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what to make of it. " I don't know," she said,
"but I am sure you will be always kind and
good." She added, piteously, " I seem to have
no friends now. I have so few to care for me,
and those few- " She stopped.

But your husband," said Miss Manuel, "is
not he all in all, as they put it?"

The little lady's little brow contracted. Her
eyes fell towards the ground. " I dare say it is
my fault," she said. " It may be. I am very
young and foolish. Perhaps if I had some one to
advise and counsel me, some kind person that
understands me, or would try and understand me.
I thought of this very often during the nights
that I was with you. From the very first day
I was attracted to youI felt that you would
aid and assist me in some difficulty. And
now I am sure, if I were to put confidence in
you and tell you my little troubles, you, who I
think are beginning to like meyou who are so
good and noble-"

Miss Manuel, who had been listening with her
eyes fixed on the other, turned hastily and rose.
"No, no," she said, "not to me. To any one in
the world but me. I am not fit to advise any
one. Good and noble! No, no. Wicked, rather.
I have no will, no strength. I am a weak,
miserable being. Leave me, leave me quick. I
am ill still, I believe, and talk absurdly. Leave
me now. I shall be better to-morrow."

Mrs. Fermor departed, sad and wondering.
When she was gone, Pauline fell upon and buried
her face in the cushions of a sofa, sobbing wildly.
"Good God! good God! what am I coming to?
What devilish task is this I have plunged into?
Destroying the innocent, poisoning the pure!
No, nosave me, save me; and spare that poor,
gentle, tender, confiding thing!"

She felt a hand upon her shoulder, and she
started up. " Whom would you spare?" said
her brother, scornfully; " that girl who has just
left you? Never, by my soul! never! not while
I live! If your hand fails, then is mine ready
far rougher, and far more deadly. So choose.
I am growing impatient. It is too long. Ah,
Pauline! you treat an oath lightly, it seems.
Your memory is growing weak. To me it seems
but last night, and that our darling Violet is
lying in the next room. Come, take a serious
warning, or, as sure as I live, I go out into the
open roads and make shorter work of it. I shall,
surely as I live!" He then looked round and
round the room with a suspicious glare, as if some
one was concealed. " How can you want me to
tell you of these things? I want no promptings.
My heart carries me on only too fast. You are
forgetting, and will soon have forgotten. I never
can forget. I saw her last night-" He
stopped, looking round wildly.

She was frightened, and soothed him. " Now,
Louis," she said, " depend on me. Leave all to
me. Indeed I have not forgotten, and never,
never shall." Those words of his often repeated
themselves; but latterly she had noticed they
grew more intense, and lasted longer.

"No," she said, "I must go on. He is right.
The guilty still flourish, and shall be overtaken."


THE glowing cheek and rich red lip, for which
Mrs. Fermor was noted, were paling off into
lighter tones. A wrung and wistful look was in
her bright eyes. In her little soul, a stiff strong
stubborn pride was working. It had worked its
way, like a strong current through the earth of an
embankment; and the " breach," as it would be
called, between her and her " lord," was widening
with every fresh day.

She went out a good deal into "society,"
where, like many wandering married ladies,
whose lords do not choose to wander with them,
she found plenty of pleasant friends and strangers
to chatter with, and evento use the
good-natured word which conveniently cloaks up so
many derelictionseven to " flirt" with. Had a
friendly lady on an ottoman close by introduced
that word to her, she would have coloured up,
and gathered in the folds of her dress with noisy
rustle, and indignantly played the respectable
young woman outraged. With her it was all
homage, and intellectual talk with clever menthe
old moral spring-guns and " gins" of fatal power
and mischief. Mrs. Fermor, therefore, was seen
at many parties, and the observant remarked
that "that Mr. Romaine" was at nearly all the
houses where Mrs. Fermor was seen.

There was an intimate air in his manner, the
observant observed, which she herself was
conscious of, and struggled against. He had the
look of coming with her there, and of taking her
away, though in effect he did neither. He saw
her down to halls, and there imperiously took
her cloak from another holding it for her to put
on. And though he did not go near her much in
rooms, she had a feeling that she was always
under his eyes. She began to feel, indeed, that
this must not go further, and had determined
that, as soon as the holy work in his regard she
had put her hand to was satisfactorily
accomplished, it should cease. Poor quick vivacious
little soul! impetuous, aggrieved, with a sore
heart under her tulle, she was kept up by her
pride. That " holy work" she had undertaken
was pretty near to being accomplished. It was
said that Mrs. Massinger's marriage had made no
such brilliant impression as was reckoned on
(one of her professional critics said she was
"curdy"), and the town resented it as if it were
her fault. The noble earl who looked to those
matters, and " rated" belles as seamen are rated,
before and after the mast, had smiled
contemptuously as he looked down on her through
his gold "pinchnose," as the French call it.
"Blancmange, my good Fitzroy," he said, shutting
up his " pinchnose." " Blancmange, and no
more. There are people, of course, who like

The neophyte was behaving valiantly. It did
seem as though he would be firm in his faith.
But already the Fiery Cross of Scandal had been