Imatges de pÓgina
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The secretary's beady cyes flashed out a quick, suspicious glance, as though he would have said, “I wonder, now, whether she is in jest or earnest?'

Then he answered very slowly and distinctly, “His Highness knows me so well, Miss Josceline, that I am quite sure, if a slanderous tongue should hint anything to the discredit of my fealty, he would treat the accusation with contempt, and also '—here his tone grew even more deliberate — I, on my part, have some little knowledge of His Highness. If I thought his car was in danger of being abused by anybody, I should take such steps as would at once and for ever remove that individual from about his person. He, or she—for I should do my duty, even if it were one of the gentler sex—would no longer have to complain of imprisonment in Barton Castle.'

Imprisonment! why imprisonment ?' inquired Ella; she felt a certain mischievous pleasure in the alarm she had evidently excited, which caused her to assume an air of indifference. Her companion, on the other

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hand, as if he had read her thoughts, and regretted the hint of menace with which he had been betrayed, at once adopted the same tone.

• Is it possible you did not know the conditions on which we live here?' he answered lightly. “That the members of His Highness's household are all prisoners on parole? Now, dear

me, that is very curious.'
* I know nothing about it, Mr. Heyton.'

But surely you must have guessed. How was it, for instance, that ever since you were at Wallington Bay, you never saw your aunt, think you?

• To be sure, that ought to have struck me,' said Ella, looking down, and stirring the gravel with her foot, but conscious that the secretary's eyes were looking her through and through.

• It is true, there may have been some reason,' he continued, best known to yourself, for that; but in the case of the other tenants of the Castle—of myself, for example -I should have thought it would have oc

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curred to you as curious that we remained invisible.'

• True; if I had known of your existence it might have done so no doubt,' admitted Ella.

The secretary bit his lip. He felt that this young woman was at least as impervious to coercion as to patronage. · Well, well, at all events, such is the fact,' he said, with a touch of peevishness; it is understood that we do not leave the Castle without leave. At the same time, my dear young lady,' he added earnestly, if you should ever wish to

“ exercise that privilege, a word from me to His Highness—– Talk of the devil—I mean an angel, and you hear the rustle of his wings. Here he comes, and with those infernal dogs. They always fly at me, and nobody else, as if I were a wild beast.'

The remark was evoked by the appearance of His Highness at the garden door, through which, at the same moment, rushed a couple of gigantic deerhounds, who came racing down the gravel walk towards the secretary as though he had been a stag of ten which they had just started. There, however, the parallel ended : the secretary, in the absence of antlers, or even an umbrella, had no intention of showing fight, but was manifestly in a state of extreme perturbation. Ella would, perhaps, have shared his apprehensions on her own account had not Mr. Heyton already complained to her that he alone was the object of the dogs' animosity. As matters were, she was getting seriously alarmed for his personal safety, when suddenly a shrill call was blown from a silver whistle, and . Turk' and Jasper, without checking for an instant their headlong career, swirled round like greyhounds who have turned a hare, and flew back to meet their master, who with slow and stately steps was coming down the walk.


Spottiswoode & Co., Printers, New-stredt Square, London,

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