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cynically you are speaking. Are you not dead, and the search could only originate well, dear?"

with the father, and it is not likely that Quite well, Alice. Why do you ask ?” after leaving the mother of his child to “Your face is rather flushed, dear, and die in a workhouse bed, he will have any there is a strange look in your eyes, such long deferred stings of conscience to make as I have never noticed before. Oh, John ! him inquire as to what has become of her I am certain you work too hard, and all offspring. Oh, John, when I think of the this travelling is too much for you. When wickedness that goes on in the world, will you give it up ?”

through men, John, through men alone, “When I see my way to settling down for women are but what men choose to here in peace and comfort with you, my make them, I am so thankful that it was darling, and little Bell. Depend upon it given to me to win the honest, noble love when that opportunity comes I shall grasp of an honourable man, and to be removed it eagerly enough!”

in good time from the temptations assailing And when will it come, John ?” a girl in the position which I occupied.

“That, my child, it is impossible to say; Now, John, no more wine!" it may come sooner than we expect; I hope

“Yes,” he cried, “ give it to me quickly, it will, I'm sure. It is the one thing now full, full to the brim, Alice. There !” he at the close of my life left me to look for said, as he drained it. “I am better now, ward to."

I wanted some extra stimulant, to-right; I “ Don't talk about the close of your life suppose I am knocked up by my journey." in that wicked way, John. I am sure if “Your face was as pale then as it was you only take care of yourself when you flushed before, John. I shall take upon are away on those journeys, and mind that myself to nurse you, and you shall not your bed is always aired, and see that you leave home again until you are quite have proper food, there is no question recovered, whatever Mr. Calverley may about the close of your life until you have say! You should have him here some seen little Bell grown up into a marriage- day, John, and let me talk to him. I able young woman.”

warrant I would soon bring him round to “Poor little Bell,” said John Claxton, my way of thinking." with a grave smile; "dear little Bell. I "Your ways are sufficiently coaxing to don't think we did wrongly, Alice, in do that with anybody, Alice,” said John adopting this little fatherless, motherless Claxton, with a faint smile; “but never waif?"

mind Mr. Calverley just now; what were “Wrong, indeed! I should think not,” we saying before ? said Alice, quickly. “Even from a selfish “I was saying how pleased I was to be point of view it was one of the best things removed from the temptations to which a we ever did in our lives. See what a com- girl in the position which I held is always panion she is to me while you are away; exposed.' see how the time which I have to spare “ No,” said Claxton, “I don't mean that after attending to the house, and my gar

- before." den, and my reading, and my music, and “Yes, yes,” said Alice, “I insist apon all those things which you insist upon talking about these old times, John; you my doing, John, and which I really go never will, and I have no one else who through conscientiously every day; see how knows anything about them, or can discuss the spare time, which might be dull, is them with me. Now, do you recollect, filled up in dressing her, and teaching her, she continued, nestling closer to him, " the and listening to her sweet little prattle. first time you saw me?” Do you think we shall ever find out whose " Recollect it! As you were then, I can child she was, John ?”

see you now.” “No dear, I should say not. You have And so can I you, you are not altered the clothes which she had on, and the little an atom. You were standing at a bookgold cross that was found round the mother's stall in Low Ousegate, just beyond the neck after her death; it is as well to keep bridge, looking into a book, and as I passed them in case any search should be made by with the two little Prestons you raised after the child, though the probability of your eyes from the book and stared at me that is very remote.'

so hard, and yet so gravely, that I-" “We should not give Bell up, whatever That you were quite delighted," said search might be made, should we, John ?" John Claxton, putting his arm round her; said Alice, quickly. “The poor mother is "you know that, so don't attempt a bash

had just

fulness which is foreign to your nature, that matter, John,” said Alice; "neither but confess at once.”

Mr. nor Mrs. Preston had the slightest in“I decline to confess any such thing," terest in me, and when I left they cared said Alice.

Of course,

I was in the habit not what became of me. I suited them as of being stared at by the officers and the a governess, and they were angry when I young men of the town. Come now, there first told them I was going away ; but is the return blow for your impertinent hit when they saw that I had fully made up just now; but one scarcely expects to create my mind, their sole thought was how best to an impression on people whom one finds supply my place. As to what became of glozing over bookstalls.”

me, that was no concern of theirs." “Elderly people, you should have said, “No,” said John Claxton, whose colour Alice.”

had returned, and who seemed to have re“Elderly people, I will say, John, if it gained his ordinary composure, “no conpleases you. Much less does one expect to cern, perhaps, of either Mr. or Mrs. Pressee them lay down the book, and come ton; but what about the young gentleman sailing up the street after one in direct whom you mentioned just now, Alice, Mr. pursuit.'

Preston's nephew, Mr. Arthur, as he was “Oh! you saw that, did you, miss ? called? Your decision as to the future You never told me that before !"

course of life you intended to adopt was “Saw it, of course I saw it. What not quite so immaterial to him, was it, woman ever misses anything of that kind ? child ?” At a distance you tracked me straight to “What do you mean, John ?” said Alice, Mr. Preston's door, saw me and my little looking down, as the blood began to mount charges safely inside, and then turned on into her cheeks. your heel and walked away.”

You know well enough what I mean, "While you went up to your room and child; exactly what I say. Mr. Arthur Pressat down before your glass, admiring your ton took great interest in you—was in love own charms, and thinking of the dashing with you, in point of fact-is not that so ?” young cavalier whose attention you

“He said so, John; but his actions beattracted. Was that it?” said John. lied his words. No man who had any real,

“Nothing of the sort, though I don't honest love-nay, more, I will go further, mind confessing that I did wonder whether and say respect for a girl — could have I should ever see you again! And then, spoken or acted towards me as he did.” two days after, when Mrs. Preston told me “Why, Alice,” said John Claxton, lookto take the little girls into the drawing- ing with surprise at her flushed cheeks, room in the evening, and to be sure that you never told me anything of this before. they practised thoroughly some piece which Why have you kept it secret from me?" they would be called upon to play, as there “Because I know, John,” said Alice, laywas a gentleman coming to dinner who ing her hand upon his shoulder, doted on little children, how could I have however outwardly calm and quiet you the slightest idea that this benevolent may appear to be, however sensible and Mr. Claxton was to be my friend of the practical you are in most matters, you have Low Ousegate bookstall ? And yet you a temper which, when anything touching scarcely spoke to me once during that my honour or my dignity is involved, is evening, I remember !"

quite beyond your control. I have seen its * That was my diplomacy, my child; bat effects before, John, and I dreaded any reI paid great attention to Mrs. Preston, and petition of them." was very favourably received by her.” “Then why do you tell me now?"

“Yes, I heard Mr. Preston say to Mr. “Because we are far away from York, Arthur, as they stood behind the piano, John, and from Arthur Preston and his He's of the house of Calverley and Com- friends, and there is no likelihood of our pany of Mincing-lane. Thee hast heard of seeing any of them again, so that I know it? Its transactions are enormous.' your temper can be trusted safely now,

“And I won Mr. Preston's heart by a John ; for however much it may desire to good order for wine,” said John Claxton; break out, it will find no object on which to "and then I threw off all disguise, and I vent itself.” am afraid made it clear that I had only “ This conversation and conduct then of made his acquaintance for the sake of pay- Mr. Arthur Preston were matters, I am to ing court to his governess.”

understand, in which your honour and dig"You need have very little delicacy in nity were involved, Alice ?"

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cynically you are speaking. Are you not dead, and the search could only originate well, dear?"

with the father, and it is not likely that "Quite well, Alice. Why do you ask?” after leaving the mother of his child to

“ Your face is rather flushed, dear, and die in a workhouse bed, he will have any there is a strange look in your eyes, such long deferred stings of conscience to make as I have never noticed before. Oh, John! him inquire as to what has become of her I am certain you work too hard, and all offspring. Oh, John, when I think of the this travelling is too much for you. When wickedness that goes on in the world, will you give it up ?”

through men, John, through men alone, “When I see my way to settling down for women are but what men choose to here in peace and comfort with you, my make them, I am so thankful that it was darling, and little Bell. Depend upon it given to me to win the honest, noble love when that opportunity comes I shall grasp of an honourable man, and to be removed it eagerly enough !”

in good time from the temptations assailing “And when will it come, John ?" a girl in the position which I occupied.

That, my child, it is impossible to say; Now, John, no more wine !" it may come sooner than we expect; I hope “Yes," he cried, “ give it to me quickly, it will, I'm sure. It is the one thing now full, full to the brim, Alice. There !” he at the close of my life left me to look for- said, as he drained it. “I am better now, ward to.

I wanted some extra stimulant, to-right; I “ Don't talk about the close of your life suppose I am knocked up by my journey.” in that wicked way, John. I am sure if "Your face was as pale then as it was you 'only take care of yourself when you flushed before, John. I shall take upon are away on those journeys, and mind that myself to nurse you, and you shall not your bed is always aired, and see that you leave home again until you are quite have proper food, there is no question recovered, whatever Mr. Calverley may about the close of

your

life until you have say! You should have him here some seen little Bell grown up into a marriage day, John, and let me talk to him. I able young woman.

warrant I would soon bring him round to "Poor little Bell,” said John Claxton, my way of thinking.” with a grave smile; "dear little Bell. I "Your ways are sufficiently coaxing to don't think we did wrongly, Alice, in do that with anybody, Alice,” said John adopting this little fatherless, motherless Claxton, with a faint smile; “but never waif ?"

mind Mr. Calverley just now; what were “Wrong, indeed! I should think not,”

should think not,” we saying before ?” said Alice, quickly. “Even from a selfish I was saying how pleased I was to be point of view it was one of the best things removed from the temptations to which a we ever did in our lives. See what a com- girl in the position which I held is always panion she is to me while you are away; exposed.” see how the time which I have to spare “No,” said Claxton, “I don't mean that after attending to the house, and my gar.

- before." den, and my reading, and my music, and “Yes, yes,” said Alice, “I insist upon all those things which you insist upon talking about these old times, John; you my doing, John, and which I really go never will, and I have no one else who through conscientiously every day; see how knows anything about them, or can discuss the spare time, which might be dull, is them with me. Now, do you recollect," filled up in dressing her, and teaching her, she continued, nestling closer to him, “ the and listening to her sweet little prattle. first time you saw me?” Do you

think we shall ever find out whose “Recollect it! As you were then, I can child she was, John ?”

see you now. “No dear, I should say not. You have • And

so can I you, you are not altered the clothes which she had on, and the little an atom. You were standing at a bookgold cross that was found round the mother's stall in Low Ousegate, just beyond the neck after her death; it is as well to keep bridge, looking into a book, and as I passed them in case any search should be made by with the two little Prestons you raised after the child, though the probability of your eyes from the book and stared at me that is very remote.”

so hard, and yet so gravely, that I--" “We should not give Bell up, whatever “That you were quite delighted," said search might be made, should we, John ?" John Claxton, patting his arm round her; said Alice, quickly. “The poor mother is "you know that, so don't attempt a bash

went up

fulness which is foreign to your nature, that matter, John,” said Alice; "neither but confess at once."

Mr. nor Mrs. Preston had the slightest in“I decline to confess any such thing,” terest in me, and when I left they cared said Alice. “Of course, I was in the habit not what became of me. I suited them as of being stared at by the officers and the a governess, and they were angry when I young men of the town. Come now, there first told them I was going away; but is the return blow for your impertinent hit when they saw that I had fully made up just now; but one scarcely expects to create my mind, their sole thought was how best to an impression on people whom one finds supply my place. As to what became of glozing over bookstalls.

me, that was no concern of theirs.” “Elderly people, you should have said, “No,” said John Claxton, whose colour Alice."

had returned, and who seemed to have re“Elderly people, I will say, John, if it gained his ordinary composure," no conpleases you. Much less does one expect to cern, perhaps, of either Mr. or Mrs. Pressee them lay down the book, and come ton; but what about the young gentleman sailing up the street after one in direct whom you mentioned just now, Alice, Mr. pursuit."

Preston's nephew, Mr. Arthur, as he was “Oh! you saw that, did you, miss ? called ? Your decision as to the future You never told me that before !"

course of life you intended to adopt was “Saw it, of course I saw it. What not quite so immaterial to him, was it, woman ever misses anything of that kind ? child ?” At a distance you tracked me straight to “ What do you mean, John ?” said Alice, Mr. Preston's door, saw me and my little looking down, as the blood began to mount charges safely inside, and then turned on into her cheeks. your heel and walked away.”

“ You know well enough what I mean, “ While

you to your room and child; exactly what I say. Mr. Arthur Pressat down before your glass, admiring your ton took great interest in you—was in love own charms, and thinking of the dashing with you, in point of fact-is not that so ?” young cavalier whose attention you had just “He said so, John; but his actions beattracted. Was that it?” said John. lied his words. No man who had any real,

“Nothing of the sort, though I don't honest love-nay, more, I will go further, mind confessing that I did wonder whether and say respect for a girl — could have I should ever see you again! And then, spoken or acted towards me as he did.” two days after, when Mrs. Preston told me Why, Alice,” said John Claxton, lookto take the little girls into the drawing- ing with surprise at her flushed cheeks, room in the evening, and to be sure that you never told me anything of this before. they practised thoroughly some piece which Why have you kept it secret from me ?” they would be called upon to play, as there “Because I know, John,” said Alice, laywas a gentleman coming to dinner who ing her hand upon his shoulder, " that doted on little children, how could I have however outwardly calm and quiet you the slightest idea that this benevolent may appear to be, however sensible and Mr. Claxton was to be my friend of the practical you are in most matters, you have Low Ousegate bookstall ? And yet you a temper which, when anything touching scarcely spoke to me once during that my honour or my dignity is involved, is evening, I remember!"

quite beyond your control. I have seen its “That was my diplomacy, my child; but effects before, John, and I dreaded any reI paid great attention to Mrs. Preston, and petition of them." was very favourably received by her.” “ Then why do you tell me now?"

Yes, I heard Mr. Preston say to Mr. “Because we are far away from York, Arthur, as they stood behind the piano, John, and from Arthur Preston and his 'He's of the house of Calverley and Com- friends, and there is no likelihood of our pany of Mincing-lane. Thee hast heard of seeing any of them again, so that I know it? Its transactions are enormous.' your temper can be trusted safely now,

"And I won Mr. Preston's heart by a John; for however much it may desire to good order for wine,” said John Claxton; break out, it will find no object on which to "and then I threw off all disguise, and I vent itself.” am afraid made it clear that I had only 6. This conversation and conduct then of made his acquaintance for the sake of pay- Mr. Arthur Preston were matters, I am to ing court to his governess.”

understand, in which your honour and dig“You need have very little delicacy in nity were involved, Alice ?"

66

me

" To a certain extent, John, yes," faltered ternal game-laws, our equitable law of Alice.

landlord and tenant, are all in danger; “I should like to know what they were ?” when, on the other hand, the urban public said John Claxton. “I put no compulsion believe that a family quarrel on these topics on you to tell me. I have never asked you is raging in many country parishes—it may since our marriage to tell me anything of be useful to describe a bright little scene your previous life; but I confess I should enacted the other day by all these characlike to know about this !"

ters (except Barlow), for it affords some "I will tell you, John,” said Alice; "I timely and pleasant considerations. always intended to do so; it is the only It was the home-coming of the squire thing I have kept back from you, and often of Platting-Hugh with his bride. The and often while you have been away have I squire had intended, apparently, to get thought, if anything happened to you or to married" on the quiet," as they say in

-if either of us were to die, I mean, these parts. Bat he is the great man of John-how grieved I should be that I had the place, master of the H. B. fox-hounds, not told you of this matter. Arthur Pres- landlord of numerous farms, deputy-lieuton pretended he loved me, but he could tenant, and all the rest of it, and his not have done so really. No man who is modest programme to get married at the wicked and base can know what real love country seat of the bishop of the diocese by is, John, and Arthur Preston was both. special license, to be conveyed in a special Some little time before I knew you he train to a by-station, and to slip home unmade love to me-fierce, violent love. I observed, oozing out, the important populahad not seen you then, John; I had scarcely tion of Platting declared itself slighted, and seen any one. I was an unsophisticated rose as one man. It held public meetings, country girl, and I judged of the reality of appointed a reception committee, and prohis love by the warmth of his professions, claimed a general holiday. Tenants on the and told him I would marry him. I shall estate, farmers all over the H. B. country, never forget that scene! It was one sum- even the members of that distinguished mer's evening, on the river-bank just hunt, declared that they would waylay the abreast of Bishopthorpe. When I men- happy pair at their own park-gate, and tioned marriage he almost laughed, and greet them with a hearty welcome. then he told me in a cynical, sneering Upon these urgent representations the way, that he never intended to be married Chickabiddy station was abandoned, and unless he could find some one with a large the Platting station adopted. Being a fortune, or with peculiar means of extend stranger, I made for the wrong park-gate ing his uncle's business when he inherited on the appointed day - having heard it. But that, meanwhile, he would ve me all the above gossip at the inn where the prettiest house within twenty miles. I my hunter stands-nor could I see a soul need not go on; he would not make me on my route to set me right. All the cothis wife, but he offered to make me his tages on the Platting-Hugh estate which I mistress. Was it not unmanly in him, John ? passed-numerous and new-looking—were Was it not base and cowardly?”

deserted. The one policeman at the She stopped and looked at her husband. Chickabiddy station who opened my way But John Claxton, whose face had become across the rails, knew nothing. Nobody pale again, his chin resting on his hand, could be observed in the home-farm yard; and his eyes glaring into the fire, made her the lodge was shut up, the gate wide open ; no reply.

not a living creature to be seen, nor a sound to be heard in the park. Cantering over

the turf between the trees, I felt like an BRINGING HOME A BRIDE.

explorer in some exquisitely planted back

woods. Was I too late? Had I been “At a time when”-as Mr. Barlow would hoaxed ? Had the marriage been put off; have told Sandford and Merton* - the claims of the British labourer divide atten- or, spiteful conjecture, had it gone off alto

gether? tion with the Alabama claims; when the

The answer was startling. ruin of the country is predicted for the shied: a burst of huzzas pierced by a

My horse hundredth time from a threatened rise in tally-o or two which might have split, but that bloated spendthrift's wages; when

were not muffled by the tent that covered our concise and simple land-laws, our pa- them! Clear of my screen of trees, no pan. * See ALL THE Year Round, New Series, vol. i. p. 156. tomime ever displayed a quicker transfor

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