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THE first week passed, the second week passed,
and Magdalen was, to all appearance, no nearer
to the discovery of the Secret Trust, than on the
day when she first entered on her service at St.

But the fortnight, uneventful though it was,
had not been a fortnight lost. Experience had
already satisfied her on one important point
experience had shown that she could set the rooted
distrust of the other servants safely at defiance.
Time had accustomed the women to her presence
in the house, without shaking the vague conviction
which possessed them all alike, that the
new comer was not one of themselves. All that
Magdalen could do, in her own defence, was to
keep the instinctive female suspicion of her,
confined within those purely negative limits which
it had occupied from the first and this she

Day after day, the women watched her,
with the untiring vigilance of malice and
distrust; and day after day, not the vestige of
a discovery rewarded them for their pains.
Silently, intelligently, and industriouslywith
an ever-present remembrance of herself and her
placethe new parlour-maid did her work.
Her only intervals of rest and relaxation were
the intervals passed occasionally, in the day,
with old Mazey and the dogs, and the precious
interval of the night, during which she was secure
from observation in the solitude of her room.
Thanks to the superfluity of bed-chambers at St.
Crux, each one of the servants had the choice, if
she pleased, of sleeping in a room of her own.
Alone in the night, Magdalen might dare to be
herself againmight dream of the past, and
wake from the dream, encountering no curious
eyes to notice that she was in tearsmight
ponder over the future, and be roused by no
whispering in corners, which tainted her with the
suspicion of " having something on her mind."

Satisfied, thus far, of the perfect security of
her position in the house, she profited next by a
second chance in her favour, whichbefore the
fortnight was at an endrelieved her mind of all
doubt on the formidable subject of Mrs. Lecount.

Partly from the accidental gossip of the women
at the table in the servants' hallpartly from a
marked paragraph in a Swiss newspaper, which
she had found, one morning, lying open on the
admiral's easy-chairshe gained the welcome
assurance that no danger was to be dreaded,
this time, from the housekeeper's presence on
the scene. Mrs. Lecount had, as it appeared,
passed a week or more at St. Crux, after the date
of her master's death, and had then left England,
to live on the interest of her legacy, in honourable
and prosperous retirement, in her native
place. The paragraph in the Swiss newspaper
described the fulfilment of this laudable
project. Mrs. Lecount had not only established
herself at Zurich, but (wisely mindful of the
uncertainty of life) had also settled the charitable
uses to which her fortune was to be applied
after her death. One-half of it was to go to
the founding of a " Lecompte Scholarship," for
poor students, in the University of Geneva. The
other half was to be employed by the municipal
authorities of Zurich, in the maintenance and
education of a certain number of orphan girls,
natives of the city, who were to be trained for
domestic service in later life. The Swiss journalist
adverted to these philanthropic bequests in
terms of extravagant eulogy. Zurich was
congratulated on the possession of a Paragon of
public virtue; and William Tell, in the character
of benefactor to Switzerland, was compared
disadvantageously with Mrs. Lecount.

The third week began; and Magdalen was now
at liberty to take her first step forward on the
way to the discovery of the Secret Trust.

She ascertained, from old Mazey, that it was
his master's custom, during the winter and
spring months, to occupy the rooms in the
north wing; and during the summer and
autumn to cross the Arctic passage of " Freeze-
your-Bones," and live in the eastward apartments
which looked out on the garden. While the
Banqueting- Hall remainedowing to the
admiral's inadequate pecuniary resourcesin its
damp and dismantled state, and while the interior
of St. Crux was thus comfortlessly divided
into two separate residences, no more convenient
arrangement than this could well have been
devised. Now and then (as Magdalen understood
from her informant) there were days both in