo she knew that they would have created havoc on the dusky bloom that-lived under her eyes, and made her deli-ate roze red. But kept well within bounds they were very effective, and Eowley found them so I ou ht not to have come here. I ought to have had the strength to reman away from you. You are blameless But I reproach myself for having wor ed on your sweet, sympathetic nature. I ought to go at once." Don't lrnt at that or you will drive me mad" she cried in eal alarm. It ended in his promising by the time he rea hed the summer-house that her will in the matter should be his law while his life iasted. The views must have been strangely beautiful and alluring, for they remained absorbed by them, only speaking at long intervals, and then in tones so low that no eavesdropper would have been the wiser for them, for more than an hour. Then she reminded him of their projected ride to Stretton rectory, and they walked home in silence. But he prayed that he might not hear Kitty Daubeny's name mentioned this day. (To be continued-.)