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CHAPTER XVII.

her assertion; at least, as if he had not

comprehended it. CONGRATULATIONS.

“Why do you not say you are glad,” ISABEL had her arms round Leila's neck, asked Isabel, “or sorry, as the case may and was smothering her with kisses when

be." Fred was announced. He came in with a “I do not believe it," said Fred. “I do very grave face, as if the occasion were not believe that Leila loves Mr. Malcolin momentous.

and is going to marry him.” “Save me, save me!" said Leila. “O “ You doubt his word and mine," said Isabel !" And she freed herself from a Leila;“ but I assure you it is quite true that final and overwhelming embrace that left I have promised to marry Mr. Malcolm.” her with tumbled hair and a general dis- “Now congratulate her,” said Isabel. orderly appearance,

“Upon my word, Fred, I think you are “What do these stories mean ?” de. growing stupid.” manded Fred. “I went to Mr. Malcolm, I think I am losing my wits,” Fred reand he sent me to you."

plied. “Let me see, what is the most ap" What stories ?" asked Leila.

proved form of congratulation ?" “Why, about you and Mr. Malcolm.” “ This is an extra occasion," said Leila. “Didn't he tell you ?" asked Leila. "A wealthy widower marries a poor friend

“He said you were engaged, but I less—no, nameless governess, in the very wished to hear it from your own lips." eyes of the world. A young man who

Isabel's cheek flushed, but Leila an- would not do it must find words of comswered, pleasantly:

mendation fail him.” To satisfy you, Fred, then, I am en- Fred grew very white at this, while Isagaged to marry Mr. Malcolm.”

bel exclaimed: She spoke apparently without any emo- “For shame, Leila! Do you think Fred tion except of pleasure, and Fred stood re- would have hesitated a minute about margarding her as if he had only half heard rying me, lad I been poor and nameless " Leila turned her face a little away as she of my fortune, we will be married and take answered:

that promised trip across the ocean." “Do not make the supposition, Isabel. “You ought to celebrate your birthday," I beg Fred's pardon for my hasty words, said Isabel. and hope he will simply tell me that he is “I am going to. I intend giving a great glad that I am happy."

party, and I want you to promise me to “I shall always be glad to have you hap- wear your white muslin and rosebuds, and py, Leila," Fred said, earnestly.

look as lovely as you did last week at the “And never fear that I shall be,” Lella German ball.” answered, with a touch of pride in her “O, I promise to wear just what you tone.

advise," laughed Isabel, “and to look as "A miserable kind of congratulating," lovely as a houri.” said Isabel. “Now I flatter myself that I She kept her promise, and on the eventdid the business better."

ful night looked lovelier than ever before "To look at me, I should think so," in her life, Fred thought. She had dressed Leila said, arranging herself before the to please him, and the fact itself lent her glass, as Mr. Malcolm joined them.

an additional charm. Her dress was snowyIsabel sprang eagerly up as he entered, white sheer muslin, and fell about her in and extended her little hand, uttering one graceful profusion, looped here and there of her pretty complimentary speeches that with fresh beautiful rosebuds, Fred's gift were quite her forte upon such occasions; to her. Her shining hair was dressed, not so that after she and Fred were gone, Mr. in the latest style, but as Fred liked it best, Malcolm confided to Leila how great his and as it became her most. Close to her admiration was for Isabel.

fair throat there nestled a golden rosebud, “You are trying to make me jealous, to living and beautiful, a few green leaves begin with," said Isabel, " but I am not. about it, and a bit of heliotrope caught Isabel is my pet beauty, and I am very

among them. glad to know that you approve of her.” Fred, as he surveyed her, pronounced

“It's the strangest thing,” said Fred, himself satisfied. for Leila to marry that man.”

“You will be the bright particular star “The most natural and sensible thing in to-night,” be said, kissing her, with a look the world,” said Isabel.

" What objec

more of pride than of love. tions can you possibly make to the elegant “It is enough for me that I please you," Mr. Malcolm ?”

Isabel answered; and her face “shone ra“None to him, but—but Leila does not diantly" as she stood by bis side, welcomlove him, Isabei.”

ing bis guests, and hers, for the party was You are quite sure of that, I suppose ?” given in her name and his, in Fred's said Isabel. For my part, I think Leila house, where sometime she was to reign is the best judge of that herself.”

as mistress. “She is dazzled by his fortune; she Mr. Sterne stood like a forbidding shadow wants a home, and 80

behind them. This' day had seen a relin“She is simply base. Fred, I never quishment of all his power and right as thought you would speak so of Leila!" Fred's guardian to Fred, over whom he had And Isabel walked on ahead of him impa- exerted so far great influence, an influence tiently.

he hoped still to continue, even thongh his "Perhaps you are right,” said Fred, greatest power to do so had been taken catching up with her; “perhaps she does from him. love him."

“ There they come,” he said in a low “Of course she can't help it,” said Isa- voice to Isabel, who glanced at once tobel; “I should love him myself if it wasn't ward the door to see who was meant by for you."

“they." “I am almost twenty-one,” said Fred, Leaning upon Mr, Malcolm's arm, Leila musingly;“ aren't you glad of it, chicken ?? entered the apartment.

If Isabel were “Why should I be glad of it?” asked lovely, Leila was at least superb. She was Isabel, demurely.

dressed in a pale shimmering silk, still “ Because I am a man then for myself," more subdued by an overdress of illusion, Fred answered. “I come into possession looped here and there with tuberoses. Yet

swer.

it was not her dress alone, or the stylish Leila could not reply, so she stood up as arrangement of her hair, that made those if to dance with him. who noticed her stop to gaze a second time. “ The sets are full, and they are already It was more the queenliness of her bearing, dancing," he said, in an amused tone. the unstudied yet perfect grace with which Leila's cheek flushed, and, rousing hershe endured the scrutiny of which she self, she said: could not help but have a consciousness, “I was absent-minded; I beg your that gained her the encomiums which fell pardon.” so flatteringly on Mr. Malcolm's ear.

“I wonder of what you were thinking?" It was a moment of triumph for Leila, Fred said. and one the enjoyment of which she may “I was thinking of the past," Leila anwell be forgiven, when she returned Mr. swered, quite calmly. Storne's low bow and servile greeting with “And was I part of it?”. a haughty recognition and a scornful an- Leila looked toward Isabel, whose grace

ful form they could plainly see moving in “Fred's former guardian does not seem the dauce. to be a favorite of yours," Mr. Malcolm Yes, you were part of it," she ansaid.

swered; “ how could it be otherwise ?!? I have no reason to be fond of him," “I am my own master now," said Fred. said Leila; "he treated me, as perhaps you “Quite sure ?" asked Leila. “Look; know, with every possible injustice." Isabel is smiling across to us. How more

“Mr. Hastings told me something about than lovely she is to-night! it, but he said it was owing to some mis- “Yes, that was a dress of my choosing; take of Sterne's, and that as soon as Fred but it will not compare with yours, Leila; was his own master he probably would nothing will compare with you-Leila" make every reparation in his power.”

The music ceased suddenly, the dance “It is too late now," said Leila; “from was at an end, Mr. Malcolm brought Isabel Mr. Markham's parents I could have ac- to where Fred and Leila stood, both with cepted what they saw fit to give me; from faces strangely pale. him I can accept nothing.”

“Mr. Malcolm has made me promise “He will talk with you about it prob- .him the next two dances after this,” said ably hereafter; to-night we enjoy his hos- Isabel; “ he dances this with you.” And pitality, and there seems little left undone she drew the feathered edge of her fan by him for our enjoyment.”

over Leila's cheek. Leila's face wore a sad expression.

“ If you wish to dance," he said. “You The rooms, though greatly changed in look so pale, had we better not go homep” their appearance, were the same where her “Yes," was on Leila's lips to say, but childhood and youth had been spent in Isabel interrupted her. Fred's companionship. In the room, almost What, with my dances undanced? O in the same place where he now stood with no, Mr. Malcolm, Leila will hardly be so his beautiful fiancee, he had stood with cruel as that. When you have danced,

the her, asking her to be his little wife. color will come into your cheeks, Leila,

“ This crowd is too fatiguing,” Mr. Mal- for you are pale, and Fred, too. Upon my colm said; for Leila's face was his con- word, I believe you have been quarrelling” stant study, and she wished, 0 how she “It is well for us to be separated, then," wished, that she might veil it from him said Leila, taking Mr. Malcolm's arm, as sometimes !

he led her away to dance. “Let me sit by the window a while," Perhaps the dance roused her; however she said, "while you are dancing; ask it might be, when Fred sought her again Isabel."

her demeanor was wholly changed. The He obeyed her; and while Leila sat, not sparkle and the spirit had returned to her, daring to look up lest the tears that were and she met him with a smile instead of a gathering in her eyes should show them- tear. selves, Fred resigned Isabel to Mr. Malcolm “ This music,” she said, “is delightful. for the Lancers, and went and stood beside I have to thank you for a very pleasant her.

evening, Mr. Markham." "Do you dance to-night” he asked. “The rocking-horse used to stand in that

corner sometimes," said Fred, pointing to Mr. Malcolm urged her to please Fred by & tasteful what-not covered with books accepting the only reparation that it seemed and vases of flowers.

in his power to make for what she had suf“Yes, I remember," said Leila,“ it was fered at the bands of Mr. Sterne. a pleasure to us then; but that which is “You know nothing about it,” Leila there now is more of a pleasure to us in told him; but Mr. Malcolm knew inore the present. Tastes change, you know," than she suspected. Once he had been she added quickly, preventing Fred's de- foolish enough to fear Philbert as a rival nial that anything could exceed the rock- his affections; now he had fixed upon ing-horse.

another as his rival, or one who might have Yours may, but mine cannot," he said. been his rival, were it not that he was

“That is not true," said Leila; “your pledged to another as good and as beautitastes change most and oftenest of any ful as Leila herself, for Mr. Malcolm's adone's I know."

miration for Isabel increased the better he: “Fickle, you make me out," said Fred. knew her. “But not faithless," said Leila.

Leila wondered sometimes if it were not Fred's cheeks crimsoned.

all wrong among them, and if it were not “Call me Launcelot,” he said, "and possible to make it right by an exchange have done with it."

that should indeed be no robbery. I call you nothing, Fred," said Leila, She was thinking of this one day after seriously. “I would not judge you for

Fred and Isabel had been calling upon her, the world; only please never, never again

and Mr. Malcolm, as usual, began praising look at me or speak to 10e as you have

the latter as soon as they were gone, when done to-night.”

he said to her: She turned quickly away from him as she

“Leila, I am going away for the spoke to Mr. Malcolm, who sought her to summer.' learn if she still wished to go home. One of 'Going away?" asked Leila, in a tone the roses fell upon the floor from off her of regret. dress. Fred picked it up, and seeing Mr.

“Not to leave you, darling. We are Malcolm looking at him, was about to put going away.it in that gentleman's hand, when he saw • Where?” asked Leila, indifferently. in the latter's button-hole a rosebud flush- Wherever you wish." ing from pink to yellow, so he kept the “I do not care to go anywhere,” said white waxlike blossom himself.

Leila; “this is a pleasant place.” “Exchange is no robbery,” said Mr.

“But the children are intent upon going Malcolm. “Is that your thought, Mark

somewhere, and, as you still persist in ham?"

governessing them, you perceive you will “I hardly know,” said Fred.

be obliged to accompany them." Congratulate me, then," said Mr. Mal- “Very well,” said Leila; “wherever colm, “upon having proved that it is." you and they go, I will go." And he lay Isabel's rosebud in Leila's hair,

Consequently, they went to Saratoga, where it pressed close to the white and Mrs. Trip included, and the care of the fragrant tuberoses, a charming, graceful

children gradually devolved upon her, and foil.

the care of Leila, too.

Perhaps in resolving to marry Mr. Mal

colm, Leila had taken a false step that led CHAPTER XVIII.

her to take others. She had acquired a

great fondness for dress since her betrothal LOST.

to him, and the liberal salary that he paid FRED used every inducement to make her enabled her to gratify herself and him Leila accept a portion of the property left in that matter. They had not been at Sarhim by his parents, but Leila was persist- atoga a week before Leila found herself ent in the refusal of it, and he could not the “rage.” but confess to himself that she was right Her beauty, grace and wit were undein so refusing it, much as he desired her niable; her toilet was perfect; and her to take it, for the sake of those to whom it position as Mr. Malcolm's fiancee was un had belonged.

exceptionable.

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“ Mr.

Leila enjoyed the homage extended to “ is a perfect villain. A sister of mine her, dropped her governess-ship, and gave shouldn't brush her dress against him, if I herself up to gayety.

had my way.” If Mr. Malcolm hinted that a little quiet- Philbert spoke strongly, but he knew the er life would suit him better, Leila re- strength of Lascours's position, and Mr. minded him that it was not her wish, but Malcolm's easy way of looking at things. his, that had brought them there, that she “I'll find her," said Mr. Malcolm. was only obeying him and enjoying herself. “Which way are they?"

Among the gentleman admirers who paid “ I'll bring her to you," Philbert said. her their attention, despite their knowl- And he went out, and presently returned edge of her relationship to Mr. Malcolm, with Leila. was a young man named Lascours. Hand

“Do you want me p' she asked. some, wealthy and reckless, he was as Lascours was making himself very agreemuch the lion of the place as Leila was the able, I assure you." And Leila seated reigning beauty. Leila at first disliked herself with some display on a low ottohim, afterward tolerated him, and then, in man at Mr. Malcolm's feet, and, leaning a fit of waywardness, made a friend of her arm upon his knee, looked bewitchinghim.

ly up into his face. “Leila, my child,” Mr. Malcolm said to Philbert stared. Could this be Leila ? her, “I should so much prefer that you Mr. Malcolm regarded her as was usual would not continue your acquaintance with him, smiling, pleasantly. Whatever with Mr. Lascours."

she did seemed to him beyond censure, "Why, Richard," said Leila--of late she yet he said, gravely: had taken to calling him by his Christian Leila, Philbert tells me that this Lasname, which pleased him greatly, and was cours is not a fitting companion for you, sure to obtain her almost any favor“he is and henceforth it will please me if you always gentlemanly with me, and every- avoid him altogether." body here likes to be seen with him. Be- “ What has he done ?” asked Leila. sides, I belong to you, and everybody re- “No matter," said Philbert, impatiently. members that."

“I shouldn't know you, Leila. What “Poor Lascours! it would be hard in- have you done ?" deed," thought Richard Malcolm, “to “Am I so changed ?!? asked Lelle, deny him the few words and smiles that wearily. Leila gives bim from the abundance that Philbert's presence roused her to a sense belongs to me."

of what she was fast becoming; she began He kissed Leila, and said he would trust to despise herself, and to blame Mr. Malher with whomsoever she chose to be, so colm for allowing her so far to lose her that she kept him always first in her heart best self. and her thoughts.

“I shall drop Lascours, if you wish to Unconsciously he was spoiling her. Richard," she said.

If he would only say to me that I must “I knew you would, my darling," he anor that I must not,” thought Leila; and swered, kissing her. “I only wish I had the very desire to make him arbitrary led insisted on it before." her to abuse his indulgence, injuring her- It would have been well had he done so, self and him.

for dropping Lascours was not so easy a “What does this mean ?" said Philbert, matter as might be supposed. Lascours who had joined them for a while.

was without principle, and greatly pleased “They talk of Leila here as if-well-as with Leila; consequently ber studied coldI never thought to lear her spoken of.” ness, following so soon upon her gracious

" Talk of Leila !” exclaimed Mr. Mal- ness, piqued him at first, then irritated colm, in alarm.

him. In refusing to receive him as her “Yes, your Leila," said Philbert; "and friend, she made a bitter enemy of him. I met her just now walking with a man Several days after Philbert's arrival whom I do not care to speak to."

Leila had been walking with him, and “What does this mean?" thundered Mr. Alice, and Anna, and had been getting Malcolm, in bis turn.

back to her old self again, when, as they “Why, that Lascours," said Philbert, turned a corner of one of the principal

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