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lucky enough to escape them, and, thanks
to his knowledge of the locality, to strike
upon an unfrequented path, which soon
took him clear of the town and brought
him to the open fields.

He had forgotten the direction in which
the path led, or he would most probably
have avoided it and chosen some other, for
there lay Helmingham village directly
before him. Hitherto he had carefully avoided
even looking towards it, but there it was,
under his eyes. At some distance it is
true, but still sufficiently near for him,
with his knowledge of the place, to
recognise every outline. There, away on the
horizon, was the school-house, there the
church; there, dipping down towards the
middle of the High-street, the house which
had been so long his father's. What years
ago it seemed! There were alterations,
too; several newly-built houses, a newly-
made road leading, he supposed, to
Woolgreaves. Woolgreaves! he could not see
the house, he was thankful for that, but
he overlooked a portion of the grounds
from where he stood, and saw the sun
reflected from much sparkling glass,
evidently conservatories of recent erection.
"She's spending the price for which she
sold me!" he muttered to himself.

He crossed a couple of fields, clambered
over a hedge, and jumped down into the
newly-made road which he had noticed,
intending, after pursuing it a short distance,
to strike across, leaving Woolgreaves on
his right, and make for Helmingham. He
could roam about the outskirts of the old
place without attracting attention and
without any chance of meeting with her. He
had gone but a very little way when he
heard a sharp, clear, silvery tinkling of
little bells, then the noise of horse-hoofs on
the hard, dry road, and presently came in
sight a little low carriage, drawn by a very
perfect pair of iron-grey ponies, and driven
by a lady dressed in a sealskin cloak and a
coquettish sealskin hat. He knew her in an
instant. Marian!

While he was deliberating what to do,
whether to remain where he was or jump
the hedge and disappear, before he could
take any action the pony carriage had
neared him, and the ponies were stopped
by his side. She had seen him in the
distance, and recognised him too; he knew
that by the flush that overspread her
usually pale face. She was looking bright
and well, and far handsomer than he ever
remembered her. He had time to notice
all that in one glance, before she spoke.

"I am glad of this accidental meeting,
Mr. Joyce!" she said, with the slightest
tremor in her voice, " for though I had
made up my mind to see you I did not see
the opportunity."

Walter merely bowed.

"Do you mind walking with me for
five minutes? I'll not detain you longer."
Walter bowed again. " Thank you, very
much. James, follow with the ponies."
She stepped out of the carriage with
perfect grace and dignity, just touching
with the tips of her fingers the arm which
Walter, half in spite of himself, held out.

"You will not expect me to act any
part in this matter, Mr. Joyce," she said
after a moment's pause. "I mean to make
no pretence of being astonished at
finding you here, in direct opposition to me
and mine!"

"No, indeed! that would be time wasted,
Mrs. Creswell," said Walter, speaking for
the first time. " Opposition to you and
yours is surely the thing most likely to be
expected in me."

"Exactly! Although at first I scarcely
thought you would take the breaking off of
our relations in the way you did, I guessed
it when you did not write; I knew it of
course when you started here, but I was
never so certain of your feelings in regard
to me as I was last night."

"Last night?"

"Last night! I was present at the
Mechanics' Institute, sitting in the gallery
with my maid and her brother as escort.
I had heard much of your eloquence, and
wanted to be convinced. It seems I
selected a specially good occasion! You
were particularly scathing."

"I spoke what I felt——"

"No doubt! you could not have spoken
so without having felt all you described,
so that I can completely imagine how you
feel towards me. But you are a sensible
man, as well as a good speaker, and that is
why I have determined to apply to you."

"What do you want, Mrs. Creswell?"

"I want you to go out of this place, Mr.
Joyce! to take your name off" the walls,
and your candidature out of the county! I
want you to give up your opposition to my
husband. You are too strong for him
you personally; not your cause, but you.
We know that; the last three days have
convinced everybody of that, and you'll win
the election if you stop."

Joyce laughed aloud. "I know I shall,"
he said, his eyes gleaming.

"What then?" said Marian, quietly.